Friday, June 3, 2016

Nine Essential Things ... by Harold Kushner ****

Nine Essential Things I've learned about Life by Harold Hushner is a small book about God and religion. As with many books on this subject, what the author opposes is often as important and telling as what is supported. Kushner opposes many things: literal interpretation of The Bible, obeying God, and non-religious spirituality (religion is what you do, not what you believe).

Rather than looking for God in the outside world
"Nature ... can too often be harsh, unreliable, destructive,"
the author suggest to find it in the actions of individuals
"courage and determination [of an individual] speaks to the power and presence of God."
The author sees people as uniquely moral and compassionate.
"Babies are moral animals ... with empathy and compassion ... understanding of justice and fairness."
Like other religious tracts, the author appeals, to intuition, common sense, and conventional wisdom.
"No other creature can be described this way."
Some readers might not be convinced by such arguments.

As a grandparent, I felt for a priest who said,
"When I was young celibacy meant not having sex. Now that I am older, celibacy means not having grandchildren."
If you are interested in a liberal interpretation of The Bible and a view of religion centered on the people as opposed to The Book or the clergy, this is the book for you.

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