Anybody remember this guy?
If you’re a child of the 80s or 90s you’ll remember Kirk Cameron from his role as Mike Seaver from TV’s Growing Pains. Turns out Kirk has gone the way of many Hollywood stars, from prominent child-actor to religious nut.
Oooh, I can hear the hate mail coming down the pipe for that comment. You know what? If you’re new to this blog, go back and read earlier posts for my many, many disclaimers about my opinions. I’m tired of writing them. Besides, I’m in a prickly mood and I feel like slinging some mud. Get ready, Kirk.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, who have gone the way of pseudo-fringe cult religions (Tom Cruise, Madonna – I’m looking at you), Kirk has decided to keep it red, white and blue, and has thrown his support behind the evangelical far-right subset of Christianity. He’s become quite vocal and active in the super-hard-core religious community, heading up The Way of the Master (a curiously-named evangelical TV show that calls to mind some kind of True Blood-esque vampire miniseries) which he co-hosts with New Zealand-born minister Ray Comfort. TWOTM has been syndicated and is in its’ third season. It’s also spawned a radio show, as well as a series of “sermonettes”: essentially minute-long nuggets of Gospel goodness (narrated by Kirk and Ray) you will hear on Christian radio across the USA.
All well and good, Kirk. It’s America, after all, and ostensibly they’re all about religious freedom (you know, as long as you’re not a member of one of those plane-hijacking, tower-destroying “brown” religions), so you can pretty much have your say in any forum.
Kirk and Ray are apparently taking that freedom as carte blanche to get their message – namely, Creationism is right, evolution is wrong – out there by any means necessary, even if that means defecating all over a respected scientific text.
But don’t take my word for it. Watch the video!
Okay, first of all, let me get this off my chest. Kirk Cameron, you are not cool. You were never cool. Mike Seaver wasn’t even cool. Sitting awkwardly on a backwards chair in an effort to convey some kind of intimacy with your audience or else desperately attempting to appear ‘hip’ in a world that considers you largely irrelevant is not helping your case at all. And what was with that weird “get up out of the chair” moment? Either sit on a chair, properly, or stand. Quit fucking around.
Second of all: am I hearing you correctly? You want to essentially include a disclaimer in one of the most important scientific texts in the history of literature, basically saying “oh, by the way – this is basically a work of fiction”? You’re ostensibly a Christian – didn’t Jesus teach you anything about humility?
Here’s my thing. If you’re going to be realistic, you have to say one of two things. Either a) all theories about the nature of the universe and our place in it are just that – theoretical, or b) all of them are total bullshit and we’re completely off the mark. You want to know why?
We don’t know anything. At all.
Put your faith in science, put it in religion – it’s pretty much all guesswork right now. We just don’t have the capacity as a species to see enough of the big picture to be able to do anything but guess. Personally I’ve always taken issue with the idea of a supreme being in any form, but that’s because I’m a cynic, which means I also have to take issue with the Big Bang (some nomenclature, eh?) because the reality is either one could be just as true. I know as a writer, part of my job is supposed to be asking the “big questions” — who are we, why are we here, where did we come from, et cetera. And quite often I do address those issues. But for all my egotism, I’m not nearly arrogant enough to presume that I can tell somebody else they’re wrong. Did God put us here? Maybe. Did we evolve from fish or apes or whatever? Maybe. I can see either one. What riles me is people who can’t.
Kirk Cameron has his panties in a twist because his fundamental rights are apparently being violated – not because he isn’t free to practice his religion (he is), but because he’s not free to enforce it on other people. I would go into a step-by-step analysis of his points, but honestly, this girl nailed just about everything I would say, so check this out first:
Okay, this young lady is the other side of the coin, so concurrent to my earlier statement about not knowing anything I’d have to take issue with some of what she has to say too. But the fundamental point she’s nailing down is that Kirk Cameron is looking at the world through a very specific, very limited field of vision. He’s fighting tooth and nail for his own personal cause and that’s fine. He’s allowed. But the way he’s presenting it – all this rhetoric about personal rights violations – is patent bullshit. Nobody’s telling him “hey, you’re not allowed to be Christian anymore”. All they’re saying is “be Christian, and let other people be what they’re going to be”. His problem isn’t that Christians are being persecuted (they aren’t); it’s that Christians aren’t running the show in America anymore (which realistically they kind of are).
It’s one thing to say “here’s what I believe; if you want to believe it too, maybe we can chat”. It’s another to say “here’s the right way to think, and if you don’t think this way I’m going to castigate your lifestyle and shove mine down your throat”.
His big argument for including this “foreword” to Darwin’s Origin of Species is that university students need to hear “both sides” of the debate over where we as a people originated. I’ve got a laundry list of problems with his logic.
First of all, there are literally thousands of cultures on this planet, each with their own unique creation myth (and I’ll call them all “myths”, including evolution, just in the interest of being fair). I’m sure the Navajo people, whose land your ancestors pilfered, would be thrilled to hear their estimation of human history doesn’t count as a legitimate “side” to this debate. Same goes for the Hindi people, or the Muslims, who account for a huge percentage of the human population. Hell, what about the Celts? The Maori? The Bushmen of Africa? Don’t they get a say? Isn’t their creation myth just as valid as yours?
You’re drawing lines in the sand Kirk; lines you’re not fully considering. By claiming there are only two sides to this debate you’re alienating the vast majority of the human population. Guess what that means? Your argument is no longer one of equality – it’s one of political agenda.
Second of all, let’s just imagine a world where only two sides exist: the atheists and the Christians (let’s leave the agnostics and all the other grey-area people out of it for a minute, since we’re dealing with a fundamentalist – when in Rome, right?). Do you really think for one second that university-aged students living in the United States haven’t heard, at least peripherally, the Christian creation myth? It’s only the most widely-propagated stories in the entire world, to say nothing of the fact that the United States was, for most of its history, a predominantly Christian nation? “God created the world in seven days and made Man in His own image.” I don’t think you could find anybody living in the U.S. today who can’t tell you at least the basic story of Genesis from memory alone. It’s deeply rooted in pop culture, in modern philosophy, and yes – in school teachings.
Are you trying to tell me that you actually need to include a fifty-page disclaimer in a hundred and fifty year-old book just to make your point? American society isn’t inundated enough with Christian dogma? More to the point, these university students you say aren’t stupid – you think they need your fun little insert to help them make up their minds about what they’re going to believe? In my opinion, Kirk, that’s an intellectual slap in the face. If I wanted somebody else’s notes all over my research texts, I’d buy them used from the U of T bookstore.
I tend to agree with ZOMGitsCriss – how would you feel if somebody decided to include a similar insert in the Bible?
I don’t understand where these people keep coming from, but frankly I’m getting sick of reading about them. Jesus taught acceptance, loving your neighbour and “live and let live”. I dig that about the guy. What I don’t dig is so-called Christians who keep forwarding their own agenda using that poor guy’s name to back it up. Seriously, the man was already crucified – why can’t you let him alone?
Kirk Cameron, do us all a favour and go the way of most child-stars: obscurity, drug rehab and eventual news-unworthy death.