On the Deportation of Illegal Haitian Immigrants and Importance of Haiti in Human History

On the Deportation of Illegal Haitian Immigrants and Importance of Haiti in Human History

If we were given a chance to live in our country with dignity and peace, be allowed to chart a new course for our collective destiny and the future generation of Haitian Youths, prosper our country, and grow both materially and spiritually, we would not come to the U.S.A. to be humiliated, dehumanized, die like dogs, and ultimately be deported back to our homeland, our Ayiti Cheri.

The color of our skin is not our shame nor is it our ancestral heritage and identity. We are a people who refuse to surrender our rights and sovereignty, and bow down before the Almighty Empire of Greed, Conquest, and Death.
The Haitian people are not dogs. Our ancestors are people who died in dignity and pride.

We changed the world in 1804.We lost our brave sons and soldiers in the American War for Independence for America to be the first free Republic in the Western World.
We helped America abolish slavery. We also helped America acquire New Orleans from France. Our ancestor Jean-Baptiste Du Sable even founded one of your landmark cities: Chicago. We gave you the gift of music, our Jazz, the gift of Creole culture, and our gift of song.

We helped liberate Latin America and other Caribbean countries from the yoke of slavery. We helped Greece in its journey toward freedom. We hosted European Jews in our small island when they had not a home in Europe.We were the first country in the Western world to say No to Slavery, No to colonization, No to white supremacy, and No to state-holding slaves!

We transformed the human condition in 1804 and beyond. We refused to be dehumanized and treated like animals by the U.S. government and Immigration!

We gave the world the gift of freedom and the gift of human rights!

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Jesus is Against All Empires!

We need to make a sharp distinction between the institutionalization of Jesus in Western history of conquest and hegemonic domination of black and brown people, and the Jesus of Faith and History.

The Jesus of Faith and History is God incarnate in the human flesh  of a brown-skinned poor Palestine Jewish Peasant. This Jesus loves all children of the world: brown, black, white, mixed, native Americans, Latino, etc. It is to this Jesus I’m committed my life to serve, love, and make known in the public sphere, and not the Jesus of the Empire,  the racist, the slave master, or the colonialist.

Do not confuse the power of Jesus with the power of the Empire. Jesus is not the Empire. He is against all Empires, but his love will empower you to radical change!

“Black People Refuse to Die: On Christian Discipleship and the Responsibility of White Evangelical Churches and Christians”

“Black People Refuse to Die: On Christian Discipleship and the Responsibility of White Evangelical Christians”

“Black People Refuse to Die: On Christian Discipleship and the Responsibility of White Evangelical Christians”

Many Evangelical White Christians find faults with the so-called secular vision and tenets of Black Lives Matter Movement. You even said you do not want to associate yourselves with the BLM. (I, myself, as an Evangelical Black Christian, do not embrace all the tenets of Black Lives Matter, but I do know it is premised primarily on the clarion call for justice, and the defense and promotion of black dignity and humanity in our culture). However, I would argue that you too could agree with the basic premise of the Movement that “Black Lives Matter,” and that Police Brutality leading to the unjust killing of Black people in America needs to Stop. What is “unchristian” about this moral position? Are we not our brother and sister’s keeper as confessional followers of Christ?

Black people, including black Christians who are your brothers and sisters in Christ, who live in constant fear of cultural and Police violence and terrorism, and the labyrinth of impending death in this society are not asking you to embrace those values that contradict those of the Christian faith. We just want you to use your power, influence, resources, and  “your white privileges” to fight with us for racial justice and our rights to exist in this society as children of God and citizens of this country. All we are asking is equal and fair treatment and protection by the same law. Our cause is more than a black and/or white matter: it is a human issue; it is love issue; it is a responsibility issue. It is an issue of your “silent voice.” We refuse to die. We also refuse to give away the future of our children and the next generation to come.

As human beings and Christians, it is unethical, unloving, and unbiblical to support a system in which white power triumphs; a system in which the white narrative is the only one that matters; a system in which white supremacy knows no boundary. I understand some of you my white evangelical brothers and sisters refuse to surrender the your power, influence, and cultural benefits that have shaped the white experience in America and in the world, which also have given you great dividends in this culture. Some of you are afraid if you’re on the right side of history and in solidarity with those who are suffering, mourning, and dying, you will lose your power and domination in the realm of culture, politics, economics, religion, etc. Interestingly, all of these are contrary to biblical Christianity and biblical discipleship. Relinquishing your power for the sake of Christ and for the sake of love is never a loss; it is the greatest act of Christian discipleship. Ultimately, it is the triumph and celebration of love in public.

