News & Reviews
The Language of God by Dr. Francis Collins Uses the Belief System of a Scientist to Support the Existence of God
September 16, 2019
Dr. Francis Collins is one of the most famous and well-respected scientists in the world for his role as head of The Human Genome Project and his subsequent service as the Director of the National Institutes of Health, for the past decade.
He is serving as the Director of the National Institute of Health today.
Very few people in the world have more impressive credentials as a scientist and a thinker. He was a key leader of the group that actually presented the entire human genome with its millions of component parts to the world, and the world of science was enhanced in important ways as the result of that project and that work.
Dr. Collins has written hundreds of scientific papers and several books relating to his work.
He also wrote a book called The Language of God that goes beyond science and directly addresses religion.
Most scientists do not write about religion.
Dr. Collins not only wrote about religion — he wrote about his own personal religious beliefs and he said that he is very definitely and clearly a believing Christian.
Dr. Collins explains clearly in The Language of God that he is a devout Christian. He wrote that he personally believes that an understanding of science at the most complex levels both reinforces and affirms his personal belief in a loving and involved God as the underlying and entirely intentional creator for all components of the universe.
He could not be more clear in his belief in God and in God’s role in the world.
Some people believe that understanding science steers people away from religious belief. Dr. Collins goes down the exact opposite path and states clearly that he believes that his deep and constantly growing understanding of science reinforces his belief in God and persuades him that Creation needed a Creator — instead of pointing him away from a Divine source for the universe.
He writes that he finds many proof points in science that he believes point with consistency to the probable existence of an underlying functional creation agenda and that also point in consistent ways to a planned and intentional approach to the universe.
He uses mathematics to reinforce his belief.
The Language of God has rich veins of data about the mathematics of creation and the various interlocking components of the universe. He writes about the mathematical improbability of spontaneous creation for both physical and biological realities.
It’s good to get the Language of God book to read those points.
Collins argues that there are too many wonderful and aligned proof points that the universe was created with Humans in mind for him to believe that it was an accidental or circumstantial or serendipitous process that created either those results or human beings as part of that universe.
He cites what he believes to be the extreme improbability of all of those pieces of creation flowing together in the direction they have clearly flowed without an underlying intent and guidance for the overall process.
Some of the elements of evolutionary and biological creation end up with parts and pieces that are so beautiful and eccentric, and so right for their settings that a believer in intentional creation could even suspect both a sense of humor and an appreciation of beauty as part of the design process.
The book has a number of data points that reinforce his belief about the mathematical improbability of all of the things that comprise creation fitting together so well in so many fascinating and intricate ways if the pieces and species are all based entirely on classic Darwinism with a mixture of “survival of the fittest “screening process for everything and with actual purely random mutations for each species functionally creating all of those interactions that affect survival for each species.
He is not anti-evolution in his approach. He believes in a combination of evolutionary processes and intentional design as the context for the world we live in and he believes that God created the evolutionary parts and functions as part of the design process.
That book came at a very good time in my life for thinking about that topic.
I also have some to believe that there must be some intentional design elements involved in the creation process for a number of reasons. Pure, perfect, and ideologically rigid and absolute Darwinism has seemed problematic to me on a couple of levels for a while.
In my own life, I have had a number of experiences that have situationally caused me to have a sense that creation and key design elements of the world we live in are not entirely circumstantially created — in the purest Darwinian sense of that word and paradigm.
I believe that we are supposed to learn, and that we should incorporate learning opportunities into our lives when they become available to us.
My day job gave me some practical experiences that have reinforced that belief and concern about classic Darwinian theory and processes.
I am a long-time believer, practitioner, and almost obsessive advocate for continuous improvement engineering approaches. I have worked very directly with those processes in a number of real-world health care settings. I love that continuous improvement tool kit. It can do almost magical things when we put it to good use.
