I have had an email from Charles Notess, thanking me for listing his excellent e-book DEPOLARIZING A HOSTILE WORLD – A KEY TO PEACEMAKING. Do we ever need what he has to say right now! The “book” is open to all readers, no strings attached, and I find it very wise indeed.
The new book is called REALITY AND FAITH – A COMING TOGETHER OF FAITH AND REASON.
This E-book shows how reality and faith exist as two interrelated ways of believing that have always existed side-by-side. Reality deals with conscious and unconscious memories of events one has experienced in the real world and stories that one has heard. Such stories, range from stories of real events experienced by the individual to those told by a trusted friend or read in a book. Development of science and technology is included in what one believes as real and provides a growing part of our beliefs about reality. Scientific testing and research show us what is real and predictable. Science clarifies some of our memories about what was thought to be real. I believe that recent discoveries in brain science help us in the more spiritual side of human development and eventually will bring all religions closer together.
The other approach to belief is based upon historical stories of a kind that describe how people faced problems in their lives and over came them. If they did not overcome them they were forced to adapt or, in some stories, they were killed. These stories teach us universal values such as compassion for all, stewardship of our natural environment, and the Golden Rule which are common to most of the world faiths. Other stories describe cultural values concerning such important acts as marriage, transitions to adulthood, responding to death, how justice is administered, and the like. Cultural values are associated with patriarchal clan and tribal commitments to commitments to larger communities such as cities, nation states and global corporations and the United Nations. Thus there are important differences among cultural aspects that are included within religious faiths; attempts to separate religion from governance not withstanding.
A major part of faith is spirituality that includes ceremonies, rituals, meditation, and other forms of focusing ones deeper consciousness upon relationships with all of creation. Stages of faith and moral development, especially the work of James W. Fowler, when combined with the writings of Marcus Borg and others on “the God within each of us”, and Karen Armstrong’s work in her books: The History of God and The Battle for God, point out how people’s beliefs are based upon trust and relationships with caring others and as being accepted members of communities. Each person develops faith in a set of beliefs that are unique to the culture of the communities to which the individual is committed. On the other hand, faith beliefs include much that is common with the worldviews and universal values of others in the rapidly growing global community of faith.
You may read about Charles Notess here. I wish him well with these really worthwhile projects. He says many things I would say, but much better.