Once Upon a Time Humans Created God in Their Image

god imageOnce upon a time, there was a group of creatures called humans.  They evolve and live out their lives on a place they call Earth.   Earth is basically a spheroidal rock that revolves around a Class 3 star (called a sun) in a galaxy named the Milky Way.  No humans know where they came from, how they developed or why.  This is a subject of endless debate and speculation that has led to a plethora of social organizations which humans call religions.

Humans have a limited capacity to think and a very short life span, given the eons that the universe has existed.  Most humans live less than 100 earth years.  A year is the length of time it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun.  Humans seem to have two major characteristics that are shared throughout all members, clans and tribes of the species.  The first is called Xenophobia.  This can be described as a propensity to fear anyone or anything that is unique, novel or different.

In terms of their propensity for xenophobia, it has created many problems for humans.  If the slightest genetic difference (an inevitable evolutionary probability) emerges between any groups in the species, it will lead to aggression, death and widespread destruction.  Thus, such superficial differences as skin pigmentation, eye color, height and brain capacity have all resulted in combat between humans.

Xenophobia is even more marked when it comes to social differences between humans.  Murders, wars, massacres and genocides routinely take place over issues like religion, geography, sports and a wide spread assortment of ideologies.  One war went on for over thirty years wherein one group liked red roses and other group liked white roses.  Another war went on for nearly one hundred years due to arguments over who would be in charge of French wines.  Wine was a very popular beverage in the “middle ages” of Europe.  These two examples only scratch the surface of the violence that has taken place in human history.  They are not even the worse of the examples that could be given.  A full catalog of the transgressions and violence between humans would be well beyond the scope of this paper.  (See Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong)

Since the dawn of mankind, humans have never evolved out of their xenophobia and even as I write, the most powerful country in the history of the species has selected a character called Trump to rule them.  He promises to help eradicate anyone who is not White, rich or from a place called Europe.  Trumps clan includes a group of humans who share money, power and prestige.  This group has commonly not got along with other groups who have less of these characteristics.

So called “Rich” people have derived a variety of interesting approaches to marginalize and even eradicate those not of their tribe.  One technique that has been remarkably successful has been called “The Trickle Down Economic System.”  This strategy relies on convincing poor people (those who do not belong to the rich clan) that if they only give everything they own to the rich people, the rich people will eventually give it back with interest.  (Interest implying that the poor people will get back more than they give)

A human once said that “a sucker was born every day” but truth be told, the numbers are much greater since the majority of the poor people in the richest country on the planet have bought into the “Trickle Down System.”  Many other techniques such as taxes, rents, interest, loan rates and mortgages have all been designed by rich people to help bleed poor people to death.  These strategies have worked quite well over the years as rich people now have more money than they know what to do with.  Poor people are still waiting on Trickle Down to kick in and give them back some of what they gave to the rich.  They will have a long wait.

The second commonality among humans is their ubiquitous Superstition.  Superstition can be defined as: “A widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.”  Thus, humans formulate outlandish, extraordinary and even bizarre explanations for anything that they do not understand.  Humans believe in things like ghosts, spirits, zombies, vampires, miracles, angels, devils, purgatory, limbo, heaven and hell.  None of these things have ever been photographed or captured on video but humans insist they all exist.  However not one of these superstitions can compare to the idea of a divine omnipotent being that humans call God.

Almost all humans believe in the idea of a supreme being who for some unknown reason supposedly created humans in his image.  I use the word “His” to define this “God” since for the most part, he tends to be male.  Most humans have no trouble accepting this explanation for their origin as long as God is their god and not someone else’s God.  This jealousy may explain why few of the religions on the planet get along with each other.  The God of most people does not seem to have an infinite capacity to tolerate the ideological or spiritual beliefs characterizing the diversity that exists in the human species.

To understand the supreme ironies and contradictions that this superstition of a god entails for humanity, we must dissect the qualities of their God to see how they play out in the minds of humans.  The following are nine of the more powerful attributes or qualities that humans associate with God.

  • God loves humans more than any other species
  • God gave humans free will and that is why we can continue to destroy each other with impunity.
  • God will come at some time in the end to judge humans
  • God is all merciful
  • God is all powerful
  • God is all knowing
  • God will answer your prayers
  • God sent his only son to save mankind
  • God created everything in the universe

God loves humans more than any other species:

The big question here is why?  What did humans do to earn Gods love?  Why would God love anyone who is greedy, mean, bigoted, prejudiced and disposed to kill creatures that their God has created?  Furthermore, what did cows, pigs, chickens, fish and many other species do that would relegate them to second place in the universe?  Animals do not kill each other strictly for the joy of killing.  If I were going to love one species above all others, it might be the cuckoo bird, since it accurately reflects the beliefs of humanity.