We managed to reduce the death rate from sepsis in our three dozen hospitals from more than 20 percent of the patients in many of our hospitals to under two percent in the full system of three dozen hospitals in less than three years.
We also cut the pressure ulcer rates in our patients from over fifteen percent of the patients to under one percent in most of our hospitals.
The book KP Inside describes some of those processes and approaches and explains what we did to achieve those outcomes.
It was an extremely intentional process.
We started that improvement in death rates and disease levels in large part by carefully identifying best science and best practices in both our system and elsewhere and then rolling the best practices out from the first hospital sites to all of our hospitals in systematic ways.
We changed beddings and dressings and medications and processes, and then measured the results, and then changed them again and again to make them continuously better.
Just like basic Darwinian biological evolution processes that have actual survival as a key component, a primary goal of continuous improvement in our hospitals was to increase the survival levels and reduce the death rates for our patients.
Being systematic and intentional was essential to our success.
That is a key point to understand.
If we had relied on each hospital spontaneously inventing and developing their own best practices for either of those diseases, then the likelihood of our entire system achieving those optimal care goals would have been zero and the likelihood of any given site achieving either one of those success levels would have been extremely low.
We know that extremely low probability to be true, because our own hospitals had their own much higher rates for both death and disease for those conditions before we began to engineer that process — and because we also know absolutely that other hospitals in this country who do not do continuous improvement engineering for those diseases have much higher rates of both deaths and disease in their hospitals today.
The natural state of performance in those areas in American hospitals is not good at all. Unless they do intentional things in intentional ways, their performance will not improve.
I mention that fairly mundane and highly functional experience here relative to Dr. Collins book to explain that I have personally worked with complex multi-level and multi-layer processes and I know how extremely difficult that work is to do and I know that those best practices do not happen and would not happen in our care sites if we had relied on the functional equivalent of random mutations that are structurally a key and core component and ingredient for the standard set of basic Darwinian processes to make those changes for our hospitals.
My practical experience has guided my thinking hugely about what it takes to enhance and change a situation in a functional setting.
Being a practitioner of continuous improvement processes and knowing how hard they actually are to roll out in the real world creates a great appreciation for me personally about how difficult it would be for natural selection processes to develop a butterfly wing that closely resembles and visually mimics a flower that grows in a particular location where the butterfly lives.
The existence of massive variation in a number of organisms in very specific ways and very intricate designs in an almost infinite number of settings argues against all of that variation happening simply based on “survival of the fittest” processes and random mutations for each species that are perceived and believed to be the core tool of the pure Darwinism approach to the design and existence of life forms and the creation of species.
I had some direct suspicion about that particular challenge to that classic Darwinian theory for years. I once asked a couple of highly mathematical family members to compute the likelihood that pure random mutation could come up with each of those species as they now exist. The scholars in my family turned me down on doing the actual numbers but agreed that the math pointed toward improbable levels of development for any given point of significant biological change in random ways resulting in each of those species in either independent or related settings.
Then, with that macro mathematical concern about the ability of random mutation and natural selection processes functionally changing a species as a blended process already in mind, running a hospital system and actually designing and implementing complex and fully interactive design and selection processes in functional care delivery settings very directly reinforced and increased my growing doubts about the ability of pure natural selection and random mutations to give us the inter locking variations in life forms we see all around us in the world we live in.
For our care system, we only managed to have every hospital in our system actually using the best practices for sepsis survival by mandating that the information be both shared with everyone relevant to that process in every site and then be used in consistent and continuously improving ways by every site.
It required intentionality in the world I worked in to create that better outcome that saved all those lives and reduced all of that damage to patients in those care delivery sites.
Hospital quality improvement is a much smaller perspective issue than the creation of a new species in a biological setting — but that experience continued to point me toward a sense of growing disbelief for classic and doctrine pure Darwinian explanations of how everything has been created in the world of organisms and species.
