We ARE connecting!

As you know, the title of this Blog is  Only Connect! – a phrase I borrowed from E.M. Forster’s ” Howard’s End.”

When the human brain had evolved enough, and enough synapses had fired, enough brain cells formed, to allow for that breakthrough moment of “self-consciousness,” human beings were instantly condemned to the highs and lows of experience. We “separated out” from Nature, we no longer saw the “one-ness” of existence. Once,  conscious only of our natural drives for survival and procreation and as integrated into the natural order of things as the cheetah or water-bug, we were now aware of ourselves as “something else,” something “in nature” but also able to comment on it. This “separating out” has been documented in myth as the “Fall,” the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the expulsion from Eden. From being numbered among the animals in the Garden, Adam and Eve suddenly became aware of themselves and their nakedness. It was their embarrassed reaction to this tipped God off to the fact that they had disobeyed him and eaten the fated fruit. Our “self-consciousness”, our “fall” from innocence to experience marks the moment in human evolution when our brain capacity reached that critical mass and we “separated out” from everything around us. Ever since, we have struggled to regain a sense of belonging, sought all manner of relief from our deep sense of alienation from each other and from our surroundings. The word “Religion” comes from the Latin “to tie back”: we are constantly trying to tie ourselves back to “the one,” to a sense of universality and belonging. That is both our burden and our gift, because it is in the focus of that struggle that all great works of art, music, literature and expressions of the spirit reside.

And now, suddenly, it seems to me that science, long the antagonist of religion and spirituality, is providing us with the very tools we have been seeking. Not only is our exploration into the fantastic realms of sub-atomic, particle physics giving us evidence of a more profound “connectivity” between all living things, but our advances in computer and communications technology are literally connecting us together in ways that are having a profound effect on how we think, relate and behave. Information is power. It was the “forbidden fruit” of the garden of Eden. In a delicious irony, that same fruit is showing us the way toward a more free, connected and optimistic future. Neither the walls of oppressive politics, nor the personal alienation of the human condition can stand against this tide of synaptic connectivity given shape and meaning by the world wide web.

So, remember, my friends let’s continue to Only Connect!

Charles Shaughnessy

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88 thoughts on “We ARE connecting!

  1. And now i feel silly for that last post yet again. Guessing this blog wasn’t really about a type of spirituality. I assumed that it was or misinterpreted it to be. Sorry Charles. Hence my last comment. And you know what they say: when you assume stuff. you make an ass out of (in this case) me. I feel as a ding head or embarrassed for taking so freaking long. Sorry but i am merely a high school graduate. This blog is kinda another metaphor (i think): Being separated from nature or ‘the garden’ we have been struggling to return to this sense of belonging. Is this focus or pain of this struggle; to tie back’ that feeds us our gifts of spirituality or talents. We are drawing feelings from our longings of oneness and such and it is sort of putting us in a frame of emotion to draw raw emotions from or (spiritual type feelings). And the folks that can “tap” into this raw pain or emotion can somehow like harness it and put into art etc. Kinda like physic energy. (my interpretation there) I also believe that all us humans are physic and the seemingly physic people know how to tap into it more than us regular folks. Then, the power of information, as he was speaking of: is keeping us from separation by enabling us to connect on a grander level. Science making strides of showing us that we are in fact connected with biology and such. Technology= advances of science is then providing us with the tools to do so. Therefore making science or technology promote religion. Or merely religion in definition of the word. Not necessarily like praying. Anyway, i wanted to print my revision of my what should have been my original comment. Most definitely a day late and a dollar short.

  2. This is a difficult concept for alot of americans to grasp. Such as eastern philosophy or Buddhism, or Hinduism etc. The reason (i feel) is the strong foundation of Christianity in the US. I have researched into this subject and it is still hard for me to grasp completely. I believe it has to do with the way you view more (open minded) ideas of spirituality. Not to knock on Christianity but, once you have a strong basis of ideas of Christianity it is so hard to retrain or open up to other ideas of spiritualism. Maybe this happens with any childhood foundation of a religion. I simply have nothing to compare it too. I converted to agnosticism a few years ago and it is still difficult to shake an image of an all powerful all seeing God up in the sky. And let go of the idea of a heaven in space etc. You accept it as truth and it makes it hard to make a change. I had to basically let go of alot and retrain my mind to think in a different or more logical way. Christianity is simply a hugely powerful driving force for ideas especially in the south where i live and it is a big part of American culture. I am afraid you have your work cut off for you on this type of subject matter. Not to say that we are completely closed minded. That is not true. Every idea is worth trying and we need exposure to ideas of others. Is good for us. I so admire you for your efforts of trying give us more exposure. Plus, we are still learning from the blog. That definition of religion i did not know. Interesting stuff.

    • Is all about time honored tradition, i believe. Is so hard for folks to let go of tradition. In any culture. Even if that tradition “may” have some ideas that could be in the wrong. Or in my opinion a little out dated. How can you tell folks that grandma’s & their ancestors ideas may have been in the wrong and they may have their heads back in the dark ages. Or up their butts (sorry matter of opinion). I guess is about the equivalent of asking children to give up Christmas. Preaching education and tolerance is the only way i can think of to put out the “extremism” fires. Which seems to be the enemy. Not Christianity per say. Extremism in any or “all” religions. Afraid is going to be an uphill climb all the way. Same as wishing Osama Bin Laden would lay down his weapon. Hoping science & astronomy can open up more doors for the cause and soon before a possibility of getting into a mass holy war could ensue. If that hasn’t already happened. idk For the record: i do so love the south and the traditions. But that is what i realized, that what i love the most about Christianity is the tradition and not the beliefs per say. The warm feeling of going home when i go to church. Singing the praises that i used to years ago. And when i get around others, is easy to get caught up in that old time feeling and confuse that feeling for loving other Christians as well as its beliefs. Like apple pie and baseball goes with american culture. Christianity is deep rooted in the south and is hard to love one without the other. But, i guess i do a good job of it. lol Although it is like an ex husband, Christianity will always hold a special place in my heart. As such as the rebel flag. Which once again hold conflicted meanings. Aint any wonder why i stay so confused about my loyalties . lol Man am i a conflicted soul all the way around!

      • Long story short: wishing if they could practice what they preach. Then it would be a great religion indeed. Worthy of admiration and praise. Also, the rebel flag: if it had contained no reference to continue the principal of slavery. And only had flown for the honor of the south.

