Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

How In The World Can Religion Be Rational?


Friday again. Time for another in the continuing series of Behind The Scenes of Notes from An Alien.

If you haven’t read it, you can grab a free copy of my short novel and more than likely finish it over a weekend.

The prime reason to read it before you jump into these Friday posts is the presence of Spoilers :-)

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There are three main, inhabited Worlds in the story: Anga, Anla, and Angla.

Anga was the Corporate World, Anla the Religious World, and Angla the World that resolved the Conflict

Once a semblance of political peace was established amongst the Worlds, the Angi System embarked on a building project—creating six manufactured Worlds—domains of Research, Exploration, Service, and Commerce.

Today’s Behind The Scenes peers into two folks’ visits to those Worlds—visiting their relationship as well

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They were approaching the first Created World. The woman was from Anla, the man from Anga.

Their small light-sail ship began decelerating as the woman broke her awed silence:

“So large, so imposing Alphra, what’s the readout on surface temperature?”

“15,000 degrees.”

“Looks so cool with its blue shimmer—deadly, eh?”

“Well, Sheln, only if we break docking protocol and land on the surface.”

Sheln chuckled out: “We won’t do that then.”

They guided the ship through the docking portal and brought it to relative-stop. The magnetic grapples silently captured them. Plasma shields were deactivated, internal systems linked to the Created World’s, shut-down procedures completed before they spoke again.

“Let’s review our orders for the visit, Alphra.”

“Again?”

“Can’t be too careful—don’t want to upset these Worlders.”

“I think they’d be hard to upset if we act with proper courtesy?”

“You and your courtesy

“You and your rule-worship

They shared a warm laugh.

After a brief review of their orders from the Worlds’ Council, Sheln and Alphra debarked into the reception area of the Agricultural Created World. Clear orders—visit the various regions, chat-up the supervisors, query the workers, meet with the recently elected Territorial representatives to Worlds’ Council Convention, brief them on protocols.

The Agricultural World was a prime location in the regenerating Angi System—much land on Anga and Anla still not ready for crop growth. The representatives from this World would be considered more influential at the Worlds’ Council election then they actually were.

Alphra and Sheln’s prime task was to impress the representatives with the need for a lack of persuasion activity during the election proceedings.

“We must ram it home to them, Alphra.”

“Sheln, I think if I’d told you we were absolutely forbidden to land on the surface of this World, you’d entertain the idea with more desire?”

“Ridiculous.”

“Try this analogy—tell a child they must never step over a line in the dirt

“Alphra, we’re dealing with adults here.”

“Sheln, most Angians still have adult bodies with adolescent cravings.”

They’d had this discussion before but with more subtle distinctions.

“Well, you reveal your true colors, eh? You think we’re all children and you’re the wise religious man.”

“Sheln, you know I’m not here trying to preach religion. I just stated what I consider an obvious observation

“I don’t see how in the Worlds you can separate your religion from your duties?”

“You don’t believe what I’ve told you?”

“More like find it extremely improbable

“Did you ever visit the Unholy Lands?”

“Never wanted to.”

“Were your parents religious?”

“They belonged, didn’t practice.”

“Perhaps that’s the difference then—we Aklans work hard to practice our Faith in all our activities—still, we’re applying principles that include others, bring people together on common ground

“How can you say your not here because of your religion, then?”

“Well, first because the Worlds’ Council issued a request for my presence. When I said I’m not trying to preach I didn’t mean I’m suddenly not practicing my Faith.”

“Why not just be your kind, courteous self and drop the act?”

Alphra was silent—nearly brooding.

Sheln fiddled with the audio pickup on her Comm tablet.

“Sheln It’s not an act I worry I’ve harmed our association

“Gods! You’re so damned sensitive!”

“Yes

Mutual engulfing silence

“Sheln, I asked about the Unholy Lands because the Aklans there had the benefit of the Prophet’s Presence to give them strength in their moral struggles. On Anga, I had the influence, all through my youth, of the corporate culture and its materialistic drives. Just because the Corporation itself was gone didn’t mean its effects had vanished. I had a hell of a time facing up to my inner demons, purging myself of actions and motivations I’d absorbed before I could even think about them.”

“Why does life have to be a struggle?”

“I think I have to leave it up to you to answer that one, Sheln

“We’re behind schedule Discuss this later?”

“Sure.”

They continued on their appointed rounds, wrapped up their visit to the Agricultural World, visited the Created Worlds devoted to Art, Pure Research, Applied Technology, and General Exploration and Learning—not returning to their discussion of religion.

They approached the Created World for Cultural and Spiritual Advancement, entered the docking portal, and secured their ship.

“Alphra, can we talk before we egress?”

“Sure

“I’m sorry I got on you so much back there

Alphra smiled, said: “So, why is life such a struggle?”

