Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Thanks much for the thoughtful coverage of the recent Faith/Science and Science/Faith debate, which stimulated thoughtful discussion and agreement on the need for compassion and humility among people with different points of view on campus.
Given the necessary boiling down of complex issues in the article, I just wanted to clarify one point attributed to me from the discussion. In the Orthodox Christian tradition, creation is regarded as good and beautiful based on the Genesis account. It became corrupted for human beings because of the Fall and the corruption of humans. The Fall did not change the fundamentally good and beautiful nature of human beings and of creation. But it did bring with it a kind of cosmic objectification that obscured and warped both together. Thus the grasping of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a kind of immature reach for a dualistic knowledge of everything–an effort to know and possess knowledge of the world selfishly, bringing disaster due to a lack of humility. One way to think about this is through the term “to demonize”: When we demonize something or someone, we objectify our reality and become in a sense ourselves demon-like.
That is one way of thinking about what the Fall was about in Orthodox Christian tradition, involving a kind of objectification of both the world and ourselves. While we are not individually culpable, we live amid the collective effects.

Alf Siewers

Associate Professor of English

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