  3. It seems like this blog has wandered off into a few rabbit holes (look! there’s a bunny) and has gone off track–not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, except that I think that by focusing on the religious issues we have mostly overlooked the whole “information is power” part of Charlie’s discussion. Science and technology have enabled the masses to have greater access to knowledge/information than any previous time in human history, and yet it can be used for good and evil. Back in the last millennium, for instance, students actually went to a building called a library and used these wonderful objects called “books” to do research. There is a certain joy in smelling musty books, handling records that might not have been touched since they were originally created in the 18th century, and just sitting and staring at shelves of literature on a particular subject that you don’t experience if you are relying upon the Internet for information. At the same time, while the Internet is useful as a tool for research, it does have its limits–mainly because it relies upon the accuracy of data and text that a human is typing onto the website, database, blog post, etc. Wikipedia, for instance, can be a resource, but often the entries come with a disclaimer that the article lacks citations (Charlie’s wikipedia page, for instance, comes with this warning), and occasionally the information is so inaccurate it is laughable. And yet students have actually told me that they consider the information on the Internet to be more accurate than what is in books because it appeared more recently. Not only that, but there is a heavy reliance upon technology to write papers (and I don’t just mean “cut and paste” stuff from the Internet and submit it as your own, although I have seen that)—but relying upon spell check, for instance, to catch mistakes. Just as a clue: another name for Middle Ages is “medieval,” not “mid evil” or “mid-evil”—yet I have had students tell me that the latter two are correct, because spell check said so.

    At the same time, information can also be powerful if it is used for improper purposes, such as disseminating propaganda starting/spreading rumors and lies, etc. Another way in which technology can be “evil” is through cyber-bullying (which fit into the topic of a previous blog). Consequently, having the technological advances that have enabled us to be more “connected” through social networks, blogs, etc. can be both a good thing (as I have met quite a few wonderful people—and sparring partners–through Charlie’s blog), but at the same time I wish I could turn back the clock and not be expected to be available 24/7, which is what has happened with the Internet, cell phones, etc. In a sense, then, it’s not just the content of the information—the knowledge part—that reflects how information has power; it’s also the power that access to information (and our own accessibility) has on our lives.

    • I agree with this. Certainly remember the days of BC (before computers) and the days of research papers and the time spent with a pile of books on the table. lol Yes, and the 24/7 availability. Having to take my sons cell phone away because he is tempted to sleep with it and take it to class and text. We used to pass notes back and forth and whoa how embarrassing when you got caught. The message of connectivity on the web was the idea of the blog and we kinda jumped on the spiritual part. We needed a breakdown or two part blogging response. Good of you to try and shift gears, the religion part sometimes can be an old hat. But, sometimes fun. lol I like the “tying us back part”, that is cool and makes alot of sense.

      • For the record… you guys rock. So good to chat with folks that are not rednecks. Although i am one and rednecks are some of my best friends. You guys are ways more interesting to chat with. Learning alot way quicker. Unless i just hang out at the local library and read stuff. lol

    • I agree that knowledge is power. This is definitely why there are government’s who control the knowledge that is available to their citizens whether through the press or restricting the internet etc. We are empowered when we have “correct” information that can help us in our personal lives or that can ultimately cause an over throw of a corrupt government. It definitely is a problem that there are those who believe everything they see in writing. It doesn’t matter whether that information comes from a book or the internet. There is so much information available to mankind with a touch of a button that it is overwhelming, although information isn’t always analogous with knowledge. I have a son who is currently 23 years-old who used to believe everything he saw in writing. I had to work with him for years to show him how to identify when information was correct, mistakenly incorrect, or blatantly incorrect with the purpose of deception. To his credit, he finally got it (at least most of the time) and now he is empowered amongst his peers and in his college classes when he faces others who have not learned this important lesson. Knowledge is power, but it is foolish to believe that information is always knowledge. With this great technological advancement that has given us the ability to connect and to receive information, we have a great responsibility to make sure the information we receive is indeed true and correct. That is a responsibility that has seemed to become more and more difficult to fulfill.

      • Now see? THAT’S what I was trying to do when I posted my first comment here(correcting the facts in the Adam and Eve story)!! My intent wasn’t to make the blog go down a religious rabbit hole, but to correct false information! How many of the blog readers(of which there are many who don’t post here) read that and thought “wow! Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, and now the knowledge they got is being used to connect us and that their disobedience was a good thing since it has given us science and technology!!! I never knew that”. And it’s not true. Even those who believe the Bible is a work of fiction, or at best a great work of literature….it’s still a story with details that are the main point of the tale! If I came on here and said that the problem with Othello is that he was a WASP who couldn’t stand to see black men gaining power…I’d hope to God someone would correct me. Not just move on with the conversation as if what I’d said was accurate.
        It’s only human to “assume” that someone as intelligent and well-spoken as Charlie always knows what he’s talking about…but it’s a good lesson in misinformation being presented as fact. Humans make errors, most often unintentionally. I’m hoping that my reply taught CHARLIE something he didn’t know before. But please, all of you…check details before you repeat something…it might not always be something as innocuous as a blog with fans debating each other. Or, as Deidre calls it, Mud Wrestling for Intellectuals 😉

  4. Now it’s my turn to be a blog hog. I was thinking about what technology has done for me personally, especially in terms of Charlie’s post regarding “connecting”. There was once a time as families expanded that they still stayed in close proximity to one another. Because of the society we now live in, that is seldom possible. As my children are leaving home to get an education, marry, or for employment, they have relocated to various states. As a mother, this has been a difficult transition for me. I miss them immensely, but the technology we have allows us to connect in spite of the distance that separates us. It brings me joy when my one-year old grandson recognizes me on Skype, smiles, and tries to kiss me. I wonder, as Charlie said, “that science, long the antagonist of religion and spirituality” is not the antagonist of religion that many think, but rather that it is God’s way of allowing us to continue “to connect” with those we love in spite of a society that has spread us out.

      • Well, we’ll be blog hogs together! You are so right, the technology has enabled us to connect. Love the picture of your grandson kissing you over Skype! But as you said in another post further down…the same technologies that let us communicate with our loved ones, be safe in an emergency, etc. can be used for great evil. So much of the technology we have today is straight out of Orwell’s “1984”(or “Revelation” 😉 ). A GPS is wonderful for allowing us to drive without having to read a map, for keeping on schedule, for being safe in unfamiliar neighborhoods. And it can also allow us to be tracked by people with bad intentions.

    • Jeannie and Jo, you both have made very excellent points in these responses. I wholeheartedly agree with you that technology is absolutely wonderful to use when trying to “connect” with family members. However, for some, technology can also become an overwhelming addiction actually taking them away from their family members. I have experienced this first hand. Losing time away from a husband while four children are losing time away from “daddy” as he withdraws further and further into his iPhone, TV, online X-box games with friends, etc. Jeannie, you made the comment about how family used to stay in close proximity to one another. Well, I don’t believe that was just geographically but also emotionally because the members weren’t always texting, IM chatting, playing online games, blogging, watching TV, etc. I know that even I am guilty of this. I sometimes find myself on FB when I should be reading a good book to my children like I used to before my FB account. Technology has sucked so many of us into that vortex of information and knowledge. So much so, that I can’t say it has always had a positive outcome on our current and upcoming generations. If we could only find that happy medium between too much of a good thing and just the right amount then maybe we could “connect” face-to-face in real time and real space with real emotions declared by real facial expressions not just emoticons. If only the people behind these screens of technology would come out and face their true relationships with actual family members then we would all be better off. I apologize for being the blog “downer”. It’s just that I have seen too many times the negative effects of technology and all of the pain it brings to hurting children who are looking for a parent to lead them in life’s real world instead of having this wonderful technology do it for them. As JoAnn has mentioned, there is a good and evil side to everything. Thus, what brought on this blog….”the Tree of the Knowledge of GOOD and EVIL”.