The world we live in looks very intentional to me and to Dr. Collins, and the processes that change species seem to be part of that intentionality rather than independent and random outcomes from blended events and processes.
I personally believe that there has to be some level of intentionality in the world we live in to create all of those relationships and interactions — down to the level of atomic particles, physics, and both macro and micro biology — to actually explain what we have around us in our Universe.
Quantum physics now have some ingredients that also feel like there are some higher and invisible forces shaping and affecting our cosmic interactions and processes. I have had a chance to talk to some quantum scientists on that point. Some of the new quantum findings have internal connections that are hard to comprehend and possibly impossible to understand using any of our old beliefs and paradigms about the nature and composition of our physical world.
It is hard to look at some aspects of quantum physics without having a clear sense that we clearly do not understand some important and relevant elements of the connectivity levels in the Universe we live in.
Dr. Collins and I are not alone in looking at those issues from the perspective of believing that we need to improve some of our old theories about some key elements of our biological reality.
A number of solid and intellectually objective people in our country have recently been challenging some aspects of the Darwinian paradigm in ways that were not happening just a few years ago. The believers in Darwinism are not used to having that theory challenged by science or mathematics.
The debate about Darwin used to be entirely religious. That is evolving in a very good and important way.
We now have some pure mathematical thinking that supports a level of intellectual suspicion, concern and belief about the likelihood of purely Darwinian forces and factors being functionally capable of achieving and building the universe of living things we see around us.
The paradigm outlined in “The Origin of Species” is a good place for us to think about those issues and processes.
The actual origin of species in the real world is actually a good process to look at from a mathematical perspective because the pure and doctrine based Darwinian theory that is outlined and partially codified in Darwin’s wonderful and well written book involves a number of actual real-world functional interactions that can be counted or at least estimated for several parts of the process.
What are the mathematical realities involved in a species being created? That is a legitimate question to ask, and it also is a possible question to provide at least a contextual answer.
We need to understand how many moving parts are involved in each species.
One research mathematician estimated that the likelihood that pure “survival of the fittest” processes, and the likelihood that random and pure periodic and sporadic biological mutations could somehow functionally align and combine to create an entirely new species that by definition and measurement involves multiple DNA strands of usable, well-shaped, and highly intentional protein configurations all at the same time to create the new species is about one in ten to the seventy fourth power of probability.
That math may or not be accurate, but even more conservative estimates looking at the probability math reality for any species spontaneously building multiple complex protein strands of DNA and then testing each strand for survivability only through Darwinian survival-based selection mechanisms at a volume needed to actually create a new species is lower than the likelihood of winning a lottery.
People do win lotteries, but those winners represent a very small portion of our population — and the number of species that exist on earth today might be a million species.
That basic mathematics reality needs to be recognized and understood in evaluating what we believe about the biological world we are in. If we are committed to absolute intellectual honesty and to doing functional mathematical reviews of the world around us, then we owe it to ourselves to look at and think about the numbers.
Having something that requires one-in-ten to the seventy-fourth power process happening a million times is a very low likelihood. And the odds are even greater when we look at an amazing array of relationships — like species of ants that can only survive on particular species of trees — and the mathematical and functional reality is that those huge odds would have to happen multiple times for both the ants and the trees to happen.
Those levels of probability are resolved if we assume intentional design elements that link all of the connected and situationally relevant species and cause them to be perfect fits for one another in each setting where they exist.
Without intentional design at some level, the pure mathematics point toward extreme improbability for all of those settings.
Dr. Collins points out, as a DNA focused scientist, that his understanding of both the probability tables and the component parts of the universe that he can see, points science more in the direction of both our basic math and our physical science functionally proving that God exists rather than having science functionally disproving the existence of God.
That math about the creation of just one new species reinforces Dr. Collins’s clearly stated contention in his Language of God book that his review of the science and of the math is that his personal review points both to the existence of a Creator and to a Creator who actually had humans in mind as a key beneficiary and even reason for the entire process.
