George D. O'Clock, PhD
SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Religion and Spirituality
Welcome to my web site. The various pages that follow go into more detail with respect to some thoughts on spirituality and religion, biomedicine and Native American culture. They can be accessed by clicking on the the rectangular page selectors at the left. The ideas expressed in this web site are not all my own. But they have been "massaged" and enhanced by my research, experiences and imagination.
Throughout this web site, I ask quite a few questions and do not answer many of the questions directly. Some of the answers are in the books I have written (shown below).
When you read the material in this web site, keep in mind that what I think or how I feel is not the primary concern. The most important consideration is what you think and how you feel. Hopefully, the following material, viewpoints and thoughts expressed will give you the benefit of some additional information, a different perspective or possibly a new and interesting way of thinking and questioning. The basic theme that guides this entire web site involves asking questions, seeking, thinking and finding. As long as we continue to question, continue to seek, continue to think, engage in discovery, avoid denial and continue to value each other; we will be able to maintain our integrity, nourish our intellectual curiosity and protect the noble ideals and ideas that make us human and humane.
SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Religion and Spirituality
Henrich et al. (Science, Vol. 327, pp. 1480-1484, 2010) state that the emergence of religious systems increases with greater social size and complexity. The authors make a number of statements indicating that participation in a world religion is associated with fairness. Many would take issue with that conclusion by citing the horrors associated with the 3,500 year old allegedly God ordained Holocaust by the Israelites on the Seven Nations, the Hindu Holocaust imposed by invading Muslim armies, the wholesale slaughter of the Cathars ordered by papal decree, the various Christian Crusades, St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, Thirty Years War, the Inquisition, the apparent use of Vatican resources to funnel weapons to Catholic countries, hiding of pedophile priests, etc.
Many of academic and scientific papers dealing with the influence of organized religion on community norms, fairness, punishment and market interactions tend to treat religion in a soft manner or in a very favorable light. These kinds of academic research efforts tend to ignore the continuing occurrences and impacts of various holocausts, religious warfare and well known factors associated with religious institutional corruption (described very clearly in Matthew 23). Therefore, let's ask a few smple and "pointed" questions about religion and religious beliefs.
Why are there so many conflicts between religion and spirituality? From a scientific viewpoint, how mighty is God Almighty? Compare the answer that may have been given to that question in 70 A.D. vs. the answer that would be given today. Are the Bible and Koran immune from corruption and change? With respect to science and religion, where does God receive more disrespect? What are the origins of the traditions in Judaism and Christianity? Do the Pagan religious traditions and the Sumerian belief system provide any clues? Abraham was a - - - Shemite? - - - Hebrew? - - - Israelite? - - - Jew? - - - None of the above? - - - Some of the above? - - - All of the above? According to the Bible and the Catholic Encyclopedia who was the first leader for the followers of the Christ?
Jesus had a last name. What was His last name? (As we know, it was not "Christ." In fact, referring to Him as Jesus Christ is not rigorously correct. There is one little word that is missing.) Let's take this a little further. What was His first name? Some would say, "Jesus." Well, not quite - - -. According to Scripture; who is the one who took charge of the Gentile church? Was it St. James, St. Paul, St. Peter - - - someone else?
The Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium (Light of the Nations), in Chapter IIa part 12, refers to a group of people and states that when anointed by the Holy Spirit, they "cannot be mistaken in belief." Who are those people? (You might want to sit down before you read the answer to that question).
In Matthew 22: 3 Jesus states clearly; ""Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." For Islam; in Imam An-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths, Hadith 13 states, "None of you [truely] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." For Judaism, the Torah recommends the same. Leviticus 19:18 states, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Again in the Torah, in Deuteronomy 10: 17, we read, "- - - the great God Almighty, who has no favorites - - - so you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves." And in the Talmud, Shabbat 31a states, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." Why does organized religion have such problems with loving their neighbor when their own foundations and concepts of Divine Design and a loving God call for and demonstrate the strategic importance of that kind of love? Why do the organized religions avoid and reject all normal and constructive forms of love?