  5. I too am happy that you can meet through the Internet, many new friends. Hearing and reading how your opinions, attitudes to life, to love, the Bible and free thinking. Only Connect I find wonderful.

  6. By reading the comments on Charlie’s blog, I sense that there are deep feelings regarding religion and the reality or myth of “the Fall” as it is called. Although that may or may not be a crucial part of Charlie’s message, there is certainly much more to what he is saying. For me personally, I believe the Fall was literal. What it truly entailed is a different story—did Adam and Eve literally partake of a particular fruit or was that symbolic of some other choice they made that would qualify them to become mortal and by doing so be required to leave the literal presence of God. Regardless, whenever we leave the presence of someone we love and whom has loved us, we have an inner desire to be reconnected to them—to again become one with them. In this regard, God through the atoning sacrifice offered by His Son provided a way for us to again become one with Him. The origin of the word Atonement can be viewed in the break down of its syllables—at-one-ment—the act of becoming one. But, is there an innate desire for that oneness to extend beyond being reconciled to God, but also to one another. I believe there is and the success of the technology we are using at the present time is evidence of our desire to connect with one another.
    Charlie definitely suggested the evolution of mankind as brining our species to this position. To most religionist, evolution is a dirty word, but to me I believe God can use any means he desires to bring about his purpose. Perhaps evolution is what brought Adam and Eve to this point, although I hesitate to embrace that notion. Nevertheless, as one who is in training to be a scientist, in particular a physicist, I recognize that evolution is real and to accept that does not mean to deny God, but only to allow God to be limitless and omnipotent. It is true that some scientists are antagonistic and make science and enemy to religion. Perhaps there are as many religionists who make science the enemy. The truth of the matter is that whether a religionist or a scientist we have one thing in common; we both seek the truth and are obligated to accept truth regardless of the source wherein it is found. Each time I learn more and more about physics, I stand amazed at the vastness of the universe—the physical laws that keep order (the ones we have discovered and the ones we yet know nothing about). What one can learn from the study of physics is that God operates by natural laws; He is as bound by them as we are. In physics we learn that some things we consider to be impossible really are only statistically very improbable, yet God, knowing all natural laws perfectly can overcome the improbability and perform what we consider to be miraculous.
    Science does not prove the existence of God nor can it ever prove the non-existence of Him, in fact, it is not science’s position to do so. The only proof of God comes by the miracles that are wrought in the fleshy tables of the heart—the most profound miracles that God performs. I can testify that I have had that miracle worked in my heart, that I know He is not only real, but that He is our Father who loves and cares about us. Lastly, I can testify, maybe in a different way than Charlie, that we all are blessed with an innate desire to be connected with Him and with one another. I have not personally met one of you, but somehow I have gotten to know many of you on a small scale through this blog and Charlie’s FB page. That connectedness has made me a better person. Thanks to all who bring kindness and goodness into the world as we connect together!

    • That was lovely, Jeanne. And I too, am so thankful for the way the internet has brought me so many real-life and cyberfriends through Charlie. It is amazing the way this technology has created “connections”. And I loved(and totally agree with) the way you see the link between creation and science.

  7. Even though I believe the premise of your argument is colossally flawed (for reasons previously explained by JoAnn and Valerie), I do agree that science and technology are making this a very small world indeed. The potential for “connections” has increased exponentially over the last decade. Just imagine how events in the past would have been altered if the technology we have today was available then. Miscommunication, coupled with the inability to gain information quickly, has played a major role is a great deal of our history. Hopefully we, as a society, will strive to maximize the benefits of these advances.

    • Fastball across the middle of the plate. It’s nice when people set me up for a response.

      Hmm…”how events in the past would have been altered if the technology we have today was available then.” My first thought is that the Constitutional Convention would not have been able to be held in secrecy, as the 24 hour news channels, bloggers, etc. would have been speculating about the “secret proceedings” occurring in Philadelphia, especially since in essence the Constitutional Convention overthrew the Confederation government (which was meeting in New York at the same time and planning the future expansion of the nation by adopting the Northwest Ordinance). Benedict Arnold probably would have been more efficient in traversing the Maine woods if he had GPS, which possibly would have led to a colonial victory at Quebec in December 1775. Or if Twitter had existed when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon–and, instead of the first words “Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed” being spoken when the lunar module landed, one of them tweeted “This place is da bomb.” And, of course, just imagine if modern technology had been available at the Creation–or at the Crucifixion of Christ–or even when Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address (which, if you think about it, would have had lots of squiggly lines from grammar check).

      And sometimes the technology that does exist is not used effectively, leading to disastrous results. After Charles Guiteau shot President James Garfield in the back, doctors tried using a metal detector to locate the bullet so they could remove it (word of advice: doesn’t work too well when the patient is lying on a bed with metal springs). Garfield ended up dying from the infection that resulted from unsterilized instruments and hands probing for the bullet; during the autopsy, the coroner found that the bullet was safely embedded in muscle and that Garfield would have survived if they had left him alone. On the flip side, twenty years later President William McKinley was shot in the stomach by an anarchist while greeting the public at the Pan American Expedition in Buffalo. Remembering what had happened to Garfield, aides took McKinley to the first aid tent at the Exposition, and the doctors could not immediately find the bullet and closed the wound (the doctor on call was a gynecologist by training). They did not take advantage of the experimental x-ray machine on display at the Expedition, which would have located the bullet (which had passed through his stomach and hit his kidney and pancreas). McKinley died from gangrene and infection from having the bullet lodged in his body.

      Incidentally, there is a growing field of historical study known as “Alternate History”–in a sense, focusing on the “What Ifs” of history. Sometimes it looks at how the United States would be today if, for instance, Richard Nixon had won the presidential election in 1960 instead of John F. Kennedy (or, to take it back a bit further, what would have happened if the British had won at Yorktown). It’s really an interesting way of looking at the past, even if it doesn’t take into account how modern technology could have affected historical events if it has existed then.

      Just throwing in a final example of how technology has impacted history: the Protestant Reformation. It was a lot easier for reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin (and, later, William Penn) to disseminate their ideas with the advent of the printing press, and Gutenberg’s invention enabled their ideas to spread rapidly. Of course, there were some drawbacks–and now I’m starting to remember what someone said recently about the impact of the printing press on society in the 16th and 17th centuries (and how I need to reread “King Lear”).