Dr. Collins, as a Christian, believes that we exist as people for a reason — and that the universe we are in gives us a highly intentional context for achieving our reason to exist.
He believes that he exists to both understand things and to achieve things, and he writes that role is an important personal guide to his own life.
I happen to share elements of that belief about our role and reason to exist.
But even if we do not accept the belief that we humans were included in the process in intentional and positive ways and that we are just circumstantial and situational consequences of the overall processes, the math and the functionality both point toward some underlying design elements that have clearly intentional components and my own belief is that we should all try to figure out what that overall process and reality means for each of our lives.
Some people challenge the intentionality goal and component of the process by pointing to the very long timeframes that we believe have existed for the universe — and ask why it took billions of years for Us to exist as humans if a key component point of the whole process was to create a universe that was a good fit for us.
If the point was us, why did that piece of the process take so long?
That’s a good question, with a couple of possible and intellectually credible answers.
One answer to that question about why it took so long might be that time is a perception and it is entirely possible that those billions of years actually happened simultaneously and the perceived time frames were actually functionally irrelevant.
Our perception of time might not be relevant to actual time.
Another answer might be that God is entirely above time and in no hurry.
Another answer might be that God does things in sequence for a reason, and the reason for the times frames and process might be that the entire sequence is, in itself, part of the achievement.
We don’t need to wrestle with the Time issue. Time is obviously currently including us. We live now. Now is the time for us.
We need to understand what we can and should actually do now relative to both the universe and the immediate world we live in.
I share Dr. Collin’s sense that we exist as humans and as people in an intentional way as part of that overall process of creation and I believe that we people have a role to play in existence that is a worthwhile, meaningful and even good role for us to play.
Carl Jung once wrote a fascinating book suggesting that God is evolving through our existence. The Answer to Job is a fascinating and once terrifying book. I don’t believe Jung was right, but I understand why he wrote the book and it jarred me when I first read it.
I also enjoyed the incredible ego of a man who decided to psychoanalyze God.
Dr. Collins believes that our lives do have purpose — and that part of that purpose is to help one another and to continuously improve as people both individually and collectively in ethical and enlightened ways.
I share the belief that we should each and all be doing things as people to make life better for other people as part of our own reason for existing.
I also believe that Dr. Collins is right, and that we are supposed to individually and collectively learn. And that we have minds to use to both learn and to create tools to help us learn.
That particular issue of learning tools faces us at a very special and unique time in our history.
Our minds allow us to build boats that can take us on water and to build airplanes that take us into the air and to build computers that take us into calculations and thoughts that will let us achieve major levels of discernment about the universe and ourselves.
Artificial intelligence now exists in computers.
Artificial intelligence done by computers is a tool just like airplanes and boats — a mechanism for us to travel intellectually to new places with the goal of understanding important things about us and about everything around us that we can only understand with that tool.
If we are here as people to discern and to learn, that tool will clearly help us achieve both goals — and we need to use it well with that goal in mind.
Believing that the universe was all created for us is a clearly religious belief that is extremely and unashamedly self-centered for Humans at a foundational level. It feeds on both our paradigm building instincts and our survival instincts in obvious ways.
Dr. Collins seems to lean in that direction in his book. He states that we are part of a wonderful, intricate, amazing, constantly delighting inter related universe and he believes that we can and should use science to understand how that universe works and how to use it for our own purposes. He does not mention artificial intelligence, but my own sense is that he would find it to be acceptable as part of that agenda.
Dr. Collins does believe that we should help each other and support each other in our time of need when need happens as a consequence of our overall belief in our sacred role as people included in creation.
Personally, as a Christian who is steered very directly by the explicit teaching of Jesus Christ, I believe strongly in stewardship at multiple levels as part of our accountability and role, and I believe we should each help to make life better for the other people we share this planet and existence with.
Choosing a religion is an interesting and challenging process.
