Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Earth Is Flat

Where are their heads? I suspect they may be ensconced in that proverbial nether region where, it's often reported, the sun don't shine. I refer, regrettably, to the leaders of several Christian groups who, according to an article in today's New York Times, "have sent a letter urging the National Association of Evangelicals in Washington to stop speaking out on global warming." "We have observed," the letter says, "that [the Reverend Richard] Cizik (the Association's vice-president) and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time." Like abortion. And homosexuality. And the need to promote "the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children."

As though global warming were not THE great moral issue of our time! But then, the Times reports, "they are not convinced that global warming is human-induced or that human intervention can prevent it."

It's intolerable to me that such men (mostly, yes, men) in leadership positions publicly deny--and presumably teach their flocks to deny--what has been demonstrably proven to the satisfaction of the vast majority of scientists who have devoted their lives to the study of our Earth. To deny the facts of evolution is one thing. That's plain nutty, but not dangerous--except, of course, in that it promotes ignorance as an article of faith. But to deny what science has shown to be a looming and imminent threat to our species is not only ignorant, it's folly, and folly of the worst, most dangerous kind. It's willfully suicidal--and we know what evangelicals think about the sanctity of life, so it's also deadly hypocritical.

I have not known Buddhists to promote ignorance. Indeed, the opposite, for "enlightenment" is the goal. Is there, somewhere, some sect of Buddhists who still insist that the world is flat and deny the work of scientists devoted to expanding the understanding of our species and the world we live in? Do their leaders exercise the dire influence of these American evangelicals? If so, I'd like to hear about it...

Meantime, forgive my Saturday rant. I'll say no more. Instead, let me note down here a piece of a dream from last night. (The rest of it, alas, is forgotten.)


I am energized, at the top of my form. Ready to go. I find myself running with exquisite ease along the top of a levee, a sandy path. I run "like the wind", hardly touching the ground. I am elated. On reaching a break in the levee where tidal water flows through the breach, I dive in without hesitation and cut effortlessly through the water until I reach other other side. Only now do I begin to sense the danger. The tide is rushing back in, the water flowing so fast that it stirs up mud from the bottom and, looking back, I realize that it would be foolish to attempt the return swim. In gathering darkness, I hear a voice. It says, "Are those herons?" I look around and spot two tall, white birds standing side by side in a patch of reeds, quite beautiful and serene. "No," I hear myself say. "Those are not herons. They are egrets."


CARLY said...

Your dream is beautiful and disturbing. Usually we cannot cut through the water easily. This is a good symbol, conscious of doing something with ease. Muddy water is traditionally connected to depressed feelings, dark, unclear, or threatening thoughts. Counter-currents are often the obstacles or forces we feel working against us. The egrets seem to be something understood, hence the correction, it's an egret, and something beautiful, like a beautiful thought.....some general ideas.

On that idea of getting attention in art, or other fields: I was wondering if the Buddhist ideal had something like this: that the things which have the greatest influence are the things that are built up gradually, that the sudden only frightens and repels because the ground should be prepared. But repeated penetration of an idea has the most lasting influence. Duration. Things and ideas that endure owe their influence to influencing over time, rather than suddenly like an outrageous act, which, by this token, doesn't last, or may have no effect at all.
Furthermore, such influence can only come from one who is calm. Hence the Obama idea. It's an agitated, contentious, and waring society, so deliberative calm is not understood, and seen as a weakness or slowness.

Bill Maher said last night, that Gore is doing the best job of running without being in the race.

Mark said...

There is a great book I've read recently that addresses a lot of what you're talking about. It's called Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Basically, if you're not an evangelical christian, they're difficult to tolerate. I have a very hard time listening to the organize sects of christianity put people down, dig holes and bury their heads in them, and just be beligerant to the secular world. I hate that these people are representing my religion. I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't be pleased.

PK said...

And through all the danger you now are in the midst of, you still see the beauty... Ahhh, the principle of 'live and let live' that they haven't mastered yet. I do have a daughter like those you speak of, but please, I don't want anyone to back away from thier thoughts on the mater! She drives me up the wall too. I didn't raise her that way, however she married into this. She has asked me in the last 3 years to come and live with thier family...LOL!!! I think not:D. She needs to make it to her next birthday...for the children's sake:). I still haven't figured out how a perfectly intelligent young woman has become so ignorant, it seems like overnight. It's like she belongs to a cult. It's pretty scary. So I'm in empathy with those who have to contend with these people on a daily basis. I have to contend with thier ignorance when the Congress and Bush listen to them, as we all do... but we need to get religion out of our government. What was it Jesus said? I believe it was Caesars things to Caesar and Gods things to God... we need to go back to it. Sleep well Peter, dream of those Egrets my friend...