About the Author and Blog

About Me

My name is Art Benjamin and I am the author of this blog. I’m almost 80 years old. For about 78 of those years, I have been deeply absorbed in questions of why humankind exists, whether we’re alone in the Universe, and whether the Universe has an intelligence behind it and a direction in which it is headed. (I must have been a very precocious kid, but then again in the earliest of those years I focused also on the easier questions, such as “Where did I leave my rattle?” and “Is the Universe finite?”) It is my lifelong fascination with these “Big Questions” that has led, in a somewhat circuitous fashion, to this blog. My life experiences have, of course, influenced the path I have taken. I am Jewish. I was born Jewish and brought up in a Jewish home. I was instructed in the Jewish religion well past my childhood. Had I been brought up in a Christian home, I am certain that I would have been Christian, and I would be a very different person. Likewise, had I been brought up in a Muslim home, I would be Muslim, and again, would be a very different person. Of course it’s possible that I might have changed from one religion to another, or even decided to deny allegiance to any religion at all, but the greatest likelihood is that I would still be in the same religion as the one I had been born into. Nonetheless my intellect (such as it is) has been strongly influenced by my Jewish culture, and most of my tools for thinking about the subject matter of this blog, such as my favourite quotes, my sources of wisdom, my use of language, my analogies, indeed much of my thinking processes, are all influenced by my religious culture. This realization has convinced me that one of the plusses of there being multiple religions is the tremendous variety of such tools that this diversity provides. Although I have no certification declaring me an expert in cosmology, philosophy or theology, I have been reading in these fields for more than 60 years, including the scriptures and philosophy of the Abrahamic faiths as well as some of the major Eastern religions. I have also read more deeply and more broadly than the average bear in the sciences, particularly Cosmology-related sciences.

Why This Blog

As mentioned, I didn't start out with the intention to be a blogger. Instead, for more than a decade, I have been writing a sort of curmudgeonous book about these ideas. In the book there are some original thoughts of my own, which I hope are important. However, the greater part of the book involves organizing ideas, expounded by others in the fields of science, philosophy and religion, into a cogent framework, using consistent language that can be read and understood by non-experts.

While I still plan that this project will produce a conventional, hold-it-in-your-hand book, I have decided, for several reasons, to use the medium of a blog to get my ideas “out there.” I find that I, personally, have a burning need to get my ideas and framework into the public sphere. I want them to be read, reacted to and expanded. I truly hope that you, the reader, will make comments on my work, and that you will suggest new ideas, challenge and improve existing ones, and just generally further the discussion. With your permission, some of the ideas from comments will show up in future postings, and even in the book, where they will be fully acknowledged.

Reading This Blog

Each post in the blog is a short essay that can be read on its own. They were written, however, in a very specific sequence and you might find that you get more out of them when you read them in sequence.

We hope to release a new post two or three times a month. You can check in from time to time to see what's new, or if you prefer, use the "Subscribe by Email" gadget on the right side of the blog. If you enter your email address you will receive an email every time there is a new posting to the blog. That is the only use your address will be put to.

About Comments

Because your comments are so important, I'll say a few words about how they work in this blog. All comments are moderated. That is, they are read by a human being who decides whether they will be posted to the blogosphere or deleted. The guidelines for postable comments are: • They must be on-topic. • They must be civil. • They must address ideas and arguments directly; that is, no ad hominem attacks. In short, it is my hope that the comments section will be a place for stimulating conversation, where all contributors will feel comfortable. So, welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope to hear from you I also hope that you will tell many people whom you know to also read it and interact with me about it.

1 comment :

  1. Wow! I'm so excited that you have finally put finger to keys and started this incredible blog. I say incredible as you touch on so many things you and I have briefly discussed over the many years we've been fortunate to have you and Sandra in our wonderful city and Temple.
    Where do I start?
    Firstly, I regard myself in a separate category. Since I 'saw the light' sometime in the late 90's (I will explain soon), I call myself a humanist. Someone who cannot see the point in believing (or not believing) in a super power, when I don't think it will ever be proven in our lifetime - that a God does or doesn't exist. So what's the point?
    I saw the 'light' after I had spent an afternoon filming a Holocaust survivor for Steven Spielberg's worldwide 'Survivors of the Shoa' project. Over 50,000 Survivors were recorded world wide and I was fortunate to film close to 30 survivors in the Waterloo to Chatham corridor.
    The interview was over and while the interviewer was talking to the Survivors family, I was sitting with her in silence, recovering from an emotional 2 hours.
    Also in the living room was the Assistant who helped me with equipment etc and took notes during the interview for later use in the production.
    I was caught by surprise when the Assistant asked the Survivor how her faith was, having survived the Concentration Camps. Well, as close as I can remember, this was her response.
    "Young lady, did you not hear me talking about how I witnessed so many atrocities? Did you not hear what happened to my father, my mother my siblings, my uncles and aunts? Did you not hear how I ended up in an internment camp in England because I was German?
    The Assistant then said:
    "Yes Mrs......, but you survived!"
    The Survivor then blurted out:
    "So, Miss, didn't the 6 million Jews have faith?"
    I was quite stunned and went home in a daze. I had trouble getting to sleep, but eventually dozed off but woke up at 4am wide awake. Everything that was said flashed through my mind and I came to the realisation that there was simply no point believing in something that I would probably never resolve in my own mind and I became a Humanist. Since then, for almost 20 years now, I haven't wavered from that position.
    To sum up, I only wish all the religions would teach their children the wonderful stories that have been handed down over the many years and let them make up their own minds when they are ready to believe in what they want.
    Maybe it's ironic that I was one of the co-founders and First President of Temple Israel of London, but I was a believer in teaching our children our history. I do believe in communities joining together with common backgrounds and contributing to make this a better world.


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