News & Reviews
Patterns and Trajectories are a Gift from God
February 10, 2021
Patterns, trajectories, programs, and basic DNA codes and basic RNA coding are all presumptively and explicitly gifts from God.
Science and modern technology are now giving us very good and powerful new evidence to prove and demonstrate the existence of God.
We now see some aspects of life as using very explicit tools that clearly could not have been created by any of the Darwinian processes that we have long valued and believed as the source of life on this planet.
We now understand what codes are and we now understand what codes do — and we now know that the key elements of life are channeled, guided, protected, and sustained by explicit, effective, and intertwined codes that could not possibly have come into existence on their own.
The knowledge that lets us build that brilliant RNA based vaccine for the current Covid pandemic also shows us — with absolutely no chance of being challenged — that the underlying tool kit for life that is anchored for that vaccine is based on a set of codes that could not possibly have functionally programmed themselves.
That code was intentionally created.
Intentional is the key word.
Intentional design is irrefutably embedded in that code.
Some people are deeply opposed to the idea that intentional design exists.
There are a number of theorists and thinkers who look at key elements of our world and who have very strong convictions that nothing in creation — for either physics or for life — can have an actual origin that is Theist in any way.
Some people in academic settings have banned or edited and strongly censored papers or books that even mention that possibility of a Theist origin of any kind for either the physical universe or for life, itself.
Those people can obviously continue to hold that set of beliefs and convictions — but it is much harder to maintain that perspective today with the new insights we are having at a very technical level into some of the key components of life that it all started with a lucky and fortuitous combination of energy and chemicals that happened billions of years ago that somehow created the chain of organisms that we celebrate as life today in ways that somehow managed to continue to survive over millennia based entirely on its self-sustained and self-perpetuating tool kit and on serendipitously generated and consistently reproduced highly complex interlocking mutually supportive functionality.
That is not entirely easy to believe today.
We might be at an important turning point today in how we think about both the universe and life.
Science is helping us get to that turning point. There is a growing body of science-related and science-based evidence for the existence of an actual creator for both our physical world and for life, itself, as a key part of overall creation, that we might want to add to our overall shared thinking about ourselves and the world and universe we live in because the science now points so clearly in that direction.
Modern science is almost suddenly giving us a whole new set of extremely important and powerful learning experiences, functional tools, process insights, and key data points that can only be clearly explained in the context of having been both intentionally designed and explicitly and intentionally created.
Some people have felt that there have been some serious divisions and sometimes event conflicts between religion and science in a number of key areas of belief, and some people have felt that some levels of science have pointed away from the existence of God.
Our newest science actually seems to point fairly directly at the role of a creator and — for many people’s belief systems — to the functional existence of God and to functional and highly intentional things down by God in the context of our world.
As we look at the world we live in, we are blessed with a growing tool kit for understanding it that has a number of elements built in that include our base learning levels in mathematics, physics, and even quantum physics, and that now include the growing awareness that we are blessed with the reality that the core package for life on this planet has built into it what we now see and understand as very powerful new information about the various clearly intentionally coded elements of DNA and RNA.
Those codes, as a combination, function as the guiding factors for the existence and survival of life in ways that were not known to us or usable by us or even suspected by us until relatively recently when that insight and that explicit knowledge became known to us at the scientific level and we actually began to use it to steer key areas of our interaction with the world.
That Covid Vaccine described above is just the tip of that iceberg.
Marcello Barbieri has done some brilliant research in those areas and his review article, “What Is Code Biology,” is an extremely powerful explanation of the full array of organic codes that exist in our overall living environment and that give us absolutely essential and extremely effective highly functioning Codes.
We can now conclude from all of that new science that codes do very heavy lifting and that they do their heavy lifting in very intentional ways. That fact, of course, raises the question and primal issue of who or what actually had the underlying intention that anchors the entire process.
We have an explosion of new information in those areas that all points with growing clarity in the direction of intentional design for key components of our world.
Our science is currently evolving in a couple of key areas relative to what we know and understand about Life, itself, and that evolution in our science about life, itself, gives us major clues as to the origin of that life support process at the core levels.
We definitely do need some basic Darwinian beliefs to evolve.
We have been comfortable and clear in our scientific and academic community for a number of years with a shared Darwinian based belief about evolution that said that a mixture of completely random mutations for organisms and then basic selection processes that screened each of the random mutations that happened over time based on their relative survival rate for each mutation, was the entire process of evolution.
That theory said that those two steps created and described all of the basic biological components of human evolution and that explicit core dogma and foundational belief said that those two steps guided the survival and the evolution of all forms of life on our planet by going purely down that single functional pathway.
That first version of Evolution is a brilliant and well researched theory and we are all in Charles Darwin’s debt for giving it to us for so many extremely useful years.
The challenge with that approach and with that classic evolutionary theory today is that we have now invented both computers and new technology that lets us do extensive and detailed levels of learning that Charles Darwin did not have available to him when he did his work, and we are learning a number of important new things from our new tool kit that are now forcing us to revisit and then revise some component parts of that Darwinian process and that initial evolution theory approach to make it fit better what we now know from our current science to be true.
The current Covid virus vaccine development process has given us some interesting, powerful and extremely useful context to help us all with that thinking. Darwin did not suspect that RNA or any similar tool existed. It is our very good fortune that it does exist — and we now have the science and technology to use what we now understand about DNA and RNA to brilliantly build a vaccine to help us survive Covid as a disease.
We know a lot about some key tools of the evolutionary process and about key components of the interlocking complexity of that process from looking at what that vaccine creating tool kit has just done for us.
We should be very honest with ourselves and with each other about what we are learning.
We also need to be honest about evolution.
When we look at classic Darwinism theory and ideology, the explicit and rigidly defined fully felt and believed belief is that every single one of those nuances that is clearly coded into what is obviously a functioning code for that RNA was developed entirely by having each piece of that code developed independently by a random mutation and then formed into packages, over potentially very long periods of time, with other completely independent and separate and purely random mutations through that same selection process and then used as a package subject to that same selection process to do the work that it actually does.
The classic Darwinian theory that many people believe in with great conviction today says that every single nuance of that RNA building program was separately built by a pure and random mutation and then selected as the surviving evolutionary tool as an unintentional but highly functional package solely through the relative survival factors that happened in the real world for each nuance of each mutated segment.
That is much harder to believe than it used to be.
People who now have the ability to study RNA today with our new science know it to be an extremely powerful and complex code. And people who study DNA and who now know what computers are and who also know today what computer codes are called to do for computers can and do now recognize that DNA, is itself, a complex and interactive code that also does exactly what other codes do — and does it in what now seem to be very intentional and very well-designed ways.
Our computers never code themselves.
We make computers do some amazing things, and those things happen for each computer because we have very deliberately embedded various programs, systems, utilities, and highly explicit code into our computers to do that work.
Code is key.
Darwin did not have a computer to work with as part of his context and his tool kit and he did not know what a code was or did.
He did great work.
