February 28, 2010 by Bill
Three Army enlisted men got lost and were captured. The three soldiers came home to receive FIVE medals each by an Army General. They were called “real heroes,” got a Purple Heart, and practically a ticker tape parade. Now is the time for you to gag. I already have. Army veterans around this nation flooded the Defense department with furious outrage. Knowing the Marine Corps as well as I do, I am sure they would have been given nothing had they been Marines. The real heroes of Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Korea, and Iraq would be horrified.
We have become a nation filled with phony heroes. Jocks and movie stars are called “heroes.”
An Air Force pilot was shot down a number of years ago, ate bugs and hid out. Anyone with an I.Q. above 5 would have done the same thing. He survived, period. He came home to be “congratulated” by the President of the United States. The media went berserk over this “hero.” We live in an age of the phony heroes of the “common man.” Lesser men and women flinch before real heroes.
Our first six Presidents would write and speak clearly what they believed about Christianity and the tyranny of the church. As men of integrity, they did so without regard for any political consequences from the bible thumpers. Ordinary men and women flinched, and still do today. Great men and women make small men and women aware of their smallness.
American history scholars writing for the Encyclopedia Britannica said it clearly: “One of the embarrassing problems for the champions of the Christian faith is the fact that not one of the first six presidents of the United States was a Christian.” (Chicago; Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968, vol. 2, p. 420. Mortimer J. Adler, editor-in-chief, “The Annals of America: Great Issues in American Life: A Conspectus”)
Barry Goldwater would speak in clear language about what has happened to the Republican party with the “lunatics” of the religious and political right wing, and lesser people flinch. Read more
February 21, 2010 by Bill
I ask this question raised by Carl Jung: “Why are so many millions of people willing and eager to turn their lives over to outside authorities?” Why are so many today willing to turn their mind/brain…soul/spirit over to outside individuals, institutions and ideologies, whether it be Jewish, Muslim or Christian “authorities” of dogma? Or whatever the outside authority might be that is telling you what to think, what to believe and how to live your life.
I ask then, how do we withdraw from such a childish dependency if we want to reclaim our mind/brain and our very own life. I answered this by saying that first you must begin by taking a long, hard critical look at all so called religious authorities wanting to control your life, and be willing to accept the risk that goes with such courage and independence.
Our first six presidents had the courage to do that. American history scholars, writing for the Encyclopedia Britannica, have stated that our first six presidents were Deists and not Christian. I quote: “One of the most embarrassing problems for the nineteenth-century champions of the Christian faith was the fact that not one of the first six presidents of the United States was a Christian. They were Deists.” (1968, vol 2 p.420, Mortimer J. Adler, editor in chief. The Annals of America: Great issues in American Life: A Conspectus)
Thomas Jefferson used these words to express his view: “On the dogmas of religion, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind. (Jefferson to Carey, 1816, ms 1V)
One of the most valuable books in my library, and one I have reviewed many times, that will make a monumental contribution toward historical and religious literacy is “2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People With The Courage to Doubt” by James Haught, published by Prometheus Books. James Haught is the Executive Editor of the Charleston Gazette. He has received many honors and awards from the National Press Club, the American Bar Association, and People For The American Way. Read more
February 14, 2010 by Bill
Valentine week is here with a celebration of Eros and Amor. I am writing this on one of those days so breathtaking, with sky and breeze, flowers and sun, doves and quail, that surely the earth must stand in amazement at its own beauty.
The biblical Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) raptured over love on such a day. “O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! For your love is better than wine. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time for singing has come, and the voice of the dove is heard in our land. O queenly maiden! Your thighs are like jewels and your breasts like two fawns. O loved one, delectable maiden, I will give you my love…”
This Old Testament book is the only literature in the entire bible where Eros and Amor are celebrated and praised. To me, this omission is one of the great failures of biblical literature.
The word “Eros” and the expression of it, with Amor, are not to be found in the entire New Testament. And yet Eros and Amor have been the source of more enormous creativity, genuine joy, personal enrichment, and spiritual visions than any other emotion in the human species.
Amor is of the heart. There is a beauty to it. It is selective and discriminate, it is specific and particular. It is Pascal writing that “the heart has reasons that reason knows nothing of.” It is Aristotle writing that: “The soul of the lover cherishes his beloved above parents, children, brother, sister or companions. Above everything he cherishes his beloved.”
Or Immanuel Kant observing that “Love is always a matter of feeling, never of will. Either you feel love or you do not. Love can never be a duty or obligation.” Read more