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Is This the Best God Could Do? (nonfiction, approximately 115.000 words) was born of a crisis of faith of the most cruel kind, the loss of my mother who lingered on the brink death for five weeks, and that is where the book begins. I was living the American dream, a happy wife and mother, and by most measures, charmed, and then she died, suffering terribly in the process in spite of my ardent prayers.
Like many in this position, I felt that God had let me down, but once my grief passed, I realized that the God of traditional Christianity keeps us in thrall by fear and guilt, by insisting we are small when we are really quite "big" beings. When the World Trade Center collapsed, I also realized that the end of the world might well be upon us because it is a self-fulfilling prophecy brought about by the zealot believers in the Abrahamic religions, fear carried to an illogical extreme. This epiphany made me angry. Is This the Best God Could Do? is also the result of that anger.
However, although the topic is obviously deadly serious, I debunk the warped monotheism of the "Big Three" with humor and wit as well as reasonable, albeit edgy, argument. What follows the section in which I recount the loss of my mother (and the realization that the Abrahamic version of God has been messing with us for a couple thousand years) is part dialogue with that big guy (picture Groucho Marx as interlocutor: "Hi, God of Christianity, Sarah here. I can appreciate your dilemma, I really can. But the next time one of your angels gets out of hand, please try to take care of the problem instead of making it one of ours..."), part personal history, and part reasoned deconstruction.
But the conclusion I reach about religion does not amount to an advocacy of atheism. Although the monotheistic God is discounted as a manmade thing, one used to control us, I also argue against the godless scientism of Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation), and Christopher Hitchens (God is Not Great). In fact, I argue against this limited perception of human being as a random function of extraneous forces in favor of a more profound participation of humans in reality leading to a profound spiritual transformation on the part of individuals and eventually all of humanity.
I also argue for a kind of pandemic version of the dramatic "wake up" effect (Eckart Tolle's concept from A New Earth) I experienced when my mother died. The human race, indeed the very planet, is going through extraordinary changes – all cause for great alarm among the monotheists as the beginning of the end. I insist in Is This the Best God Could Do? that, on the contrary, our situation is karmically inevitable and the dire straits in which we find ourselves an invitation to spiritual growth and thereby a renewal of civilization. I also call for those born to relative wealth, the American populace in general but also most of the Western world, to accept responsibility for charting the way forward because it is easier to evolve beyond the traditional notions of religion when one's belly is full and one is warm and dry.
But Is This the Best God Could Do? is not just a polemic about the medieval grip of fundamentalism that holds humans back from the self awareness necessary to find a way forward through the difficulties of history to an enlightened way of life – the book also charts the path. I offer guidance to the reader for achieving the kind of awareness that allows them to hear "God's voice" and to participate in the world as an active agent instead of being just a passive believer, to understand the "magnitude of our spiritual reality."
Although my book is utterly unique in its mixture of elements (the strident debunking of monotheism, the hopeful recognition of the "bigness" of humans as spiritual beings to stand in opposition to the "smallness" of fear and guilt, a hope-filled recipe for saving us from ourselves, and memoir – and all in a tone worthy of British humorist Russell Brand in My Booky Wook), the various aspects of the manuscript can be compared to other well known books.
Like James Redfield in The Celestine Prophecy, I invoke Jungian synchronicity as the mechanism by which we can hear "God speaking." It is through the development of our intuition that we recognize these moments in the first place, and as Rick Warren advocates in his A Purpose Driven Life, I argue that this recognition is not reserved for the few but is available to anyone who becomes self aware – in place of Warren's scriptural references are ideas from Eastern religious practices. Ultimately, I am advocating an evolution of the spirit, from medieval servitude born of fear to what Gary Zukav refers to in The Seat of the Soul as a necessary move beyond reliance upon our senses (the atheism of scientism) to the cultivation of our intuition in order to bring about a better future for ourselves and civilization as a whole.