Five for Science, Three for Humanities, Four on Balance
January 17, 2008
I have seen this argument so many times over the past 40 years; it's as if each new generation has to condemn God to find its own soul. I myself wrote a poem in college once, “Our Father, who art in hell….” You can imagine the sophomoric rest.
There are so many other reviews, I want to use this space to highlight three ideas, point to one posted image, and link to several books that demonstrate that Mike Huckabee has it exactly right: we need God (not the high priests that steal our money to live lavishly) as a foundation for the community of man, as an absolute measure of our morality.
Idea #1: God is or should be a moral standard. Fundamentalists of any stripe that claim to be the sole religion, calling all others unbelievers or heathen or worse, are nothing more than a cult.
Idea #2: Religions are bad in so far as they incite hatred toward others or enrich a few at enormous cost to the many. We do not need intermediaries nor do we need interpreters. God loves us all (including Adolph Hitler and Dick Cheney) and God's love is immutable. We are what we are, and within God's love, we must simply strive to be better, longer.
Idea #3: Engineers and scientists have a very hard time understanding any constructive role for religion. E. O. Wilson has answered the question, “why do the sciences need the humanities,” and I will sum it up in one word: Humanitas. There is a spiritual, artistic, ethical, quantum aspect to life that is often best explained through either myths or conventions.
Here are ten books that have informed my appreciation for God, whom I found again, very strongly in my life, six months ago, when everything started going in the direction that I had been struggling to achieve for twenty years, not for myself, but for my children and the future of life.
01 The Complete Conversations with God (Boxed Set) The Bible is useful as a point of departure. It is not a substitute for being right with God, direct.
02 The Lessons of History Morality is a strategic asset of incalculable proportions (a Nobel Prize was awarded in the 1990's to a man who proved that trust lowers the cost of doing business).
03 The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right Rabbi Lerner's book touched me deeply. God is code for compassion, for doing the right thing, for avoiding partisan and fanatic differentiation.
04 God's Politics LP Buy this used, I hope it is reprinted. Religion is like a gun–it is the person who chooses between an exclusive “true believer” role that is hateful, or an inclusive compassion that is respectful of all. I end my review saying he has my vote for Chaplain to the Nation.
05 Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik The author is a Navy Captain (O-6) Retired, I know him, and he taught me that faith is a tangible value that can be demonstrated in a peaceful respectful manner, and doing so yields enormous dividends when negotiating or interacting with those whose faith is strong but different.
06 Thank God for Evolution!: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World This is a joyous and worthy celebration of how to deconflict religion and science.
07 Dogs of God: Columbus, the Inquisition, and the Defeat of the Moors I am often shocked by how little the average American knows of history, to include our genocide of the Native Americans, the Puritan exorcism of women as witches, the Catholic Church's inquisition, the crusades, and their all too eager collaboration with the Nazis in administering the Holocaust. This book is as good as any for reflection in that direction.
08 The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History Howard Bloom is a friend, and also the author of Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century. I learned from the latter book that a human brain “locks down” by the age of 30 or so, and whatever good or evil thoughts have been introduced to that mind, are there to stay. He anticipated the Sunni Shi'ite wars (Iran, which is Persian, and the Iraqi Shi'ites, are terrified because they are surrounded by extremist Sunnis led by Saudi Arabia which the US is stupidly arming, and Pakistan, which has the SUNNI bomb, as well as Egypt and Syria, two of the bloodier dictatorships in that region: remember, CIA put the Shah into power, overturning a democratic election in Iran. See also my review of Web of Deceit.
09 Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror There are so many other books I could recommend, but Amazon limits us to ten. See also Looming Tower, The Fifty Year Wound, Sorrow's of Empire, and Wilson's Ghost as well as the DVD Why We Fight. The bottom line is that the US Government and its secret intelligence agencies (I've done it all across that world) are inherently pro-dictator (see Ambassador Mark Palmer's Breaking The Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025. There are 44 dictators remaining, 42 of them are best friends with Bush-Cheney, and of the remaining two, North Korea and Cuba, both are benign in my view, and Cuba has a great deal to teach us about sustainable agriculture, full employment, and free public health care. I have no patience for demagogues, and pray for the day when we can restore the Constitution, the Republic, We the People as sovereign, and Thomas Jefferson's original vision of commerce and peace.
10 American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America is the top book on the evil that is represented by cult-like fundamentalist movements whose preachers can be (not all) hypocritical miscreants who favor homosexuals and drugs when traveling at our expense. American Theocracy and Tempting Faith also fall into this last category, useful for understanding where religion went wrong.
America is in a desperate condition right now because We the People forgot that democracy requires our constant tending–a Republic, if you can keep it. When we allowed the Democratic and Republican parties to disenfranchise the League of Women Voters so they could shut out third, fourth, and fifth parties; when we allowed the FBI to ignore Steve Emerson's PBS special in 1994 on imams on US territory calling for the murder of Americans and the overthrow of the secular government; when we allowed Jeb Bush to disenfranchise 35,000 to 50,000 people of color in Florida, with a brilliant exposure THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE ELECTION, and Al Gore chose to “go along” with this “reasonable dishonesty” so as to reap wealth and celebrity (rather than being shunned for spoiling the party), We the People gave up our Republic.
The image I am loading says it all. That is where a number of us are headed, and we carry God with us in mind and heart and spirit. Most churches and non-profits are nothing more than scams to separate the sheep from their money. Free men, real men, *are* God to the extent that they respect the brotherhood of man, follow the Golden Rule, and respect the Ten Commandments, which are the most helpful guide possible for life in a complex society.
A note on Mike Huckabee: he represents faith in a good way, not the evil way that Cheney harnessed and then dismissed. Mike Huckabee has a vision for a return to a Christian, family-oriented Republic. I share that vision.