Original Sin strikes again

Like most people, I was saddened by the unfortunate events at the Cincinnati zoo, which culminated in the death of an extremely rare gorilla when a child slipped into its exhibit space. As an engineer who has spent countless hours listening to objections to design details from people who can barely say which way water runs1, I’m not going to second-guess the decision made by the experts; it’s just a terribly sad thing that happened.

BUT! Since theology has no epistemic standards whatever, and is not a branch of actual knowledge, I would like to say a few words about some remarks made by Ken Ham, proprietor of the so-called Creation Museum, about the events in Cincinnati.

  • The young boy (unlike the gorilla, which is just an animal) is made in the image of God and is a human being who has a soul that will live forever.

  • We cannot impose human emotion/morality on a gorilla—it is not made in the image of God. We should not anthropomorphically assume that the gorilla’s decency would have kept him from harming the boy in the enclosure had the zoo professionals not intervened so quickly.

  • Because we live in a fallen world, sin has affected everything, including gorillas and three-year-olds.

So there you go: We are all no damn good, but gorillas are even more no damn good.

Ken Ham came to this area years ago to peddle his ridiculous books and, while here, delivered a sermon at a local Southern Baptist (naturally) church. After a long schtick about wickedness and Original Sin, and a couple of bad poodle jokes, he made what I consider one of the most degrading statements I have ever heard, and I wonder still what goes on in the mind that could author such a remark: “We don’t even deserve to be here.”

I don’t believe in Original Sin, but the idea of it soils whatever it touches.

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1   Downhill.

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