Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Day Full of God... or Not (Norman Mailer, Freedom from Religion, Etc.)


This morning as soon as I logged into WebCT-which is the platform for which Wilkes uses for its low-residency creative writing program, I found a message from a classmate, Rick which said one our program's co-founders and faculty members had a story in this week's New York Magazine. Way cool. Dr. J. Michael Lennon befriended Norman Mailer 35 years ago and has since become his historian and biographer. Mailer is on the advisory board of the Wilkes University MA in Creative Writing program, actually. And together they wrote a new book, On God: An Uncommon Conversation. (RandomHouse)

New York Magazine published an expcerpt of the book in an article called "The Rise of Mailerism." Mailer is neither an athesist or a traditional practictioner of any religion-- he has a very unique take on god that makes much sense, at least from the excerpt that I read. I am very fascinated by peoples' beliefs and I think that this book will do quite well. People seem to be much more open these days to looking at different interpretations of religion.

I encourage you to read the article: and maybe even preorder the book.

I have always had my doubts about there being a god, and even more than that, had major issues with organized religion. I could go on and on about that. However, as I got older and attended a liberal school and met more liberal friends, I have realized that how I feel is okay. I know people just like me, who respect the bible as literature and live by ethics instilled by those bible stories-- however again, have major issues with things revolving around organized religion. I am also extremely fascinated by creation stories-- every culture has one. In an Art, Music, Literature and Culture class I took at Wilkes with Dr. Steven Thomas, we read many of these stories. Some said the world was created by nature, and so on and so forth. To me, humans all question where we came from and why we're here. That's why there are so many stories that have been pondered-- and who is to say which is right? Again- I could go on. But... let me get to the point....

I did not get to the newspaper until this evening. In the Faith section of the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, which runs every Saturday was an article about a convention for atheists and agnostics. First of all, kudos to the Times Leader for printing this article in this section. That is just very cool that they also consider atheists and agnostics to have valid beliefs and I think they were brave by printing this article in this particular section of the paper, rather than move it to say, the news or features section.

So anyway, the article was about Freedom From Religion Foundation. Each year they have a convention in their home city of Madison, WI. I was intrigued by this group and agree with their mission. So today, I became a student member of the group for $25.

The Purpose of The Freedom From Religion Foundation is: (from its website)

The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion.

In modern times the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women's right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery.

The Foundation works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.

So, today has been a day of discovery for me.... God as an artist, God not existing, etc. Some things to think about for sure... thoughts anyone?

1 comment:

Kristi (Blaz) said...

Looks like an interesting book. I'll have to check it out.

I, too, love to bat around religious thoughts & theory with other people. Especially because I'm interested in what they think- you can learn a lot from a person by how they view the world/creation.

My take? All religion boils down to this: We're taking a very abstract concept and making it more concrete (easier to relate to) by giving it a name and/or a face. Yes, all religion is human-invented... but I do think whatever name we give it, we're all talking about the same "it." Life force. That spark which causes us to live.

Any other dogma is created by humans attempting to control the masses. ;->