The Silence of Evangelical White Churches and White Christians!

The Silence of Evangelical White Churches and White Christians!

What puzzles me the most is the “intentional silence” of most White Christians and White Evangelical Churches!

1. In the time of slavery and slave trades, most white churches and white Christians in America were silent.

2. In the era of black lynching, most white churches and white Christians in America were silent.

3. In the period of racial segregation, most white churches and white Christians in America were again silent.

4. In contemporary times of Police brutality and black death, American Evangelical White Christians and White Churches still maintain their silence.

When will White Evangelical Churches and White Christians call evil evil?

When will White Evangelical Churches and White Christians call injustice injustice?

When will White Evangelical Churches and White Christians call wrong wrong?

What good are White Evangelical Christianity and White churches in America in this time of national crisis and black death!

Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
who say: “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
Woe to those who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right!”—Isaiah 5:18-23

On Black Life and Death: The Fear of American Police Forces, and the Decline of American Democracy and American Evangelical White Christianity

On Black Life and Death: The Fear of American Police Forces, and the Decline of American Democracy and American Evangelical White Christianity

Foremost, I’m a human being. Second, I’m a black male. Third, I’m a Christian. Fourth, I’m also a Professor and educator; I’m also a scholar, writer, and Christian minister. Correspondingly, I’m a father, husband, American citizen, and a holder of three Master degrees and a PhD. I have published five academic books and 18 scholarly articles in my short academic career—in a period of four years. I have a good job as English Professor, and make a reasonable salary to support and provide for my family. Hence, I can afford one or two family vacations a year. Despite of my academic achievements, I’m still a black person, to many people. I’m still perceived as a “threat” to society, and a “problem” in the American society.

However, I would argue that the sacredness of my life and human dignity is not dependent upon my academic credentials and success; rather, it is based on the fact that I, like everyone else–White, Black, Latino, Asian, Native Americans, Mixed people, what have you?– , am created in the image and likeness of God. In other words, my life is sacred in the same manner the life of other individuals is also sacred simply because we are humans who are loved by God and called into relationship with him. From a theological perspective, to be human and created in the image of God primarily means to be able to govern, to rule, and to have dominion over all things created by God, as well as to be able to relate and love God in an intimate way; to be human also means the possibility to relate, serve, protect, and love our human neighbors.  To be in solidarity with God and to be in solidarity with one’s neighbor is the thrust of human existence and the meaning of life this world.  On the other hand, the failure and consequence of human sin results in a culture of fear and more precisely, the fear to relate, serve, protect, love, and defend our neighbors. For example, in the context of American society and history, the institution of slavery, the lynching of black bodies, the long history of racial segregation and discrimination, and the mistreatment of black and brown people in this country have engendered a culture of fear and distrust between American citizens; in other words, American racism defers the great promises of the American democracy and equally challenges the democratic ideals articulated in the American Constitution and Bill of Rights. The word of democracy & the work of democracy are not inseparable. The democratic life becomes meaningful and attainable whenever the rhetoric of democracy contributes to social change and pushes humanity forward together to explore and actualize future hope and emancipative possibilities.

Moreover, this attitude of fear, based on the long history of racism and racial violence and death, has particularly defined the ambivalent interactions between Black and White American citizens, and Black people and Police Officers. As a result, many black people in the United States live in a constant state of survival, fear, and intimidation.  It is not a satisfying human existence. The life of the black person in America could be depicted as a narrative of existential risks, which not only threaten the future of black humanity in America; they also challenge the merit, value, and the presence of black existence in the American democracy. Black existential risks provide a new way of thinking and perceiving about what it means to be human, to be black in America, and to live as black citizens in America. It is an ethic of the daily strive of black people to “stay alive” and fight toward “collective freedom,” and “self-preservation.” Black existential risks are best trapped in the human sentiment of (black) fear, and the puzzling relationship of black people and trauma (“Black trauma”) in the American life that has shaped the black condition.

