Posts tagged ‘Christianity’
In the last few weeks, I’ve been discussing Virgil’s epic poem about the legendary events that eventually led to the founding of Rome, drawing some parallels to the founding of the United States. I had asked why it is that we as humans seem to have the need to create mythological and semi-mythological pasts for the group to which we belong.
Now I would like to ask a second question: Why is it that we feel that the founders of our group should continue to determine the present, even after several centuries have gone by and times might have changed radically?
Again, if anyone doubts that we do this, just look at some of the debates within American society. Whether it is the right to bear arms or the question of the place of religion in society, most sides of these debates seem to agree that what the Founding Fathers thought and intended should continue to—at least to an extent—determine our actions today.
Many Christians are at pains to point out how religious the Founding Fathers were, and many others are at pains to point out how secular the Founding Fathers were, but there is a common assumption that underlies both of these positions, namely that what the Founding Fathers thought should in some sense still define American society today. If the Founding Fathers were mostly Christians, then this is meant to show that the United States is at its heart a “Christian nation,” and, in order to stay true to itself, it needs to retain that Christian identity. If, on the other hand, the Founding Fathers were highly critical of Christianity, then a secular spirit ought to pervade American society.
Both sides want to call Americans back to what they truly are, suggesting that the United States cannot remain to be the United States if it does not stay true to what the Founding Fathers thought. Never mind that Deism, which influenced many of the Founding Fathers, was a fashion of the time and has since gone mostly out of fashion. No, the religion or lack thereof of the Founding Fathers is still felt to be relevant today and is hotly debated. Why?
This idea of appealing to the Founding Fathers in support of one’s own view is not new. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas had very different views on slavery, but they both agreed that the Founding Fathers should have a say in the matter. The only problem was that they had not said anything official about it, and so Lincoln tried to prove that the Founding Fathers were really, in their heart of hearts, against slavery, and his opponents attempted to prove the opposite.
Similarly, in Virgil’s Aeneid there is a notion that Aeneas should encapsulate Roman values and virtues, that he is a prototypical Roman, and that this “spirit” of Rome ought to transcend the ages. Something similar might be going on with Americans in relation to their Founding Fathers. There is a sense of an American identity, of American values, of a “spirit” that transcends generations and needs to be retained in order for America to remain America.
All right, my kids are calling me to play with them. As always, feel free to disagree.
If I may indulge in autobiographical reminiscences for one post, my recent musings on Aristotle and his idea of substance have reminded me of one of my early writing attempts. Several years ago, before knowing hardly anything about Aristotle, I wrote a story that I called "One Day, Two Tales." In it, I imagined a person living the same day twice, except with two very different worldviews. One time he is a Christian, the other time he is an Atheist.
Now I did not try to portray how real Christians and real Atheists view and live their lives, but how a person would view his experiences if he were completely consistent with his worldview—if, so to speak, he did not have any human feelings beyond what his worldview dictated to him.
The result was basically the issue of essence and change. As a Christian, the protagonist wakes up in the morning, turns over in bed, and contemplates his still sleeping wife. What he sees there is an eternal being, the image of God clothed in imperfect human form, and what he is married to is this eternal essence. The essence is what is really important, even when his wife starts losing her beauty and maybe one day also her wits.
In contrast, when the protagonist is an Atheist, he looks at his wife and contemplates that he has chained himself to a river. There is no eternal essence buried somewhere underneath the outer layers that make up his wife; the layers are what his wife is. He comes to the conclusion that, actually, he is not married to her at all, because there is no "her" that he could be married to. His marriage vows of always being faithful to her were nonsensical babble, because the person she was back then is not the same person lying next to him in bed right now, nor is the person in bed with him right now the same that will be in bed with him tonight. His wife is a composite being, constantly changing and slowly disintegrating into its more fundamental parts, and these more fundamental parts also constantly change and disintegrate again, and at the bottom of this process there is nothing but a big question mark. No God, no eternal substance. Nothing.
