MY CAREER AS A WRITER

I was always intrigued with the vivid images in Revelation. I first became acquainted with Revelation when I was nineteen when I joined the Air Force in 1950. I was issued a small pocket edition of the New Testament, and I whiled away my spare moments reading it. That interest remained with me all my life. Thirty years later in 1980, after hearing of many different and contradictory interpretations of Revelation, I decided to read as many interpretations as I could find and study the history of the times when Revelation was written to see if I could make some sense of it. I thought I came up with a pretty good understanding of it, so I began writing a book about it.

My book was ready for publication in 2002, and I published it through Xlibris Book Publishing Co. I hoped I was contributing something new to this fascinating era of religion and history. I then tried marketing the book myself. I had no idea how difficult and costly this would be, and I got nowhere with my book. In 2008, I rewrote my book and publised that version trough iUniverse Publishers. I also paid about a dozen professional book reviewers to review my book. They all posted positive reviews on my books, but here I am eight years later with practically no sales of my book and frustrated.

To increase my visibility to the book-reading public I began writing and posting book reviews on The Internet. I began writing standard book reviews like other writers were doing, but as I continued to read books, I realized that I did not agree with many authors in what ideas they were presenting in their books. I then got more critical in my reviews, trying to offset ideas that I thought were mistakes in the author's minds. Eventually I began seeking out books written from a mindset I knew I would not agreed with. You would think that my book reviews would attract some attention to my own book by then, but here I am, 85 years old, and haven't gotten anywhere with my writing career. Altogether, I wrote about 100 book reviews that I thought were pretty good, but I fear I will probably wind up with nothing to show for all my efforts as a writer. So, before everything falls apart, and I have to just give up my career as a writer, I thought I would try my hand at publishing seventy of my best book reviews through Amazon Kindle Publishing.

I published My Career as a Book Reviewer Defending the Faith, an e-book on Amazon Kindle that includes 70 of what I think are my finest book reviews for everyone to view. These reviews criticize trends in our culture that conflict with the Christian outlook I have on life. If you are saddened about what our culture is doing to refute America's Christian heritage, you might fine some of my book revierws interesting. I wonder, after I finally leave this life, how satisfied will I be that I wrote all this stuff. Probably I will be satisfied. I think it is better to try to write something positive than to just remain silent.


Here is a sample of one of my book reviews in my Kindle e-book entitled
MY CAREER AS A BOOK REVIEWER DEFENDING THE FAITH

COSMIC WAR
God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror
By Reza Aslan
© 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1400066728
Random House

I came across Reza Aslanís book Cosmic War through The Internet. This book was written by a man who came to America from Iran in 1979 as a young boy. He found Christ at a Youth Camp in California and became converted, but later lost his faith in Christianity when he could not refute the arguments of those who ridiculed his conviction that everything in the Bible is literally true. He later pursued a religious education in the USA, earning a B.A. in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University, a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Religions from University of California. He now is famous for his books teaching and comparing Christian and Islamic understandings of religion.

In his prologue, Aslan mentions his early experiences in America. Among other things, he realized that, when reciting the American pledge of allegiance, he was making a promise; and in return, a promise was being made to him. However, the events of 911 brought a change to the world, especially in America. Lines were being drawn. Sides were being chosen. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists, President Bush had warned, In this conflict there is no middle ground. Aslan characterizes this as ďcosmic war.Ē

A cosmic war as described by Aslan is a religious war. It is a conflict in which God is believed to be directly engaged on one side over the other . . . a cosmic war is like a ritual drama in which the participants act out on earth a battle they believe is actually taking place in heaven. A cosmic war . . . is a battle waged not against opposing nations or their soldiers or even their citizens but against Satan and his evil ministers . . .

