“I will try to love and help create a heaven on earth,” so begins the premise of How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth. The author breaks the book down into 10 sections:
Peace– This section contains various essays on working toward Peace discussing things such as Gandhi’s views on Peace, the U.N.s work in Darfur, etc.
Security – These essays contain among other things, looks at our fuel crisis and the war on Drugs. The authors of these 2 particular essays seemed to make a lot of sense. The section on Fuel choices covers Flexible fuel. In Brazil, for instance, more that 80% of their new cars are flexible fuel vehicles. A flex fuel vehicle can run on not only gas, but other things such as Ethanol and other fuels. They state that by reducing our use of oil, and increasing the use of other fuels, we accomplish two goals. One goal, is that the oil rich countries, some of which sponsor terrorism, would no longer have the financial resources. The other benefit would be that poverty stricken countries that can produce corn and other fuel sources, would increase their sales of these products, and thus manage to lift themselves above the poverty levels. In the War on Drugs, the basic premise is that much of our crime problem is due to the illegality of drugs. These drugs, it’s argued are going to be purchased regardless. By removing the illegal aspect, you cut down on costs for imprisonment and you break the profit motive for the dealers/importers. The largest percentage of drug abusers in the U.S. are White, while the largest percentage of those incarcerated are African American. I thought this was an interesting concept, but for both I am still trying to see how they could be carried out.
Prosperity – Some interesting essays here as well, one of them was on The Grameen Bank, a bank who makes loans to the poorest people living in the poorest countries. What I found interesting was that they have almost a 98% payback. People think if you make loans with no collateral, that the person would just take the money and run, but it didn’t seem to be the case here.
Racial Harmony – These essays look at racial issues. One looks at Nelson Mandela, rather than have hatred about his treatment, he chose to rise above it and work for harmony among people.
Ecological Harmony – These essays are about all the different ways we can help out in Nature. It’s not all Tree Hugging, save the cute Fuzzy animals stuff, but covers things like the Joy of Gardening, and how supporting your local farmer’s market, is not only healthier, but economically sound.
Moral Purpose and Meaning
It’s kind of hard to review a compilation of essays. Sometimes the essay is a little more powerful than other times. That was the case here. There were many, where I found myself wishing a group of my friends had the book to discuss the ideas. There are many essays in here that would make great group discussion topics. While some seemed far fetched, they never failed to make me think. I think it’s a book that everyone should read. It doesn’t matter whether you’re conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, Foreign or Domestic, you’ll find something in this book that will give you ideas on how you can make a difference in the world. Creating a Heaven on Earth isn’t about a Utopian society, that can never happen. But we can work on how we relate to the people and the world around us.
NOTE: If you click on the Amazon link above and purchase a copy of this book, our personal payments will be given to Soldiers of Love a charity formed by the author. In addition, half of all the editor’s royalties will go to this charity.
10 Ways to Achieve a Heaven on Earth
The underlying trends toward a heaven on earth are often obscured by the “noise” of the day, pessimism and cynicism. But I believe that with God’s enduring, steadfast love humankind will ultimately reach a heaven on earth. The ten elements that I believe are essential in this quest are as follows:
1) Peace: The major keys to peace lie in our ability to prosper and spread democracies worldwide. Going beyond toleration to respect of all loving faiths is also critical. Advancing to general acceptance and appreciation across racial lines will build peace within and between nations.
2) Security: We must strive to gain security from terrorism and crime. It is critical that we stop radical Islamics. History is replete with fanatics such as Hitler who somehow gain power with genocide and aggression. Recognizing the danger and acting internationally through winning minds and hearts without letting up on international pressure are essential to a victory over terrorism. For example see Paul Marek’s powerful essay, “A Look at Radical Islam” and James K. Glassman’s persuasive contribution, “How to Win the War of Ideas.”
3) Freedom: Freedom is prized by all humans whether they currently possess it or not. Implicit in the democratic ideal is that free individuals will generally act in their own best interests. And the sum of a free society’s actions will allow a greater whole than with nations who repress its people.
4) Democracies: Democracies worldwide in the long run would be the best kind of government for reaching and enjoying a heaven on earth, for they empower the individual and ultimately societies to make good choices. History has shown that democratic governments are less likely to make war with one another. Additionally, they discourage tyrants who are corrupted by power. Democracies provide for the orderly transfer of power. However, we must realize that elections don’t necessarily produce the best leader in every case.
5) Prosperity: Capitalism tempered with democracy and free, fair trade can lead to worldwide growth and wealth, which can benefit each of us and all of us to the degree that our own talents and resources permit. Preparation and opportunity go hand in hand with self-discipline and hard work. Each of us must strive for financial literacy and make it our business to know what we own. We have a responsibility beyond ourselves in our wealth. We are not meant to love money, but to treat it with respect and be generous toward worthy ends.
6) Spiritual Harmony: We must move beyond religious tolerance to real respect among all the world’s loving spiritual beliefs and practices. Even differing beliefs can lead to similar values, which in turn may lead to behavior that is acceptable to God. Loving religions teach us how to live our lives and how to cope with our own mortality. God’s enduring, steadfast love will empower us here, just as I firmly believe that love will allow all the other elements.
7) Racial Harmony: While the lack of racial harmony goes back to ancient times, that certainly doesn’t mean that we can’t overcome this obstacle. Our nation has moved forward largely by peaceful means over recent decades, including the election of an African American president. Many other nations have also advanced in this march toward racial harmony. In our country we owe much of this nonviolent racial progress to Martin Luther King, Jr. See “Where Do We Go From Here?” in that great leader’s own words. The Golden Rule is especially important in treating others with respect.
8) Ecological Harmony: We must tend to the world’s God-given environment — emphasizing natural beauty and perpetual conservation. Concurrently, we must achieve a balance between those worthy goals and the necessity of rescuing those in abject poverty as well as maintaining all nations’ economic progress.
9) Health: Technology and medical science are vital to advance the health of the world’s population. Additionally, our own physical, mental and spiritual habits must embody disciplines that promote good health. Death is inevitable until God acts to prevent it, but wholesome, active behavior can result in longer and longer lives as medical science, our habits and economic means progress.
10) Moral Purpose and Meaning: Moral purpose and meaning is perhaps the hardest element to achieve. We do not always do the right thing day by day. Our DNA and environments are not perfect. We have weaknesses that can result in horrors such as the Holocaust. But our flaws do not mean that a nurturing environment can’t lead to success after success until God finally takes over and pulls us out of the misery of our human condition.
When you consider the above, think about this excerpt from the New Testament, Matthew 19:26, “with God all things are possible.”
The above is an adapted excerpt from the book How to Achieve Heaven on Earth: 101 insightful essays from the world’s greatest thinkers, leaders and writers edited by John E. Wade II. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2010 John E. Wade II, editor of How to Achieve Heaven on Earth: 101 insightful essays from the world’s greatest thinkers, leaders and writers
*Disclaimer* A review copy of this book was provided by Julie at FSB Associates. Thanks go to her for this book. It didn’t affect my review in any way.
In How to Achieve A Heaven on Earth (Pelican Publishing), edited by John E. Wade II, 101 of our most prestigious thinkers, writers, artists, experts, and leaders consider their role and reflect on the ways they can make a difference.