When I wrote this story, not only did I know very little about Aristotle, I also knew very little about Existentialism. Atheistic Existentialists said that “being comes before essence,” meaning that people find themselves thrown into existence and then must decide what kind of beings they want to be. An Existentialist might say: I agree, ultimately there might well be nothing. There is no eternal substance. But it is exactly this fact which, once we have embraced the existential burden thrust upon us, is so freeing. Our views and experiences do not have to be dictated by any eternal substance or lack thereof. I can freely choose to view myself and others as real individuals and live accordingly. An atheistic husband does not have to look at his wife and contemplate that he has chained himself to a river. He can choose to see her as his wife, his companion throughout the whole of life. Not because reality dictates this, but because this is the life he chooses for himself.
For Existentialists like Sartre, choosing life-long matrimony to one person is only bad if one does so primarily to conform to the social norm around you. Such behavior, Sartre called “bad faith,” by which he meant doing something not because you, yourself, freely choose to do so, but because you cave in to the pressures around you and wish to avoid the naked choice that existence throws on you.
For Christianity—or Aristotle, for that matter—essence comes before being; for Sartre, being comes before essence. For Christianity, “bad faith” would be not acting in accordance with what is true about you, God, and the universe; for Sartre, “bad faith” means not acting in accordance with your own free, completely non-determined choice.
Two very different approaches to life.
There and Back Again: The Goodness of Hobbiton in Contrast to the Lostness of Harry Potter’s Cupboard
The first Hobbit movie is finally in theaters. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s a fitting time for some (I hope) meaningful thoughts on Bilbo’s (and Frodo’s) journey in comparison to Harry Potter’s journey into the world of wizards.
Let’s start with Harry.
On that day when Harry Potter’s wildest dreams came true and he discovered that he was a wizard, he did not in fact enter a better world. He soon learned that it was neither morally nor externally superior to the non-magical world he had grown up in.
School was just as (alternately) horrible, hard, boring and irrelevant as the worst schools in his old world. Some people were kind, some were mean, some even hated him. The fact that they were wizards made no difference. Magic was not much different to technology. (In fact, Harry found out that for Mr. Weasley, technology was as fascinating as magic was for him. It even seemed that Mr. Weasley was bored with Magic and highly interested in technology. When asked what his dearest ambition was, he answered, “To find out how aeroplanes stay up.”[i]) The governing bodies were infected with the cancer of corruption. The magic media was as gossipy as the magazines the Dursley’s were reading. And then there were those issues of racism and slavery that had not yet been dealt with.
No, the new world in which Harry Potter found himself was not better than his old world. It was equally corrupt, unfair, and evil. And in between the times that he managed to land himself in trouble, it was often even monotonous: “The fact was that living at the Headquarters of the anti-Voldemort movement was not nearly as interesting or exciting as Harry would have expected before he’d experienced it. […] On the very last day of the holidays Harry was sweeping up Hedwig’s owl droppings from the top of the wardrobe …”[ii]
And yet, Harry liked the wizarding world much better than the Muggle world. Why? He could not have possibly believed that it was a better world. That would have been nonsense. The improvement did not lie in the changed circumstances, but in the changed Harry, in who he was. In the Muggle world, Harry had been nothing. The Dursley’s had ignored him, treated him like a piece of dirt. In contrast, in the wizard world Harry was someone—someone really important.
Sure, he now had to face many dangers and obstacles. In many ways, life became harder for him than it had been at the Dursley’s. “Harry didn’t feel brave or quick-witted or any of it at the moment. If only the hat had mentioned a house for people who felt a bit queasy, that would have been the one for him.”[iii] But at least Harry was not nothing, and that made all the difference. Although in the wizarding world some people hated him, the media at times maligned him, scores of witches and wizards occasionally disbelieved him, and Voldemort was constantly out to murder him, yet at least he was not being stuffed in a dark cupboard and ignored.
There is probably nothing worse for a teenager—and, indeed, for a human being of any age—than to feel totally insignificant. “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”[iv] People who feel that the world is indifferent to them often commit suicide. For the first eleven years of his life, Harry had felt insignificant; but in the wizard world, in spite of its many hitches, this had changed. Harry mattered. He mattered a great deal. “If he knew what he means to us!”[v] the house elf Dobby said about Harry. He meant something, a fact that was worth a thousand troubles.
