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Only the zealots have all the answers

Jun 4, 2017 - By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

Oddly enough, they aren't really worth listening to.

There are volumes written about the "third eye," a visualization that occurs to some people. No, I haven't read any of them, but I might.

The topic in question has a variety of parameters including narcissism, self-realization and something mysteriously described as "the point of existence."

At 5:35 a.m. on Memorial Day I was the only patron in the athletic club weight room. As I dragged myself back for a third and final set of free-weight curls I caught myself in the mirror.

It was me, but the sensation listed above came to the fore. How could I exist? Why was I here? The entire experience was ethereal and, thankfully, very brief. I've had these moments many times since my early teenage years.

I suspect that almost everyone has them, but few people are able to express the sensation, so they just don't mention it.

It is no doubt a source of inspiration through the ages for philosophers, spiritual leaders and the great thinkers of their respective eras.

One thing I've noticed is that the mindset doesn't happen when other people are around. It only occurs when you're alone, often after a period of isolation.

It's interesting to note that Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed all had their greatest inspiration while wandering alone in the desert.

It's not something you're supposed to notice in any of the three religions that date themselves back to Abraham and Moses but Jews, Christians and Muslims all share a common foundation.

It's the later interpretations that led to either discourse or open warfare. There have been far too many wars and far fewer intelligent conversations held on the common ancestry of the world's three great monotheistic religions since the first conflict at the Battle of Tours between Muslims and Christians in 732.

When I was a college kid, Father Hackman, a young Catholic priest, held a comparative religion class in one of the meeting rooms on the south end of Crane Hall on the University of Wyoming campus.

Only a couple of guys had signed up for the two-credit course but Father Hack, as we called him, often brought a case or two of liquid refreshment, so it quickly became a popular class to audit.

Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, Lutherans, Jews and Muslims met weekly in that room during the spring semester of 1976, and it was a wonderful lesson on comparative beliefs.

No fistfights, no heated arguments, just an enlightened exchange among young men who were still seeking their paths in life.

In retrospect, Mohammed Al Busari (called Al by his dorm mates), a petroleum engineering major from Yemen, and a couple of other Arab kids made more sense than the rest of us, as did the two LDS guys from Star Valley.

But that may have been because of the absence of beer in their systems compared to the rest of us.

Western society has made it difficult to be educated and religious simultaneously.Freedom of religion comes in the same paragraph as freedom of press in our first amendment.

It seems to be human nature to praise one and despise the other. Depending on your political vent the two are interchangeable when it comes to supporting or belittling these two equally important rights.

That brings me to a favorite topic of mine, the belief of astrophysicists that the universe began with a single "Big Bang" out of nothingness, and the belief of Christians, Muslims and Jews that the universe began with Genesis and the verse "In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth."

Similar? No doubt, but most scientists and theologians shy from the obvious similarity. Add in the next few verses that eerily mimic the pattern of Darwinian evolution, and you have an even greater quandary.

I don't pretend to understand the universe, its creation or even my role in it, but I do notice parallels and paradoxes as do many people.

It's too easy to close your eyes, shake your head and pretend there is no connection as the religious end of the spectrum often does, or simply to ridicule and ignore the connection as the pure science believers practice.

I have an Oglala friend who struggled with his tribal and Christian beliefs. I've heard people talk down on any religion other than their own, but I admire my friend for the inner struggles he's battled with, the introspection he's shared with me, and for the path he's taken in this world.

I don't have all the answers. As I grow older I realize I know less and less. I do know the path I've taken, but the paths of others can be right or, ultimately, wrong.It's the zealots in each group that make life more difficult, or even impossible, for the rest of us.

Until then, in the astrophysics realm ,at least, maybe atoms are really tiny solar systems, and molecules are tiny galaxies. Maybe our sun, Earth and adjoining planets are in reality a minuscule part of a far bigger entity.

Only the zealots know for sure. And they're not worth listening to. A final paradox.

Editor's note: Staff writer Randy Tucker is a retired public school educator.


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