uuworld.org: liberal religion and life

Mailbox, Summer 2009

Evaluating Darwin's legacy, dismissing spirituality, and praising the cover.
By Jane Greer
Summer 2009 5.15.09

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A total of 65 letters shot through our mail slot in response to the Spring 2009 issue. Twenty-nine responded to William Murry’s essay about evolution and liberal religion, “Natural Faith,” and Christine Robinson’s essay about taking spiritual risks, “Imagineers of Soul.”

Several readers enlarged upon Murry’s thesis that Darwin’s theories have challenged the traditional idea of God and an anthropocentric universe. “Darwin leaves us with a view of a Creator as the initiator willing to walk away and see what happens,” wrote Henry H. Walbesser of Waco, Texas. “How majestic a view of the universe this offers us.”

Deborah Toppenberg-Pejcic of Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland, objected to Murry’s use of the word “know” in relation to the theory of evolution. “The theory of evolution may be the best guess currently available, but it is not proven fact or irrefutable reality,” she wrote. “We do not know that it was so.”

Robinson’s essay received ten letters. Most opposed the idea of introducing more spirituality into UU worship.

“I have known Christian spirituality intimately and found it deficient and destructive,” wrote Jean Martin of Ellsworth, Maine. “Why would I want my UU church to promote emotionality over a responsible and honest search for truth and meaning?”

We received more positive feedback about the cover of the Spring 2009 issue than we have about any other in years. “I am transfixed and inspired” by it, wrote Patricia Cerro-Reehil of Syracuse, New York. Peter Loewer, a botanical illustrator from Asheville, North Carolina, offered more information about the artist, German biologist Ernst Haeckel. “He believed that the symmetries of the illustrated protozoas were symbols of his theory, ‘organic stereometry,’ which stated that organic forms grow in crystallike patterns.” His illustrations “were used to decorate china, and the gate to the World Exposition in Paris in 1900 was based of one of his radiolaria.”

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