On February 12, 1809, two great luminaries in the annals of history were born. While Lincoln was called “The Great Emancipator”, for liberating a people from bondage in America, this accolade could also describe Charles Darwin, who liberated our species from enslavement to religious indoctrination, and freed all those who care to open their eyes to see the true origins of all life on earth, and the heroic struggle of our species to adapt and survive over vast eons of time.
Darwin challenges the childish conceit of our species that humans were created in the image of God, and all other living things were created solely to serve our needs. Such religious solipsism debauches science, corrupts the minds of our youth, panders to our ego, plagues humanity with divisive divisions over ancient literature, and renders us a danger to ourselves and our planet.
While Lincoln’s main objective was to preserve the unity of our nation, with the abolition of slavery for one group of people, arising almost as an afterthought to the Civil War, Darwin set out from the beginning to liberate humanity from self-imposed shackles of the mind, which shielded us from the truth.
Prior to Darwin, the story of Adam and Eve in idyllic, eternal paradise as long as they rejected the fruits of the tree of knowledge seemed plausible. Unlike Adam, who ate of the tree of knowledge inadvertently, Darwin passionately and relentlessly partook of the fruits of knowledge, devoting his prodigious mind and passion for the truth to the astonishing discovery of how life emerged on our planet over billions of years.
Religious authorities were outraged that their scam of Adam’s original sin, with their version of Jesus as the only cure, might interfere with their efforts to fleece their flock, so they mercilessly vilified Darwin and his theory. In reality, Darwin possessed far more virtue than his unscrupulous charlatan detractors, who prey upon, rather than pray for the people they claim to serve.
Prescient about the excitement as well as the challenge to the status quo that his new theory would unleash, Darwin hesitated for years to publish his findings, then at the urging of friends published the Origin of the Species, opining, “At last gleams of light have come, and I am almost convinced that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable.” Waxing lyrical he summarized his theory, “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
Darwin abandoned his studies for the Priesthood when his rational and compassionate mind could not accept Church doctrine, explaining, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my father, brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.”
Darwin not only rejected the Christian God, but he came to reject any so-called Intelligent Designer, not because of the Bible, but because of a wasp, which fed its young by paralyzing a caterpillar and laying its eggs in its still living body, explaining “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars.”
Darwin’s love of truth rivalled his love of humanity, as described by his son Francis: “He kept up his delightful, affectionate manner towards us all his life. I sometimes wonder that he could, with such an undemonstrable race as we are, but I hope he knew how much we delighted in his loving words and manner.”
The word “Hallelujah” is Hebrew for, “Let us praise the power that brings everything into being.” Thus, I have written a revised version of the song Hallelujah, consistent with Judaism and science, in tribute to Leonard Cohen and Charles Darwin.
Cosmic Judaism Hallelujah © all rights reserved, lyrics by Rabbi Barry Silver June 10, 2016 Music by Leonard Cohen
A creative force began it all,
In silence you can hear its call,
And feel this cosmic power running thru ya,
The planets, stars and galaxies,
The setting sun, the lakes and trees,
The buzzing bees rejoice in Hallelujah
Refrain (Hallelujah X 4)
One day the spark of life emerged,
Burst forth, diversified, and surged,
And evolution led this force right to ya,
It fashioned life in varied shapes
Like birds and trees and juicy grapes
And talking apes that chanted Hallelujah
A genius by the name of Charles
Set off debate and many quarrels
You probably don’t think much of Darwin do ya?
But he allowed the human race,
To finally understand our place,
In the tree of life and embrace Hallelujah.
From a remote and distant day
Preserved within our DNA
Are the struggles of forebears who never knew ya,
But across tremendous space and time,
Stupendous power so sublime;
Did send us from the slime to Hallelujah.
Our Mother Earth is holy ground,
Where miracles each day abound;
With the gift of life the cosmos did imbue ya
So wake up from your daily grind
And utilize your heart and mind
Come join with us and let’s find Hallelujah.