Monotheism as a Moral Issue

Part I. Domination Over Nature
And God said, let us make Adam in our image, after our likeness and they shall dominate the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and the cattle and every moving thing on the Earth. – Genesis 1:26
In this installment, the first of four, I will concentrate on the moral imperative of monotheism; in the next, on the implication of this passage for the principle of equality; in the third, on the moral limitations on equality that inhere in the principle of loyalty; and finally, in the fourth, on the implications of God’s Image for the concept of reason, an innate human characteristic. Monotheism is taken for granted in the Abrahamic faiths and indeed in many other religions, even though the commitment to a single God is inconsistent with the use of the plural to refer to God, not only in the beginning but in the second clause this passage. We do not receive a singular reference to God until the tetragrammaton (Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh) is introduced in Genesis 2. True, we are not bound by the text as some American constitutional lawyers think they are committed to the words written down on parchment one hot summer in Philadelphia.

A Second Scientific Revolution Reveals the Mortality of the Modern World

In this essay I explain how I moved from a critique of a metaphor of two worlds, America and Europe, to a critique of a metaphor of two worlds, modern and traditional. I also now see America and the modern as symbolic representations of a limitless frontier. I see Europe and the traditional as symbolic representations of a limited home. Once I saw Europeans leaving home to come to an American frontier; now I see modern people leaving traditional homes to come to a universal frontier/marketplace. And I see this powerful modern prophecy of an exodus from a limited old world to a limitless new world as the major cause of our dangerous environmental crisis. We do not nurture our earthly home because we believe we are going to a frontier of unlimited resources.

Why Did the Pope Choose Francis as His Name?

The guiding principal for St. Francis was the emphasis on poverty after opening the missal. But the point was not simply helping the poor, though this was done, but rather upon the notion of the Friars’ turning away from property and earthly possessions, and toward the will of God. This anti-materialism also left an imprint on Pope Francis as evidenced by his railing against capitalist exploitation of the vulnerable and the obsession with profit at any cost, primarily in the United states and Europe.

I Want to Be Left Behind

Here’s an excerpt from the recent memoir, I Want to Be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth, by author Brenda Peterson, which describes the darkly comic, but deeply troubling world view that comes from this Rapture-bound belief still shaping our Middle East policies.

The Emerging Truth about Junipero Serra and the California Missions

In this book Father Junipero Serra, called by some the “Father of California,” is exposed in damning detail as the father of a system, the mission system, that systematically destroyed the culture of the indigenous peoples of California, who had lived at peace with the earth and more or less at peace with themselves over millennia until the Spanish arrived.There are those who say, “Don’t judge an eighteenth-century person by twenty-first century standards.” Well, when that person is being proposed by the pope himself as a saint and therefore a model for twenty-first century people to emulate, why wouldn’t we have the right and indeed responsibility to judge?

Pope Francis’s Encyclical and the Coming of Age of Creation Spirituality

Pope Francis believes that our generation is very much involved in “the pains of childbirth” as we try to learn anew how to cooperate with the Creator, that “God … can also bring good out of the evil we have done” (80) since the Holy Spirit is so powerfully creative. There lies his hope and ours, that we can change our ways, that we are endowed with immense intelligence and creativity, that if we pull out of denial and away from destructive economic systems and relationships and beyond a dulled consciousness anything is possible. Or, I might add, citing eco-philosopher David Orr, “Hope is a verb with the sleeves rolled up.” We can go to work, and we must.

God(s), Same-Sex Marriage, and the Colossal Joke

How can individuals and denominations who all claim to know the True God/Gods while apparently praying to the same God(s) be touched in such different ways and have such differing visions of divine will? Does God/Do the Gods send us mixed and often contradictory messages? Does God/Do the Gods change his/her/their mind(s) from time to time?

Canonize Junipero Serra? Really?

This canonization is a scandal. WHY is the pope making so profound a mistake? Why create a patron saint for colonizers and racists in the year 2015? Why not instead take the occasion of his visit to the United States to do an about-face and canonize those thousands of native peoples who died at the hands of misguided, badly theologically trained, servants of the Empire?