This aspect of Harry Potter is entirely different to some (not all) other works of British Fantasy literature. Take J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, for instance. The subtitle of The Hobbit is There and Back Again. Bilbo embarks on a great adventure, and in this sense enters a different world; but in contrast to Harry, his sole identity does not lie in that world. He goes “There,” but he also comes “Back Again.” There could be no greater contrast between the beloved Hobbiton and the hated house of the Dursley’s. Bilbo’s home is “not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat.” No, it is “a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”[vi]
In contrast, Harry’s old home is exactly such a nasty hole: a cupboard under the staircase. Harry has no desire to go back to his old world. His sole identity lies in his role of defeating the evil Voldemort. In Tolkien, the characters also fight against evil, but their identity does not lie in the opposition to evil. Their identity lies in something good, in a world that is not corrupted by the Dark Shadow. They long to go back home when the adventure is over; Harry has no home to go back to. Hogwarts is his home. Once, when Dumbledore told him that Voldmort was “more attached to this school than he has ever been to a person” because “Hogwarts was where he had been happiest; the first and only place he had felt at home,” Harry felt uncomfortable, for “this was exactly how he felt about Hogwarts too.”[vii]
Now I am not saying that Harry never resents his role of being the Chosen Opponent of Voldemort; he does. The part he has to play is set with many difficulties, and he knows that he might fail and die. He does sometimes wish to be someone else. Yet, he has nothing better to go to. He has no “Hobbiton” that he will restore once the battle is over. Going back to the insignificance of the cupboard would be worse than dying.
In the first few books of the series, Harry’s heroism is his identity; in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo’s heroism is born out of necessity. He sincerely wishes that the whole story had not happened to him: “I wish it need not to have happened in my time.”[viii] Yes, “he wished bitterly that his fortune had left him in the quiet and beloved Shire.” In contrast, Harry does not at all wish that “his fortune had left him” in the cupboard. But in Middle Earth, all good inhabitants wish that the Shadow of Darkness had not grown and that they would not have to be heroes. “So do I,” Gandalf replies to Frodo, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”[ix]
If one draws a parallel to religious worldviews at this point, particular to my own Christian background, in Christianity one’s identity does not lie in the opposition to evil either, though Christians should undoubtedly oppose evil in this world. But their identity lies in the belief that they are created in the image of God, and they long for the day when this image is fully restored, when they do not have to oppose evil anymore. They have a “Hobbiton” that is their home, and there they shall go “Back Again.”
This is one reason why the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is so important. It shows Harry building up his own “Hobbiton,” so to speak. Sure, he will ever after be The-One-Who-Defeated-Voldemort, but, by founding his own family and remaining close to his friends, he has built up an identity in something good apart from his struggle against evil. He has found “pure” good.
The epilogue demonstrates that Harry is not a perpetual polemicist who only thrives by being against something but never learns to be for something. He is not like, say, the French activist Henri Guilbeaux, who became one of the most important anti-war voices in Europe during World War I but who, after the war, found nothing positive to support. He continued to quibble with anything he got involved in and eventually died in some secluded corner of Paris, mostly forgotten. Chances are this is the first time you have ever heard of him.
Not so Harry. He finds that the love of his family and friends offers him more significance and a more stable home than being the hero of Hogwarts. Of course such love makes for a much more ordinary life, but Harry does not mind. He’s had “enough trouble for a lifetime.”[x] He is not like Voldemort, who showed “contempt for anything that tied him to other people, anything that made him ordinary.” Harry does not have to be “different, separate, notorious.”[xi] Quite the contrary, he is most happy when all is well.
To use a somewhat imperfect analogy, I tend to view reading the Great Books much like I do traveling. Even though I come from the lower middle-class, never having had much money by today’s Western standards (a fact that still hasn’t changed), I have been fortunate to have lived in or spent longer periods of time in various places of the world. This has enriched my life and broadened my horizon.