Aslan goes on to discuss the mediaeval crusades, describing them as earlier cosmic wars: He writes: It may be difficult to reconcile the unrestrained bloodlust of these Medieval Christian soldiers with Jesusís commandments to Ďlove oneís enemiesí and Ďturn the other cheek.í But this is because Christianityís conception of the cosmic war is derived not from the New Testament but from the Hebrew Bible . . . The knights who raped and pillaged their way to the Holy Land, who . . . boiled pagan adults whole in cooking pots, impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled, were cosmic warriors walking in the path of the Lion of Judah, not the Lamb of God.

From this point on, Aslan loses me. He seldom picks up his opening theme that a cosmic war is primarily a celestial war that is actually happening in heaven. Instead, he falls into the same polemic that has always compromised human attempts to correct the evils in the world. He slants everything in a way that does not lead to a better understanding of the evil, but distorts it. Perhaps it might be true that some crusaders impaled infants on spits and devoured them grilled. I donít know if that is true or not. I wasnít there to observe it. But if it is true, wouldnít everybody recognize it as evil? What good does it do to bring up these actions today, when these deeds were done almost a thousand years ago? All it does is provoke me and others to anger.

I think provocative statements like this only serve to further polarize humans in their conflict with each other. None of us today are responsible for the evil deeds done by people who have already left this life. Rehearsing these evil deeds over and over again only serves to encourage people to take action against the perceived perpetrators, and the action almost always winds up as an expression of hatred and retaliation. Hatred does not come from God who is merciful and long suffering because he is putting up with our sins. God desires our submission to his will, which reflects his love that animates everything he does. Hatred is instigated by Satan who seethes with resentment because God does not permit Satan to take control of us who should belong to God. It is Satan who incites humans into hatred and oppression against others. Love, justice, and mercy are what animate God, as is testified in the first Surah in the Quíran: In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.

I believe there is indeed a cosmic war in progress. After reading Aslanís book, I wonder how fervently Aslan believes it, even though he is the one who brought it up. God revealed how this war started when God appointed the prophet Moses to compile the Torah and include the early oral history of the human race in the book of Genesis. This history begins with how Satan beguiled the first two humans to refuse submission to God and traces some events of the many generations down to the time of Moses. God revealed to Moses what should be included in the Torah and what should be rejected. This makes God the author of Genesis and Moses the prophet who put it into writing.

I see, from searching the Internet, that Islam also reveres these stories of the creation of the first two humans and of the interaction of Satan misguiding the human race and Godís promise to send a savior to defeat the influence of Satan. This is revealed history. I think we should all believe it. Three major groups of humans: Muslims, Jews, and Christians acknowledge this history in Genesis as true, yet it is strife among these three groups that is the principle cause of religious wars all through history.

What is this cosmic war about? It is about Satan, a created spiritual person who wants to be a god himself and interferes with the human race to get humans to serve him rather than submit themselves to Godís will a they should. Satanís major weapon in his war against God is his distortion of the truth as he enlists humans to aspire to what he wants. His influence is based on lies, like he lied to Eve when he conquered the first humans, and he is lying when he tempts us not to believe that God promised the woman and her husband a savior to crush the influence of Satan and rescue them and their offspring from bondage to Satan.

I donít think God is going surrender his creation to a renegade angel, and I donít think God wants a slaughter of humans occurring on earth. He did not even want conflict in heaven when Satan first rebelled. Godís loyal angels do not deserve to be embroiled in a conflict like that. God immediately cast Satan out of heaven onto Earth, and since Satan seduced the newly created humans, who so willingly entered into this rebellion, God will fight this conflict through them and all their offspring along with the promised human savior who will demonstrate that everyone God created, including Satan, must submit themselves to God. It is Satanís rebellion against God and Godís will that the womanís seed confront Satan that has brought this cosmic war to humans.

We humans have all wound up as the combatants in this cosmic war between God and Satan. God originally created the human race to be happy loving him and serving him in paradise. I think he wanted physical life forms with spiritual natures capable of knowing God and loving God and gifted with dominion over the physical world and privileged to enter into Godís life as God guides them and the world they rule to fulfill his will that guides everything. God called it good when he finished creating the first two humans. If the first two humans had submitted themselves to Godís will rather than give in to Satanís temptation, they and all their offspring would have lived forever with immortal bodies in a whole Earth that would have been a blissful paradise. Satan destroyed that instinctive submission when he seduced those parents and infused his rebellion into them and all their offspring so that we humans now prefer to follow our own wills.