For example, in the long history of American democracy and the incessant struggles of black people for racial justice, total emancipation, and equal civil and human rights, black people have always had to confront both internal (their own cynicism and predicament) and external forces—another form of human cynicism and conundrum. One of the most dreadful and devastating existential forces that has been used to police the black body, regulate black behavior, define and transform black life, and stop black existence is arguably White Police Officers or the institution of Police Forces. For many black people, the Police Forces do not mean the protection and safety of black people and black children. The black experience in the United States is a history of black trauma and intimidating confrontation with Police presence that signifies dehumanization, humiliation, alienation, trauma, violence, and even death. To get more practical on this issue, allow me to share my own fear and traumatic experience.

First of all, I do not own a gun, and I do not need one although I have a wife and four children whom I dearly love. However, if I have to risk my own life in order to protect and save them, I will do so unhesitatingly. (I do not understand this reasoning or “American logic”):

  1. It is a constitutional right for “ALL” American citizens to bear arms in order to protect themselves and their family.

The Second Amendment reads as follows: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

  1. It is okay for “White people” to bear arms in this country; white people are never seen as a threat to the Police when they carry their weapons.
  2. Correspondingly, it is okay for “Black people” to bear arms in this country; black people, however, are seen as a threat to the Police when they carry their weapons.
  3. When a black person is seen with a gun, for example, the Police Officer would always justify that his/her is in danger, which gives the Office the “legal right” to “kill” the Black American.

What is wrong with this reasoning?

What does it mean to be “perceived” as a problem?

What does it mean to be a “problem” in the American society?)

Secondly, I live in a gated community in the Treasure Coast area in Florida, and at least, five to six Police Officers live in my moderate community. In fact, one of my neighbors is a Young Female Police Officer. She seems to be a very nice individual and a person to get to know a little bit better–although we never had any good or constructive conversations. Occasionally, we greet each other with a “distant good morning” or a “distant good afternoon,” while she, standing in front of her porch, I, browsing in front of my house. We smile when we see each; but, it is always from a distance. (This same Police Officer lives in the house with her mother. I remember when I introduced myself to the mother for the first time, perhaps two days after I moved in the community, she quickly informed me that “My daughter is a Police Office.” Was that a warning to me as a black man who could potentially intimidate a white woman, in fact, a police officer with a gun? I do not know, and perhaps, I will never know why she felt that it was necessary to present her daughter to me in this manner.) Correspondingly, in the Christian Church, my family attends in the Treasure Coast, there are three to four Police Officers who are there to provide “safety” to the Christian community. Rarely, have I had a conversation with them; once again, we waive and smile at a distance. The thrust of this matter is this: I fear Police Officers, and “Police Presence” to me does not necessarily mean safety or the assurance of protection, or I will be safe. More often, unfortunately, it is the other way around. (As a professor, I’ve had two dreadful encounters with Police Officers in my life, in which I was humiliated, disvalued, and dehumanized. I will never forget those experiences in which I was feared for my life, and was equally concerned about the future of my wife and my children if I were to die on those two occasions. I do not have any history of criminality, and have never been to jail before. I certainly did not commit any crime, violated the law, nor have I been disrespectful to the Police Officers who violently tackled me on the ground while I was holding my 1 year-old daughter in my hands (my other daughter who was then two years old was sleeping in the house), while attempting to open the door of my own vehicle, in front of my house. They handcuffed me in front of her. She cried incessantly. I was humiliated and dishonored on that day—even I told him that I was a professor. I did not resist arrest!  )

I fear the Police not because I believe that all Police Officers are criminals or enjoy killing black people. I fear the Police because of the painful narrative between American Polices and Black American Citizens; it is a relationship of distrust and fear. It is also a culture of terrible intimidation, isolation, and self-protection. Also, I fear the Polices because of the long history of violence and Black Death in this country, and Police officers are and have always been used as agents of violence and aggression to humiliate black people, dehumanize them, and annihilate black lives. As a result, for me, the presence of the Police does not always mean “public safety”–as it is the case for my “white friends”—or “my safety”; rather, Police presence could mean fear, a great level of discomfort, and sometimes impending death–my own death, in some cases. (I remember the day my own friend, who is a Black Police officer, came to visit me and my family. He and I grew up together in the same church in Fort Lauderdale. He has become a Police Officer, and I, have chosen the academia as a career. I tried not to fear him, his physical presence in my house, his loaded gun and green uniforms, as we were talking, became a little discomfort to me. He is a great Police Officer, and in fact, has been honored for his great work in various communities in the St. Lucie country; nonetheless, as we were talking in my house, he reminded me of other Police Officers who have terrorized black and brown people in our society, and those who have victims of Police brutality and even death at the Police gun.) Furthermore, every day, I go out to work and return home safely, I’m thankful that I’m not dead because some of us black males and females are not that lucky to come back home safely to our family and children. It is the same experience for black youths. Black life in America is like a vapor that vanishes without any warning. The words contingency and urgency best characterize black existence and dignity in America. The predicament of black life in America forces me to ask these critical questions:

  1. Where shall we go, O Lord our God, for safety and shelter?
  2. To whom shall we turn for comfort in the moment of despair and cultural violence?
  3. To whom shall we turn for justice?

The justice system has miserably failed Black and Brown people in America. In a recent article, “Something Much Greater at Stake,” the prominent American lawyer and activist Michelle Alexander is absolutely correct when she stated, “I was not raised in a church. And I have generally found more questions than answers in my own religious or spiritual pursuits. But I also know there is something much greater at stake in justice work than we often acknowledge. Solving the crises we face isn’t simply a matter of having the right facts, graphs, policy analyses, or funding. And I no longer believe we can “win” justice simply by filing lawsuits, flexing our political muscles or boosting voter turnout. Yes, we absolutely must do that work, but none of it — not even working for some form of political revolution — will ever be enough on its own. Without a moral or spiritual awakening, we will remain forever trapped in political games fueled by fear, greed and the hunger for power.” Consequently, I’m compelled to inquire and even interrogate in this way: how shall White Christians and White churches in America respond to this culture of violence and collective fear, and the impending death of black people in the American society?

This “spiritual awakening,” and if I could would add another phrase, this “moral revolution” must come from all Americans, and especially American Evangelical White Christians and American Evangelical White Churches. The Law Enforcement and Police Officers are also in desperate need of this “moral or spiritual awakening,” Michelle Alexander talked about in her interview. On one hand, I’m very optimistic about the future of this country; on the other hand, I hope and pray that that Evangelical White Churches in America would be equally zealous about racial justice, the promotion of the humanity and dignity of black people, and the defense of the right of black people to exist in America, as they are so passionate about protesting against abortion, that is the sanctity of the life in the womb. Does the (black) life outside of the womb also matter and equally worth preserving? Isn’t this a moral thing to do?

We need to be consistent in our theology. Our democracy must also be consistent and extend to all Americans, regardless of their race, gender, and religion. We need to construct a theology of life and death, and a revolutionary theology of peace and political ethic of care that champion all human’s life. We need to inquire about how a theological discourse of human solidarity and sustainability might help us to confront our culture of fear, alienation, violence, and death. Democracy in black means equal treatment for America’s black folk, and the defense of their right to exist and succeed in this country.

What puzzles me the most is the “intentional silence” of most White Christians and White Evangelical Churches!
1. In the time of slavery and slave trades, most white churches and white Christians in America were silent.
2. In the era of black lynching, most white churches and white Christians in America were silent.
3. In the period of racial segregation, most white churches and white Christians in America were again silent.
4. In contemporary times of Police brutality and black death, American Evangelical White Christians and White Churches still maintain their silence.
When will White Evangelical Churches and White Christians call evil evil?
When will White Evangelical Churches and White Christians call injustice injustice?
When will White Evangelical Churches and White Christians call wrong wrong?
What good are White Evangelical Christianity and White churches in America in this time of national crisis and black death!
Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
who say: “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
Woe to those who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right!”—Isaiah 5:18-23

If the Evangelical theology or Evangelical (Christian) faith does not provoke White Evangelical Christians to anger at the incessant killing of black people in America and move them swiftly to the road of protest and racial justice, American Evangelicals belittle the majesty and love of God. The Evangelical faith is not worth sharing and living. Evangelical Christianity is a dead faith and meaningless (to bring hope) to those who are suffering, mourning, and dying. The Evangelical White Churches in American need to launch an anti-black death and anti-police brutality movement the same way they have done it for the pro-life movement, and any other major sociopolitical, and ethical issues in which we have invested our resources and energy . This is a moral issue and a serious ethical matter that do not contradict the hope, message, and promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is simply the right and most Christian thing to do!