God gave humans free will and that is why we can continue to destroy each other with impunity:

This belief fostered by most religions to explain the contradictions between a loving god and a vengeful god really falls flat if you think about it with any degree of intelligence.  God wanted us to have free will so that we could choose whether or not to love him.  However, if he were all powerful, why would he need love so badly?  Secondly, if he really wanted to be loved, why not create a creature that inherently loved instead of a creature that had a great difficulty to consistently love anything except itself and money.

God will come at some time in the end to judge humans:

Why does there have to be an “End” time?  If Jesus said “Judge not others less you be judged yourself” why is God going to be hypocritical and judge humanity?  What criteria will God use to judge humanity? Why cannot he share that with us now so we can save money on trials and lawyers?  Are things going to get better or worse for humanity?  If worse, why wait? If better, why end it all?

God is all merciful:

Read the Bible (supposedly the word of God) if you think he is all merciful.  I quote:

“The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.” —Nahum 1:2

God is all powerful:

We are repeatedly told that God is omnipotent.  He is all powerful.  The obvious question is why he did not do a better job creating an earth and its species.  Usually the weather is either too hot or too cold. There is too much rain or not enough rain.  The planet has tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, snow, hail, freezing rain, volcanic eruptions and now global warming.  If God is so damn powerful, he did a really poor job of making a planet where one can live happily ever after.

He also did a very poor job of creating humans.  We live short lives and most of us die too soon of accidents, disease or sickness.  If God was so great, why did he not create us with more robust and resilient features?  Why do I need a raincoat to go out in the rain?  Couldn’t God have made me waterproof?  Would that have been too much to ask that an all-powerful God have done?  Or how about making us more resilient to sunburn?  I won’t even start on deer flies, wasps, mosquitos and horse flies.  I think God needed a better architect.

God is all knowing:

If God is all knowing, why did he not foresee that Adam and Eve would eat an apple and that Cain would kill Abel and that his promised people would have centuries of persecution and that hundreds of wars would take place between humans and that people would destroy the earth he created and that everyone would alternate between love and hate for the very God who created them?  God seems to have some blind spots in his omniscience that you could drive a truck through.

God will answer your prayers:

This does not seem very likely unless no one has ever prayed for peace on earth let alone to win the lottery.  Humans have seen few years without war, terrorism or some other form of violence.  During the Holocaust, I am sure that many of his promised people prayed to him but it did not do much good.  I wonder what prayers God does answer.  He does not seem to be much good at answering prayers that might help humans live happier and more fulfilling lives.  I know, he has given us free choice.  I have been praying that he takes it away but I guess he has not heard me yet.

God sent his only son to save mankind:

Supposedly God sent his “Only begotten Son to save the world.”  This belief also beggars the intellect of any rational thinking being.  Why send anyone?  However, if the first effort did not work, why not send another?  How come God can only have one son?  Did God not foresee that sending Jesus would result in Jesus dying on the cross?  What kind of a father would send a son on such a mission?  Since God was all powerful, why not send Superman to kick ass and straighten out the Scribes and Pharisees?  Even better, why not send an army of Supermen and Superwomen to earth and really get the problems solved?

God created everything in the universe:

When I was in the five grade in Catholic School, I asked the following series of questions and never received a good answer:  “If God created the universe, who created God?”  The reply I received was “God always was and always will be.”  To which I replied with a second question: “If God always was and always will be, how come humans could not always was and always will be?”  The reply to my second question was usually silence.  It was about this time that I started to question the suppositions that many people had for how the earth was created.  This meant that God and his angels and his saints all went out the window.  I soon rejected organized religion for its many superstitions and hypocrisies.  This was not very hard, since most of organized religion I did not see doing any favors for the human race.