      • Yay Karen…bringing the blog back to the “Technology Connects Us” theme :)! Yes, the internet/computers have connected us…but there is a dark side. It’s a wonderful thing, providing that the information is ACCURATE. And so often it’s not, but it spreads like wildfire, and then we have a rush to correct the misinformation…and it’s too late. We’ve seen this so much in our political realm in the past 10 years or so…the way stories are told like Gospel Truth, when they have NO basis in fact, or worse…a little bit of fact mixed in with a LOT of agenda and propaganda. And people believe it, especially if it’s told by someone who agrees with their core values. Yellow journalism is becoming the norm and is rewarded, instead of being rare and condemned.
        We need to be so careful…if you read/hear something…check it out before you repeat it! Just recently, at the memorial for the victims in Tucson, I saw post after post on Facebook about how “Obama was selling Tshirts with his new slogan”! Well, took me 2 seconds on google to find out that he was NOT, that it was the university where the event was held. But it was too late….the story had been spread, and it tainted the political message of those who spread it….and caused more division when we should be looking for things that unite us.
        But I am amazed daily at the people I have met online and the friendships we’ve formed…mostly through Charlie. Every day I am reminded of the famous CS Lewis quote:
        “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one”

  8. Only Connect indeed! I want to celebrate what I have in common with the rest of humanity. My ego keeps me separated. Sometimes I think that religion works best when it helps us to tear down our own walls so that we can see each other. Wouldn’t it be a great world if we first sought to understand and then seek to be understood? Good old St. Francis. Good old Joseph Cambell. Good old Dalai Lama. All you need is love.

    • Very well said no matter what we believe it is important to respect each other’s beliefs. We’re here to love one another. That’s something everyone can agree upon. Unless it’s an anarchists beliefs. Then there is no order in society.

  9. And now, for the rest of my comments….again testing to see if Word Press has a limit

    Charlie points out “our advances in computer and communications technology are literally connecting us together in ways that have a profound effect on how we think, relate and behave.” I am now offering a testimonial about how powerful these developments are and how they can impact student learning in the classroom. As a teacher/college professor, in some ways I have a mission to “connect” with my students when I teach them history. If I fail to do so, two things happen: (a) they leave the course without learning anything (or not as much as they should), which means they might not be effective citizens when they participate in society; and (b) I might end up seeing them again when they retake the class.

    As some of you are aware, I recently had the chance to put this concept of “only connect” into practice as I tried to make the content more relevant to the students in my classes. This opportunity enabled me to use technology to connect with my students in a way that they would remember after they left the classroom. The end result was a memorable experience for the students and the course instructor when Charlie “spoke” to my history class about why he became a naturalized citizen. I found out this past Monday that what the students remembered from last Friday’s class wasn’t what I had expected; they sort of recalled what I had taught them about why immigrants came to the United States, but they did remember what Charlie said. It has shown me that there are a variety of methods to connect with my students and that I should try to be more creative in the classroom (although I’m not quite ready for Skype). In a way, all it took was a little faith—after all, there certainly was a bit of prayer involved in making sure that the technology worked—and the assistance of a lot of people who were willing participants in this adventure.

    This, by the way, wasn’t my first foray into the world of “connecting” with students using the Internet, as I regularly teach distance education/online classes during the summer (and incorporate distance education into all of my courses through online assignments and the submission of written work to a database that checks for plagiarism). Last summer I had a true distance education experience when I incorporated an online chat into my American Revolution on Film class in which students had a chance to converse with someone whose book on the Revolution was going to be made into a movie. It was fun to see the students interact with the author (especially when he promised the chat participants the chance to be extras in the movie). I still have students from that class contacting me for updates on when the filming will begin—and, of course, I’m still harassing the author for firm details. Of course, now this means I have a tough act to follow in future online classes, just like the students were disappointed in class on Monday when they only heard my voice in the room (it seems I created a monster, as one student did ask when Mr. Sheffield would be talking to them again).

    By the way, if you are looking for a way to understand the impact that the web has on society—just check out what is happening in Egypt. Of course, if you are there, you probably can’t—because the Internet has been banned. But one of my former students has found a way for her friends in Egypt to access the Internet illegally (she always was a bit of a rebel) and regularly shares first-person updates from Cairo that her friends are sending her on Facebook. In a way, then, social networks and blogs have led to a lot of connections—and reconnections in the case of folks I knew in high school and haven’t seen in over 30 years—but at the same time, as an historian I do long for the old days when people actually wrote down their thoughts on paper using a pen. It’s one reason I’m glad that I chose to focus my studies on the eighteenth century; we didn’t have oral history; we didn’t have the Internet; we didn’t have the information explosion that future historians will have to deal with when they research and write about the beginning of the 21st century (and beyond). Of course, we also had “s” that looks like “f” (and, in my case, I also have to try to read the lovely schriften), so maybe it isn’t so great after all.

  10. Oh Mr. Shaughnessy, you can come teach our our university and feed our brains or better yet I’m graduating this spring at ETSU..Commencement speech???? lol wishful thinking anyway that was a wonderfully said blog. Well thought out, but I noticed people speaking a lot about religion. After spending 8 years in a private Christian school, I know this song and dance all too well. The difference between heaven and hell for people sometimes is 12 inches. There is about 12 inches between your head and your heart. If you have all of this information about God in your head, what is the point if you don’t carry Him in your heart no matter what belief you have. On to technology, the internet is a great thing. We can talk to people or converse with people that we might have never met or thought about twice. The younger generation would not get by without the internet. I can’t go without a blackberry, and 15 years ago I didn’t have a cell phone. In summary, It’s changed our lives, and will continue to do so.
    Kindest Regards

    • Heather, if you look at Charlie’s original post, WE’RE not the ones who brought up religion told a Bible story(with the main fact wrong) ;), and called some readers deep faith “a myth” ;). Methinks Charlie often sets us up for this stuff. This is a “song and dance” we long-time bloggers have seen before.

      • Well Jo, we all were waiting a long time for a blog and maybe Charlie likes “setting us up” to make some of us come out of ourselves. You know of course that in the UK , debating has always been very active , and a blog really is nothing else.I will not go into any relegious debate here as I have my own ways of thinking, but getting back to what is in the blog I think Charlie just wanted us give something to think about , and we have had some great comments you must agree.
        As for communication It has always been in some way either by hand signs, smoke signs and so on.Probably Adam and Eve if they truly existed) “talked” in away.
        Here is an anecdote : where was the first telephone used?When Moses went on to the Mount Sinai and “called” God!Bit weak I know , but I just want to point out that I think there has always been a type of communication even between plants and we know of animals and do we really know when creation began?Could even been long before the garden of Eden was ever thought of.
        Also I think we all enjoy beine our blog hog!! Makes it all more fun.

