Friday, January 30, 2009

what the darwins can teach all of us

Deborah Heiligman's excellent editorial in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, tied to the 170th anniversary of Charles and Emma Darwin's wedding day, is a great reminder of how faith and science can coexist. Charles was a nonbeliever, Emma passionately believed. And yet their marriage flourished -- she even helped him edit The Origin of the Species to make its points stronger.

But let's move this discussion away from religious faith for a moment. In general, the idea that two people in love can hold vastly different viewpoints on important matters is something I think we don't value enough in our society. That's not a weakness in a couple -- it's a sign of strength in their bond.

Heiligman sums it up succinctly:
Although they never were able to see eye-to-eye on the question of religion and God, they were able to reach their hands across the gulf. In the end, each of them accepted and, it seems, truly understood what the other believed.

If it is a sign of intelligence to be able to hold two opposite thoughts or opinions in your head, then it is a mark of a successful marriage to be able to truly see the other person's point of view. This is also the mark of a successful society.