I hope you know that I did not intend to insult you or hurt you with my comments that I believe evolution to be a demonic deception. That in no way was intended to belittle anyone, just as I'm sure that Orthodox Christians who believe in evolution do not mean to disparage those of us who don't when they claim we are ignorant about science. For example, you and others that ascribe to evolution assume that those of us who don't are ignorant. Now that certainly isn't flattering to us, but I don't take it personally. It wouldn't be fair to ask you not to step on my toes by sugar-coating the fact that you think my lack of knowledge of evolutionary biology precludes me from having a valid opinion about the subject. The only time we should take personal offense is if we are personally insulted. Maybe I should have said that I think evolution is a deception rather than a "demonic deception," but I doubt if people would have been any less offended.
The reason I think there is a demonic element behind evolution is because of the social ramifications that have resulted from evolutionary theory. Ideas have consequences, and the theory of Darwinian evolution has unquestionably undermined the sanctity of human life (IMO). That does not mean that Orthodox Christians who hold to theistic evolution don't value human life; but people who believe in evolution without having the moral guidance of the Church will certianly be prone to see human life in a much less sacred light.
I appreciate your point that evolutionary theory is in itself "amoral." But so is the theory that gravity does not exist. Now people are free to choose whether or not they believe in gravity and how they act according to that belief. Imagine if the masses in society were promulgated with the theory that gravity did not exist. What if children were taught in schools that gravity did not exist, and even if scientists tried to give evidence to the contrary, they were not allowed by law to teach anything in shcool other than the theory that gravity did not exist. In spite of basic common sense, I assure you that people would still jump off of buildings and kill themselves because of their belief that gravity did not exist. Seems crazy, but it was also crazy to beleive that Jews and Africans were less than human. Seems crazy to believe that an unborn child isn't human. And yet people believe these things, often because of their evolutionary worldview.
Perhaps, the removal of the word "demonic" would have removed part of the insult. To call it just "deceptive" perhaps, I would be perplexed (it would imply either we are deceptive or we are deceived, but by whom or what?). To be honest, when one studies the fossil records, the genetic patterns, proteins, even the behavior patterns among species, along with actual evidence of speciation observed, one cannot help but see the obvious. If that is not evolution, certainly it is nature then that's really deceiving us, and implications of this in my opinion, are terrifying.
On the issue of morality, I believe there are plenty of atheists who have a morality built in them that does not show any sign of doom. In fact, I'm sure if gravity was "disproved" there would be another explanation of why things fall, no? Common sense dictates that since things fall, there is no rational reason why people should jump off buildings. It's only when people deny that things fall that we have to worry (and we don't call them atheists or immoral, we call them psychotic and need medical attention, and atheistic physicians will agree). But to deny gravity only begs the question: What causes things to fall if not gravity? Likewise, the reason why species change, if not evolution then what?
People have a sense and a rational to inner morality that won't lead others to kill others. It's already established that logically, we're better off loving one another than hating one another. Atheists understand this very well, and most of them who have moral sense will not dispute the transcendent teachings of Christ. They will dispute his existence, let alone God's. But even Socrates himself taught to love thy enemies. Even St. Paul teaches that morality is in the heart, which is why Gentiles are not exempt from the "Law." The Jews may have it written down on paper, but all humanity have it inscribed within their humanity. In fact, interestingly enough, you talk to most atheists, and their belief in the idea that they cease to exist in death makes them take life much more seriously, leading them to a strong moral sense. While for us that is vanity, it is amazing how within such a vain perspective, they still have room to do good unto others even if they accept scientific views like evolution. And when there are scientists that do have a view that leads them to the idea of evolution, it is not because they want to deceive or are deceived or a demon is deceiving them. They don't even have an ulterior motive. It is because at it stands, this is what seems to explain how species change. It is only how one interprets such an objective work that leads to a misuse of scientific knowledge (Dawkins and Soviets), not as a result of the knowledge itself. As I debated elsewhere, people can misuse religion to commit evil. Does that mean that Christianity is a deception? On the next part, I will even show that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was misused, and was not evil in and of itself.
Thanks for answering my question. It was a beautiful explanation of theosis, and I appreciate how well you articulated it. But with respect, it doesn't really address the question. You see, atheistic evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins are not concerned with theology, thus the idea of theosis will have no bearing on their determination and definition of human life. And what I am trying to understand is when was human life "human?" Was Neanderthal man "human?" Was the amoeba that first spawned life "human?" Is the embryo in a woman's womb "human?" Is a brain dead person on life support "human?" If we are still evolving - and according to evolutionary theory, I don't see any reason to say that we are not - then are we becoming "more human?" Did we used to be "less human?"
As Orthodox Christians, we have the Church to guide us and teach us about the sanctity of human life. So even though some of us may believe in evolution, we don't have to worry about debating the morality of abortion, genocide, euthanasia and such. We accept the teachings of our Church in regards to the sanctity of life. But unfortunately, most people are not Orthodox Christians. And in a world where science is elevated as the sole arbiter of facts and truth, while religion is relegated to the realm of subjective morality, then we can hardly expect for an unChristian world to respect the sanctity of life in light of the theory of macro evolution.
You'd be surprised at how much more moral an atheistic evolutionist can be than so-called "Christians" in some parts of the world. Sanctity of life though? Yes, this is an interesting debate. It's indeed very hard to convince even religious people of an embryo being a person, but I venture to say it has nothing to do with evolution any more than the prevention of jumping off buildings have nothing to do with the theory of gravity (or lack thereof).
As for being "less human," St. Irenaous I recall taught that whether or not Adam would have eaten from the fruit of that tree, the Logos was still planning to be incarnate because the humanity of Adam was an immature humanity. So "less human" or "immature human" "child-like state" whatever you call it, to me it's all semantics, but this is quite supported by church fathers like this saint and St. Isaac of Nineveh. They venture to say that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is not evil, but that Adam being in that immature state was not "ready" for it. This shows a misuse of the tree. The cause of Adam's death was his disobedience, not the tree, and thus, its misuse lead to death.
Anyway, I liked your answer, even if it didn't exactly answer my question. It was very interesting, and I especially agree with you about spiritual evolution. No doubt about that. Maybe de Chardin was trying to fuse spiritual evolution with biolgoical evolution. A neat idea, but I'm afraid it's a stretch.
Thanks for the in depth response.
Either I didn't answer your question, or my question wasn't satisfactorily enough for you to accept. If the former, I would be more than happy to try to answer your question if you rephrase it.
PS I don't think St. Ephraim's quote contradicts anything I believe in.