The other night, I was having a drink out with a co-worker, and in the midst of playing a game of Trivial Pursuit (Genus 5). The question was (paraphrasing – I was drinking), What Tennesseean was actually a physics teacher when he substituted as a biology teacher, leading to a landmark 1925 trial? The answer, I replied immediately, was “John T. Scopes,” who was represented in the trial by Clarence Darrow in the famous “Scopes-Monkey Trial”.
My co-worker couldn’t believe that I knew that; he is one of those players who, if opposed by someone who knows an answer he can’t fathom, insists that his opponent must sit at home and memorize the cards. Aside that one of the characteristics of knowledge is memorization, I find the comments to be generally insulting, but not enough to give him anything more than a frowning-of-a-lifetime.
He asked how I knew the answer so readily, and I explained that the trial was written about in Karen Armstrong’s excellent book, “The Battle for God,” a history of fundamentalism. I picked up the work for several reasons, most prominently that I feel that fundamentalism is more prevalent in the world theatre these days, especially in light of 9/11, and I’ve had a fascination with God (or “god”) for a long time. Anyway, the trial was a major battle between Christian fundamentalists and evolutionists, and the fundamentalists lost and lost big. And like most fundamentalists, when confronts with the facts, they crawl up in their shell, close their ears, sing “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” and become even more fundamental. It’s a last ditch attempt to “save” the religion from progress and/or change. It’s a death rattle, but a messy one that may take centuries. But, I digress.
This led my co-worker to ask me if I had ever seen any direct proof of evolution, or if I believed in the Big Bang theory of creation. My response to that was, “I believe more in the Sine Wave Big Bang theory than any religion.”
People have asked me what I believe in, especially in regards to God and religion. I’ve read so much and thought about it at great length, almost on a daily basis – I find it interesting, at this point, the way I find vampires interesting, and about as credible. Unfortunately, I haven’t read or experienced anything that would make me believe in any religion, except as a societal evolutionary process. Or any God (or “god”, again). I’m sure I’ll tap into this later.
This is what happens when you mix Trivial Pursuit and Jack-n-Cokes.