I don’t believe in randomness. Without a plan, I’m a basket case. I tried living the free life of self-indulgence and ended up drunkenly climbing an eight foot, chain-link fence to retrieve my shoe, leaving much of my wrist caught in a bloody mess at the top when I jumped. I told my family that I’d just taken too much ginseng from the health food store. They believed what they wanted to believe.
When writing a novel I allow for randomness, but only as an exercise. The rough draft can have its self-indulgent freedom, but as the creator I know that at some point there’s something more purposeful going on–even if it takes me a bit of time to find it (after a while you know a writer’s style. Their fingerprints are all over it–intelligent design).
Randomly (or not) I came across two books that all at once have given me a deeper context for my favorite fictional twins–Fred and Buck Crenshaw. The two books have nothing to do with the Gilded Age and everything to do with how we view our lives in the 21st century. I don’t mind cliches if they’re useful. The notion of Fred and Buck moving into opposing philosophical camps didn’t come to me immediately. I was more going for strong twin leading weak twin, but Buck broke free (sort of) and now, upon second reading of book two, I have so much more juicy stuff to throw in. Fred is a modernist and Buck is a throwback to Christendom. Is one thing better than the other? As creator I have my suspicions, but here’s a few juicy quotes to ponder from one of the books I’ve read:
“Before Darwin, we thought that a benevolent god had created us. No intervening spirit watches lovingly over the affairs of nature. No vital forces propel evolutionary change. And whatever we think of God, his existence is not manifest in the products of nature.” Stephen Jay Gould
“Genocide, of course, is merely a shocking name for the process of natural selection by which one gene pool replaces another. Darwin himself explained this in The Descent of Man, when he had to deal with the absence of ‘missing links’ between ape and human. Such gaps were to be expected, he wrote, in view of the extinctions that necessarily accompany evolution. He coolly predicted that evolution would make the gaps wider in the future, because the most civilized (that is, European) humans would soon exterminate the rest of the human species and go on from there to kill off our nearest kin in the ape world.
“Modern Darwinists do not call attention to such passages, which make vivid how easily the picture of amoral nature inherent in evolutionary naturalism can be converted into a plan of action. Darwin’s foremost original disciple, T.H. Huxley, also had no sentimental illusions about the moral meaning of Darwinism. When he had taken a deep enough bath in the implications of the Darwinian worldview, Huxley emerged with the conclusion that morality consists of opposing nature rather than imitating it.”
“Even the nihilistic position that morality is an illusion and law should therefore concern itself solely with utility is a statement about “how things really are” and therefore a proposition of natural law.”
“The Christian story is one of human beings who are created by God, but who are separated from God by their own sin and must be saved from that sin to become what they were meant to be. the Enlightenment rationalist story is one of human beings who escape from superstition by mastering scientific knowledge and eventually realize that their ancestors created God rather than the other way around.” Reason in the Balance by Phillip E. Johnson
So I’m all ears. I’d love to know what people find the most appealing and/or appalling about either modernist or ancient theist thinking. Gut reactions are useful and no opinion is too shocking. What do you think?
And don’t forget to enter. 🙂 Don’t worry. The winner gets the new cover and new edition.(Goodreads is taking it’s time fixing the mistake of posting my new cover under a different author’s list of freezer meal books!) Random craziness.