He built a very solid set of extremely well researched theories that has been very useful for us for a number of years to look at relative to how life has evolved over the eons, and his thinking has both components and research elements and information sets that we will retain and will continue to use in our next generation of theories — but the classic Darwinian approach also has some parts that should be replaced now because in some areas of functionality and of process where Darwin could only theorize, speculate, and hypothesize, we can now actually directly examine the component parts relevant to what is happening in those settings — and we can now understand each of them far more clearly than it was ever possible for Darwin to do.
If you look at the last five pages of his Origin of The Species book — at the Summary section of what is now Evolution 1.0 — you can see that he was thinking in some of these directions very clearly when he concluded that book and he was looking forward to that future learning.
We need to move down that road now. We need to evolve to move on to Evolution 2.0 — the next level of Darwinian enhanced learning — and we need to build on that information with an explosion in the biological sciences and even in the areas where psychology and other levels of systematic thinking can take us if we start to steer ourselves well using what we now know for best effect and highest impact.
We are in a very good place right now in evolutionary science and processes as the result of our new learning and our more solid and complete context for understanding evolutionary processes because we can now look at the actual code that creates those processes and we can understand them at a highly detailed level.
We now have almost frighteningly powerful tools that let us go past just understanding the code into re-engineering and manipulating it in a wide range of ways.
That total set of information should now give us an expanded and significantly enhanced context for thinking about the fact that the existence of an intentional code in any setting or process obviously raises the question of who or what functionally and actually created that code.
This is a very good time to ask —
“Who did it?”
That’s what the lead paragraphs in this thought piece attempt to answer, and actually presume to address.
“Who?” is a highly relevant question to ask at this point in the process about who built and who or what gave us that very intentional set of interlocking and highly functional codes for a number of important reasons.
Why do we have that code?
That context and the use we are now seeing for each code can help us to look at how that code might have happened and it can also give us a framework to think as people and as intellectual beings about our own role and our own context as conscious and intellectual beings in a highly accelerated and rapidly expanding overall learning process who have somehow managed to have developed enough knowledge to recognize a code when we see one.
Existential questions can and should arise when we go down those paths.
The key existential questions can focus on both who we are as part of creation and on who, in fact, really gave us that extremely useful and intentional code.
Asking who we are is a fascinating and important part of that question.
Asking “Who are we?” actually can help us have and believe in a reason to exist and to also have a sufficient level of intellectual development and conscious thinking that allows us to both think about who we are and also to functionally understand the process for each code that we have been given for what it is and what it can do.
If we assume, for the sake of our data base and thought process, that we believe that there clearly was intentional design in the codes that sustain life, then it is a very short hop to also assuming that there probably also is a high likelihood of intentional design for the context in which life exists — for the universe itself.
Multiple scientists have pointed out from multiple fields of science all of the ways that our planet is remarkably well designed to support human life.
The people who have studied our world often say that our Eden actually has very Eden like parts and Eden like components and Eden like elements that could all be entirely accidental but it’s probably safe to ignore pure and total coincidence and to decide intellectually that our Eden like setting probably did not just happen by happenstance or by random good fortune.
It feels like a package when you look at how much of a package it actually is.
This might be a very good time for us to build on our new knowledge in all of those processes and in all of those functional and intentional areas and to think about both what gifts we have in front of us and what role we should now play as the result of having those gifts in mind and in hand.
We are at risk.
We have actually managed to progress in a number of areas to the point where we could do ourselves very real and significant harm if we go down some wrong paths.
I lean toward the theory that this is actually the right time for us to acquire that knowledge about the gifts we have been given and it is also the right time for us to use that set of gifts in intentional, enlightened, and extremely beneficial ways because we are at risk today in some very real ways and we could damage both Eden and ourselves if we allow our new knowledge of the various science components to damage us in very real ways.
I believe we should make a morality based and ethical decision to use our new knowledge in the best ways it might be used, because that explicit knowledge explosion about that science and those tools is happening now and the opportunity and even the need for us to ask why it is happening now clearly exists at this point in time to keep us from damaging each other in new ways.
We can be at risk in some ugly and dangerous ways.
The remarkable science that gave us the opportunity to develop that amazing vaccine for the current virus that was referenced earlier also can give us the ability to develop new horrible and destructive viruses that could literally kill us all off.
We face real risk at several levels, because we are entirely capable of growing in anger at some levels to do things to damage ourselves in horrible ways.
I lean toward the theory that we are being given that awareness about that danger we all face at this moment in time because believing collectively that we and the world we live in were all actually both created and are also all at risk could give us the right sets of motivation and context to do supportive, protective and even loving things together to help us survive and then thrive.
We now have an opportunity to think about what we now know in our science in ways that can help us figure out our own personal role and our own part in that process and maybe even help us get a better sense of why we each exist as conscious beings in the heart of what we believe to be an innately and otherwise entirely nonconscious universe.
Biological science is exploding in amazing ways and that is happening in the context of an equivalent explosion in our physical sciences. Mathematics and standard physics seem to be locked in as their own powerful set of learning tools for us, but we are having an explosion of learning relative to quantum mechanics that is giving us magnificent and potentially dangerous tools at many levels that we actually do not fully understand at a conscious level at this point in time.
Being conscious actually seems to be extremely relevant to that set of thoughts and set of issues, and it might actually be part of why we exist.
We seem to be almost alone in the universe in having a high level of consciousness.
We do now also know that there is an extremely high relevance in some pieces of quantum mechanics for the role of a conscious observer, and we know and now tend to believe that some things only happen in a quantum state when they are observed.
There are actually some situations in quantum physics where the mind of an observer is “the only relevant environment” for something to happen.
That particular total set of learnings is also directly relevant to us at this point in our history. If we assume that creation and life are happening at the same time right now, then the fact that those processes for both physics and biological realities of life are overlapping in time causes us to believe they are probably a package in some way and we should think about what that entire process and context means to our lives.
We do live in interesting times.
We need to be sharing this information with each other.
Some of the anti-evolution and sometimes even anti science people in some religious settings who have believed with so much energy and conviction that evolution is an evil and damaging belief system that is somehow offensive to God may well be a bit startled to be told that the key set of clearly programmed and highly intentional evolutionary biological processes that we know understand at many more levels than we did before might actually be extremely strong evidence for both the role and the existence of God.
I suspect some people from that faith perspective will love having that information, and that some will hate it and think it is a trick of some kind.
At the same time, it is equally true that there are a number of people in the intellectual and academic communities in many settings in highly influential positions who strongly oppose any thinking that they perceive to be Deist thinking at any level as part of the belief and accepted academic process for either the biological or physical sciences, and some of those people who strongly oppose Deist thinking of any kind will also will find that approach of assuming a role for a Creator at any level to be unacceptable at their most foundational and fundamental levels.
Some people in some academic settings have actually not allowed some papers to be published intact or published at all if one of the options mentioned for the origin of things for either biology or for the physical universe is listed as God or as an origin with any kind of Deist or even metaphysical label.
