The writer Henry Miller muses on many things in his 1972 essay “On Turning Eighty.”
He writes: “I believe that the ideal condition for humanity would be to live in a state of peace, in brotherly love, but I must confess I know no way to bring such a condition about.”
He tells us that, at his age, he has “accepted the fact, hard as it may be, that human beings are inclined to behave in a way that would make animals blush.”
“The ironic, the tragic thing,” Henry observes, “is that we often behave in ignoble fashion from what we consider the highest motives. The animal makes no excuse for killing his prey; the human animal, on the other hand, can invoke God’s blessing when massacring his fellow men.”
Henry then gives us this gem.
“He [the human being] forgets that God is not on his side but at his side.”
In “The Spiral Staircase:
My Climb Out of Darkness”, Karen Armstrong writes of a fundamental distortion that has happened, over time, in the way we see religion and theology.
She writes that, in its essence, “The one and only test of a valid religious idea, doctrinal statement, spiritual experience, or devotional practice was that it must lead directly to practical compassion. If your understanding of the divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express this sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, or self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God’s name, it was bad theology.”