By the way, since I obviously rejected creationism, I am still not a proponent of the big bang, small bang or any other scientific theory I have yet heard for the creation of the universe.  Scientists can be as narrow minded and as superstitious as any member of any clergy I have ever known.  Colin Tudge notes that:  “Science has become increasingly narrow-minded—materialistic, reductionist, and inveterately anthropocentric: still rooted, philosophically, in the 18th century.”  — Science Is in Danger of Becoming the Enemy of Humankind

image of godConclusions:

You may well ask what I believe or how I explain the fact that I am now writing this.  You may wonder if nihilist or atheist would describe my philosophy of life or religion.  You may ponder how I account for love, evil, hope and/or what role I ascribe to faith in living a good life.  You may question whether or not I have a belief in life after death or whether I subscribe to the Hindu idea of reincarnation.  My answer would be to paraphrase the great lines from Ecclesiastes:

“Superstition! Superstition!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly superstitious!
Everything is superstitious.”

Time for Questions:

Haven’t you had enough questions for today?

Life is just beginning.

“I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.”  — Bertrand Russell

So You Say You Are a Christian?

You say you are a Christian, but did you know that Christ did not say:

Hate Gays, Hate Transsexuals, Hate Bisexuals, Hate Lesbians.

Christ did say:

“You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.” — Acts 10:28

Do you still say you are a Christian?


You say you are a Christian, but did you know that Christ did not say:

Support War, Support Violence Against Others, Support a First Strike Capability.

Christ did say:

“If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek and if someone takes your cloak, do not withhold your tunic as well.”  – Luke 6:29

Do you still say you are a Christian?


You say you are a Christian, but did you know that Christ did not say:

Vote for Greed, Vote for Bigotry, Vote for Avarice.

Christ did say,

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” — Matthew 16:26 

Do you still say you are a Christian?


You say you are a Christian, but did you know that Christ did not say:

Blame the Poor, Blame the Downtrodden, Blame the Sick, Blame the Hungry.   

Christ did say,

“If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” – Matthew 19:21

Do you still say you are a Christian?


You say you are a Christian, but did you know that Christ did not say:

Practice Intolerance, Practice Exclusion, Practice Narrow Mindedness.

Christ did say:

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”Matthew 5:43-47

Do you still say you are a Christian?


You say you are a Christian, but did you know that Christ did not say:

Go to Church, Read the Bible, Make Pious Remarks.  

Christ did say:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”Matthew 7:24 / “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves.”— James 1:22

Do you still say you are a Christian?


You say you are a Christian, but did you know that Christ did not say:

The Ten Commandments Are All You Need. 

Christ did say:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

 Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  — Matthew 5:3-10

Do you still say you are a Christian?

 Time for Questions:

What religion do you practice? Are you a hearer of the word but not a doer of the word?  Would Jesus Christ vote for Trump?

Life is Just Beginning.

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ― Anne Lamott

Singing the Right Wing Blues or When Fear and Paranoia Rule Our Lives

Oh Lord, Please don’t let them take my guns away,

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good,

Please don’t let me be misunderstood.


Oh Lord, Please don’t let them take my country away,

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good,

Please don’t let me be misunderstood.


Oh Lord, Please don’t let them take my woman away,

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good,

Please don’t let me be misunderstood.


Oh Lord, Please don’t let them take my God away,

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good,

Please don’t let me be misunderstood.

I was thinking the other day about the hysteria connected to the concept of gun control.  The more I thought about it the more it seemed that there was a pervasive paranoia prevalent among members of the Right including Tea Partiers, Republicans, KKK, White Supremacy Groups and Anti-Immigrant groups that some of their “stuff” would be taken away. When it comes to gun control the Right Wing do not believe that anyone really wants responsible gun ownership, what they (the Liberals) really want is “their” guns.

There are four key things that Right Wingers fear will be taken away from them by the leftie radical pinko intellectual do-gooders, otherwise known as “Liberals.”  These four things are:

  • My gun
  • My country
  • My woman
  • My god

No one can deny the value of each of these “things” and certainly one can empathize with anyone losing anyone of them.  However, the fear among Right Wingers concerning losing these things seems grossly out of proportion to the reality that exists.  I have no Liberal friends who really want an AK 47 or an AR 15.  None of my friends would know what to do with another wife and most don’t believe in God so I doubt they would want a new god whether Hindu, Christian, Baptist or whatever – Finally, I cannot comprehend how anyone could take someone’s country away.  This problem understanding the fears and paranoia of the Right was becoming very perplexing to me.