I grew up in Western Germany and went to Berlin, the city of the iron curtain, shortly after the wall came down and a new nation was born. I flew as a volunteer to Israel, training dogs and helping handicapped people, at times equipped with a gas mask due to feared attacks from Iraq. I have gotten to know the various people groups of South Africa only a few years after the end of Apartheid. I have sat with the Maasai in Tanzania and explored the hinterlands of Africa. I have been a guest of a major faith healer in Nigeria and gotten a glimpse into the crazy city of Lagos. I had a long ride in an old Egyptian taxi while smoke was rising happily out of the blaring radio. I have traveled in a small boat to a remote village in the jungle between Malaysia and Indonesia, eating baboon and iguana (which were much tastier than the slimy slices of sea cucumbers I had at a fancy Christmas dinner in Singapore). I have roamed the streets of Melbourne, watched people dance Tango in Buenos Aires, gotten married in Loveland, Colorado, gone up to the Arctic circle in Finland, counted sheep on the Faroe Islands, and visited many European countries. Ah yes, and for the past three years I have endured the Irish rain.
In a similar way, I have been at the battle of Troy and witnessed its fall. I have accompanied Odysseus on his fateful voyage home, and I have equally accompanied Aeneus who left the burning city to lead to the founding of a new city, Rome. I have walked through the Agora in Athens and discoursed with Socrates. I have watched Aeschylus’ play put on about the war of the Greeks against the Persians, and then I have gone with Herodotus to the famous battle of Thermopylae to see the brave 300 die. I have witnessed the birth of Christianity and listened to its founding figures. I have sat with Boethius and thought about the consolation of philosophy as Antiquity grew to a close. I have been with Chaucer on the road to Canterbury, gone with Dante down into the underworld, and from there … well, the story branches out into too many roads to recount here.
Both my outer travels and my inner travels have given me eyes to see the world, thousands of eyes, as if viewing the earth from thousands of different alien stars, yet remaining on earth myself. All these different books and places have freed me from the mental prison of parochialism, experiencing a breadth and depth, a colorfulness that the gray walls of provincial narrowness can never provide. I have tasted, I have seen, I have listened, I have talked, I have gotten a feel for what it is like to be other than me. Yet there is still a me, richer than before. By daring to be more than myself, the self has grown, because it is nourished by a diet of three thousand years.
The question of whether I agree or disagree with the Maasai in Tanzania or Socrates in Athens is, in a sense, secondary. The main point is that I have been there, that I have shared a table with both. Sure, the Great Books raise countless issues that are extremely important, and it can make a huge difference how we respond to them. Whether one agrees more with Marx or with Adam Smith, for instance, can make a rather significant difference in society. But still, whether I personally agree or disagree is not the main issue for me.
Of course, there is also a certain sense in which parochialism is comforting. If I had always remained in the small German village in which I grew up, and if I had never read anything but the local paper, I might have a greater sense of security and sureness in my (narrow) opinions. As Bilbo came to experience, it is a dangerous thing to step out onto the road and leave the Shire, because roads go ever on, and one cannot easily undo the broadening of one’s horizon. We forget much, but much knowledge is not easily forgotten. Once the magic trick has been explained, one can never regain the illusion.
Traveling far and wide and reading the Great Books have probably robbed me of the parochial comfort I might have had. I have lost any patriotism I might have possessed. I like to see myself as a cosmopolitan, appreciating the cultural heritage of my own background, but not really identifying with any one nation and that nation alone as "my" country. But again, there is no doubt comfort in proudly singing one’s national anthem and believing that one’s country is the greatest invention since sliced cheese. Likewise, there is no doubt comfort in mostly reading books that confirm the views one already has.
Also, just like traveling, reading the Great Books is not always exciting. Sometimes it is difficult, sometimes it is painful, sometimes it is even plain boring. There are more exciting things to do in life than sitting around in airports for hours due to some delay. Similarly, there are more exciting things to do in life than trudging through the entirety of Frazer’s Golden Bough. Yet, in spite of their challenges, I consider both traveling and reading great books to belong to the most valuable experiences of my life.
In response to a few thoughts I had jotted down on the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), one reader was so kind as to point out that I was dead wrong in my understanding of Hegel. That’s entirely possible, since I’ve only dabbled in Hegel rather than seriously studied him.
But perhaps my lacking expertise on Hegel is not the only possible explanation for why my critic considered my view on Hegel dead wrong. It is a curious fact that even great Hegel fans have wildly disagreed on what their master was about. Take Hegel’s political philosophy, for instance. From very early on in the spread of Hegelianism, there were the Left Hegelians and the Right Hegelians. The left ones, principally Marx and Engels, understood Hegel’s politics as one of a revolutionary utopia that humanity is supposed to achieve. The Right Hegelians saw in his politics almost the exact opposite: an apologia for Prussia, monarchy, and conservatism.
