Survival of the Fittest (Except for Gorillas)

The big news over the Memorial Day weekend was not remembering those who served, but the outrage over the Cincinnati Zoo shooting and killing a Gorilla in order to protect a four year old who fell into the gorilla’s enclosure. In response to the Zoo’s actions, many are outraged and are demanding justice for this gorilla, Harambe. The fact this is such a big deal is rather odd, but not surprising. 

This event presents Christians with a unique opportunity. As conversations continue about this event, whether it is around the watercooler, the backyard, we should seek to use this event as a test case. What I mean by this is we must not ask and answer the questions our society wants us to, but rather it is time to be shrewd by challenging our cultural assumptions in the hope of exposing our need for the gospel. Why? Because the contradictions of our society are on full display in our reaction to this event, and by asking the right questions we may help others to see clearly. Jesus often did this, people would approach with an agenda or question, and he would not answer play their game. Rather, Jesus would get to the heart of the issue. We should try to do the same. 

With that in mind, I suggest asking two questions to anyone who is upset, or even outraged, by the death of Harambe the gorilla:

  1. "Isn’t this just a display of survival of the fittest in action?" Our culture accepts Darwinism as ultimate truth. If Darwinistic evolution is true, then this universe is governed by and even improved through the process of natural selection and survival of the fittest. Only the strongest, most adapted survive, if a species does not adapt in accordance with this world, then they are to die off. In this situation at the zoo, the gorilla was not the fittest species, in fact he was posing a threat to a species that is fitter than he is. So the gorilla died by the hands of the fittest—a man with a gun. So what’s the big deal? Is it survival of the fittest or not? Does this ethic not apply to gorillas? Is this not how the universe works? Humans supposedly are just highly-evolved primates, while gorillas are slightly less evolved primates, so who cares that the more evolved one won? This is how it is supposed to work in Darwin’s universe. The follow-up question to ask to this is, “Would anyone be so upset if a lioness killed an endangered Cheetah to save her cubs?” No, of course not. If Darwinism is true as our society claims it to be, then there is nothing to get upset about here as it is just one animal killing another animal which occurs daily in the wild. Moreover, such an action is supposed to be the means through which the universe improves. Our society has no right to say, “Survival of the fittest, except when it comes to gorillas and humans.” But of course, deep down our evolution believing society knows humans are different than gorillas, no matter how hard they pretend otherwise. The very fact that our society is so upset about this gorilla dying at the hands of the stronger species displays clearly the hypocrisy of our society. Deep down our culture cannot help but acknowledge that humans are different than gorillas.
  2.  "What is justice anyways?" As people begin to scream for “justice” for this gorilla, we must insist that they define for us what justice actually is. You cannot have justice without some form of moral understanding, some moral foundation. Again, assuming that Darwin is correct, the moral ethic/foundation of the universe is survival of the fittest. If this is indeed what is true, then must be our judge of what is just. So justice, in a Darwinistic world, belongs to the strongest, the most adaptive, and Harambe the gorilla got his justice. He was weak and he lost to the strong—that is justice in a Darwinistic universe. In Darwinism this is good. Our society tells us every day that there is no universal morality, which necessitates that there is no true justice either. Our society has no foundation to talk about justice in any other terms. So as silly as it is to call for justice for a gorilla, it is downright absurd to do so from the position of Darwinism and moral relativism. Why should we demand some punishment upon the strong for killing the weak? Would not such actions just be fighting against the universe? Isn’t it morally good to further natural selection by killing off the weaker species? I mean, why care about endangered species anyways, shouldn’t they learn to adapt and evolve in order to survive? If not, then that is just the way of the universe.  

These are the questions we must ask our society. We do not ask these question in order to win an argument, but in hopes that others may begin to see the foolishness of our culture’s current false religion. Deep down we know what justice is, and we especially know it when we are wronged. The problem is the worldview of our society has no business talking about justice, let alone demanding it. It at these tension-points of our culture that we need to apply pressure in order to expose our culture’s insanity.  And once they see this insanity, it is time to point them to true morality, the Christian faith. If you want to know what justice is, and what it is not, you need a universal, Creator God. We have him, and our culture needs to meet him.