I believe that many of those people are so committed to getting science right that the introduction of some of the new data will help guide their thinking and possibly trigger some very creative thinking that adds another important level to our though processes about evolution.
This clearly seems to be a very good time for people on both ends of that belief and disbelief continuum to look at what we seem to be learning today in some key areas of scientific knowledge and discovery and to consider whether other options about origins might be good for them to consider in their search for what is actually true.
We don’t need conversions.
It’s not important or needed to convert anyone on those core beliefs. The world is big enough for all of the beliefs on that continuum to exist.
We do, however, need to try very hard to get everyone to the point where there is respect for the context of other people’s beliefs and a sense that other people should have legitimacy for whatever each person chooses for their own belief as long it is not an inflicted or intrusive belief.
Whether we end up believing that evolution, as a belief, is evil, or if we just believe and insist that life all happened as an independent and purely biologically governed evolutionary process entirely on its own in its own vastly circumstantial and inherently and completely serendipitously mutation based and mutation anchored purely Darwinian ways, we probably owe it to ourselves from both ends of that continuum today to look at the amazing life support tool kit that we are now discovering and beginning to understand and to think with the most open minds both about what that exact set of tools actually is — and about why it actually exists and about how we can use it now to the best effect.
Those tools do seem to be gifts.
It needs to be totally legitimate for us as individuals and as a community to both ask and answer the question — Gifts from whom?
The answer that is the basis for this paper and that checks off the box for the most question marks for me on that topic is — A Gift from God.
We actually can simply choose to continue to believe that everything in the universe — including physics, quantum physics, and basic biological realities — all happened entirely on their own and we can continue to believe that they all exist in what are actually purely coincidental and accidental time frames and are not linked in any way.
Everything we are doing in physics and math and biology can continue down the same paths we are on if we choose that belief that it all just happened and then it just continued to happen.
That purely scientific belief about it just happened relative to the origin of each piece of existence is the one favored today in most academic settings, and it can continue with anyone who believes it forever without damaging any of its processes or any of the trajectories in any way.
Believers in pure scientific happenstance for all things do not need to change any beliefs to do their work and to do it well.
Even the people who believe that it is all serendipitous and entirely spontaneous and accidentally and completely coincidentally simultaneous and entirely good fortune on our part often do point out that the physical world we live in seems to be a particularly lucky development for us because so many component parts of our planet and solar system — including the availability of extensive supplies of water on our planet — seem to be both opportune and essential for our biological needs and for traditional evolution in its original theory and form.
The pure good luck on our part belief system about the world has less credibility for me personally as an accident when our new modern science gives us the chance to look more closely at key elements of life and all of the intricate and interlocking sets of codes that exist, and when we discover that the purely classic Darwinian processes that have been so strongly believed over the last few years have no possible pathway to create the actual structural nuances of RNA.
A theory sometimes falls on harder ground when it is proven to be functionally impossible.
The fact that we now know those pieces of classic Darwinism are functionally impossible for some key elements of the most important tool kit we have for life-structuring, means that even the strongest believers in that approach should now develop some additional theories and options to explain what really happened.
We might want the theory of evolution to evolve.
DNA and RNA both function at very high levels and they are easy to discern and unveil, so we don’t need to build our enhanced theory of evolution from scratch. We just need to look at what those tools actually do — and we might want to at least try to figure out where those two sets of extremely intentional codes came from.
This paper takes a deist approach to that solution set and contends that those magnificent tools were all created and given to us and to other life on our planet as a package and a gift, and this paper contends that the origin of that gift is God.
That theory obviously has an underlying and huge leap of faith just to get to the starting line — but it actually has fewer leaps of faith if you assume it to be true and if you then look at the total creation package to see what else fits into the category of being Gifts from God.
The people who believe in that overall Gift from God theory and belief have a couple of basic patterns and descriptions for those gifts to be part of to help us understand what those gifts actually are.
What are the gifts?
We might be well served at an intellectual level to look at the broader picture for creation in answering that question.
Mathematics, itself, could easily be perceived as a gift.
Some people love math.
Mathematics seems to have almost universal acceptance by people from all beliefs as being a credible, effective, powerful, and highly functional and amazingly consistent tool, and it is definitely perceived by the people in the Gift theory camp as being an incredibly important gift that we use constantly to very good effect in ways that only a conscious being could actually do or understand.
We are the only mathematicians.
Rocks could not do arithmetic or calculate square roots.
Mathematicians often love math.
They often treasure math and accept their math as being a valid measure of reality and as the foundation for a wide range of very real mathematical things that they very much want and like to do.
We actually use math as a tool to figure out, define, and measure some of our other gifts.
Physics and quantum physics both seem to be part of the core gift package that we have been given as well if we look at the entire context we are in.
Basic aspects of modern science built on both physics and quantum mechanics have allowed us to build our new sets of support tools and they enable us to build the computers, computer programs, and various analytical and magnification tools that let us look more deeply into the heart of matter and to perceive pieces of matter in increasingly effective and discerning ways.
We don’t understand some of the key elements of quantum physics, but we are trying hard to figure out the pieces and we seem to accept and then use each discovery as a gift on its own merit.
Life, itself, seems to be a gift as well.
People often refer to the Gift of Life.
That statement might be right and accurate at a deeper level than we knew before because we now understand what the component parts of living organisms include and those parts seem to be very intentional.
Marcello Barbieri and his coding research might be a new anchor for major components of biological science.
We are also now just beginning to understand and appreciate that life and biology clearly both have key component parts that function in what seem to be very intentional ways as gifts to both create and sustain life.
Codes are key elements of that package of gifts.
The huge breakthrough that is happening in our thinking today ties back to those codes.
We now know with a very useful level of clarity that DNA is actually a code that does very code like things in very code like ways, and we are learning to use that code to improve our lives at multiple levels.
We can now include those codes as part of our tool kit and we can appreciate them for their complexity, effectiveness and value.
So if we decide and want to believe that we have been given gifts as part of the overall creation package, this might be a good time to think about what it means to be surrounded by several packages of extremely useful and very intentional gifts and to think about what we should do now about that information.
This might actually be the best and highest informed opportunity we have ever had to look at those packages and to know and accept that they are in fact now available to us in ways that we did not understand and could not have appreciated until we had a clearer sense of what they are and why they are so useful to us.
One of the people helping us down that road to insight about both that complexity and its source is Dr. George Ellis. His books are worth reading to help give us some extremely well considered and researched grounding in those areas.
George Ellis is a physicist, thinker, and a world class and pioneering expert in complex interactive systems. Dr. Ellis has done a number of lectures in prestigious and credible settings that are available on the internet and that let us see him as an erudite, witty, wise, and caring man — and as a highly credible source of wisdom for us in our current search for knowledge and insights into the rapidly changing and even evolving world we are living in.
He has actually written a number of books on theoretical physics, emerging technology and a number of interactive processes — including Science and Ultimate Reality: Quantum Theory, Cosmology, and Complexity from Cambridge Press, and also co-authoring Large-Scale Structure of Space-Time with Stephen Hawking.
