Created in the Image of God: The Role of Religion in Society
I've had the pleasure of participating in a very welcoming and enriching YouTube series with Wade Fransson from Something or Other Publishing (SOOP).
The series is called, Made in the Image of God: The Role of Religion in Society. If you check this series out, I can't promise you will have a definitive answer to the claim; however, I will share a "revelation" of sorts with you.
For longer than I can remember, I've been an atheist. Still, recently, I have come to reject that term as unhelpful and counter-productive to having a meaningful dialog with individuals who value faith as a guiding force in their lives.
At the zenith of my atheistic zeal, I was a firebranded non-card-carrying atheist defaulting to the golden calf impersonations of a false form of good. I am referring to the New Athiest movement and their human idols; Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the late (dare I say Great) Christopher Hitchens.
I really should clarify. I wasn't an angry atheist. I was simply an intelligent, compassionate human being who saw no truth in the necessity of religion in the world. So I changed my perspective and softened to a more accepting standpoint, thinking that for the people that need faith, it functions like a crutch or a support system.
Before I tell you what happens next, I want to point out the emerging pattern. I am softening and becoming more accepting of other people's beliefs and values. However, accepting doesn't capture the feeling of what I am trying to convey because it's not up to me to be the judge of someone else's experiences, effectively the way they organize and make sense of the world. I believe (I still use that term loosely) it's my hubris speaking when I prematurely and preemptively judge people.
I will say that I wasn't "converted" by participating in the show, but I do feel tired, and exhausted. I've been sharing my understanding and emergence of a monotheistic God as originating from Ancient Greece, a descendant begat from the concepts of beauty and goodness.
This Wikipedia article is a good starting point to buttress my point for anyone wanting a little more context.
You will notice that the emergence of a perfectible virtue started in the form of conduct, particularly a soldier's behavior. This is no surprise because the worshiped heroes of our recorded past were Homeric in origin. Of course, I am referring to the cultural origin story of the West.
Plato's storytelling immortalized the intellectual hero that Plato idealized in the Dialogs and subsequently influenced much of Christianity. It's a little much to insinuate that Plato changed the Judaic tradition. However, there is good evidence from biblical scholar Russell Gmirkin that the Abrahamic religions have much more Greek influence than we initially thought.
Here is that series;
Russell Gmirkin is an independent researcher specializing in the composition of the Torah (or Pentateuch, the first five books of the bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) and the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is most well known for his defense of the view that the Pentateuch was written in its entirety by a team of Jewish scholars working in the Library of Alexandria in 273-272 BCE, who also published the Septuagint Greek translation of the Torah around the same time.
Now, I don't want readers of this article to think that I am trying to convince you of anything or sway you into re-examining your foundational belief systems. As I mentioned earlier in this article, I am tired. I am tired of trying to convey a point of view that seems obvious to me yet hard to plant in the minds of others.
When I relinquished this desire of trying to convince someone of my understanding, I felt a peaceful feeling rush over me. I came to this conclusion on my own. Perhaps it should stay with me, or maybe there are better "things" to focus my attention on.
In the last episode I appeared in, I told Wade and his Emmy-nominated co-host Jafar Fallahi that I would be stepping down as a participant in the show, not because I didn't enjoy my weekly appearances but because I thought that Wade was ready to take this show to bigger and better places. Ultimately I believe that Wade has a talent as a communicator and is a thought leader in his own right; he has a passion that is deeply motivated and inspired by the spirit of God. I want to see his messages reach as many people as possible.
I know I haven't mentioned much about Jafar. If you tune in and watch any of the episodes, you will notice that he doesn't dominate the conversation; he is thoughtful and humble in how he participates. Both Wade and Jafar actively join in the conversation but don't push an agenda on an audience. I also want to point out that both Wade and Jafar are members of the Baháʼí Faith, but this show isn't an advertisement for that group. It's refreshing to know that a universal discussion can be had between adults about the role of religion and doesn't place any one particular religion over another. If you know anything about the Baha'i faith or its founder Baháʼu'lláh, the religion advocates "a new path of hope and unity."
To summarize my thoughts, I want to thank Wade and Jafar for their intellectual and emotional hospitality. I will continue to periodically make an appearance on their show and support their efforts doing what planksip does so well, and that is to promote thought leaders and help them build their branding.
One more thing.
I promised Wade that I would try and articulate the feeling that came over me—what I described as a revelation earlier. I don't think this was a revelation in the religious sense, and I don't think I have faith in the same way that many religious participants experience. But, there is a peaceful feeling in believing in your fellow brothers and sisters; maybe that's all the faith we need.
Check out this series and stay tuned for weekly updates from Wade Fransson as this series progresses.
Kalos kagathos. (2022, June 20). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalos_kagathos
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