Why do the organized religions behave more like political entities? Based on His attitudes and teachings, could Jesus endorse or have anything to do with organized Christianity?
Questions like these, and the issues associated with them, were the inspiration and motivation for my efforts in writing two books (a short version of 117 pages, and a longer version of 312 pages) that address religion and spirituality.
The pages that follow discuss a number of books, including three that I have published. In the area of religion and spirituality, my most recent book is titled Isaiah's Leper, A Spiritual Odyssey (with a fish symbol on the cover). This book was published by iUniverse in 2008 and is a much more extensive and better balanced version of an iUniverse book I published in 2005 under
the title, Isaiah's Leper (shown below).
Both books are available from iUniverse, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, etc. The 2005 version is shorter (13 chapters and 117 pages) compared with the 2008 version (24 chapters and 311 pages). All of the material from the 2005 book has been incorporated into the 2008 book. Essentially, the 2005 book provides a good summary or overview. However, Isaiah's Leper, A Spiritual Odyssey provides much more information and balance. It goes deeper into a number of historical and political perspectives. Also, it gives a much better view of the areas where spirituality and science meet and how they can support and complement one another.
There is an interesting August 6, 2010 column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune written by Leonard Pitts, Jr. of the Miami Herald. Pitts wrote about the author Anne Rice's statement, "Today, I quit being a Christian." Rice is "still committed to the Christ as always," but she no longer wants to belong to "this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious and deservedly infamous group." Pitts states that "Organized religion, Christianity in particular, is on the decline, and it has no one to blame but itself. It traded moral authority for political power." I would modify that statement a bit by saying, "Organized religion has always been its own worst enemy. Christianity is a great marketing tool for atheism and has become everything that is anti-Christ. And in line with its Roman traditions and organization; it discarded spirituality, morals, tolerance and credibility in its quest for political power and economic gain."
In the May 28, 2010 issue of the National Catholic Reporter, Tom Gallagher's column quotes some statistics from the 2009 Trinity College (Hartford, CN) survey. The survey shows that 64% of US Catholics do not attend Mass on a weekly basis. And the fastest growing segment of people in the US who profess a belief in God are the "Nones," who state they are spiritual but practice no formal religion. This group involves 34 million US citizens of which 35% indicate that they are former Catholics. The column describes the efforts of the Roman Catholic religious (nuns, clergy, hierarchy) to find ways to provide "spiritual direction," induce a "Seek and Find" approach, provide challenge and promote change in the lives of struggling Catholics. This would be an excellent pathway to provide in a belief system that has healthy spiritual connections and capabilities. However, the Roman Catholic Church is powerless in any attempt to provide spiritual direction for its followers due to the fact that the institutional Roman Catholic Church is not spiritual, has never been spiritual, was not founded on a healthy spirituality, and is not (itself) spiritually directed. The Roman Church can provide its own brand of exclusionary religious direction, but there is very little of the Christ directed tolerance and spirituality that would provide a balance for a religion that is essentially a Roman Empire driven and derived political remnant.
The June 7, 2010 issue of Time magazine had an article in the Religion section entitled, "The Trial of Benedict XVI," by Jeff Israely and Howard Chua-Eoan. As I read the article, the rather significant separation between religion and spirituality within the institutional Roman Catholic Church was very clear. But the last paragraph of that article was a "stunner" for me. I could write about it. But if you decide to get that particular issue of Time, I don't want to spoil the message and meaning of the last paragraph for you. Get a copy of the June 7, 2010 issue of Time. Read the entire article that starts on page 36, and be prepared for an interesting final paragraph.
