Monday, December 10, 2007

Atlas Lugged

Hey, conservative Christians: there’s another Creation myth trying to gain traction in Washington D.C. and academia. This one comes from Islam, and blames the 9/11 attacks on Darwin.

The Atlas of Creation is a 12-pound, 800-page tome explaining the Islamic version of Creation, along with a dose of social commentary. What’s strange is that copies of the gigantic book were mysteriously sent to hundreds of high schools and universities in France this year; similarly, thousands of unsolicited copies were also sent to U.S. government offices, museums, and American universities. I’d hate to see the publisher’s postage budget.

Most folks oohed and ahhed over the atlas’s beautiful artwork, then recoiled in horror at “what a load of crap it is.” Some, however, like U.S. Secretary of the Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, decided to prominently display the Atlas in his office waiting room (a Commerce Dept. spokesman now says that was “a mistake.”)

Anyway, I know the nuttier fundamentalist Christian fringe believes Islam is a "vicious enemy." But reading about The Atlas of Creation I can’t help but feel like I’m looking at two sides of the same coin.

See if this sounds familiar:
A caption from the book, below a photograph of one of the planes striking the World Trade Center, reports: “No matter what ideology they may espouse, those who perpetrate terror over the world are, in reality, Darwinists. Darwinism is the only philosophy that places a value on–and thus encourages–conflict.”

Darwinism is also to blame for fascism and communism. As the Atlas explains, it “is the root of various ideologies of violence that have spelled disaster to mankind in the 20th century."

Wow, where have I heard that idea before? Oh, yeah:

We have had 150 years of the theory of Darwinian evolution, and what has it brought us? Whether Darwin intended it or not, millions of deaths, the destruction of those deemed inferior, the devaluing of human life, increasing hopelessness; Darwin’s theory has been deadly, indeed. … The time has come to recognize that evolution is a bad idea and should be, frankly, discarded into the dustbin of history.

That’s the late D. James Kennedy, in a 2006 fundraising pitch for his anti-evolution “documentary.” Kennedy passed earlier this year, but his comments are no different from what we’ve heard from Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, James Dobson and the rest.

Maybe instead of hating Islam, fundamentalist Christians should embrace the religion and its followers as fellow soldiers in the war on evolution. It could be a real “coming together” point, you know?