I decided that the only way to understand this phenomenon of (shall we say) “fear of losing” would be to interview some people on the Right to see why and what they are really afraid of.  If Freud was correct, their objects of desire and a fear of losing them are really a mask that is hiding even greater desires and feelings.  By looking deeper, we can find the real core of the hysteria and paranoia that is so prevalent among Right Wingers.  My interviews would help me to unlock the true meaning and cause of the fears that seem so prevalent among those on the Right. Perhaps I thought, with a better understanding I could help some of my paranoid friends to see that everyone was not out to take things away from them.

I conducted the following series of interviews near where I live.  I decided to deal with one specific subject with each interviewee rather than range among a variety of issues.  Thus, I would deal with guns with someone who strongly supported gun rights and deal with the subject of god with someone who was a strong supporter of a particular God assuming that there could be many gods.  It was easy to find all of the people for my interviews.  I simply looked for bumper stickers with the appropriate comments.  I will start with the issue of gun control which is number one on my list above and work down the list.

My first interview was with Dwayne:  A young man of thirty three.  He works as a machinist in a local manufacturing company.  Dwayne likes to hunt and fish and has a wife and two small children.  Dwayne is an ardent supporter of the NRA and is a vocal opponent of any form of gun control.  I found Dwayne by noticing his bumper sticker which read:


JOHN – Why do you need your guns?

DWAYNE – A variety of reasons:  Hunting, home protection, defense of my country, personal protection,

JOHN – Don’t we have the army and police to protect us?

DWAYNE – Well, they can’t always be there when you need them.

JOHN – When was the last time you or anyone you knew had a home invasion or had to protect your country with your personal weapons?

DWAYNE – Well, as the Boy Scouts would say, it is better to be prepared.

JOHN – So how worried are you that you or your family might be attacked?

DWAYNE – Very worried. You can’t pick up a paper without reading about someone who was shot, knifed or mugged.  The streets have become very dangerous.

JOHN – Did you know crime and homicide rates are actually down significantly from twenty years ago and you are probably safer now than you have ever been?

DWAYNE – That may be true but statistics don’t apply to individuals and I feel a lot safer with my concealed carry than I would with your statistics.  Maybe crime rates are going down because more people are carrying guns.

JOHN – Doesn’t the thought of everyone having a concealed weapon on them bother you in the least?  Do you think your children and spouse would be equally able to protect themselves?

DWAYNE – I have taught my wife how to shoot and I will teach my kids the same when they are old enough.  If everyone had a gun, maybe there would be less crime.

JOHN – Thanks Dwayne for your time and your honest answers.  I hope you never have to use your weapons for self-defense.

My second interview was with Billy:  Billy is 26 years old.  Billy served three years in the Marine Corp upon leaving high school.  After leaving the Marines, Billy went to a community college for two years.  He now works as a car salesman at a local Chevy dealership.  He is presently single but has a girlfriend and they are planning to get married in a year – Billy is very patriotic and I found him by a bumper sticker on his car which read:


JOHN – Are you afraid that we are losing America?

BILLY – No, but I think we are in danger of losing our lifestyle and our culture.  We are letting too many immigrants in who do not share our values.  You can’t assimilate as many people as we are letting in.

JOHN – But wasn’t America built by immigrants?

BILLY – Yes, but they were mostly Europeans and they had similar cultural values.

JOHN – Well, we had Indians and African slaves when we invaded this country.  We built a powerful nation with many people from many cultures who could not speak the same language.

BILLY – But they were not anti-democratic like many of the Arabic countries seem to be.

JOHN – The majority of immigrants for the past few years have been from Mexico and South America.

BILLY – These people are willing to take shitty low paying jobs.  They lower the wage levels for the rest of us.

JOHN – Maybe, but eventually they will work their way up the economic ladder like the Italians, Irish, Polish and many other cultures did; if they can get a fair break and some opportunities for education.   For the past eight years, the Right Wing Republicans have blocked and refused to discuss any immigration bills.

BILLY – Maybe none of the bills were very good.

JOHN – Then shouldn’t we all work together to pass a fair immigration bill?

BILLY – I just don’t know if that is possible.

JOHN – Well thanks for your time Billy.  Good luck with your work and upcoming wedding.

My third interview was with Roger:  Roger is 47 years old and has been divorced twice.  Roger has four children but is presently unmarried.  He has good relations with his first wife whom he had three children with.  His relations with his second wife with whom he had one child are nonexistent.  Their marriage was short but not sweet.  Roger works as a software developer for a local IT company.  He went to college for four years and has worked in IT since graduating twenty years ago.  I met Roger when I saw the following bumper sticker on his car:


JOHN – Why do you think abortion is wrong?