“You know, for a religious man, you sure can reach right in and hit home.”

“Sheln, we’ve been months out here. Plenty of time to get to know you.”

“I always thought religious people were shallow irrational

“Anla

“Yes.

“Too bad you never got to the Unholy Lands.”

“You know, they don’t call them that anymore.”

“Yes, I’ve only really known about them from the stories of Akla and the early colonies—called Aklana now

“Yes. Maybe I’ll visit when I get back

“Maybe you’d let me accompany you?”

“Maybe

Glowing silence

“Alphra You reached right inside me found my soft spot

“Denying life’s a struggle?”

“Covering it up. Staying busy with learning and action. Never slowing down enough to see how hard it all was

“Avoiding the tough questions?”

“Yes.”

A voice interrupted them:

“This is Beru Faz, Administrator for this Created World. Is there a problem?”

Sheln answered: “Nothing we can’t resolve later, Administrator. We’re debarking now.”

~~~

Sheln and Alphra did visit Aklana together.

Married near the place of Akla’s physical death.

Sheln never became an Aklan.

Alphra never ceased in his loving devotion to her happiness
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Controversy ~ A Recent Attempt To Quell It . . .


In the recent post, I broached the subject of Global Peace; mostly because my novel, Notes from An Alien, is about a civilization growing from greed and war to lasting peace…

The comments were a mixture of hopes for peace and not a lot of certitude that it can happen.

Even in my book, one of the characters (a woman from another star-system) says:

“I can’t say I have high hopes for your World’s progress toward Peace. There are too many variables and, bottom-line, it depends on a sufficient number of you making the heart-felt decision to work for peace, in every interaction of every day of your lives.”

I read a news release today that surprised me. A group of representatives from a diverse set of religious persuasions has sent a message to the G8 and G20:

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BORDEAUX, France, 31 May 2011 (BWNS) – A call for the G8 bloc of nations to take bold action on the interconnected crises faced by humanity.

‘[Representative of the Baha’i, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Shinto and Sikh faiths], as well as members of interfaith organisations, [gathered] at the Religious Summit in Bordeaux to deliberate on matters related to the agendas of the G8 Deauville Summit and the G20 Cannes Summit, scheduled for 3-4 November 2011.

“Summit Moderator His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis, Co-President of the Council of Churches of France, told participants that they were face-to-face not just as religious leaders but as representatives of humanity, speaking with one voice to the leaders of the G8 and G20 countries.

“That voice was heard in a unanimously agreed statement drafted at the meeting and later presented to the Secretary General of the G8.

“In addition to recommendations on five major themes–reforming global governance, the macro-economic situation, climate change, development, and investing in peace–the statement called for representatives from the African continent and the Middle East to be included in the G8 and the G20 meetings.

“‘Our diverse backgrounds and experience enriched our consultation’, the statement said.

“‘The trauma of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster described by our Japanese colleagues, the experience and aspirations of our friends from countries in the Middle East and the deep concern of our African colleagues at the continued marginalization of their voice underlined the urgency of the issues under consideration.’

“The statement concluded by urging the G8 and G20 ‘to continue to expand and strengthen the needed global response to global challenges’.”

“‘We–leaders of diverse religious communities throughout the world–re-commit ourselves to working together across religious lines for the common good and with governments and other partners of good will. We remain convinced–each in accordance with the teachings of their tradition–that justice, compassion and reconciliation are essential for genuine peace’, the statement said.

“‘The participants in this Summit demonstrated a sincere desire to find a way to translate the spiritual principles that inform their worldview into concrete and practical recommendations that would assist G8 leaders to address the challenges facing humanity’, said Baha’i representative Susanne Tamas from Canada.

“‘The genuine respect and keen interest with which people listened to one another and sought to deepen their understanding of complex issues was very impressive’, said Ms. Tamas.

“Fellow Baha’i delegate Barney Leith, from the United Kingdom, agreed.

“‘The spirit of unity that infused the gathering was deeply moving’, he said.

“‘There was a strong sense in which all those at the Summit understood themselves to be part of a single human family and to be utterly committed to reminding leaders of powerful nations of their moral commitment to reducing human suffering.’

“The G8 Religious Leaders Summit was held in Bordeaux on the 23-24 May. It was the seventh in a series of interfaith gatherings aimed at identifying areas of moral consensus among religions. Previous Summits were held prior to each G8 Summit in the United Kingdom (2005), Russia (2006), Germany (2007), Japan (2008), Italy (2009) and Canada (2010).”

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To me, this is a rather stunning story. I’m not sure the G8 or G20 leaders will respond appropriately but, if a variegated group of religious leaders can find points of unification, there may be more hope than the character in my book thinks

What are your thoughts and feelings?
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