The two books being reviewed on this website include cosmology and the origin of life as a major component part of the books.
One of the books on the origin of life was cowritten with faith leader Nancy Murphy and is called On the Moral Nature of the Universe.
The other book, written just by Dr. Ellis, is titled Before The Beginning: Cosmology Explained.
Both books of the cosmology related books are worth reading because they are extremely science based and they help create context for both our belief systems and for the core underlying new science that we are having explode around us at so many levels today.
His books explain many of the key facts, learnings, and interrelations that exist for mathematics, classic physics, quantum physics, and the biological layers of complex and interactive systems that constitute the universe and the physical world we see around us in our own existence and own lives, and he presents that entire set of realities as an interwoven context and macro setting rather than as a circumstantial and somehow spontaneously created bits and pieces that somehow managed to come into existence in the forms that they have now in our lives.
Dr. Ellis could not be more scientific in his approach.
He believes that part of his own mission in life is to understand things and then to share his understanding with the rest of us in ways that can be useful for our lives.
He includes looking at the origin of the entire process as part of his thinking. He writes about The Big Bang theory and the physical reality that was created billions of years ago by a spark of some kind that exploded into becoming the physical universe.
He writes about how long it took that universe to have suns and planets that might be able to sustain life — and he writes about the billions of years that it took for our own planet to come into being.
He also writes about how long ago it was that we now believe the first sparks of life appear in our world and about how long it took from the emergence of that spark to the emergence of our species.
Dr. Ellis uses both books to explain why he believes that the incredible set of realities that we have facing us in the universe and on our own world are embedded in physics and quantum physics realities that have allowed all of this to happen and a set of biological realities that have so many layers of complexity in them that the combination of genetics, epigenetics and pure biological functionalities that interlock in so many ways have levels of intentional design at the most foundational levels.
He celebrates our learnings in the biological sciences as part of that process and writes about the extreme complexity of some of the biological interactions as part of his appreciation of complex systems.
We now have the ability to actually understand DNA and RNA at extremely useful levels, and we just used some of that insight to build a vaccine for Covid-19 that uses brilliant reverse engineering of DNA to have its positive impact on us.
Our scientists looking at the biology of life have the ability to drill down and discern functional realities that we suspected for years but now can include as the next level of Basic Biological Anticipation.
Dr. Ellis also believes that the entire tool kit was given to us as a gift from God. He personally believes in God, and he personally finds that being a Christian gives him his own preferred path to his faith.
Ethics and morality are both highly important to Dr. Ellis. He believes that we need and should have both ethical standards and moral commitments in our lives, and Dr. Ellis finds his own beliefs as a Quaker to be his preferred path to those values.
This website did a book review last month of the Perry Marshall book, Evolution 2.0. That extremely well written, well considered and well thought out book by Marshall also looked at the creation of the universe and at the creation and the key and clear design elements of DNA, and he believes that we should now look at our new knowledge and our new and more detailed information about our genetic pathway and that we should evolve our current sense and perception of the evolutionary process from the Classic Darwinian Evolution 1.0 model to a more modern 2.0 version that is directly and explicitly reinforced by what we now know about both computers and the actual composition of the evolution tool kit.
That’s why he named his book Evolution 2.0.
I personally believe that Charles Darwin would love and embrace the expanded knowledge base and tool kit that we have in front of us today. Some of the potential flexibility created by what we now know about our magnificent epigenetic tool kit could explain to Darwin why the time lines on some aspects of evolution happened so much faster than the old purely Darwinian tool kit would have anticipated them to happen.
Darwin said, a couple of times in his books, that some things fit together so well that they almost looked intentional. But he believed that natural selection actually created every nuance — and as a brilliant biologist, he researched, described and celebrated many nuances.
Galileo loved his telescope, and I personally believe Charles Darwin would have loved a DNA analytical machine and an RNA tool kit, and his version of Evolution 2.0 would have been transformational.
We now understand that the combined RNA and DNA tool kit has built into it some amazing programs that create both genetic and epigenetic impacts — and we now know that we can structure DNA change in a very few generations with the right epigenetic influences and the right timing for each influence. Survival, itself, has benefited over the millennia from having that flexibility. It was not visible or even suspected until it began to be visible with our newest science.
The Evolution 2.0book covers some of those functions and factors in very useful ways.
The challenge we have now for our overall community and for our standard currently academic endorsed and supported belief systems about evolution is that our new knowledge about that actual tool kit makes some components of Classic Darwinian theory less likely to be the accurate way of describing how some functions of evolution actually work and it is time for our academic community to bite the bullet and move to the next level of insights and learnings on those issues.
We don’t need to move to a Deist solution set in our academic settings, but we should update the science.
That might be harder to do than you might think.
Charles Darwin has very solid believers and fans. Some get unhappy and even upset and sometimes angry if any part of the paradigm is questioned or threatened.
People who believe in classic Darwinism in its purist form as the only way all life developed on our planet as their gospel truth should be encouraged to add the new tools to their insight context and to their evolution paradigm and then figure out the best ways of expanding and enhancing their theory to fit and include that data.
We probably need to have that core evolution paradigm evolve at this point in our scientific thinking on that topic to make it more useful to people doing science in those areas today.
Some key elements of that belief system and preferred process selection of available options paradigm do not change as our theory of evolution evolves.
Classic Darwinism believes that there was a spark of life that originated in some setting on our planet roughly three point seven billion years ago — and that spark of life had built into it the ability to perpetuate itself and to also mutate randomly with some frequency in ways that also could extend at least some of the mutations into the next generation.
The theory is anchored on those two steps of the process — a replication ability and absolute random mutations in the organism itself.
Many people who have studied what it means to have life have discussed and debated what characteristics must be present to define something that exists as being alive and the key component that most people who debate that issue seem to agree on as part of that definition is the power and the ability to reproduce and to survive as a species and an organism by reproduction.
Anything that can do that is generally defined to be alive. That’s not a bad thought process.
That basic and foundational ability must have existed in that very first one cell organism that was the first thing in that chain of life because without it, it would not have survived. It’s possible that multiple organisms have serendipitously and spontaneously and situationally come into being over the billions of years, but sheer logic tells us that anything that was alive without that component part and that reproduction function would not have survived.
Pure Darwinism is almost mathematical. It believes that there is only one screen or tool used for designing and maintaining each and every species and that one tool for screening and selection is the relative survival rates for each mutation for each species.
Survival of the Fittest is defined to be the survival of the specific mutated version through pure relative reproduction success levels in ways that exceed the reproductive success of other members of that biological entity that do not have that mutated feature.
Pure Darwinists insist with great conviction that there are no external design elements of any kind in the process and that the mutations that trigger each change in each species are always completely random.
To the extent that religion like beliefs do exist in some areas of science, that particular belief about those two steps fits that almost religious category for quite a few people.