 

Protesting the US National Anthem: Democratic Dissent and the Politics of Civility and Respectability in America

Protesting the US National Anthem: Democratic Dissent and the Politics of Civility and Respectability in America
I would like to articulate a few ideas about the controversy surrounding  the U.S. National Anthem (I know some of my friends  will challenge  my position on this timely-sensitive issue. )
1. Because of recent research done on the history of the U.S. National Anthem, most Americans now know part of it is pro-slavery and glorifies the death of African slaves. From this perspective, one can infer that the American National Anthem is the antithesis of the American Constitutional ideals.
2. A National Anthem of a country is a sacred and historical document. It is equally important as the Constitution, the founding document, of a country.
3. It is evident that countries don’t just change or rewrite their national anthems. It is a rare case for that to happen.
4. US lawmakers will not discard our National Anthem nor will they write a new one.
5. The current American President will not apologize for its racist context or background.
One of the benefits of democracy or living in a democratic nation-state includes the freedom to dissent, the freedom of self-expression, even the freedom of the citizen to vote or refuse to vote. In fact, for many individuals democracy and dissent do not contradict each other or is the former the antithesis of the latter?  On one hand, I respect the constitutional right of an American or any American citizen  to refuse to salute the US flag  or  even refuse to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner;” on the other hand, should we not rather put accent on  the “American ideals” that the US flag/ National Anthem represents or embodies?
Absolutely, we should  agree that it is okay to protest what we believe are not great about America, and those things that defer American ideals and the promise of American democracy–such as high racial tensions, the seemingly unending police brutality, and the desecration of life in contemporary American society. Certainly, we are divided by difference.
Nowadays, it has become a public spectacle in our society for young Americans, even those in Elementary and Middle schools, to protest the National Anthem. What is the message we’re sending to these children?  What is exactly we’re trying to achieve by this act of democratic refusal? What is the ultimate goal of this democratic dissent?

Those of you who have clapped for those who refused to sing the US National Anthem, for how long will you keep doing so? If this is going to be a temporary protest, you need to know why? or if it is going to be a permanent protest, you also need to have specific reasons.  Remember my two previously-stated claims: (3) It is clear that countries don’t just change or rewrite their national anthems. It is a rare case for that to happen; and (4) that US lawmakers will not discard our National Anthem nor will they write a new one. A lot of Americans like to follow the crowd, and interestingly, some have no justifiable reasons. We are just a people who are trapped in our emotions while abandoning reason.

As an American citizen and a black father, I will not encourage my four children to disrespect the US Flag or applaud them shall they ever refuse to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” However, I’m responsible to teach them about the importance of racial justice, equality, and freedom for all. I’m also responsible to teach them that Black Lives mater, and concurrently, all lives matter.In the same line of thought, it is  a moral obligation for me to teach my four children to  stand against all forms of injustice, social evils,  and to protest racism, sexism, and the desecration and the degradation of life. Finally, it is also my duty to model for my four children good citizenship, civic responsibility and participation,  community involvement, and my commitment for a more promising and democratic America for all people.
————————————————————————
Postscript
*The problem with us Americans is that we are not consistent protesters; we let go too quickly matters of life and death in this country. That’s the thrust of my post. I’m calling upon us all to be consistent and not to withdraw even when the issue is not in vogue. For example, how long did it take us to forget about the recent deaths of young black males at the hands of angry police officers? how long will it take us to forget about the Black Lives Mater movement? How long will it take us to forget about the controversy surrounding the National Anthem (I’m predicting this issue will not last to October. By the beginning of November, we all will forget if this was even a serious political or cultural matter). What has happened to the Income Equality Movement? What about Katrina? How about the gun laws/right movement? Have we solved these issues ? Nope! We’re too quick to move to the next issue before we even solve the current dilemma. That is the reason we can’t ever solve anything effectively in this country. We are too quick to move forward; we are too quick to forget. This is not the best way to cure a disease. A cancer patient who wants to be cured from his/her illness will follow up with regular and repeating chemotherapy treatments, and continual doctor’s visits. He/she does not stop going to the doctor after his/her first visit. He or she does not stop the chemo treatment after the first session is over. Active and consistent protest is what will bring about racial justice, racial reconciliation and harmony, income equality, equal pay for women at work, equality for all, the problem of Police authority, and even the end of our culture of death and alienation. America’s grassroots movements are quick to fade.Perhaps, we have become less passionate, even less zealous about civil rights and human rights issues in this country.

