People in Perspective

One of the most helpful ways to strengthen the Adult for the task of examining Parent data (which data can be extremely overpowering to the Child, particularly on the subject of religion) is to stand back for greater perspective, the broader view. I gained a helpful broader view from a 'calendar' of the evolution of man which was written by Robert T. Francoeur:

"" Arbitrarily, for the exact date of man's appearance will never be known, let us estimate that appearance at about one and a half million years ago. Then let us propose a comparison of mankind's history with a calendar year in which one 'day' equals four thousand years of human history. 

In this scheme January first would witness the appearance of our Homo habilis ancestors. Homo habilis could walk erect and use the most primitive tools. Hunting in bands, he probably could not talk as we do, though he undoubtedly had some method of communication. Speech, as we know it today, evolved very gradually during the first three months of our 'year'. Man's evolutionary progress was at best tedious and halting: fire first for protection from the cold and wild animals, and only much later for cooking; tools chipped from stone; the skills of hunting; the slow concentration and involutions of the cerebral cortex. Summer came and went, and the fall was two-thirds through its course when Neanderthal man finally appeared around November 1st. The first indications of a religious belief can be seen in the burial sites of the later Neanderthaloids, around December 17th in our scheme.

By December 24th of our hypothetical year, all the nonsapiens or primitive forms of man had died out or been absorbed by the more progressive and modern Cromagnon man.

Agriculture began around December 28th and the whole of our historical era, the brief six to ten thousand years for which we have records, is nestled in the last two days of our 'year's Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were born about 9 am on December 31st, Christ at noon andColumbusabout 9.30 pm. The final hour of December 31st, from 11 pm to midnight New Year's Eves embraces all of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. ""


In this perspective we recognize rather dearly that our particular brand of 'old-time religion", with its claims of ultimate and exclusive knowledge about God and his creation,is not so old after all.

Faith, Trueblood says, is not a blind leap into nothing but a thoughtful walk in the light we have. Part of that light is the recognition that the world which 'God so loved' is considerably larger than our own personal comprehension of it. If nothing else, this recognition should make us modest and rule out our claims to exclusive truth.

 Tomas A. Harris,M.D. / I'm ok-You are ok


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