The InterGroup books talk about instinctive inter group behaviors — and it is an extremely sad truth that far too many groups do evil and damaging things to other people and do it in the name of their religion.
Cusp of Chaos talks about the Shia and Sunni and Kurd wars, and about the damage that was done to millions of people in India and Pakistan in the name of religious alignments, and about the more than one hundred current inter ethnic wars that are happening on our planet today.
We humans have powerful tribal instincts — and the InterGroup books explain how we damage other people with no guilt in many intertribal settings. That is particularly sad when the people doing that damage invoke God as a reason for their evil deeds.
So even though I believe in both intentional design and God, I recognize that religion can be used for both good and evil — and I believe we need to channel religion to doing good things and not damaging each other.
We each need to steer our own religious group to more enlightened behaviors on those issues.
I am a Christian with direct beliefs that listen to and try to follow the direct teaching of Jesus Christ as described in the Bible because I believe that we have been given that stream of teaching in intentional ways — and that the fact that it feels very right to me personally at a deep personal and ethical level is enough for me to accept it as a gift from God.
I do not fault or challenge any other religious choice. I hope that everyone can find a path to a belief system that works for each person. My belief on that point is that we each are born into a context and we should each figure out a religious belief that works for our setting and our context that leads us to do the right things for all of the other people and groups of people in our world.
I also believe for all of the people who do not find a religious context for their lives, that we agree on a humanist context that supports enlightened and caring values, beliefs and behaviors and that we should live accordingly with full respect both for other people and groups of people in our world.
We do not need everyone to have the same religious belief. But we do want everyone to have similar and enlightened inter group and inter personal behaviors that have positive values at their core.
I personally have also read a lot of Buddhist materials and books and I find several aspects of the Buddhist context both inspirational and enlightening. I am a Christian, rather than a Buddhist, but I find many aspects of that set of beliefs to be positive and beneficial.
I personally do not think that the Christ I perceive from the Bible I read would find my thoughts in those areas to be anything other than supportive of my own core beliefs.
Religion is a fascinating topic.
This is actually the very first time that I have mentioned any thoughts about religion or purpose in the InterGroup Understanding books or website.
Religion is actually not entirely a new topic for the Institute for InterGroup Understanding thinking or theory. Nor is a clear belief at a religious level in the processes we see around us.
Earlier and unpublished versions of the InterGroup Institute books about the impact of instincts on human behavior said that it was entirely possible to believe in both divine involvement and functional science.
Those early efforts written in the early 1990s discussed the fact that some people in some religious settings and some religious traditions do not believe that evolution exists at any level and those early drafts discussed the fact that some people with some religious affiliations believe that we need to believe in either evolution or in God — but that we cannot and should not believe in both.
I disagreed then with that conclusion then and I continue to disagree with it today.
What I wrote in those early book drafts on that point was that I personally believed that God not only could use evolution as a tool, but clearly had done so. That particular issue, I said, was already settled by God.
The evidence for some aspects of evolution having an impact on our world is extremely clear. If you believe that God created the universe, then you have to believe that those evolutionary realities and processes were created by God because they are obviously included in the universe.
I was a bit judgmental and inappropriately even a bit snarky about people who did not believe that God could use evolution as a tool, and I wrote in those early drafts that anyone who challenged the ability of God to use whatever tools God preferred to use in any sense clearly had an almost insulting and demeaning and inappropriately limited view of the power limitations and capacity of God that made no sense to me in my own view of the world.
That combination of beliefs from that set of people about evolution being impossible implied at an intellectual level that those people believed in a very limited God, and I wrote that my own faith and my own personal belief system at that point in time included the belief that God could use any tools that God wanted and chose to use.
I believed that my role in the process should be to help figure out, discern, and learn what those tools were, rather than to deny God the choice of having used them.
A learning process ensued.