        • About communicating–I know some people like to use hand signals when driving, although I don’t think that’s the type you are referring to. Love the Moses joke–I’ll have to remember that one when I talk about the doctrine of calling in class, because students think it refers to a ring (or vibrate on the cell phone), when it means something entirely different–they think you are “called” to pursue a particular career when you are offered a job by phone, instead of being “called” to pursue a vocation because that’s where your talents lie. And if you intend to become a college history professor, you could wait an awfully long time to get that phone call so you can fulfill your calling.

  11. And to be the big blog hog….I’m also thinking about this comment of yours, Charlie:
    “And now, suddenly, it seems to me that science, long the antagonist of religion and spirituality, is providing us with the very tools we have been seeking.”

    Again, I disagree(there’s a shocker, huh?). Science and religion work very well together…the “antagonist” is one who dislikes religion and wants to use today’s “experiment du jour” as their “gotcha” moment. Science is only as good as the latest technology…the microscopes that can see smaller and smaller components of matter, the tests that show development at earlier stages, etc. To *me*(as a person who has 2 bachelor’s degrees…one in Dental Hygiene Education and one in Human Biochemistry, who has dissected a cadaver and tutored Embryology and Histology…not to brag but to show that I do have some knowledge in the area)….every time science makes a new discovery, it PROVES the existence of a Creator. The more that is uncovered, the more I see the intricacies of nature and how it all fits together like a giant puzzle. This can’t possibly(IMHO) be random. I don’t think most of you would look at the Sistine Chapel and think “Gee, pretty neat the way that all just evolved from a box of crayons”. No…you completely understand that such detail and perfection could only have been done by a genius artist. That’s how I see God’s handiwork.
    I think it’s only human for people to WANT to explain, understand(and probably be able to control) the world around them. But science isn’t fact while religion is fiction. Perhaps they’re BOTH fact?

    • I agree with this to large extent. did i just type that? shocker. I believe having medium ground or at least some acceptance of both is a good thing. Or “science and religion working together”. Humans are “all” spiritual beings. Charlie, (i think)( not trying to speak for him) is trying to say that the genius in the artist hands and mind came from his ability to look into his soul and paint. So to speak. Like connect with his human spiritually to find inspiration or to find his “gift”. Hope i am making sense. Sometimes people say i am a great writer and others they say i ramble. I believe that most or all of us have “gifts” of some sort to offer the world. Some folks just have more trouble discovering them. I hate to say that science or religion are “facts”. But a lot of us are definitely searching for some truths or facts. Don’t think i am qualified to speculate very much here. Being i am neither a scientist or a preacher. I feel that “faith” as well as beliefs play a huge role in spirituality. But it offends me for folks to assume that we not spiritual if we don’t show alot of faith. To me know one man holds the keys to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

      • But, in conclusion: Maybe they can both (science & religion) help us to paint a clearer understanding of the mysteries and wonders of humanity, the universe, as well as our role in it. wait a second! am i just quoting someone here? oh yeah, it’s Albert Einstein. I wish i was this smart. lol I memorized it.

    • Just chiming in as someone who usually understands what people write on this blog–but in this case I had to look up a word (and wow–I used the Internet to do it). I get a bit excited whenever I see a word that starts with hist- that I don’t know, especially since it’s the “root” of my discipline (and, for those who haven’t looked it up, it comes from the Greek: “know”–history is “knowledge from inquiry”). Wandered off into a rabbit hole in the OED and found out that they have no relationship whatsoever. But at least I know a little about the microscopic study of tissues now.

    • I got throwd off in trying to answer your question here Jo long ago (and making me off target of the point of the blog all this time) due to the the pretty neat box of crayons bit. Karen was right, we went into a bunny hole. Charlie was stating that science is helping religion along by pushing technology forward. And technology’s progress in turn, is pushing us into ; or (tying) us back to uniting with one another. Or, how we were meant to be or remain from the start. (before we ate that darn apple n the garden) Pretty cool! Never thought of this. If i state to try an answer for him then i should try and get it right first. I get off on a rabbit hole easy. due to adhd. If i take time, i can get it alot of times. Smart, just to slow or too fast with stuff. darn!

      • Or was he talking about tying us back to “God”? or the world or the world and each other? dang nab it! i thought i had it. Maybe all of the above?

  12. Kudos, Charlie, for starting such a thought-provoking discussion. You talk about humanity seeking “something” which you think is knowledge through technology. I do agree with you in on one thing. Yes! Humanity IS seeking something that will never be found until one realizes that their human downfall has created this very void. As JoAnn has put it so simply, humans broke the “only connection” we had to God leaving our hearts’ eyes open to the fact that we are now void of Something. Adam and Eve literally walked with God side-by-side in the Garden of Eden. Something which the animals that they were “numbered among” did not have access to because they weren’t formed after God’s own flesh like Adam and Eve. So when you talk about this “one-ness of existence” between nature, I must explain that humans have always, since the beginning of time, had more complexity than any other living thing on Earth. This is why God gave Adam responsibility over every living thing and the authority to name them as well. That very instinct still dwells inside us. Why else do we all tend to take an injured or lost animal under our protective “wings”?! I just wanted to clarify that. Now going back to this disconnection that we have, I must say that JoAnn “nailed” it down or I should say God did that for us over 2000 years ago. As you have mentioned, there has been a “fall” from innocence. As Karen mentioned in all of the past history, there has always been a punishment for sin. However, as JoAnn has mentioned, praise God there has been a graceful reconciliation back to Him so that we can be “REconnected”. And not JUST to God but to our fellow humans. For when we are connected to Him all other “connections” just “fall” into place (pardon the pun 😉 ). The story of Jesus and His crucifixion is the ONLY one in history where there has been a saving grace in place of a sinfully deserving punishment. One Who is without sin is the only One Who has the power and authority to remove the punishment. So, I guess my question for you and your bloggers is “Are you all truly “Connected”?

    • Here goes nothing. Val, you are a sweet friend and this was a very good comment. In so, i find myself wondering if wanting to open up a can of worms. Although to keep in fashion of blogging, i should stick to my ideas & beliefs. Therefore, I must disagree with your man being the most complex creature or being. Is this a known fact ? How do we know absolutely for sure that we are the most complex creature in this world? Perhaps we the most complex because we can communicate, build stuff, we are smart, and can make a fire to cook. There are smart and social animals like us here as well. They communicate with one another, some mate for life (such as us), live in families, some can learn sign language, and some animals even grieve over their loss. We have alot in common with them if we look hard enough. Which is why dogs are mans best friend. lol Sometimes i feel that we are sometimes arrogant due to our smartness. The truly connected part mostly depends on how you define connection.

      • The bible states: man having power over beasts of the earth. The only power that we have over some beasts seems to me is gunpowder. Especially the ones with sharp teeth. In its defensive maybe it meant “power” as in wit.

  13. Regarding “connecting” I would like to say that the internet in general is something that I find has helped me. I’ve gotten to stay in touch with friends that have long since left.
    On the other hand, I also find it to be a bother. My generation, honestly, would not know how to get by without the technology that we have today. I’m not sure if I would even be able to get by without it.
    Technology has become a good and an evil at the same time.

