“I don’t believe your old bastard theory of evolution …I believe it’s pure jackass nonsense…If a minister believes and teaches evolution, he is a skunk, a hypocrite, and a liar.” Billy Sunday, Revival Meeting, 1912

OK, I might be a skunk at times and maybe a hypocrite or a liar. My maternal grandmother would turn flips in her grave if she knew I turned out to be such a believer as a preacher. She was a faithful radio listener to Reverend Sunday, every Sunday.

We church folk may have waited too long in acknowledging the ‘old bastard theory of evolution.’ A lab experiment has revealed that an innate tendency to trust can be triggered between total strangers’ interior lives and promptly. Participating scientists suggest the risk to trust immediately is “probably augmenting an extremely rich model (we) come equipped with.” (‘A Study of Social Interactions Starts with a Test of Trust,’ by Henry Fountain).

Can an entire awesome religious order make a mistake by interfering with an entire awesome evolutionary order? If bonding with total strangers is an innate urge shouldn’t worshippers have managed to engage with infidels early on, like say, in the 1st century? It assumed back then, and now perhaps, that congregations generated the deepest form of unparalleled empathy for the good of the order for the outside world. And blessed marriages became a major source of unmatched compassion for societies. That’s what I assumed until I learned there is another weighty source of compassion that can match and complement religious bodies.

Evidently, there was no knowledge over centuries that individuals possessed unconditional compassion that’s stored in their crania. If that’s true then there may be a massive black hole in the midst of that jackass of an evolution we rely upon.

The awesome religious order with whom I belong has been extremely good to me for more than half a century and I have drawn close to scores of lay persons and clergy within the fold. I hesitate to suggest, however, that faith communities still don’t quite trust strangers. I sensed it mostly during my stint as a street chaplain while based in a mega church in Los Angeles.

When citizens resist letting strangers into their lives the estrangements can lead to indifference, coldness, hostilities and possibly wars. There is still a steep divide between communal bonding within temples and scattered strangers in our lives. Some of that fear may be due to exaggerating stranger/danger threats.

The rush to marry young circumvented years of opportunities to connect deeply with youthful outsiders. If single peoples were to hold off on marriage for a few years to allow bonding with strangers along with married couples pursing such encounters we might be in sync with an inherent progression that was meant to be.

Is it pure jackass nonsense to believe we are built to run deep with aliens for the sake of the human race?





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