Satan told the first two humans that if they ate the fruit, they would become like God, having knowledge of good and evil. As a result of their disobedience, they and all their offspring all through human history have been embroiled in good and evil, both the good and evil that comes to them externally and the good and evil that stems from their hearts as they deal with others. What is good is submission to Godís holy will. What is evil is refusal to submit to Godís will. Any resistance to Godís holy will always compromises the wellbeing of others that depend on Godís will being carried out in all circumstances. The human race is learning this, and I think knowledge of this is what God will use to crush Satanís pride.

In the world today, we all can see how different our human aspirations are from Godís aspirations. All through human history, every bit of injustice done against innocent victims is done by human beings, either prodded by Satan or through their own hatred, starting with the murder of Able by Cain, continuing all through history including the alleged impaling of infants on spits to be roasted and devoured by Christian crusaders, all the way up to the present day with the alleged atrocities inflicted by Muslims against the victims they mistreat. Itís not only brutal wars that have disgraced the human race; it is the incredible departure from everything that would demonstrate loyalty to God, like the blatant rejection of God by so many humans and the unimaginable oppression of other less gifted humans. I donít think God is pleased with the conduct of those he created to love and serve him and who so willingly defy his commandments. In his war against god, Satan has destroyed the fidelity of all humans.

Aslan continues his discussion of the crusades of mediaeval Europe against the Muslims. He criticizes the Catholic Church of fomenting the Crusades as a means of transferring the warring of European princes against a common foe and subsidizing it with Papal indulgences . . . and promise of booty seized from Muslim lands. Aslan mentions Popes who granted forgiveness of sins to those who would fight against the Churchís enemies. I donít agree with Aslanís continued polemic of provocative exaggerations of misconduct by the Christian world. Itís the same invective that Western news media directs today against the Muslim world. Some individuals in both worlds do not obey God as they should, but I think many in both worlds really do submit themselves, as best they can, to Godís will. Nothing good comes from this diatribe of lies and half-truths.

I think Aslanís primarily political discussion of the conflicts on Earth deviates from his main thesis outlined early in his book where he states that cosmic war is a religious war. It is a conflict in which God is believed to be directly engaged on one side over the other . . . a cosmic war is like a ritual drama in which the participants act out on earth a battle they believe is actually taking place in heaven. Iím surprised that Aslan seldom again mentions God or Satan as the principle protagonists in his book. I think his original depiction of the cosmic war is right on target. It comes from divine revelation. The seduction of Eve and her husband by Satan is the crucial revelation. I agree with Aslan that this war between good and evil, which plagues every human being, is a cosmic war and Genesis contains the divine revelation of why it is happening. The two real protagonists in this cosmic war are Satan, the ringleader of those who refuse submission to God, and the savior promised to the woman in the garden, the one who will crush the arrogant pride of Satan, who dared to defy God.

This war is won or lost in our hearts. I think God wants each human to choose in our own hearts the side we want to defend, how we will act out this moral struggle that shows our fidelity to God. We should all be submissive to Godís will, but we are all influenced by Satan to prefer our own will, and we are stimulated through human anger to rage against other humans to get what we want rather than to direct our efforts interiorly so that we keep ourselves always submissive to Godís will. We, the combatants in this cosmic war, are the ones who inflict injustice and oppression upon our fellow human beings, or if we choose submission to God, as God requires us to do, it could be any one of us who brings Godís mercy, compassion, and love to other human beings.

So how will this cosmic war play out? I think Godís holy will must be accepted and accomplished by everybody on Earth just like it is accepted and accomplished in heaven. We should choose submission to God. We must refuse submission to the influence of Satan. We must resist any temptation to inflict harm and oppression onto others that also share in Godís merciful love and toleration as they seek to discover Godís will themselves. The celestial cause of this cosmic war, Satanís refusal to submit himself to God, cannot be tolerated forever. Sooner or later God will subdue Satan and punish him and all those who chose to side with Satanís influence rather that submit themselves to God.