    • We are social creatures Kristen:). It’s in our genetic make-up to want to connect with each other. Having the internet just makes it a whole heck of a lot easier. We can have friends all over the world, and touch base with them without physically writing a letter. Networking in various industries has become easier. We are lucky we never had to use typewriters, change the tape, we have no idea what an 8-track looks like, and even cassette tapes we barely recall. We’ve seen records, but only in the movies. Several years ago, we didn’t know much about smart phones now they are everywhere.

      • Heather: There are some people on the blog who HAVE used typewriters, who know how to change the tape, who actually have played and listened to an 8-track tape, cassette tape, and records (and, by the way, my students in Introduction to Public History have physically handled all of these objects except the typewriter, but they do know what one looks like). The younger generation might not have had the fun of trying to splice a tape or 16mm film when it broke, but us old fogeys also remember what it was like to wear a wristwatch (with hands, not digital) in order to tell time (and some of us still wear one today). Yes, the younger generation has never had to deal with collecting keypunch cards when registering for college classes or applying for grants to pay for computer time (both of which I have done), but they also go through withdrawal when I tell them they cannot talk on the phone or text during my classes. And I won’t even get started on how modern technology has affected people’s ability to spell; I’m starting to think that Twitter-speak is another language I might have to learn, based on what I have seen in student papers and exams.

        • I agree with you Karen. The “young” really don´t know what wonderful inovations came in between the typewriter and the PC generation!They were just “served “these things. I remember the good old C64 which I thought was a wonder, and then the internet. BtW, the first functioning Computer invented by Konrad Suze is here in Berlin in the Technical Museum. It takes up a whole room!!
          Now we can communicate with “things” as a small as a cigarette box.
          You are also right as far as spelling is concerned! My hair raises on my neck when I see some of it.Especially some of the so called” American”English is sometimes atrocious with its abreviations and shortening of words.Ok it is also here in Germany where many of these idiocies are taken over as it is fahionable to be “cool”!Even the politicians speak “Denglish” at times . I guess in these fast times things have to be quick and communication is fast. Nevertheless I would now not miss one bit of it! It is wonderful to “connect” up with people over 3 oceans for me and in Real time.And all then friends I have made first interactive and finally to meet some. This of course as many of us have mentioned through our “Star Communicator” Charlie.
          Finally yes I think I shall have to learn Twitter- lingo (Aussie word)as my next language.

      • Heather, Karen, Liane- Although I am young, I would just like to note that I have used a type writer and still have to use one where I work to make up mailing labels for packages that have to go over seas (which seems to happen a lot.) And cassette tapes, I still have mine. What can I say, I find it hard to part with certain things.

        And as for Twitter- speak, my gosh it can be ridiculous. haha.

        That’s all. 🙂

    • The “oneness” is a belief or idea, not necessarily a religion. Is more like a state of mind, and is present in the movie “avatar”. Referring to the interconnection of all things. Is not new age. Native American cultures were very much one or “in tune” with nature and its creatures. I also believe it was going on as early as the 1700’s with whites. could be wrong though. New age seeming in just that more folks are taking stalk in it or coming out with it in speaking openly of it. An opinion of course, not sure.

  14. Think I understand what you say and I agree with YOU.And ‘moltobello quolls that the written, not ‘ a long surfing the Web and the thing I really like Facebook, Twitter, parlarecon to you who are in another country and ‘beautiful.
    I happenspeak with people I know on Facebook that then when you meet them on the street do not greet either , solet’s not forget the significance
    of the word religion when we meet people on the street and not only on the Internet.
    And there’s still forbidden fruit that Charles’ cost a lot !!!!!

    • I think I understand what you mean and I agree with you, it’s very nice what you wrote is not that long ago that I browse the web and what I like, facebook, twitter can talk to you who are in another country is beautiful
      But I happen to talk with people I know on facebook and then when you meet them on the street do not even greet you
      So let’s not forget the segnificato of the word religion when we meet on the street
      charles “forbidden fruit that has cost us a lot”

    • Well, “like” works just as good i reckon. I know that connecting with others has made me way less isolated in my ideas. Also, happier in just meeting new folks and learning from them without having to travel. The wealth of information at our fingertips quite possibly making us all the wiser. lol

  15. I’m not quite sure where to start with this blog, so a fair warning: (1) you will see more than one response from me; and (2) I’m going to find out if WordPress has a word limit or character limit on replies. First, let’s address what you refer to essentially as the creation “myth”–or at least the Judeo-Christian version presented here. If the purpose of the blog is to connect, then we have to consider other interpretations–not necessarily embrace them, but at least recognize their existence and accept the fact that not everyone has the same beliefs. Every religious faith has a creation “myth”–something that a particular belief has to justify its existence. There are some commonalities among these various “myths”–original sin, for instance (alluded to in the account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden) is not just in Genesis; it is also a part of the religion of the ancient Greeks (Pandora’s Box, Promethius giving man fire) and the African Bushmen (who were instructed not to build a fire–and, by disobeying this edict, they no longer had peaceful relationships with animals).

    This “fall” from innocence is also evident in creation stories that focus on good versus evil (such as the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” encountered by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden). In the Iroquois creation myth, Sky Woman gave birth to twin sons–Sapling, who created good, and Flint, who destroyed Sapling’s work and created all that is bad. For the Aztecs, the dichotomy between Quetzalcoatl (light, good) and Tezcatlipoca (darkness, evil) ultimately contributed to the downfall of their empire as they saw Cortés as a human embodiment of Quetzalcoatl who had come to punish them for their sins (this, of course, was after Tezcatlipoca had chased away the light-skinned Quetzalcoatl, who vowed to return).

    Probably the best example of the punishment for sin comes for the Popul Vuh (source of the Mayan creation myth). One Ahuapu (the first father) walked past the mouth of a cave. The gods of the underworld called out to him and invited him to play a ball game. He took the bait and descended into the darkness, where the gods of the underworld immediately beheaded him and hung his severed head in a tree. With that as an example of the punishment for original sin, Adam and Eve got off pretty easy (and apparently it can also be used as an example of why people should not worship sports).

    Throwing science and technology into the mix, these examples are considered “myths” because there is no concrete documentation of creation (face it, who could document it?). It’s not like the 24-hour news channels were around to film creation, nor were journalists there to record it (or bloggers to blog about it). And I know I will be attacked for this comment, but it’s not like Adam and Eve kept a diary and recorded one day, “Today we ate an apple, and we got kicked out of the Garden of Eden for not listening to God.” All of these accounts, from the ancient Greeks to the Mayans, Aztecs, Iroquois, African Bushmen, and others (including those in the Bible) are based on oral traditions that at some point in time were written down (and translated/modernized). For example, the account in Genesis is slightly different in the King James Version than the Revised Standard Version or New International Version. So, while some people believe in a literal translation of the Bible, others have a more liberal approach. After all, if a day consists of a time period from sunup to sundown (the traditional workday in the 18th century), then a day can last from 6-7 hours in the winter to 5-6 months, depending on where you live–and it doesn’t have to be broken down into 24 one hour increments (with additional subdivisions for minutes and seconds). I just keep thinking back to the play/film “Inherit the Wind” when Henry Drummond (who really is Clarence Darrow) is questioning Matthew Harrison Brady (who really is William Jennings Bryan) on the witness stand and asks him about creation.