ROGER – It’s killing unborn children

JOHN – If they are unborn, how can they be children?

ROGER – All of this crap started with the women’s lib movement.

JOHN – What crap?  Do you mean women working and having a choice for their lives rather than just the bedroom and the kitchen?

ROGER – Women and men are different.  A woman’s role used to be to have children and raise a family.  No one talked about abortion years ago.

JOHN – But many abortions were still being done in back alleys by hacks who often killed the woman and the child.

ROGER – Abortion is killing.  I don’t think God created women with the idea that they would abort their own children.

JOHN – But a legal abortion takes place in the first trimester and the child is not formed yet or functioning cognitively.   It is more like killing a sperm than a human being.

ROGER – Many people would disagree with you.  You make it sound very clinical but what about the soul and spirit?  What if the unborn child has a soul and spirit that is already there?

JOHN – I could perhaps buy some of your argument except is it very hypocritical since most anti-abortion people have also opposed birth control and women’s rights.  Is this really about protecting life or controlling a woman’s choices?  I have also seen few if any birth controllers opposing capital punishment or for that matter any of our last few wars.  Isn’t this hypocritical?

ROGER – You are very good with words but I think we are talking about children who have not made a choice.  A criminal has made a choice and deserves what they get.  A soldier must make a choice and a nation authorizes a soldier to kill to protect others.  I do not think that these situations are the same as killing an unborn child who has never made a choice and who has not been asked whether they want to live or die.

JOHN – Thanks for your time and opinions Roger –

My final interview was with Cecelia:  Cecelia is a 40 year old Evangelical Christian from an independent church where its members all talk in tongues and are regularly visited by the “holy spirit.”  Cecelia went to college for four years and teaches special needs children in a grade school.  Her church is her family.   She attends service regularly and wears her religion as a badge of honor – She believes that “her” God is the right God and that he looks over the members of her church who are the true believers.  I found Cecelia when I spotted the following bumper sticker on her car:

pro god

JOHN – You seem to be pro a lot of things.  Wouldn’t God be pro-immigrants and pro-Muslims?

CECELIA – Muslims are not true believers.  They do not believe in our God.

JOHN – Isn’t there only one God?

CECELIA – God is God.  We believe in the one true God.  Non-believers do not accept God and thus God does not accept them.

JOHN – But I thought Christians believed in the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Did not Jesus teach us to be kind and to love everyone as brothers and sisters?  Why do you seem to hate immigrants, gays, minorities and other religions so much?  Would Jesus have acted this way towards others?

CECELIA – Jesus is our lord and savior- Whatever we do, we do in his name.  All honor and praise to the one true God who is our father.

JOHN – Are you saying that God would be for capital punishment, for hatred towards gays, for discrimination towards minorities and for excluding immigrants from a better life?

CECELIA – You are a non-believer, so you do not truly understand our lord.  Jesus cast the money lenders out of the temple because they were blaspheming the name of God.  We believe in casting out those who profane or disrespect our lord and sovereign.  We work in his name.  When Jesus comes again, he will save those who believe in him and he will banish the non-believers to eternal hell fire.

JOHN – Your idea of Jesus and what he stands for does not match my idea of his teachings and philosophy.  Why is it, your church always seems to talk about the Ten Commandments and God smiting the evil doers but I never hear any mention of Jesus and his 8 Beatitudes.   Does your God only love you?

CECELIA – Our God loves all true believers.

JOHN – Well, thank you Cecelia for your time.  May your God bless and watch over you.

After completing my interviews, one may well ask “What is your takeaway?”  There must be some sort of summary or moral point that you and I can glean from these brief conversations.  Aesop fables always have a moral point.  Most fairy tales and good novels always have a moral point.  Old TV shows always had a moral point.  What then is the point of these interviews?  What can we learn from them?  That is the question.  I am still pondering an answer –

Time for Questions:

What did you think about these interviews?  Did you get anything out of the conversations?  What questions should I have asked that I did not?  Were my responses to sharp or too weak?  Should I have challenged them more?

Life is just beginning.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”  — Maya Angelou



Rewriting the Classics or Can I make Homer and Shakespeare Roll Over in Their Graves?

