Moonlight Serendade

I have nothing against fringe Christian sects, having spent the first thirty years of my life thoroughly immersed in one. In fact, other than their mind-control techniques, dictatorial leaders, and hateful sectarian doctrines, they are perfectly fine places to spend your Sunday mornings. As long as you don’t mind music that’s even worse than the wretched dirges emanating from most mainline churches and like being told what to think, what to wear, whom to marry and choose as friends, you can have a pretty good time there, except if you decide to leave. But that’s another story.

One of the most well-known fringe groups is the Unification Church, founded by an excommunicated Korean Presbyterian named Sun Myung Moon. Rev. Moon’s Church denies the Trinity and has some pretty wacked-out ideas about sex and original sin (like Eve had sex with Lucifer and with Adam before marriage, the slut!) Not to mention that Jesus was a failure as a messiah, and so God had to create a “third Adam” who was born in Korea between 1917 and 1930. (The first Adam was the poor guy whose fiancé slept with the devil; the second Adam is Jesus). Adam III is the second coming of Christ, the perfect man. He will marry the perfect woman, and will become the “true spiritual parents of humankind.” Who is Adam number three? You guessed it: The Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Now all that might just be the strange ramblings of a minor religious cult, if not for the outsized influence of the Moonies. They own the nation’s largest conservative newspaper, The Washington Times, through which they intend to bring Moon’s heaven on earth. Or at least on Fox News. So who cares? This is America, after all, and if you want to believe that God is a huge purple grape, you can believe that and nobody should be allowed to harass you about it.

But conservative Christians have long maintained that groups which deviate from orthodox Christian views of God and Jesus (as defined by the ecumenical Creeds) are to be regarded as “cults” outside the pale of real Christianity. That’s why the Moonies are regarded as a cult by evangelicals. (Of course anyone with a lick of sense knows the Moonies are a cult, theology aside.) So it’s rather odd that there’s a Moonie at the center of Evangelicalism’s
Latest Big Idea, Intelligent Design.

Today’s New York Times article about the Discovery Institute, the conservative think-tank promoting Intelligent Design Theory as an alternative to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, reveals that one of the Institute’s senior fellows is Jonathan Wells, Ph.D., anti-Darwin biologist and Moonie missionary. Wells has written the definitive book on anti-Darwinism: Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?

Dr. Wells went to Yale (!) for the express purpose of “destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father [Moon] chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.”

Now you might think that a guy with two Ph.D.’s, each from top-notch universities, would probably take the whole Third Adam/Eve and Lucifer deal with a grain of salt, right? Not Wells: “The biblical story recounts how Eve succumbed to temptation by engaging in a spiritual but nevertheless sexual relationship with her archangelic guardian, Lucifer. Overcome with guilt, Eve then went to Adam who, instead of resisting temptation and guiding her back to her rightful relationship with God, engaged in a premature sexual relationship with her and thereby consummated the fall.” That’s from his Moonie essay Marriage and the Family: Fall and Restoration. It’s on the website for True Parents, devoted to promoting the theory that Moon and his wife are the Perfect Man and Perfect Woman, come to rescue us from Marxism and evolution.

Again, who cares? What’s important is whether or not Wells is right about Darwin, I suppose. So what if he believes that Lucifer banged Eve? It’s only a theory.

The truth is, I accept the idea of Intelligent Design. That’s what makes me a believer in God. And I don’t care what Jonathan Wells believes about God, or even about evolution, for that matter. What I object to is evangelicals promoting the work of a religious cultist and trying to shove it down the throat of my kids. I object to James Dobson selling Wells’ book on his website. I object to the premier evangelical magazine Christianity Today giving Wells a forum without even mentioning that he is a Moonie.

It could be that they don’t know. Or it could be that evangelicalism is so desperate to find “scientists” who will promote Intelligent Design Theory that they are willing to embrace anybody who agrees with them. If this is what evangelicalism considers orthodox, then give me the heresy please. After all, it’s only a theory.

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