Tuesday, January 26, 2016

God in Ikea and ancient astronauts

God Is RedStarted Vine Deloria Jr's "God is Red".  When I was going to write this post yesterday I was planning to speak to my initial prejudices about this book and my expectation that it would be a kind of hippie, loose analysis out of step with modern reality.  I found myself wrong as the first few chapters that set out a very effective overview of the history of the American Indian Movement and the greater political context as well as a good chapter examining the fundamental difference between religions which are time based (historically focused) and Indian ideas of sacredness (the equivalent) which are space based and timeless.  He provides some good examples of how this all played out through the colonial process and the text is interesting and easy to read.  Not what I was expecting. 

Then he starts to expand in this idea that if religion is based on time, then events in holy books had to occur if the timeline was to stand.  So he asks what could we find to support these events and why upon this support being put forward did these groups not embrace this evidence?  This  evidence gets into some sketchy science and history stuff and leads to the possibility of ancient astronauts from another galaxy interfering in human events or perhaps even creating humans.  This brought me back to my original prejudice.

I am half way through this book and I don't regret reading it, but I am a little uncomfortable.  Is this the point of these sections?  To push us out of the comfort zone, to play with the idea that if it all stories, what is another story to add to the mix?  Why not astronauts?  Who am I to judge another person's/religions' story?  I am not really sure where he is going with this analysis and it is making these sections hard to read. 

It is timely I guess, as Runa asked at the Ikea, (where one has all one's  deep religions conversations) if I believe in god.  This book provided a good articulation of the idea of believing in something mysterious and not me and part of the all.  I could relate to this.  My first question for Runa was what do you mean by god?  I still think old white guy worrying about who puts what body part in whom. She didn't seem sure, just asking.  Maybe Ikea is her sacred space.  Do you keep reading in situations like this or let the book go?

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