I believe that discernment, learning and intellectual growth is a kind of gift and blessing. I believe strongly that we should aspire to build a better world for each other by figuring out the best available tools we have for doing exactly that and then using those tools in intentional and skilled ways to achieve those goals.
I have my own personal belief in Jesus Christ because I was raised in a Lutheran religious tradition, and that obviously gave me a heavy leaning in that direction.
Being a Lutheran also gave me an interesting pattern of accepting that we can be both saints and sinners and be the same person. Martin Luther was a rebel, and that was encouraging to my thinking in the earliest days of thinking about religion because that history of one of our leaders being a rebel made it acceptable for me to challenge beliefs without being a non-believer.
As Lutherans, we studied the Bible extensively. Lutherans are a Bible based set of people, and we were encouraged in my branch of that faith to both know the Bible and to challenge our own interpretation of it.
Later, in attending a lovely Lutheran College, Concordia, I studied comparative religions and found that study of other religions to be both affirming and enlightening. Concordia advocated Christianity but did it in a way that welcomed and accepted other religions as possible paths to God.
I have read extensively about other religions since that time — with a particular focus on Buddhism.
I subscribe to Buddhist magazines and have a number of Buddha statues in my homes.
Having the statues in my homes and settings even though I am not personally a Buddhist by belief has been reinforced by one Buddhist theologian who wrote that each Buddha statue was a prayer in itself to the oneness of the universe, and who said that we did not need to be Buddhist to have those statues if we were extremely respectful of each statue and if we honored that belief.
Like all religions, there are other people in that religion who probably do not share that particular piece of that theology, but I found it useful for my life and I have found the presence of those statues to be calming, grounding, peaceful, and affirming of my belief that the universe is a package and we are all part of it.
So I am Christian by belief, like Dr. Collins, and I also fully accept and encourage the faith traditions of other people. I have developed a high level of personal comfort and internal credibility for accepting Christianity as the way that I can understand my own role in the religious process, and figure out my own role and responsibility for my life.
I am not a literalist.
As a Lutheran student of the Bible, I have believed for a long time some sections of the Bible are useful, in a generic way, but my belief has long been that the entire book was given to us to be a learning opportunity and not to be literally taken for every piece and part.
An early Minister advisor to me on the issue of whether the first part of the Bible was perfectly literal or actually directional pointed out to me that being perfectly and rigidly literal would not have provided spouses for the sons of Adam and Eve without incest being involved.
I found directional interpretation to be more useful.
As a student of instinctive behavior, I have found multiple sections of theBible that reinforce and illustrate clear patterns of instinctive behavior — with some of the tribalism described in those stories clearly showing that we fall into Us-Them patterns of behavior at multiple levels and have done that for a very long time.
I actually own a Canaanite spear point that I bought in Jerusalem from an antique store there to remind me of how long people of various groups have been fighting over that particular territory and turf.
I am Christian today because I believe that the teachings of Christ are the single most important messages of the Bible for me and I believe that there is a great wealth of values, moral beliefs, and intended behaviors that are easily discernable in those direct teachings from Christ that steer my own thoughts and values at multiple levels today.
So I believed that we could accept an understanding of both evolution and developmental science as a tool kit used by God when I wrote the first drafts of the InterGroup books, based on my knowledge, beliefs, and faith levels at that point in my life and I continue to hold that belief.
I now also believe that we live in a world with clear and intentional overall design and that some of those interactions between what exists that seemed to be created by evolution three decades ago are probably the result of a more intentional process and exist in part because that process has steered them to that reality.
The teachings of Christ still point me toward my own faith and beliefs, and I am entirely comfortable today to follow Dr. Collin’s lead in both acknowledging that belief and approaching the intellectual challenges and opportunities of the universe in that intentional design context.
I do deeply appreciate his book, The Language of God.
I did not discover that book on my own.
It was a gift.
A good friend who is a friend of Dr. Collins gave me this wonderful and articulate book.
