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Game of Gods – Introduction

October 6, 2017

Over the past two years as I’ve been writing Game of Gods, people have understandably been asking, “what is your book about?” To help answer this query, I’ve pasted the entirety of the book’s Introduction below. However, I’m still not satisfied with the ending. It needs a finalizing sentence, a hook. Let me know your thoughts…

——————-

Two young ladies wearing eclectic costumes, powdered white by the ever-present alkali dust of the Black Rock Desert, slowed their bicycles near our camp before calling out.

“Where are we?”

It was an innocent question, for the streets of Black Rock City – home of the famous Burning Man festival in northwest Nevada – can be disorienting if one is not paying attention to the road markers.

“5 and Kundalini,” I answered, indicating our location on the city’s radial grid.

With a quick thank-you they peddled off, disappearing into the ethereal energy of continual sensory overload, a pulsing ocean of light and sound and movement.

Robert Worley, my friend and Burning Man companion, quietly mirrored their simple query, adding, “now that’s quite the existential question.”

It is, indeed: Where are we?

Imposing this inquiry upon Western civilization, we find ourselves pondering our location on the overlapping grids of religion, philosophy, and ideology. To discover our position, however, requires that we unpack the dominant paradigm; the worldview operating system that shapes our spiritual and social landscape. As we consider what this entails – at its core, a truth claim in conflict with another truth claim – we will begin to comprehend the nature and scope of our changing times, and we will come face-to-face with the transformation of the Western soul.

This is not to suggest that the Global South, the non-Western world, has remained static. Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent, along with Oceania, have been anything but locked in historical inertia. From their sub-regions to individual nations and cities, the power of ideas and the ebb-and-flow of ideological forces have produced dramatic changes. In terms of Christianity, major parts of the Global South have witnessed significant growth in the faith; a counter-trend to the West’s reversal. The impact of information technologies, political upheavals, the migration of people and beliefs: transitions are occurring wherever one resides.

Our attention will nevertheless be on the features that have re-set the Western heart and mind, while recognizing that these developments have had global reach. More importantly, the essential claim – that dominant worldview feeding the transformation we will be exploring – operates irrespective of nations or cultures or ethnicities, even as it informs the thoughts and actions of individuals and groups. The reason is simple yet profound: It is inescapably grounded in the spiritual character of our human nature.

To help appreciate our journey of discovery and understanding, Game of Gods has been separated into five sections. The first is comprised of two chapters exploring the concept of Oneness, a theme running throughout the book. Part two is a progressive survey outlining the history of Western thought and social change, touching on the rise and fall of Christendom, the exploration of Modernity and Postmodernism, and the emergence of New Spirituality and Re-Enchantment. The third section tackles Biblical approaches to the topic, necessary for a rounded perspective: God as separate and unique from creation, the recurring spirit of the first deception, and the concept of collective rebellion. Part four contains a series of mini-books, expanded essays on the political, religious, technological, and celebratory aspects of Oneness. The book’s conclusion – Part Five – is a single chapter meant to spur our thinking as we contemplate three responses.

Although Game of Gods is content rich, it is by no means exhaustive. Many relevant personalities and historical developments have been excluded. Little is said of Islam or Catholicism, sexuality, pop culture, current affairs, or international security concerns. At one point I considered adding a chapter on world monetary issues, for it is a tangible part of the question. At first glance this seemed like a shoe-in as I was already published in the field. For example, India’s Icfai University Press had included my essay, “Critical Thoughts on a Single Currency,” in their 2009 anthology, A Single Global Currency. However, because of the acceleration in crypto-currencies and distributed ledger technologies, I deemed it best to refrain until I had a better handle on trajectories. That said; this book is research saturated.

With that in mind, a few words on research preferences are in order. For those with an eye to the endnotes, it will become apparent that relatively few Internet resources are cited. Even though I was an early adopter of the World Wide Web, it is only one item in my toolbox – a multi-use implement, to be sure, but not the single or primary means of conducting investigation. Electronic documents are sourced, but copious references to hardcopies are the norm: books, reports, and journals. Most are publicly obtainable, but I do use papers from archives and private holdings too. Personally conducted interviews and surveys – important for digging below the surface – are occasionally referenced, as are surveys done by others. The most valuable research method I have found, however, is to be there: to literally put boots-on-the ground, observing and interacting, taking notes and collecting data, and otherwise documenting the experience.

Another consideration as we venture into Game of Gods is that while I advance a critical analysis, I try to maintain contextual accuracy, and this is especially important when mentioning personalities. That is, to critique ideas and actions without resorting to disparaging attacks against those individuals with whom I fundamentally disagree. It is one thing to discuss a person’s role and influence, and their motives where applicable; it is another to depreciate someone’s character in order to presumably score points. As Christians we are to love our neighbors, including those who oppose us. This does not mean sugarcoating uncomfortable topics, but neither does it mean acting disrespectfully or bearing false witness.

It is my sincere desire to be as accurate as possible, a difficult task when covering so many subjects with such brevity.

To my friends who are globalists, transhumanists, atheists and agnostics, spiritual explorers and those of other religions, I am very thankful you are willing to read my book. To my Christian friends who are socialist leaning or Emergent, I am grateful you are willing to consider what I have to say. For the many Christians who are concerned about the direction of church and society, who know something is amiss but find it difficult to grasp where we are, I trust this book will be of value. To those who cherish liberty, may this reinforce the seriousness of freedom, and thus turn our hearts to the only one who can truly set us free.

Obviously I have biases. We all do. Allow mine to be transparent: I embrace a Christian worldview with an evangelical point of reference. This will be evident in the text. I am pro-liberty and pro-individualistic, versus politically directed equality and socially generated collectivism. Economically I am pro-free market, the voluntary and consensual exchange of goods and services. On the left-right spectrum, with left being understood as maximum government and minimum personal responsibility, as opposed to minimal government and maximum personal responsibility, I am right of center.

So who should not read this book? If you are adamant that a Bible verse is to be found on every page, then you will be very disappointed. Conversely, if you find discussions of Christianity with accompanying Bible passages to be upsetting, then you too will be frustrated. If you do not want to expend any mental energy, then close the covers now. However, if you are willing to journey along with me in these pages to events like the United Nations Millennium Forum, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Burning Man and other gatherings – and are interested in the connecting points of religion and philosophy, ideology and history, belief and action – then this book is for you. Agree or disagree with my thoughts or findings; but either way, challenge yourself to consider why, and to work through the implications.

To understand tomorrow’s context today, we need to have some idea as to where we are now. To do this we must investigate yesterday, for the present did not emerge from a vacuum.

Does this mean the book you are holding is immediately out of date?

Not at all: There is a relevancy no matter the time, for Game of Gods does far more than just position us on the grid – it digs into the essence of the human story, reflected in each of us, from epoch to epoch.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Marilyn Crow permalink
    October 7, 2017 12:02 am

    Hi Carl,

    Great work there bro. A real labour of sweat & tears over the years. I have so appreciated all your research. May the Lord continue to anoint His work through you in print and at conferences.

    Here is my suggestion. You can of course word it better, but you get the general gist.

    `I have sought to unfold the important information in the context of the great movements of our time, and to each of us there will be presented the challenge, in our hearts – Quo Vadis? Where are YOU going?`

    regards to you and the family, Marilyn (Crow)

  2. October 7, 2017 8:00 am

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

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