The problem we have today with that classic belief system and with that pure two-step process is that we now know far more science than Darwin knew and we have major insights into both processes and fields of science and functionality that did not even exist when Darwin did his brilliant and hugely important and useful work.
I personally came to doubt the likelihood that pure Darwinian processes could have created the changes we see in so many species when I had the chance to be the CEO of a fairly large hospital system and I saw what was required to make care better in an interacting system and setting. We took the sepsis death rate for our patients down from nearly thirty percent to about three percent by changing many interacting pieces of the care process.
When we learned that treatment of the sepsis patient within an hour more than doubled the survival rate, for example, we changed the speed and the priority of diagnosis, and we also made those tests the top priority for the labs, and then, also, we actually had the right medications for sepsis prepackaged and moved from being assembled after the fact of diagnosis on a different hospital floor in our physical pharmacy setting to being distributed in advance on the floors of the hospital that were likely to have those particular patients.
We cut the response time for each sepsis patient from four hours or more on a good day to under thirty minutes for some patients where everything lined up perfectly.
We loved doing that work.
We also looked at pressure ulcers in our older patients and we put processes in place to do far more detailed and frequent infections and changed the bed linen fabrics and did other process improvement to take those numbers down from over twenty percent of the patients in some settings down to less than two percent of the patients in those settings.
Those ulcers can be damaging, painful, and sometimes fatal — and we did a package of things to make them almost disappear in our care settings.
I mention that hospital process-improvement work in this book review and thought-piece about the two George Ellis books because my work experience in that setting caused me to look at the species-specific interrelationships where the wings of a butterfly are a perfect color fit for the leaves of a tree where they roost to know in my practical mind in real-world settings that there was no way that purely random mutations that only made changes over multiple generations of each explicit change if the change actually enhanced the survival rates of that butterfly and that tree in a clearly overwhelmingly relevant way in order for that color in both settings to happen.
I was given the gift of working in process improvement settings that did have life and death consequences for patients, and I knew that even our hospitals would not have either developed those improved processes or shared them with our other hospitals if we had not been extremely intentional in making that happen.
I know for a fact that those enhancements would not have spread on their own even in our system because even though we actually shared them with the world as a gift from our system, most hospitals systems in America have much higher sepsis death rates and much higher-pressure ulcer infection rates today. Go to other hospitals at your own risk. It takes intentionality to make those changes happen and most hospital settings do not have that intentional priority for their patients.
We had to be extremely intentional in getting those processes to be the normal care patterns in our own hospitals, and we owned the hospitals and employed the staff.
That was a wonderful learning opportunity for me. Very practical learning relative to real world changes that told me that systematic change could be done and it had to be very intentional and well designed and well implemented or it would not happen.
Good intentions were insufficient on their own to save those lives.
It was a form of evolution in care in those settings. And random mutations in care practices did not cause it to happen.
So I had personally begun to move away from my life long belief that pure Darwinian evolution had created everything and I was already on the path of believing that there were other very intentional processes at play in some way on major aspects of our universe of living things.
I had been working for years on the patterns of instinctive inter group behavior that structure so much of our lives. I knew from two decades of studying the issues and behaviors that we had a dozen highly relevant sets of instincts that cause us to build hierarchies, defend turf, become addicted to being alpha, and to divide the world into Us and Them — and to have very different values, ethics, emotions, and behaviors for whoever we define to be Us or Them.
What I did not understand in first doing that research back in the l980’s was how much of that preprogramed behavior was actually literally preprogrammed at both a genetic and epigenetic level and I did not have a sense at that point of actually how the basic core of life — DNA — is actually a functioning program that had component parts to point us in those directions.
That tool kit is extremely important to understand. Programs exist for each of us and those instinctive programs matter. A lot.
We actually did not even know what programs were until a very short time ago. We only very recently figured out that DNA was a code.
Collins literally called DNA a gift from God when he stood with President Clinton to unveil that report to the world. He and his project opened huge doors with that offering of that information to us all and we are just beginning to appreciate how huge those doors are.
We have now gone down that path with great vigor and skill. The science is amazing, and an extremely powerful use of that information just happened when our brilliant scientists responded to the Covid-19 Pandemic by developing a vaccine that anticipated the impact of the disease and used RNA to build a defense.
Check out this use of that information that Dr. Collins pointed us to just a decade or so ago to build a Covid vaccine from a subset of that information.
The scientists knew the infection process of the virus and they understood the actual genetic structure of the virus well enough to project what reaction our own DNA would create to stop that virus and we actually brilliantly built that vaccine in almost magical ways using those tools.
What we should all recognize and understand in looking at that reality is that there is no possible way that the classic Darwinian processes that people believe in could have designed that RNA to have those invisibly embedded and powerfully directive features if literally the only tool the classic Darwinian tools could use to change any piece of it was the relative survival rates in the species for each nuance of each randomly mutated piece of the change.
Challenged on that point, some people do say, “Life has been around for four billion years. Every one of those explicit nuances could easily have been assembled by pure selection in four billion years. You need to think more broadly about vast expanses of time when you think of evolutionary forces and of the power and the impact they can have in each of those areas and functions over that expanse of time.”
That isn’t the worst possible answer — but it falls a bit short at the functional level when we look at our short-term reality and we can’t find any setting where DNA is evolving and we can’t find any setting where RNA changes are going through any kind of selection screening that could allow multiple generations of anything to be affected by any evolved changes in their RNA.
So there is a basic, fatal process deficiency in that area — and that is magnified by the huge process capability and extremely complex and functional DNA and RNA tool kit that we now have and understand for the first time.
Having computers exist has made that entire situation and process much more understandable.
Darwin did not have computers.
Now that we know what computer programs actually look like and now that we know what they actually do, we need to take advantage of that learning and those insights and reach and develop some more modern enlightenment levels into some elements of the evolutionary processes.
Short-term and localized evolutionary events happen all the time in ways that we can see and now finally understand based on our new learning about epigenetic programs and processes that were somehow brilliantly built into the DNA program as flexibility components for survival purposes. The programs are obviously well programmed to create and enhance survival, and they are so good at that role and function that they have done exactly that successfully for over three billion years.
That programming is a gift.
We should be grateful that our Gifts From God kit includes those life supporting tools and capabilities, and we should understand them for what they are.
People who continue to believe with full conviction in pure classic Darwinism should not be critical of other heavily belief-based world views and paradigms about life because that classic Darwinian approach for every single development and linkage is not supported in any direct way by science as we know it today.
Science is evidence based when that is possible. There is no trail of evidence or even of practical conjecture or hypothetical thinking that could create that particular RNA tool kit or those levels of complex interactive RNA functionality that we used to build that vaccine, and we know the tools exist and we know what they do because we just used them brilliantly for that purpose.
We should not look just at DNA and life as we try to figure out a macro system that puts all of these pieces in context. We should think about both life and the universe as a total package as we think about who and what we are given what we know on a broader level today for all of those pieces.
George Ellis does down that exact path. This review is about one of his brilliant books that does exactly that.