That book put the entire area of thoughts and beliefs back into my working context for thinking and communications.
After reading it, I came to believe that I should follow Dr. Collins lead and I should share my own beliefs about the topic rather than continuing to exclude it from my work and communications.
I decided to open the topic of religious belief for the Institute — and to do it in a useful context by writing about Dr. Collins book and his beliefs on those topics and issues and then extend the book review into a discussion of my own beliefs.
I decided to write a book review of his book on The Language of God and then run that review on the InterGroup website to help create context on the website for those topics and issues.
Thank you, Dr. Collins, for giving me that context, inspiration, and opportunity.
I really love the book.
I like his sense of a higher calling and purpose for us all.
I like the fact that Dr. Collins believes that we humans, at our finest levels, can both be self-aware and intelligent, and I like the fact that he believes that we can and should both grow intellectually and morally in the process.
I very much like his belief that we should each exhibit higher levels of Moral Guidance that can tie us to God in our behaviors and beliefs, and that growing and acting along those pathways should be part of our lives and our commitment to the world and to each other.
His origin theory is clear.
He believes that God created people to have one other element of the universe other than God that had self-awareness, and an intellectual sense of itself and of the world around us.
Dr. Collins, as the genius scientific leader who guided our national DNA project to a successful result, believes we humans are intellectually special and that we are uniquely empowered and enabled to do scientific things, and he believes that that the science that we do helps us understand and discern how creation functions and why it exists.
Awareness is key and central to his belief system.
He believes that only God and Us are truly aware.
He believes that no other part of the universe has that level of intellectual self-awareness that we do and that no other part of the universe has either the ability or the need to think about the purpose and the meaning of anything at all other than to do things that fit the instinctive or chemical and biological roles built into each living thing.
Collins is deservedly an icon in the scientific world for his extremely important work on DNA. He believes that his ability to do that work as a learning process at a purely intellectual level to understand what he calls The Language of God fits into our role of figuring out how to create the best pathways for each of us in our interactions with the universe and each other.
The cover of his book has DNA as prayer beads. Beautiful image.
Some religions and belief systems do believe and state that God created people because God was lonely and wanted some other element of the universe to also be self-aware. He is not alone in that belief.
I have been looking at multiple religions for decades since my very first classes on comparative religion at Concordia College, and I know that theme of God not wanting to be alone in the universe is part of the foundational beliefs of several religious approaches. Dr. Collins seems to explicate a parallel belief and he points out in his book that the relevant processes of evolution have both formed and limited our self-awareness as people in a way that gives us both a unique role in the universe and an obligation as a result of that unique role.
That belief is a good fit for the work about instance driven inter group interactions and inter personal interactions that The Institute for InterGroup Understanding is trying to do.
The Institute for InterGroup Understanding paradigm describes how we all interact with one another in all of our settings in a constant context of our core instincts for both emotions and thoughts — and that our own self-awareness, thought processes, and basic sets of emotions have deep roots in our core packages of instincts. The Institute package of books explain that process and suggest ways of dealing with those issues and opportunities that can allow us to live both in inter group Peace and in a context of enlightened behaviors and beliefs.
Primal Pathways explains the dozen key sets of instincts that we all have that guide many of our inter group and inter personal behaviors and explains how to use our intellect to steer our instincts into enlightened behaviors.
The patterns of instinctive influence are obvious when we look at those behaviors.
Some sets of our own packages of instincts clearly have their equivalent functions and impacts on a number of other species on the planet. Our maternal instincts look very much like the instincts of multiple other sets of mammals and primates in the love and attachment that mothers have with their children and that children have with their mothers.
Likewise, when we study the behaviors of a number of other species, we clearly see instincts creating hierarchies; territorial possession and dominance; alpha, beta, and theta instincts; pecking orders; sexual attractions; family alignments; and emotions that include love, anger, jealousy, loyalty, traitor rejection, and various levels of consistent and predictable inter group interactions and behaviors.