    Again, these are the ramblings of someone who has studied and published on religious diversity–so feel free to take it with a grain of salt. Religious historians generally fally into two categories–extremely pious or cynical. I’m not going to disclose which one fits me, but it should be obvious.

    • Echoing JoAnn–typos creep in after we hit send. Religious historians FALL into two categories, not fally. Although some of what we do could be considered folly, I guess.

    • Going on what you said about the many different interpretations when it comes to the Bible. We were recently discussing this in my Christian Ethics class. We were also discussing the differences between versions and that what is written was not written at that very moment. It’s not a journal. It’s not a first hand account, is what I guess I’m trying to say.

      What I’m getting at is that I agree with what you’ve said. It makes sense in my mind, at least.

      • Your right it wasn’t written in that moment, and when the King James Version was written, the scribe writing would be required to bathe before writing the word “Jehovah”. Every letter, and word counted by a a group of scribes. Interestingly, each part of the text was written on a specific day of the year so the whole text was transcribed within one Jewish calendar year. My point being much work and respect went in to the final manuscript.

      • Kristen, this will continue down the Bible rabbit hole(but hey, Charlie started it! It wasn’t me mom, he did it first!!)….but a big part of the Bible interpretation “mess” is that we are not reading it in the original languages. And worse, we are translating it into English, which is sorely lacking. I have taken a series of “Inductive Bible Studies”(“Precept Upon Precept” if anyone wants to check it out), and one of the corollary texts is “Vine’s Expository Dictionary”. It lets you look up the key word in a verse then takes you back to the original Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek word. Also shows where that same exact word is used in other verses, so that you can see how it all fits together.
        The classic example of “English being difficult” is the word LOVE. In English, we say we love pizza, we love our spouse, we love our children, we love our friends, we love God. In the original texts, those are FIVE different words, with FIVE different meanings. So, sometimes, when you’re reading about LOVE in the Scriptures, you’re “assuming” that the 2 verses are talking about the same thing, and they’re NOT. And it changes the whole interpretation. People read “Jesus loves me”, and “assume” that since they love their family and their friends, they must have Jesus because He is love. And that’s NOT what it means in the original language. And as for it not being a 1st-hand account…that’s where the faith part comes in. Either you believe that the texts were bathed in prayer and God led them to write what they did…or you don’t.
        Clear as mud ;)? As you can tell, it’s one of my favorite subjects, and one which I love to share. And I’m always available on Facebook pm, rather than continually hijack the Birthday Boy’s blog.

        • This is just so odd. This blog is tying in so well with the discussion we are having in my Christian Ethics class. 🙂

          I do agree with you, that one of the main problems is that we are not reading it in the original languages. Although, I would have to say that even in another language it could be interpreted in many different ways. It just depends on the individual. One person may read something and take it to mean one thing, and another could read the same passage and take it to mean something completely different. But that’s a great thing among us humans. It causes us to think and strikes us discussions. Could you imagine how boring life would be if everybody just agreed on everything? (When it comes to things like war, however, I think it would be better to agree on most things. But other than that, you get my point.)

          And, yes, the classic example of “english being difficult” is in fact how we, as a culture, use the word LOVE.
          ‘I love pizza.’
          ‘I love my dog.’
          ‘I love my parents.’
          Each one of these has a different meaning. At least, I’m hoping that you do not love pizza in the same way you love your parents. We were just discussing the fact that the word LOVE in this language is used so freely. And it seems to be used to describe everything! We also started into a conversation about the four Greek words for love : Agape, Eros, Philia, and Storge. How each word is a different type of love. And tied that in with how the relationship between man and God is described in Hosea. That it is described as a parental relationship and then a marriage like relationship.

          I very much liked your response, by the way, and I am always available on Facebook as well.

          On a side note, Happy Birthday, Charlie!

          • Lovely response Kristen…you are really “getting it”. Love that you mentioned Hosea, not one of the more popular books of the Bible but one with a powerful message. How God grieves and is faithful to us, even when we act like jerks.
            That’s why I love my “Vine’s Expository”, it helps to see what the author meant when using a word, instead of “assuming” we know what it means. Another classic example is the word “approved”. 2Tim 2:15 says ““Study to show yourself approved unto God…” and we think it means “study so God will approve of you”. What it REALLY means is “proof” as in silversmithing…the silversmith stands by the fire, molding the mass he has until all of the dross(contaminants) are burned off, and only pure silver is left. The silversmith can tell when he can see his reflection clearly in the metal. That’s what it means…to use the Bible to “get the dross out”, so that when God looks at us, He sees His reflection clearly. Voila…today’s sermon 😉

  16. Charlie, all I can say is that your eloquece amazes me and I see great writers of today and yesteryear in your words. Thank you.

  17. i sure have alot to think about when it comes to nature and learn about i think you just show me the way to it i think sciences computers & nature where did really all come from man or God man one one side God on the other what a great think are thay one and the same the machine made by man nature is God to me we wouldn’t exist i’m with you in believeing in that a lot of people don’t believe all this i do think everthing did happen at one time or another if it didn’t i wouldn’t want to be here or have been born so guess i’m here to stay for awhile where else i’m i going to go to i would of died long ago but i’m still here i guess be cause of God the man up stairs so God bless us all.

  18. Well…I can see I’m going to be one of the “blog hogs” on this one. Charlie, you’re Biblical reference is incorrect. Adam and Eve(which many of your readers do NOT believe is a myth) did not eat from the “Tree of Knowledge”, they ate from the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. That brought sin into the world, where mankind understood evil and realized it was a viable choice in a given situation. They were separated from God then…a God Who *knew* they had sinned and was testing to see if they would lie(the first consequential sin). That separation from God has left mankind with a longing for that original communion…and yearning to be “tied back” to God. One man screwed up and brought sin, Another was blameless and reconciled us back from the Fall.
    Knowledge(information) was not the forbidden fruit, so your whole premise about how delicious it is that scientific “information” is the answer is totally off the mark. And for some of us, the “educated information” that makes complete sense to us in found in the Bible. Man created in God’s image, to be in communion with Him. The only one of His creations to have logic and reasoning. And the only ones who KNOWINGLY commit wrong.

      • alrighty! lets get into it! Just like on David Vidal’s blog. Religious side go! then my side go. blog hog away zmt! lol if you want to.. not sure i am ready yet for a good argument. maybe later tonight or tommorrow.

