Click HERE to read Chapters 1 and 2 of Touching the Elephant: Values the World’s Religions Share and How They Can Transform Us
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Religion in America, at times, does more harm than good. Nancy Thompson in Touching the Elephant: Values the World’s Religions Share and How They Can Transform Us elaborates on the confusion religion tends to produce when hypocrisy leeches into the church pews:
“Additionally, if we read or listen to the news and preachers and politicians on the topics of God and religion, we might feel as if we’re going crazy, and for good reason: America is a Christian country, but religion is responsible for all the evils in the world. God loves us, but God hates us. God and religion are stories made up by people to control other people, but angels guard and protect us. All religions are equal paths to God, but there is only one true religion. What should people think? What do people think?”
As a college professor, Nancy also knows the value of questioning social and religious mores. In her classrooms and in her writing she asks the questions no one wants to ask and the first one in Touching the Elephant is poignant: What do people think about living in a world that recognizes a God but often act as if they live for the Devil? Are we okay with hypocrisy and lying from the top government officials who also say they live a Christian lifestyle?
Some would look at that assault and the expressions of hate and violence in the world and dismiss it as “human nature” or with the pronouncement that “God is dead” and this is the proof. I don’t believe God is dead, although perhaps God is also not “alive,” at least not in any conventional sense. I do believe that we can benefit if we stop arguing about what God is and whether God is and whose idea of God is the “right” idea of God. We can benefit if we stop insisting that people should believe in God. We can benefit if we focus instead on the shared spiritual values that shape human society. We can benefit if we will admit that there are beliefs and actions that can beneficially bind human society together and work to cultivate them.