In his guidebook on Hegel and the Phenomenology of the Spirit, Robert Stern points out more areas of disagreement among his followers. Some viewed him as a Romantic thinker critical of the Enlightenment mission, whereas others viewed him as a rational thinker critical of Romanticism. For some Hegel was almost more of a theologian than a philosopher, working within a Christian framework of thought, while for others he was a militant atheist set on destroying faith. Some considered him a Kantian idealist, others an opponent of Kant.
It’s not exactly encouraging that people who were more familiar with Hegel than I am had such divergent views on him. Is it simply because Hegel is so difficult to read?
While acknowledging the difficulty of reading Hegel, Robert Stern suggests two other reasons for the many opposite readings of Hegel.
(1) How you view Hegel depends what you compare him with.
The different Hegelians in the 19th century came from radically different backgrounds against which they placed him. For those who compared him primarily with Voltaire and other authors of the Enlightenment, Hegel seemed an anti-Enlightenment figure. But when seen from the background of more radical critics of the Enlightenment, such as Herder, Hegel seemed very much an exponent of Enlightenment ideals. The same goes for his political philosophy, his view on religion, and other areas of his thinking. Context is everything.
(2) Hegel is hard to pin down because he stresses dialectical thinking.
Another reason that it’s difficult to find out what Hegel “really” thought about a given subject is his dialectical approach to thinking. His very way of thinking stresses bringing together two apparently opposing viewpoints for a fruitful meeting out of which a new thought can arise. He sees many dichotomies as false dichotomies. Thus he can be both defended and attacked as a Christian or an atheist philosopher, a romantic or a rationalist, a liberal or a conservative. In other words, Hegel tried to subvert antithesis to bring about a new synthesis (though he did not actually use those words to describe his way of thinking).
That’s my few thoughts on Hegel for now, mostly derived from Robert Stern. But perhaps even Stern is dead wrong. Would the real Hegel please stand up?
My new book is now ready to order at Amazon! If you’re still looking for a Christmas present for someone interested in Harry Potter, Fantasy, and Christianity, maybe this would be an idea:
After sharing the cover for my new book, here’s the back cover and the blurb. A link to order the book will follow soon.
Come and join Jacob Schriftman as he explores the world and worldview of J.K. Rowling’s Fantasy, drawing comparisons to Christian writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, as well as to explicitly non-Christian ones like Philip Pullman and H.G. Wells.
In the process of analysis, Schriftman deals both with literary and existential questions. Should Harry Potter be understood as a parody of our own society? How does Harry Potter treat serious issues? It is common for humans to ask, “Where do we come from? What can we know? What should we do? Do we have a purpose? And how do we approach death?” These questions are woven into Harry Potter, and some of the answers take a surprising turn.
A book that delights as much as it instructs, a challenge to fans and skeptics alike.”
Yay! After some delays, my long-announced book on Harry Potter is finally about to be published.
Here’s the cover. More information coming soon …
Following some of my recent posts on the imperfection of this world and the Apostle Paul’s understanding of the Fall, I had an exchange with a Catholic about these issues. Now I noticed that he approached the Bible primarily through the (no doubt often helpful) lens of later thinkers. In contrast, I was trained to look at the Bible purely from within a biblical framework. This was especially stressed in the Protestant university where I completed a degree in Biblical Studies.
Hence, I had read the Apostle Paul literally hundreds of times before I read a single chapter by Augustine or Aquinas, and I learned to ask over and over again: What were the authors of the Bible trying to say in their own historical context and cultural framework? How did they understand their own words? Not: What did Augustine or Aquinas make of it later?
And though I’m much more critical of my Protestant background now and much more familiar with Catholic thought, I still think that Augustine’s synthesis of neo-Platonism with Christianity and Aquinas’ synthesis of Aristotelianism with Christianity have blurred the picture of what Paul and other authors of the Bible thought about creation, the Fall, perfection, and the reason why Jesus had to come. Augustine’s and Aquinas’ syntheses have been enormously fruitful, but it is one thing to discuss those things within the framework of such syntheses and another thing entirely to discuss them within a purely biblical framework. As someone who grew up breathing the Bible and very little but the Bible, I naturally framed the questions in a completely non-Platonic and non-Aristotelian way.
