Ralph H. Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain Price, Fast Read Worthy of Re-Reading, a Real Delight, June 1, 2013
I was given this book free in part because I have reviewed a number of books on science versus religion/faith, and I was very surprised to find it a very fast read (worthy of being reread), with a very good style of presentation, and a number of excellent artistic reproductions to make points, as well as graphics. There is also an excellent short annotated bibliography at the end of the book that is alone worth the $5 price — this is a bargain financially and philosophically.
The author and the book focus on the explicatory gap between science and religion that the author settled on calling the “breath of life” or soul. While the soul remains an unverifiable hidden matter, I fully expect that one day there will be a deeper practical understanding of that which is now spiritual, intangible, and despite being invisible, never-the-less a very powerful force. The “breath of life” is that which *animates,” animation is life and interaction in an endless universe of both possibilities, and choices.
Creationism and Intelligent Design are both rejected in favor of the author's (and many others he cites) reconciliation of science and religion through soulcraft and the breath of life.
Although a short book (97 pages), it is very well presented and I found it absorbing from the moment I picked it up. While I went through it fast, constantly thinking of other books that related to this one (see list below), I also noted the value of this book as a “keeper,” one worthy of returning to from time to time to revisit the words of what I consider a healing offering.
While the author concludes that “creative reason” is where science and religion meet, I prefer “compassionate reason” in part because I have agonized for the past two decades on all the evil wrought by unilateral militarism, virtual colonialism, and predatory capitalism. We have been our own worst enemies precisely because we have abandoned faith and virtue while becoming mercenary in all things.
The author sees *all* life as part of the holy spirit, with humanity standing in for all life and not being exceptional in its own right. I agree, and recommend any interested reader consider not just extra-terrestial intelligence (see the recent testimony of the former defense minister of Canada), but also intra-terrestial — the life and communications of plants and animals.
I am reminded of Hans Swegan's Global Mind (offered by Amazon but the Product Link does not work), in that both authors focus on life as language, on feedback loops as communication, and now there is a direct path and relationship between DNA on one end and God or “global mind” on the other.
Jesus is portrayed as being the essence of reconciliation, and this is for me fundamental because I have also dealt with genocide and other atrocities (high among which I include CIA's drone program that has killed thousands without due process, violating all forms of international law, while claiming only a 2% success rate — the other 98% were “collateral damage.” Where we have all gone wrong — including religions especially — is in portraying others as something alien, foreign, “not us.”
In a useful twist on this topic, the author adds a psycho-therapy background and examples to suggest that anger is resentment and resentment is from rejected parts of one's reality that must be reconciled, reintegrated, rather than “cast out” or exorcised. I agree with that, and I particularly believe that terrorism is a tactic, not a threat, a tactic of last resort by those who are human and compassionate, but repressed and removed by predatory forces beyond their ability to bear — death is preferable to life, and that is what I as a professional intelligence officer consider “fair warning.”
I will not spoil the ending, which discusses miracles of Jesus in the context of the author's focus on the explicatory gap between science and religion, but do want to note a useful observation he makes about constant prayer being a means of constant attentiveness to the need for persistent broad and deep reconciliation of all beings. From one many, from many one.
It may comes as a surprise to some, but the conflicts between Christianity (generally a false predatory and delusional Christianity steeped in arrogance) and Islam (generally the variant that also suffers from arrogance, the Saudi form of virulent Wahabbism comes to mind) are but one tiny slice of the conflicts between religions all over the world, and especially in India, the most diverse and complicated nation on the planet, where Hinduism is the majority religion, and they hate a whole variety of other religions and especially the sikhs.
The annotated bibliography is alone worth the extraordinary low price of the book (the author, after Amazon's 55% deduction, is basically offering the book at cost), and I am also, as a professional researcher, quite pleased with the author's clear citation of others, and particularly Evolution: A View from the 21st Century (FT Press Science).
Here are six books and two DVDs I have reviewed, followed by two categories of my reading at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog where many more relevant works can be found. I often regret Amazon's limit of ten links since everything is connected and I am by nature a connector. The first book is one I will be reviewing next week, all others are reviews already posted.
The Book of Life: The Theory of Everything
The Theory of Everything
What the Bleep Do We Know!?
Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition
Homeland Earth : A Manifesto for the New Millennium (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity and the Human Sciences)
God and Science: Coming Full Circle?
Faith- Based Diplomacy Trumping Realpolitik
Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics (Manifesto Series)
At Phi Beta Iota (number is number of books catalogued in that class):
Religion & Politics of Religion (127)
Science & Politics of Science (82)
This is an excellent contribution to the literature, easily understood by both the average person and by those steeped in the topic, and I strongly recommend it to one and all.
Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability