On Faith in Primates

You and I are primates. Or, to put it more colorfully, we’re a bunch of fucking monkeys. This fact is lost on people who believe that Homo sapiens are God’s finest and final creation. Such people, usually called creationists — aka morons — don’t like to be compared with monkeys and shudder at the thought that we evolve.

But we did evolve from other animals. And we behave like other animals: We have feelings, we sexually reproduce, we exist in a social hierarchy, we care for our young, we defecate and die. Although these brute facts might seem objectionable, they are nonetheless true.

My last boyfriend was a creationist. He also had a habit of grooming me. When I pointed out that monkeys also groom one another, he agreed. But a moment later, when I asked him why he didn’t believe that we evolved from primates, he said that it was a matter of faith. As you can imagine, our relationship didn’t last very long.

(As an aside, my Christian ex-boyfriend was in the military, he didn’t recycle, he didn’t care about climate change, and he believed that when the rapture happened, people who do not accept Jesus Christ — more than three quarters of the earth’s population — would be denied entry into the kingdom of God. But the sex was good.)

I have very little patience for people who do not embrace the truth of evolution, the simple truth that demonstrates irrefutably that all life on this planet is interconnected, interwoven, and related. I find this truth stunningly beautiful: it resonates with the teachings of our spiritual traditions.

Imagine! Every person you see, every animal you see, every plant you see, is a member of your family. A family that has been alive for billions of years, developing at a magisterial pace, learning about itself, reaching towards intelligence, and reaching out into the stars.

Christians conceptualize God as our heavenly father, and cultivate feelings of love towards that father figure. I conceptualize Gaia as our heavenly mother, and I cultivate love towards her.

Does that make me a primate of faith?

. . .

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