As we consider various questions related to religion; let's ask a few pointed questions about another kind of religion - - - the field of medicine. What happened in the late 1800's and early 1900's when medicine de-emphasized physics and concentrated more on chemistry? What category of proven scientific knowledge is missing in most cell biology and physiology books with respect to the formative, growth, metabolic, regulatory and healing properties of the human body?
Based on a 2,500 kcal carbohydrate intake per day, the human body dissipates approximately 121 Watts while we are awake and 90 Watts while we are sleeping. What is the molecular source of that dissipated power? What would happen if our bodies became much more efficient and we were able to dissipate just one half of that power?
We are aware of electrical voltages and currents associated with the heart and nervous system. With respect to molecules, cells, tissues and organs; is there any other evidence of electrical potentials and currents in plant and animal systems? Other than radiation therapy, drug therapy, surgery, gene therapy, transplants, etc.; are there any tested and minimally invasive alternatives for the treatment of cancer, visual disease and certain neurological disorders?
There is some interesting material on a number of the subjects mentioned above in the following website http://www.iabc.readywebsites.com . Another website that provides a number of very interesting and unconventional views on molecular biology, cell biology and physiology is authored by Steve Haltiwanger, MD., http://www.royalrife.com/haltiwanger1.pdf . Dr. Haltiwanger provides some excellent material for those who are interested in becoming acquainted with revolutionary and/or new concepts in molecular biology, cell biology and physiology by the likes of Albert Szent-Györgyi, Gilbert Ling Ross Adey, Robert O. Becker, Bruce Lipton, Abe Liboff and Björn Nordenström.
Another book (shown below) addresses these issues. It was published by Artech House in 2007 and was designed to show how the various therapeutic techniques associated with electrotherapy and magnetotherapy have solid scientific backing with respect to physics, chemistry and biology.
There is an eratta sheet for this book on the Biomedicine page of this web site.
In the year 2000, with respect to the world's health care systems, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave the United States a 37th place ranking. 37th!!! The health care systems of Chile, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Iceland, United Kingdom and Singapore are ranked ahead of the United States. Infant mortality rates are lower than the U.S. for countries such as Cuba, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Greece, South Korea, Slovenia, Iceland and Singapore. The United States has the highest per capita health expenditures in the world (this is a first place ranking that you don't want) and is first or second with respect to health expenditures as a percent of GDP (another high ranking that you don't want). In spite of all the money spent and technology applied, the United States is 24th with respect to life expectancy and is at the bottom of the quality rankings for health safety and serious problems with delayed or incorrect medical test results. Some claim that the WHO studies are rigged by officials who are using statistical tricks to make socialized medicine look better when compared with privatized medicine. And they would be right. However, even after the rigged figures are corrected, the health system performance for the United States is still in a sorry state. When one looks at the health care expenditures as a percent of GDP for the U.S. (15.3% in 2005), it is obvious that there is a massive problem with the cost-benefit ratio for U.S. health care.
Some years ago, the editor of the British Journal of Medicine wrote that the field of medicine is 15% science and 40% art. He did not mention the remaining 45%. What could it be?
We are often confronted with established medical dogma, DNA dogma and diagnostic dogma. In medicine (like religion), we are often told, "Do not question the established dogma." What is a dogma? How does dogma relate to U.S. health care quality? And, how does the emphasis of chemistry over physics in the education of medical doctors affect U.S. health care quality?
The May 1, 2006 issue of Time magazine had a nine page article with the title, "Question: What Scares Doctors? Answer: Being the Patient?" Why are these medical doctors so concerned about being the patient? What is that all about? What scary information do they have that we need to know? For starters, look up Iatrogenic disease. Then, look up Barbara Starfield, M.D. and her paper in the July 26, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (It can be found on the Internet). Look at Starfield's data and learn what is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. After reading Starfield's paper, multiply her annual death statistic by two - - - and then three. Look for other sources to justify the times two and times three multipliers. You will then realize that the claim that this particular source is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. is understated.
© George D. O'Clock, 2008, 2009, 2010