        • LOL Roxana!! It’s really not “sides” here, at least not for me. God gives us the freedom to choose to accept or reject Him and His Word(free will). But as an Evangelical, it is MY JOB to defend the Bible. If I came here and had a major brain fart ;), using the story of Othello as my springboard…and totally got the basic facts of the story wrong …I’d assume someone(probably Charlie) would come along and say “That’s not the story! You’ve got the facts all wrong! Might want to brush up on Shakespeare, missy”. And so…here I am.
          Charlie’s ideas are fascinating and an excellent base for discussion. But I can’t and won’t sit here and let God’s stories be misquoted. That “little fact” changes the whole context of the story.

          • Very understandable. And it would be so out of your character not too. And you are so right: “sides” is a bad way to look at it. Is cool that you are a Sunday school teacher. You seem as a great one. Knowledge of the scriptures is a good thing no matter who you are.

            • Thanks honey! And basically…I *do* agree with Charlie, that the reason we are all disconnected from each other is because of the Fall of Adam and Eve. I just see it ACCURATELY ;)..that they ate fruit that brought evil into our lives and that is the cause of all problems in the universe. Not that they ate fruit that gave them access to “information’ that God didn’t want them to have(so He could be the big macher, I assume), and that man is getting smarter and catching up to God in the info realm.

              • Hi JoAnn,
                Thanks for the nice compliment on my comment. I agree with you that Adam and Eve did not eat of the fruit to gain knowledge that God didn’t want them to have. In fact, I think God very well wanted them to have a knowledge of good and evil. As far as the knowledge humanity has gained since that time, I believe we only have the knowledge God wants us to have and no more. I believe that he has given us knowledge line upon line to develop the technology and medical advancements that he wants us to have, and I believe he will continue to do so. I only have a selfish wish that the technology included a prayer button. I have received answers to prayers, but I wish it were as easy to receive them as it is to receive an answer to an e-mail. Does anybody out there have God’s e-mail address?

                  • Yes, Karen, I do know that God does answer all prayers. Some of mine have been answered quickly, but most of them I have had to wait for. In fact, we recently have faced a great challenge in our family and I have seen more miracles in the last two months than I have seen in the rest of my lifetime. The interesting thing is that one night as I was pondering one of the many miracles that occurred in helping with the problem that we were currently facing, it occurred to me that the answer had began to be put into place over ten years ago when my car door swung back and broke off my front tooth. At the time, it was just a broken tooth. Over ten years later it proved to be essential in receiving an answer that I needed. The God’s e-mail address was just a lame attempt at a joke. I also teach Sunday School to a group of 16 and 17 year-olds. One of the things that I see that they have problems with is that they are so used to having immediate access to information and connection, that they don’t understand what it means to wait. They pray to God, don’t get an immediate answer, and therefore dismiss the reality of his existence. Patience is a hard thing to learn, especially when one has lived in a world that gives so much immediate gratification. In that regard, I sometimes feel sorry for our younger generation. Nevertheless, I have the faith in God and in them that they can come to know Him. They just have to realize that it is not as easy as a text message.

                • Thank you Jeanne. I’m not sure that we were MEANT to know evil, or God wouldn’t have punished them so harshly for their disobedience. I guess the way I see it is, God created man with logic, conscience and a free will…and He KNEW that we’d disobey. We all would have done it, given the nature He created in us. We may not have eaten that particular Forbidden Fruit, but we would have done something later on. It IS confusing…why did He give us Free Will, if it was going to be so costly for Him to purchase our redemption? Because He didn’t want robots who worshiped Him by force…He wanted us to CHOOSE to love Him, much like we don’t want our kids to fear us but to love us because of our relationship.
                  And yes, we do have an immediate answer to prayer. Yes, No, and WAIT. Wait is the hardest one.

                  • I agree with most of what you said except I don’t think it’s “confusing” because “Satan is the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). If Satan can create the smallest seed of doubt and confusion people tend to not take God seriously. What happened did happen, and we go from there, and if we question Him too much we get lost in the questioning and forget that we should move on to TRUST Him as they did in Psalm 13.
                    Waiting is trusting 🙂 By the way, I enjoy your comments JoAnn, they are encouraging:)

                  • i think you answered my before question pretty much with this comment. with the: something else would have happened later on down the road. Makes sense but (and hating to be the one to bring on indifference here) regarding the free will part; why did he set us up for a fall if he knew our outcome from before the start?

                  • I have to say JoAnn that I didn’t mean that God wanted us to learn evil, He just knew because of our nature that we would. It would be by our own experience that we could learn to prize the sweet and hate the bitter. In my religion, what you call Free Will we call “Agency”. God gave us the right to choose the bitter or the sweet. And I agree that He did not want us to be forced to worship Him. He wants us to choose to worship Him–to submit to His will. When you think about it, it is the only true gift that we can give Him. Everything we have really is what He has given us. The only thing we really have to give Him is to submit our will to His. It is the one thing that is really ours and that He won’t take from us. Why does one choose to submit to Him? Because they have gained the faith that His will is always in our best interest.

                    As far as believing that the knowledge we have is what he has chosen to give us, I am referring to knowledge regarding the advancement of technology and such. As I have studied mathematics and physics extensively, I stand in awe with what man knows (although I know it is only a drop in the bucket compared to what God knows). But, it is still amazing, even miraculous. I marvel that man has gained the knowledge that they have and I believe it is because God allows us to gain that knowledge and even reveals it to us. I believe that we will only gain what He wants us to, when He wants us to, and it will be for his purposes, although because man has “Free Will” that knowledge can be used equally for evil.

    • I think that many times what comes across as condescension towards religion and the existence of God is actually just an attempt to mask the fear of losing control. I understand that fear, because the society we live in has a way of making “control” the most valuable commodity to hold. God has made it abundantly clear that we have to allow him to take control of our lives. Doing this, however, can seem like a giant leap of faith and can be a very frightening prospect (I’ve been there). Sometimes it seems much easier to find other explanations of where we came from or why we are here, which often times are so lacking that they require just as much faith. Even though it may seem like a giant leap, it is really only one small step. It’s truly as easy as taking your next breath. All you have to do is just believe that Jesus, the son of God, is who He says He is: your personal Savior. If you are able to manage this small step, God has such a pressure reward waiting for you.

  19. I totally agree that “information is power” and that, thanks to technology as you point out, is now available to the masses (and not just those who long held the power). Our society has changed dramatically over the past 10 years just due to the quick access to that info and the education it can provide. Has it made us individually more powerful? I think yes. Has it given us the tools to reach higher and farther in our quest for a better life? If we choose to use it wisely and for good I also think yes.

  20. By connecting, really it is the only way the human race can survive. I love the fact that with the internet I can communicate on a daily basis with my friends in other countries. We can spread the word of what is happening from here to there by the internet. We are all one just people trying to survive and communicate with each other. Great post!

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