So, any discussion of these matters first has to settle the question: What is the framework in which we want to discuss them? Do we try to think through the implications of what we (in our fallibility) take to be the view of the biblical authors? Or do we discuss them within a synthesis of Athens and Jerusalem?
As I mentioned in some recent posts, the German philosopher Leibniz believed that this was the best of all possible worlds. Now he did not in fact believe that this was a perfect world, as only God is perfect. But he did believe that this was the best of all possible worlds. Thus, while individual imperfection exists, ultimately evil does not exist. In the words of Alexander Pope, all discord is but harmony not understood, all partial evil is universal good: “And, spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite / One truth is clear, whatever is, is right.”
Whatever is, is right. That’s the final conclusion of the Leibnizian view.
In contrast, the Apostle Paul and other early Christians did actually think that the world was once perfect and will one day be perfect again. We now live in an interim period. This view is also pictured quite clearly in Milton’s great poems Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. To summarize the picture we find there:
1. The world was once perfect.
2. We lost our perfection.
3. Jesus came to restore our perfection.
4. We’re now preparing for the completion of that perfection (which, for Paul, was very soon to come, probably in his own lifetime).
The firm belief that there can be a perfect world, in fact, that there once was and again will be a perfect world (or that, if not the world at large, at least humans were once in a state of perfection), seems to be at the heart of Pauline doctrine, Milton’s poetry, and many other Christian writers. Without it, some of their assertions make little sense. Why else did Jesus come, Paul and Milton reasoned, except to rescue us from our state of imperfection?
Hence it is reasonable for a Christian who takes Paradise Lost literally to allow the question, What does such a perfect world look like? If you believe so firmly in it, you should have a good idea what exactly it is you believe in. Unless it’s only a meaningless phrase. Do those of us who have a Christian background really know what we mean when we talk about a perfect world?
Some Christians are quick to respond. “Well,” they say, “it means that there’s no pain and no death and no discord. God will wipe every tear from our eye. We’ll just be happy forever.”
In 2004 or 2005 (I don’t quite remember when exactly), I sat down and tried to picture a world like that, and in 2009 I posted some of the resulting writings. Here are the respective posts:
I should add, however, that Leibniz, Pope, Rousseau and others would criticize my endeavor to picture a world like that from the start, it being mere “erring reason”. Nevertheless, I think it’s a valid question to ask: If we did take the account in Genesis absolutely literally—as, I think, the Apostle Paul as well as Milton did—what would this supposed perfect world prior to the Fall have looked like? Is such a world at all conceivable? And is a future perfect world conceivable that bears any resemblance to our present world? My conclusion was that I cannot possibly picture a world remotely like ours without pain, discord, and death.
The reason I was thinking about this question several years back was due to my Christian background. I grew up among Young-Earth Creationists who completely denied Evolution and, for the most part, even the scientifically accepted age of the earth. If the earth was not six thousand years old, then surely not much older than twenty thousand years or so. In my twenties, then, I actually read Darwin and other authors, and I came to reject my Young-Earth Creationism. And it was in this context that I had to rethink my conception of the Fall.
Prior to then, I had shared what I take to be (as mentioned above) the Apostle Paul’s view: The earth was once literally perfect, free from pain and death and discord; the Fall brought imperfection; Jesus came to make the necessary sacrifice to satisfy God’s justice for our disobedience; and now we are waiting for Jesus’ return to once again turn this imperfect world into a place of perfection. But now that I came to believe in non-human animals having preceded the rise of homo sapiens sapiens by many million years, this concept no longer held water. Hence I asked myself: How does the Fall fit into that? What would perfection in this world mean? Is the idea of perfection in the sense of “no death, no pain, no discord” at all conceivable in a world remotely like ours?
The three posts about no pain, no discord, and no death were a little excerpt of my inner thoughts at that time. A young man waking up from the slumber of his naïve Creationism to wrestle with some questions about the real world. If anything seems immature in those posts, perhaps it can be excused on that account.