On Science and Religion

On Science and Religion

The scientific evidence for evolution is very strong; in the same line of thought, the scientific evidence against the evolutionary theory is quite robust.
Yet, I do not believe that the Darwinian evolutionary theory that seeks to explain human origin (s), the birth of the cosmos, and the emergence of earthly species is quite compelling to reject the idea of a “religious universe”– as John Hick calls it–nor do I hold firmly to the notion that the creationist theory offers a better explanation for these phenomena and the realm of metaphysics.Science and religion could be used concurrently to help us get a better  understanding of the world.

For example, there are major flaws in the evolutionary theory. For example, there are prominent scientists who have challenged and even rejected Darwinianism and his evolutionary theory, including Michael J. Behe (“Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution,” and “The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism”); Stephen C. Meyer (“Signature in Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design,” and “Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design”); Francis C. Collins (“The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief”); Jonathan Wells (“Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution Is Wrong”); Guilermo Gonzales (“The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery”); John C. Lennox (“God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?”, and ” God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?”); Lee Strobel (“The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God”); Arthur E. Wilder-Smith (“Fulfilled Journey”); and Richard Milton (“Shattering the Myths of Darwinism”); and Tim Wolfe (“The Kingdom of Speech”.

Comparatively, the scientific evidence for the evolutionary theory is overwhelming such as those offered by Richard Dawkins (“The Selfish Gene,””The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True,” and “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution,”); Stephen Jay Gould (“Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History,” “The Structure of Evolutionary Theory”); Ernst Mayr (“What Evolution Is”); Jerry A Coyne (“Why Evolution Is True,” and “ Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible”); Carl Zimmer (“Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea”); Donald R. Prothero (“Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters”); Michael Shermer (“Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design”) ; Neil deGrasse Tyson (“Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries,” and “The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet”); Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith (“Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution”); and Stephen W. Hawking (“A Brief History of Time,” “The Theory Of Everything,” and “The Universe in a Nutshell); Stephen W. Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (“The Grand Design”).

There exists a group of smart individuals in the scientific community and religious community corresspondingly who are trying to understand both sides of the debate; they even published seminal texts on the relationship between religion and science. A selected references include the following:  John Hedley Brooke (“Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives”); Ian G. Barbour (“Religion and Science”); Richard G. Olson (“Science and Religion, 1450-1900: From Copernicus to Darwin”); Mary Midgley (“Evolution as a Religion: Strange Hopes and Stranger Fears”); Daniel C. Bennett and Alvin Plantinga (“Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?”); Alvin Plantiga (” Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism,” and “Warranted Christian Belief”);  Harold W. Attridge and Keith Stewart Thomson (“The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does It Continue?”);  J. P. Moreland (“Christianity and the Nature of Science: A Philosophical Investigation”); William Lane Craig (“Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics”);  J. P. Moreland and William Lane Criag (“Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview”); and Kathryn Applegate and J.B. Stump (eds.) (“How I Changed My Mind About Evolution”)

Science could be used and in fact, has been used to advance ideological and destructive agendas. We have to differentiate what can be scientifically proven and the use of science as ideology. Science or religion does not provide absolute certainties or absolute truths; both disciplines attempt to interpret the universe and the human experience in the cosmos and the sphere of metaphysics. One does not need to have a PhD in a scientific discipline to analyze or even discredit certain scientific theories, beliefs, or theories. Evidently, even those with PhD in science have strong disagreement on the matter of the human origin and the beginning of the universe. In addition, one can be a devoted Christian, Muslim, Jew, or what have you? and produce reputable scientific works. From my perspective, science, religion, and the arts are various means to gain knowledge and understanding about what the human mind can and cannot conceive. No academic discipline holds the final truth!

We should also bear in mind that like the academic discipline of science, religion or the arts–conceptual arts, performing arts, visual arts, literary arts, etc.–as a field of study is a human creation. Even the non-academic aspect of the arts, that is the popular practice and performance of arts, is merely a human construct. Finally, it seems to me we have to distinguish between different forms of epistemology: religious knowledge, scientific knowledge, and knowledge acquired through the arts and creative works– whose aim is to enhance human understanding of themselves and their environment and beyond, their relationship with God, and their interactions with their neighbor.