The George Ellis book, Before The Beginning, that is linked to this review tees up some of the issues of how complex our world actually is, today.
He discusses that existence of mathematics as grounding for his context. He reminds us that math exists. People who love math and who know math say it is a beautiful thing and people we can know it tend to believe in it and trust it as a functional reality and even as a blessing on its own at multiple levels.
The science of physics and now of quantum physics also exist as systems that are as seemingly true in their own way as mathematics.
Quantum physics points us down some roads that we do not understand relative to time and dimensions, but we have no problem using some of the tools very much like the people who built the new vaccine used RNA coding to make that happen.
Until very recently, we did not even know what a communicative and directional code was because we didn’t have any codes of that type in our world before we had computers in our world.
But we now live in a computer rich world and our world has codes in it in every direction to run our computers, have them store data, and have them interact with one another and that fact and that set of processes lets us understand the huge and relevant significance of DNA and RNA being codes.
We are even beginning to create some artificial intelligence systems and programs in our computers that are letting the programs, themselves, come up with insights and relationships that we can’t see or discern as people without their help.
Some people feel threatened by that possibility of expanding the AI role for computers, but my own sense is that we should feel the same way about those programs as Galileo felt about his telescope. That particular tool did not diminish him. It enhanced him.
Let’s use that model. We should use these new AI tools to enhance ourselves and we should do it in ways that give us better lives over time in a wide range of areas.
Those AI programs actually might help us understand exactly how did this all happen?
And, as a core question — this is probably also a very good time for us to ask ourselves: Why did it all happen?
“Why?” is an important and extremely interesting question when you think about both the universe and life, itself.
If we assume that life was created using the clearly intentional DNA codes and tool kit that we are using now, and if we believe that the universe exists and functions in the context of the physics, and the functional quantum physics tool kit that we are beginning to understand, then what is the metaphysical context that we should know and think about relative to all of these pieces and relative to what they all might in aggregate, actually mean to us a conscious beings.
Conscious is key.
We seem to be the only highly conscious pieces of the universe.
Other living things have some level of self-awareness and consciousness, but we seem to be the only things in existence that actually think about existence and who think about the meaning of existence, and about the various component parts and pieces of existence.
Learning is a good thing.
We obviously love to learn.
We crave learning. We are very good at learning.
We have a number of physicists and mathematicians and philosophers and theologians and though leaders who are spending significant amounts of energy, time and skill both understanding this universe and our role in it and who have built great tools to do some of the possible work of discernment and understanding and delineation using their minds in very effective ways to do the work of building those discernment tools and targeting and directing the work that the tools do.
Timing is very interesting relative to those sets of issues.
We humans came into being a very long way down the chronological birth canal of the universe.
More than a billion years probably happened before the first humans emerged on this planet and then started to get together with other ancestral people in interactive ways. We do very predictable things when that set of interactions happens.
We are each clearly embedded with a full set of instinctive behaviors and some of those most primal behaviors have caused us to do some very unpleasant things to other people in a number of settings and ways, and to also steer us as well into a number of the mutually supportive, collaborative, protective, aligned, and even loving ways that are our most enlightened and most positive sets of behaviors and beliefs.
We have tribal instincts that range from almost pathologically xenophobic to extremely inclusive and protective — we feel right in our own minds and hearts when we are acting in accord with the instincts that have been triggers — and knowing that those sets of instincts exist, we should decide at this point in our history to rise to the higher ground in those thought processes and do it soon before we do irreparable damage in some hostility triggered way that has our tribal instincts making us do evil things and feel like heroes for our own tribe.
We can each easily go down either path.
In fact, when you understand those basic inter group instincts and patterns, history both repeats itself and rhymes.
We have some internal conflicts as a nation today. Protests in our country today follow those pathways with high levels of predictability, and we clearly need to deal with those issues before too many people are damaged by the wrong sets of behaviors and damaged by people who feel that they are doing the right thing for their own people in inflicting the damage.
We have histories of doing loving, caring, supportive things for each other in ways that seem to feel very right when we are doing them — even feeling sometimes like us being on a link to the loving and supportive paths that some of us believe God wants us to be on all of the time — and we also tribalize, allow our alpha instincts and our power addicted and territorial instincts take control over our lives and our behaviors, and we sometimes do bullying and aggressive and even sexual things to people in nasty and damaging ways.
Sexual behaviors are clearly embedded in us as they seem to be in just about every other non-plant species, and we people have the scope of behaviors that result from those instincts ranging from the beauty and joy of limerence and romantic love and mutual support on one end of the continuum to an ugly and damaging extension of our exploitive lust appeasement desires and aspirations in some other damaging and sad ways.
Martin Luther, a protestant theologian and religious group leader, said we are all saints and we are all sinners, and that our role in life should definitely involve each of us making the conscious and loving choice to be saints and not to sin in whatever ways we understand to be a sin for the settings we are in.
“Simul Justus et Peccator,” to quote Luther.
Part of our role in creation might be to evolve intellectually and morally into ethical and caring behaviors — and teach them to one another in the most effective ways.
If we are not forced down paths to evil, we should figure out how to channel our sets of instincts into making evil disappear. We seem to be both conscious and capable of choice. That must be relevant potential or it would not exist.
How can we steer ourselves, together and separately, into the right and most enlightened behavioral paths?
That feels to me — and it seems to very explicitly feel to Dr. Collins and to Dr. Harris, and to Perry Marshall — like the right thing for us to do — and my own sense is that we should each get guidance for ourselves from ourselves at an internal feeling right level about doing the right thing.
Why Are We Here?
So, an extremely important question that evolves from all of that information about both science and our own patterns of behavior is: Why did God create us as people and as a species to be on this planet at this point in time?
Why are we here?
Some religions and some people believe that God created us because God was lonely.
Some religions use their version of the word Lonely to explain that motivation.
If God is conscious and if we are somehow relevantly conscious, then that argument might actually be the answer. Our consciousness as beings is often at least partially embedded with a remarkable level of intellect and learning ability level. We have figured out and clearly enjoy and even refine math and we have discerned and figured out some key parts of physics and we are learning and discovering and discerning both quantum physics and the life triggering and structuring programs embedded in DNA as we now build our own computers and our own calculation and discernment programs using both physics and quantum mechanics to do that work.
Some people believe that we are created by God because God felt that the universe was incomplete without us.
That’s clearly an egoist perspective, but there are some people who feel that what we add even at this late point in the process makes the universe more complete for God.
Some people believe that God is actually at least partly evolving in some way and that the universe is neither static or final or complete and that our own conscious existence and our own participation and thoughts and behaviors actually helps God and creation to evolve in some way.
Carl Jung actually suggested in his book, The Answer to Job, that God is going through a development process at some level and was learning to be God through that process.
Jung clearly had a fairly high level of self-confidence and ego strength to presume to go down that path. It’s a slightly scary book, actually.
We might also be needed in some ways at this point in the history of the universe for some functions in physical reality.
