New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis is retiring and I have two words for him — good riddance. Lewis used his last column as an opportunity to take a swipe at people who happen to believe that the Bible is literally true by comparing such people to the 9/11 terrorists. Lewis wrote,
I have been writing it for 32 years. As I look back at those turbulent decades, I see a time of challenge to a basic tenet of modern society: faith in reason.
No one can miss the reality of that challenge after Sept. 11. Islamic fundamentalism, rejecting the rational processes of modernity, menaces the peace and security of many societies.
But the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism is not to be found in Islam alone. Fundamentalist Christians in America, believing that the Bible’s story of creation is the literal truth, question not only Darwin but the scientific method that has made contemporary civilization possible.
Religion and extreme nationalism have formed deadly combinations in these decades, impervious to reason. Serbs in the grip of religion and mystical nationalist history killed thousands and expelled millions in their “ethnic cleansing” of Bosnia. Fundamentalist Judaism and extreme Israeli nationalism have fed the movement to plant settlements in Palestinian territory, fueling Islamic militancy among Palestinians.
Fundamentalist Christians dare to question Darwin and the scientific method? But I thought the entire point of the scientific method was to question provisional facts and theories?
I happen to think the creationists are wrong, but to lump Fundamentalist Christians and creationists in with the 9/11 terrorists is absurd.
This argument makes about as much sense as does the argument by someone like George Gilder who points out that the worst human rights violations of the 20th century were all carried about by men who rejected Christianity — therefore, Gilder argues, it is atheism, humanism and paganism which are responsible for mass murder.