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Book: God at the Ritz: A Priest-Physicist Talks About Science, Sex, Politics and Religion
Author: Lorenzo Albacete
Cross Roads Publication, NY, pp 202

Excerpt from Introduction:

In 1997, the award-winning TV producer Helen Whitney invited me to be a consultant in a documentary that she was preparing for the PBS-TV program Frontline about the challenges to contemporary culture posed by Pope John Paul II.

He had turned out to be one of the strongest critics of modern thought, accusing it of having somehow spawned a "culture of death."

Whitney want to explore this contradiction. For almost three years, I watched her select, film, sift through, choose, and edit the personal testimonies of hundreds of cultural leaders throughout the world who reacted positively and negatively to the challenges posed by this "unavoidable" pope.

Gradually it became clear to me that the most disturbing aspects of the pope's teachings touched, not on specific points of doctrine and morals, but on the very nature of the religious claim to truth. The pope represented the claims of a way of thinking that the twentieth century was supposed to have exposed as immature and alienating. It was amazing that the century that saw the victory of the critique of religion by the great "maters of suspicion" (Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche) was ending with a religious leader of popularity of this pope. Or so it seemed then ...

. . . .This book is the result of that experience.

Excerpt from Book:

What Matters is Wonder

I remember seeing a cartoon in which a couple was bringing their baby home soon after it was born. The setting was the middle of Manhattan with its traffic, mobs of people in the street, and awesome canyons of skyscrapers. The couple was standing (waiting for a cab?) In front of the majestic entrance to the hospital, the baby buried in his mother's arms. The caption was that mother's words to the baby: "Look, Harry. The World!"

Suppose that baby had been able to look and see the sheer magnitude of it all. His reaction would habe been overwhelming amazement. This amazement is the religious experience.

Religious experience is a human experience, a human passion like manhy others. It expresses the power, the energy of human life itself. In fact, religious experience can be seen as the fundamental human experience that unleashes passionate curiosity. It is this passionate curiosity that sustains the efforts of science, for example, as well as other creative human enterprises, such as the development of a just social order and an equitable distribution of human resources. It is this same passionate curiosity that energizes children in their wondrous exploration of the world.

. . . .Religious experience, therefore, is not an escape from this world; it is an affirmation of it. It is a way of standing before reality the reality that each of us encounters in our lives, our work, and our relationships each day and regarding it with a passionate curiosity. It is a contemplative posture before all that exists. Like the wonder of that mother holding her newborn child and saying, with joy and anticipation, "Look, the World!" All that counts is wonder.

Table of Contents:

1. Is Religion A Lot of Bull?
2. Science and the Mystery
3. The Great Cry: Why Suffering?
4. The Big Three: Sex, Money and Politics
5. Beyond Religion