A few days ago I was traveling with my wife Karen and we were listening to the Saturday Morning Blue Grass Review.  This is a radio show featuring acoustic music and hosted by Phil Nussbaum.  One of the tunes that was played was a Blue Grass rendition of the classic song by Roy Orbison called “Pretty Woman” (Click to hear the song).  I listened to the song and was suddenly struck by an idea. The song pretty much used the same lyrics and melody but much of the tempo, rhythm and instruments were changed.  I thought “Why don’t I rewrite the classics or at least some of them?”  I could do my own version of some of the greatest literature in English history.  I would select several classics and “rewrite’ them.

I shared this insight with Karen.  I explained that the creative rendition of this old classic song had given me the idea that I could apply the same concept to writing.  I could take the old classics and rewrite some of them to see how they would work with my own style of writing.  Karen replied “But in music, they don’t change the lyrics or basic melody.”  “True” I said, “but I am not going to change the basic plot or characters.  I will only change the dialogue.”  I have the opportunity and ability to rewrite the greatest literature in history.  The power and responsibility I am assuming seemed awesome.


When I was in high school, I loved to read but I cannot say that I really enjoyed English literature classes.  Looking back I think there were several reasons for this.

  1. I could not pick the books that I wanted to read. They were picked by the teacher.
  2. We generally read only parts of the “great classics.”
  3. Somehow I never understood the “reason” these books were classics or what the relevance of these books for my life was. It was reading without comprehension or understanding.

By the way, before you write me off as a Luddite or some type of anti-reading crusader, please consider the following facts that pertained to me when I was young and in high school.  I loved to read.  I read more than anyone I knew.  I received high grades on all my English and literature tests.  And to put the icing on the cake, I received the highest grade in a reading and writing contest put on for the entire senior class at my high school. Now ask yourself, “What did most students in school get out of their English literature classes?”   I shudder to think if I cannot answer this question what my non-reading friends thought of their classes.  I do not think they ever really knew or appreciated the value of reading the classics.  However, I could now change history.  By rewriting the classics, I can rectify the problem for all future readers.  I can help legions of young people to see the value and beauty in reading the classics.  This is the awesome power that I referred to above.

The other side of the coin though is the responsibility problem; as Spider Man said “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

A thematic precursor appeared in a well-known Biblical verse: Luke 12:48. The Bible verse is as follows:

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

I have a responsibility to avoid trivializing or diminishing the beauty and elegance that the great literature has for us.  We can make a musical or movie from these great works and often the outcome is quite positive.  For instance, considering that a biography of someone’s life (e.g. Abraham Lincoln) can be rendered in a 90 minute movie is somewhat amazing.  Many movies and musicals condense a lifetime into less than two hours.

We marvel that a book can be condensed into a 90 minute movie, but isn’t it just as interesting that an entire person’s life can be condensed into a book that might take less than ten hours to read.  We complain that movies leave out a great deal of the book upon which many are derived but we seldom complain that the books leave out a great deal more upon the subjects or topics from which they are derived.  Homer placed a ten year war between the Greeks and the Trojans into a 400 or so page book.  If the average person can read 30 pages in an hour, than the sum time reflected in Homer’s Iliad (at least in terms of reading) is 14 hours.

I note the above facts because I plan on shortening the classics in my rewriting to less than 3000 words.  Some of you will be aghast at this fact.  It will surely seem like I am planning to renege on my implied promise to preserve, nay, enhance the integrity of these great works of literature.  I assure you that this is not the case.  I will try to create some short works that I hope the original authors would find interesting in their own way.  It is not my intention to replace the great classics but simply to help some people understand what they are missing by not taking the time to read the actual works.  Perhaps I cannot succeed in this endeavor but over the next six weeks, I am going to give it my best effort.

I am going to review the following classics:

  • The Iliad by Homer
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Out of the Crisis by Dr. W. E. Deming

I have tried to select some of my favorite classics and ones that are also familiar to many people.  The book by Dr. W. E. Deming is (I am certain) much less well known.  Nevertheless, it is a classic in the genre of business books and one that I have read and reread many times.  Anyone who wants to understand business, management or business leadership must read this book.  I will do some prologue to each book in my blog before I do my “classic rewrite” so I will not say anymore here about my selections.  I will begin next week with the book The Iliad by Homer.

Time for Questions:

How many of the above classics have you read?  What did you think about high school literature?  Why?  What did you enjoy most?  What did you enjoy least?  What were your favorite books?  Do you love to read?  If not, why not?  What would you change in terms of your literature education?  Can anyone really rewrite a “classic?”

Life is just beginning.

“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it.  It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” — C. S. Lewis

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