Aslan is also critical of Christian sentiments in America. He says ďthe events of the war in Iraq (which the Christian Right viewed as a war against the enemies of God) has become a call to arms for Muslims everywhere to awake from their slumber, to embrace Islamís own tradition of cosmic war, and take the battle directly to the enemies of Islamís God.Ē I see this as a further escalation of human conflict in this cosmic war. Itís the same old ďour GodĒ verses ďtheir God.Ē It sounds like a battle cry for Muslims. I see how easily Satan can seduce even well-meaning humans to blunder into escalating this war. There is only one God. He should be himself, the one true God, and we all should love him and be submissive to him as he commands.

I also see, as I write this, an alarming polarization building up in the Middle East. The conflicting aspirations of Jews in Israel, Muslims opposed to their aspirations, and the American Christian Right sympathetic to their aspirations can only lead to further conflict. With the ready access of nuclear weapons for combatants on all sides of this conflict, I worry about the future. I know Satan cannot defeat God, but he rages against God by inciting humans to destroy the mission of the savior who is to bring peace to the world. Thatís why the world is plagued with religious wars.

I donít think these wars will cease until Satan is finally subdued and punished. Then God will raise every human being that ever existed, judge each one of them on how submissive they are towards Godís will, and punish those who are hostile to submission to him. Those who are submissive to him will enter into a paradise much better than the original paradise Adam and Eve were placed in.

Aslan concludes: In the end, we must recognize that the War on Terror could never have been won militarily. It is not enough for Americaís capable military to seek out and destroy Jihadist militants. America itself must strive to create an open religious and political environment in the Muslim world that will blunt the appeal of Jihadist ideologies.

I agree with his conclusion. We humans should not be waging war with each other. The violence and oppression that come with forcing someone to do our will does not come from God. I think God does not want force used because he does not want anyone to lose the sovereign free nature he conferred on all humans. I think what God wants is for each of us to freely decide to change our own attitudes and, of our own free will, to return to loyal submission to God. The challenge is to recognize what Godís will really is. A good guideline is Godís commandments.

We should never defy Godís commandments. If we want to participate in Godís victory in this cosmic war, we should encourage others in the logic of submission to Godís will without violating the sovereign free nature God has given to every person. I think what God wants is that each human recognize who God is and turn to God with gratitude and love because God created each sovereign person for a mission, and only by complying with Godís will with full submission can the destiny God has prepared for each one of us be accomplished.

I recommend ďCosmic WarĒ to readers because it summarizes much of the history of religious wars that have plagued humans. Reading Aslanís arguments caused me to search my own thoughts about God and Satan. I think Aslanís book serves a good purpose, but Aslan could have explained his theme better if he had stuck to his original premise of what he thinks a cosmic war really is.

HERE ARE SOME OTHER BOOK REVIEWS NOT IN MY KINDLE BOOK

An Obsolete Honor
Carl Sagan and Immaneul Velikovsky
Abbie's Rival Scroll to Third Review
Sucker Bet
Deriliction of Duty
A Brief History of Time
End Times Fiction
Image of Bar Kochba in Traditional Jewish Literature
Not on Our Watch
The Turk
Finding Refuge Through Forgotten Messages
Bel Canto
Saving Babylon
J.R.R. Tolkien
Beyond Velikovsky
The New New Thing
Prime Obsession
Only Time Will Tell
Message in a Bottle
Buxton Chase
Dancing Backward in Paradise
Loss of Innocence
Mademoiselle Boleyn
Bar Kochba
Deadly Recall
Goalden Girl
Memories of a Long Life
Fleur de Leigh in Exile
Pariah Tales
Pinoneers of Profit among the Clouds
Rainbow's End
Shades of Darkness
The Language of God
Weeping Sussanna
With Eyes of Love
Men and Women are from Eden
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