Culture and Religion

Quran 20:81 Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein. 

Fasting is good for you. Very good. Josh Mittledorf, in Cracking the aging code: The new science of growing old and what it means for staying young, 2016, estimates he's added a decade, a good, healthy decade, to his life with his regime, which includes a weekly fast from 10pm Wednesday to 8 am Friday, when he only drinks water. He has figured out other ways to trick his mind into operating in its highest metabolic mode, but the main thing is the fast. Fasting has long been a spiritual exercise to quieten the body's incessant desires for petty satisfactions, real world distractions.

It is of course the no-brainer way to lose weight, but the marvel, paradox, is that for all living creatures, reducing consumption to just above starvation guarantees better health and longer life.

I'm on at 17:00 but Peter Koenig on Israeli is great too :)


What better source for the 'goods' on religion than a born-again evangelist (a proud member of MENSA and Prometheus Society) who not only 'saw the light' but who convinced both parents and one of his brothers to join him in apostasy. It struck me Barker is much like a gay who rejects the norm, 'comes out' to his parents (mothers cave almost immediately to prima dons), and turns his folks into gaylib activists. His self-advertisement and its 'heppi end' is sooo American, even a cameo appearance by Oprah Winfrey, it's either touching or over-the-top hilarious. The parallel is apt as gay and atheist somehow are synergies, slightly disorienting, but to be tolerated, both discarding old-fashioned bigotry in favour of freedom, liberty, Paul Revere.

The mid-19th c was phenomenal. So many brilliant composers, scientists, philosophers, genuine geniuses like Marx and Darwin. The age of Prometheus. What Man could achieve seemed limitless. Man shaking his fist at God. Or even taking over, revolting against God. Atheism became the fashion among the intelligentsia. It's as if God got His revenge in the 20th c, showing Man just how childish, ignorant, hateful he could be. Without God. So was it all Marx's fault? What would he do?

Next to workers of the world unite!, Marx's religion is the opium of the people is a meme that is embedded in our consciousness. But like most good things in life, it is misquoted.

If anything proves the validity of Occam's Razor,i it's contemplating the astounding attempts over two millennia to square Christianity's circle, or rather triangle. Trinitarianism: one God existing in three coequal, coeternal, consubstantial divine persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit, three distinct persons (hypostases) sharing one essence/ substance/ nature. The 'what' is one, the 'who' is three.

The Old Testament has been interpreted as referring to the Trinity in many places. One of these is the prophecy about the Messiah in Isaiah 9. The Messiah is called 'Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.' Some Christians see this verse as meaning the Messiah will represent the Trinity on Earth. This is because Counselor is a title for the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), the Trinity is God the Father, Jesus, Son, the Prince of Peace, the Counselor Spirit.

But this trinitarianism is very different from the Hindu Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer), Shiva (destroyer), or the Roman Diana.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here