There actually are a number of slightly strange issues and functions in quantum physics where it takes an actual conscious discernment to determine what direction something will go, and it might be that we add value for God in some way by our conscious choices in those particular spaces.
Those interactions between our awareness and measurement and the function of other elements of creation were not expected by almost anyone venturing down those particular scientific pathways even just a couple of years ago.
Schrödinger’s famous cat might actually have a theological component or relevance that people tend to miss entirely and clearly did not suspect in setting up the question.
It’s also possible that we do function in some kind of capping off role for this stage of the development of the universe for some level of shared appreciation or positive energy levels that go beyond purely mechanical energy levels.
A lot of mystics who seem to have some level of alignment with some levels of spiritual forces and spiritual energy levels would be comfortable with us having some functional and actual role in those kinds of developments and processes.
Mystic experiences happen. Are they real? Are they relevant? Should they be supported and channeled?
Love might be relevant.
One line of theorizing says that God wanted to introduce Love into the universe, and that part of our function might be to add that component to existence.
Unfortunately, our behavior has been so unfortunate and inconsistent in that area far too often and far too long that it probably isn’t high on the list unless we somehow are part of an aspirational goal set for that particular goal and therefore need to enhance and improve our emotions and our thoughts and our performance significantly to make that be part of our defining feature and our value-add component for this part of the universe.
One of the issues that we need to understand better is how direct religious experiences that seem to be both messages from God and religious interactions can help us figure out our role and our capacity in that area.
Too many people have what seem to be profound religious experiences for us not to appreciate what opportunities might happen with those experiences for both guidance and feedback if we accept them as relevant forces in our lives.
The question that gets asked often of people who take a human-centric or a humanity weighted and centered perspective is: Why did it take so long for us to get here if that creation of us is either the point or at least one point of the process?
Time Might Not Be Relevant to God
The first and easiest answer to that question is that time might be entirely meaningless and irrelevant to God. Time is obviously extremely and directly relevant to us as physical beings who each have finite lifetimes and who live in this timeline, but there’s no reason to believe that time matters in any relevant way to God.
Time just might not be at all relevant or important to God.
The second answer to the very very long-time for people to get here question is that it all seems very sequential to us, but it might all be happening simultaneously in the Mind of God.
It could be that everything actually happens at once — and so as we evolve intellectually and experientially, we might all be getting to the point simultaneously together and the process might all be over and effectively done at one pure level because it actually all just happens as it happens.
Science might now at least partly be on our side on that issue.
We know from quantum physics and from synchronicity there, that simultaneous is an option because we can see it happening now. Linked particles change simultaneously with zero impact of either distance or time on those changes. We might have been given that example in our current learning processes about quantum mechanics as part of the guidance to us not to focus on or be concerned about the lapse of time for each of us in the process.
Some people who believe in quantum mechanics as we know it now also speculate that there are multiple universes and wonder both about our significance and the significance of this particular universe if that is true.
The Answer is Now
The answer to that issue and question is that now is key.
We are here now.
This universe is now.
We exist in the context of now.
That is more than enough for us because it is who we are and it is also where we are and it is also when are, so we really don’t need to care about anything that isn’t in our own direct now.
Now is enough.
The other question that we do sometimes think about is: “For how long?”
How long are we here?
We have very finite lives in the scope of vast periods of time.
We absolutely do each have finite lives.
Why is that true?
Some folks think that we are finite because we would probably be much less inspired to be creative and innovative as conscious beings if we knew we would live forever. Projects both expand and contract to fill the time available, and that strong tendency to fill time might help account for our mortality.
Also, part of our function and our value add to creation might be to appreciate beauty.
There is some evidence in that direction. The world is full of beautiful things for no apparent reason.
Some absolutely beautiful things take a conscious mind to perceive and appreciate them, and it’s possible that we are more likely to appreciate things when we know our own time in the world is limited.
It’s even possible that one of our roles is to create beauty and art and music — and that the beauty of music is more likely to happen if we feel that we will only be here for a relatively short time and want that time to be as good and lovely and beautiful as possible.
We are beginning to take the same computers that teach us the significance of code to make extremely lovely and powerful music.
We might consider that musical ability to be a God given gift as well — and to know that we might make different and less music if we knew we were going to live forever.
That can partially answer the question of why we have both risks to our lives and finite periods to live — if we are more creative with those constraints and if being conscious at both an intellectual and artistic level is something that God wants to happen.
So, living a finite life can be inspirational and motivational at several levels.
That line of thought leads us to religion, itself.
If we believe that God exists and if we believe, from the evidence we now have, that God literally and intentionally and deliberately created the world we live in with it being set up for us to use — how can we understand how to relate to God in our lives and our world in the time we have to do that?
Multiple religions exist to offer us multiple ways of answering that question.
Every setting on the planet where people live has had the people in that setting figure out their own group and their own collective religion. People have tribal religions, regional anchored religions, and there are also a number of broad reaching cross setting religions with a range of theological foundations and beliefs.
We should each be able to figure out an approach that feels right to us because choices exist.
We clearly don’t have a shortage of religious options.
But we do have some things for us to be concerned about as we steer ourselves into religions.
Religions tend to be full of themselves at a number of levels.
People in every religion tend to have a sense that they know the right ways of steering people to God, and that sense can be a blessing at one level and an intrusion and imposition at another.
Many people in religious settings seem to feel that they know the only right way of steering people to God.
That clearly can create issues when more than one belief system believes that it’s the only right one and decides to impose their beliefs on people rather than converting or persuading them or convincing them to be fellow believers.
We need to look at that issue and we need to recognize that we will be far better off if we require and support the belief and the practice that religion should always be completely consensual.
We need our sexual practices always to only be consensual and we need our religious alignments to be based on beliefs and conversions and choices and not impositions.
We should not force anyone to believe in God and we should support the choices that people make about their beliefs in God and about their chosen and maybe they’re even more strongly held clear and absolute nonbelief in God with absolutely no pressure of any kind to force or enforce or require any level or kind of belief.
It would be very wrong to force anyone to believe in God.
Those of us who do believe in God should know and understand that God could create belief at any time directly and having us interfere in that process in any intrusive way is just wrong.
No one should ever be forced down any path to any religious belief and no one should ever be damaged for either believing or not believing in any religion or any category or any type of belief or faith.
We should look at the issue in the most open, nonintrusive and fully open context, and we should all realize that we should each make up our own minds for not believing in God or for the explicit paths to religion and to God that we each choose, and that process should be entirely personal and direct for each of us and not an imposition at any level.
My own personal belief is that God exists and that God created both DNA and quantum physics and that it’s up to us to understand and use those gifts in the ways that we want to use them for our own individual and collective benefit.
I don’t believe that God ever wants us to damage other people and that we should absolutely all be caring, loving, inclusive people who support each other, respect each other, and who help make us do well in our communities and world.
We should start by helping every single child from every family and setting in the first weeks, months, and years of life to build the best trajectories for their lives, and I believe as a believer that we should make that commitment from every faith group to help every child.