Discernment and enlightenment can result from that understanding. All of those instincts can help us figure out who we are, what we are doing, and how to be the very best version of who we can be — given the situations and settings we are all in.
Like Dr. Collins, I believe we have a higher calling as people, and that we should very clearly interact with one another in loving, caring, respectful, supportive, and fully informed ways to create both inter personal and inter group support and Peace.
The Institute for InterGroup Understanding bookThe Art of InterGroup Peace outlines both those beliefs and those group interaction and alignment processes at what is intended to be a useful level for creating inter group Peace in any setting.
I do not know if we can achieve the level of enlightenment that Dr. Collins calls for as an entire planet, but I believe strongly that we Americans need to achieve that level of enlightenment as a country — or we will have a future for our children and grandchildren that will be horrible; where evil will manifest itself in their lives at far too many levels.
The books on InterGroup Understanding explain that we all have the ability to be saints and we all have the ability to be evil, and that both sets of behaviors feel all too right to people when they are the activating sets of values in each of our heads.
The choice is ours.
We should choose saint.
We should choose enlightenment.
We should choose collective caring and protection and support, and we should aspire to and create both individual and group wellbeing.
Peace in Our Time outlines what some of those inter group interactions can look like in real settings.
Religion obviously does not need to be part of that paradigm in order for people to understand instinctive behaviors.
It is entirely possible to share those beliefs about our instinctive emotions, thoughts, values, and behaviors with one another and with us all as a country — with absolutely no sense of God being part of the process.
I believe that there are other schools of both religious thought and non-religious thought that can also easily accept the basic instinctivism beliefs into their approaches to achieving their goals and the objectives.
I invite everyone to look at our instinctive behaviors and at the possibility we have of making enlightened value decisions, and to choose enlightenment over the slippery slope to tribalism and inter group conflict, whether or not you believe that God exists or is relevant to the process.
For those who have a religious belief of any kind, I encourage inclusion of this thinking and these values about positive and caring interactions with other people from all groups in that belief.
We have seen far too many settings in the world where our very powerful tribal instincts align with group belief systems and with religious group beliefs and identities to create evil and highly damaging inter group behaviors where each group doing evil says their religion wants that to happen.
Sri Lanka and parts of Syria, even Northern Ireland and more than a hundred other inter group settings all give us examples of how much damage can be done when people hate other tribes and use their religion as one reason for the hatred.
I do not believe that God takes sides in sporting events, and I really do not believe that God is pleased with what is happening in Chechnya or Sri Lanka along religious lines. We can rise above those beliefs and behaviors and we should help other people do that as well because the damage done when we don’t do that can be so extensive and bad.
I believe that we have now been given insights into our instinctive behaviors to stop those evil behaviors from happening in all of those settings when people recognize that the behaviors are instinctive and not actual inherent evil by the other group. The InterGroup books and website help share that insight.
We need to start with our own country and we need to build a model for the world for inter group interactions that fit and satisfy our very best instinctive behavior patterns rather than being led down the slippery slope into behaviors that fit and satisfy our worst instincts in our cities and settings.
The choice is ours.
Dr. Collins’s book encourages us to make the right choice and he reinforces his encouragement with a belief in God that points to enlightenment rather than to damage, division and despair.
It is a very good book.
In my own personal set of beliefs — I believe thatJesus Christ calls for us to love one another and to accept one another and to come to each other’s aid in loving and supportive ways — and the world we live in today makes those directions very much the right thing to guide our lives and that we should avoid the slippery slopes to inter group evil and conflict by doing the right thing for the right reasons for people in every setting.
Dr. Collins and his book, The Language of God, would argue that it is what we are here to do.
I believe he is right.
It’s worth doing because the alternatives are so damaging and grim and our children and grandchildren will have ugly and damaged lives if we do not get some key things right now.
That’s why we need a Peace Movement now.