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Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Nation that Prays Together Stays Together

The other day I wrote a blog that frankly discussed my view of national politics. Today I would like to speak with the same frankness regarding the mental character of mankind. This constrains me to say something that will make some religious conservatives irate. In my view the Garden of Eden is a landscape of man’s mind and is very apt and accurate in this regard. No one will ever hear me say that I think the Bible is wrong, untrue, or even not factual. I can hold to this position firmly while yet fully acknowledging that the origins of man as a species can be detailed with another perspective due to the tools of investigation that mankind has painfully accumulated over the centuries. I do not hold these different perspectives as competing in any way. I hold they are both true. I fully realize that some will say this is impossible. Yet I know what I believe and I believe that each has great validity and authority.

Once I read a book by Carl Sagan – “The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence is a Pulitzer Prize winning 1977 book by Carl Sagan. In it, he combines the fields of anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology, and computer science to give a perspective of how human intelligence evolved” ( Now of course I’ve forgotten much more than I remember about the book, but essentially he discussed the vestigial traces within the human brain of the evolutionary past when a reptilian aggressive domination was necessary but which now is a serious liability as it continues to have dysfunctional impact upon human affairs. Certainly the obsession with domination and control is apparent even in recent American politics and has a continuing impact upon economic life.

Let me move from this to the Garden of Eden’s return—the “heaven”—that is in our future. I entitled this blog “A Nation that Prays Together Stays Together.” This. of course, is borrowed from the expression that says “A family that prays together stays together.” Essentially what does this prayerful exercise indicate? Well, my mother and dad would sometimes run into a quandary because mother wanted to please daddy (to do what he wanted to do) and daddy wanted to please mama (to do what she wanted to do). In short, because they loved each other and neither wanted to dominate and get their way at the expense of the other, they occasionally found making future plans problematic. What they needed was a third party to help them arrive at a consensus. This third party was God and they went to him in prayer for guidance and insight. (This was the heaven that was my home.) The reptilian mind of dominance and control was supplanted by the Godhead.

The zinger was that God, being a God of love, also was not interested in domination and usurpation of parental authority. Thus, he often tossed the ball back into mother and dad’s court with the understanding that since they loved each other, they would work it out in the end.

Thus, a nation that prays together stays together since concerted prayer presupposes love and a disinclination to dominate and control. And the God of love, content that his nation is one of love and mutual submission, gives the responsibility of ruling back to his servants. Democracy is indeed “novus ordo seclorum”—"a new order of the ages.”

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