For personal religious choices, my own personal sense is that there are multiple approaches that can each help us get to a good level of interaction with God that steers us in good and even right directions for our lives.
The Dalai Lama is also a strong believer in both science and religion, and he writes in a wonderful book on that topic that we should each look into our own sense of what is right and we should each steer ourselves to the religious channel that works best for us in our lives.
Many of us have leanings toward particular channels of faith and alignment that were created by our birth, our family, and our community — and it is my sense that many of us in our country can have those paths to religious practices as options and might continue to use them as they feel right at a personal level to us.
We tend in our country for many people to have early religious experiences in our own homes and communities that can help create some of that later steerage to our faith linkage for our own lives, and that can happen in good ways if it turns out that the path we experienced early feels right later when it is relevant to our lives.
We need to completely respect and support the choices made by people who do not believe in either religion or faith practices, and we should not have anyone put any pressure on people who make those choices.
Either we will attract support as believers by doing the right thing in right ways for the right reasons and entice people to share our beliefs because of our example, or we will do the right things for the right reasons and that will still be a benefit to our community and it will have its own value as our behaviors and our commitment to the collective good of us all.
Both approaches are good.
I do believe that many of the early religious experience paths that people are born into or introduced to at an early age can later be a gift in their own right that can give people a context to work with for their own personal pathway to Faith.
Dr. Francis Collins, Perry Marshall, George Ellis, and Nancy Murphy — all people whose books have been reviewed on this website — have all found that they chose to believe in a loving and inclusive God who has given us a rich world of gifts in all of those areas, and, probably influenced very heavily by their own early child hood personal upbringing — they each have chosen Christian denominations from their family context for their own pathways as adults.
I have done a bunch of Buddhist readings and I do find many aspects of that belief system to be compatible with my sense of the layers of the universe and of the universality of our souls. The social scientist Robert Wright, one of my long-time intellectual thought leaders, seems to have chosen Buddhism as his faith anchor and now teaches it in a university setting.
But that’s not my path.
For my own personal pathway, I find the Lutheran tradition that I learned as part of my comparative religion work done early in my life at Concordia College — with a touch of Swedenborgian commitment to community service, personal integrity and the perceived and appreciated joy of our connubial blessings — to give me comfort and the right levels of tradition, functionality, and process for my beliefs.
I find Christmas, Easter, Communion, Baptism, and The Sermon on The Mount and the related direct teachings of Jesus Christ to be ways of feeling alignment at a directly religious level for me on a regular basis and I am very comfortable with that choice for my own life.
I have had some direct religious experiences that have reinforced me in my beliefs and that have given me some peace of mind in being a believer and in sharing those beliefs. I believe that my learning opportunities in a number of levels have been extremely useful gifts for my slow learnings and they have been appreciated and, to the extent I could, often utilized.
As part of that belief grounding and from my growing sense that we have a different faith opportunity and context for all religious alignments today with the new science that we are learning, I believe we need to make this context and information and learning about those particular gifts from God available now to people of every faith and every belief system.
I believe that we should work hard to share this information about the Gifts of God in an effective and clear way with every religion.
My sense is that people from every religion should find this information about DNA and RNA being an extremely and clearly intentional gift from God to be very reinforcing and a good teaching tool and knowledge base for every belief and every faith tradition.
The Golden Rule seems to permeate every religion, and I believe that underlying ethic and belief should guide us in that area.
We should identify and share the fact in every faith tradition that we believe that we have received major Gifts from God and that we all can make that point about those gifts to reinforce belief in our faith as we support it going forward.
We need to understand both the dangers and the risks of that approach.
Too many religious organizations do evil and damaging things. All of our core inter group instincts have the strong ability to sometimes play themselves out in negative and damaging ways in the context of those organizations. The people who have been killed for being Catholic or Protestant in Northern Ireland are amplified by the number of people who are being killed for being Shia or Sunni or Kurdish in far too many countries today.
Being Muslim can get you killed in Sri Lanka and parts of China today.
I personally don’t believe that God cares who wins a football game but I do believe that we are not worshipping or honoring or even understanding God clearly or well when people are tortured and killed or oppressed and damaged because of their religion alignment.
We should decide as believers now to do everything we can to steer people and our religious organizations away from those behaviors, emotions, and the beliefs that hurting people based on their beliefs actually serves God.
We need inter group Peace — and one anchor for that Peace can be a shared sense by some people that being at Peace with each other in loving and supportive ways is what our belief in a loving God calls us to do.
George Ellis and Nancy Murphy, the authors of the Moral Compass book, each picked their personal religious alignment as Quaker linked organizations because they believe in pacifism and in the moral ethics of a loving and Peaceful God in various forms as a guiding principal for their lives and their beliefs.
They end their wonderful book with that insight.
We are in their debt.
It’s a wonderful book.
Thank you both for writing it.
Things do seem to be created in some important areas.
The scientific evidence base now seems to point heavily in the direction of highly intentional involvement in both the existence of life and key components of the physical universe around us. We absolutely do not all need to respond to that body of evidence for the existence of a creator at some level by becoming believers, but that information is so powerful that we should at least be considering our options in that area and we definitely should be respectful of the people who do make that choice.
We might each want to move now in directions that feel right to us in the context of our own ethical, moral, philosophical, and religious beliefs, leanings, experiences, and convictions — with a sense of alignment that this is clearly the right time to introduce Peace as a value and a goal into how we steer our communities of every kind and run our lives.
At the religious level, my own sense is that because those pieces of evidence point to things that are so clearly gifts to us, that we should recognize that those really beneficial and positive gifts clearly come from good motivations and from good underlying intentions and values, and we should trust where that knowledge about each of those gifts being a gift takes us in our lives.
Getting clear in our own minds relative to how we reflect and follow our sense of belief can be a very individual thing and the right thing to do together in some ways at this point in our lives.
We do not need to pray in groups, but we should do exactly that if it feels like it is the right thing to do, and we should rely on our own sense of what is right and what feels good and even holy to us from a faith perspective to guide what we each do in our own direct and indirect and shared communications with God.
Dr. Collins, Dr. Ellis, and Perry Marshall all believe that there is a moral and ethical imperative that we should each reflect in our own behaviors and beliefs, and they find their chosen church settings as the place that feels right to them in that context as a place to add value and to share their belief and commitment.
They believe in an inclusive and loving God who welcomes us all to pray and to also not damage other people in any way as we build our own communities and our own lives with that underlying set of beliefs.
It’s also entirely possible that the timing today of making us more aware of these specific sets of gifts from God — in this Covid pandemic — might have something to do with the fact that we also now have the ability to use various weapons of mass destruction to destroy us all (including horrible and deadly biological weapons), if we go down the darkest paths to inter group anger and conflict that far too many people want us to go down.
That would be horrible and wrong.
This might be a very good time for us all to get very good at creating and sustaining Peace — and for us all having a shared and reinforcing sense that God wants us to beat Peace with each other and do that work together could help us achieve those goals.
And be well.