• 1957: B.S., Horticulture & Biology, Oklahoma State University
• 1942-1954 U.S.M.C. fighter and transport pilot
WebsiteToward the Mystery
Endorsements and Testimonials
"William Edelen is an original thinker in the oldest of thinking worlds, that is, thinking about God. He's in love with the truth. Edelen dares to do his own thinking. He has wide experience to enrich that thinking." - Buckminster Fuller
"Your wonderful piece of writing which was waiting for me when I returned ... is the best reward I have received to date from this years activities." - Joseph Campell
"Your overall record of citizenship is indeed distinguished and for which I salute you. May I express admiration for the character of your career." - Walter Annenberg
"Bill, I could not have been more pleased than when I was listening to your lecture. This is the sort of scholarship that I am always interested in." - Charles Schulz of "Peanuts"
"Bill, you are helping move the world in the right direction during these chaotic times. Your columns are just superb. You are headed in the right direction, uphill against the general opinions and prejudices of our tragic time. Keep at it." - Frank Waters (nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature)
"Bill, with your keen intellectual awareness and your background in the biological sciences, you are obviously an unusual asset. I do want to tell you that I have come to have an increasing sense of gratitude to men such as you who uphold the spiritual values, without which the life of man is nothing. I salute you." - Loren Eiseley (Distinguished Anthropologist and the Chairman of the Department of the Philosophy of Science, The University of Pennsylvania)
"Your lectures are indeed superlative ... You must keep writing ... keep speaking ... you are much needed ... " - William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"William Edelen is the polymath of Sonoma County ..." - Herb Caen, Pulitzer Prize winner and late, distinguished columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle
You are not going to believe you are reading the next paragraph. You had better go get another cup of coffee and sit down, maybe even hold tight to the edge of the breakfast table for balance.
There is so much blabbering God talk coming from the phony politicians today that you want to throw up. They can't make a statement without ending it with "God bless you ... and God bless America." Our first six Presidents, Humanists and Deists, would find this talk repugnant.
John Paul does not have enough days left in his life to say "For my part ... I am sorry" to all of the millions and millions of human beings slaughtered by the Christian church ... to all new discoveries of truth ... slaughtered by the church ... or to a legacy that has promoted sexism ... racism ... the desecration of the natural environment and the intolerance of other world spiritual traditions from Buddhism to the American Indian.
When asked "what am I?" I always answer by saying I think of myself as being within the historical stream of mysticism, where there is no violence, no dualism and no absolutes.
The insidious and seductive cliche that seems to saturate the wimpish mind is that you should not be critical of another person's religious beliefs. They all deserve respect, no matter how ignorant ... how bigoted ... how ugly ... how false ... how cruel ... how superstitious ... they all deserve "respect".
The conversation that day with Douglas covered almost the entire range of thought about horses ... trees ... grass ... mountains ... law ... philosophy ... religion ... Learned Hand ... Brandeis ... Holmes ... bourbon ... scotch ... marriage ... divorce ... his father (a Presbyterian minister who died very young) ... his living in a tent while graduating with honors at Whitman college ... his passion for animals and the land ... conservation....
Both men, Jefferson and Adams, had total contempt for the Christian church and Christianity in general. I have often wondered why no teacher has the guts to teach these facts in our public schools?
At the next resurrection of the new moon, stop and look up at that cosmic phenomenon with a new eye, and a new appreciation for all that moon-glow has contributed to your religious beliefs.
I would suggest that those mindlessly waving banners in the streets read some church history, and take time to reflect on the hypocrisy of their position. If they want to say simply, "I am against abortion" and let it go at that, fine. But in the name of all that is truth, and all that is sacred, let them stop using the bloody hands of Moses and the Church for their justification.
How individual members of Christian fundamentalism define "Humanism" depends on where they are on a scale of 1 to 10 of brain malfunction.
I guess that everybody has read Huckleberry Finn, but I find few who have read Twain's Letters From the Earth, a book that is filled with his observations on something that we call "religion." That book made my summer a few years back.
My step-daughter works for Planned Parenthood. She asked me to tell my readers about Christian terrorism right here in the United States.
Blessed are the Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Mystics, Humanists, Free Thinkers, Taoist, Buddhist and all others who do not have an archaic, primitive God in their mind/brains.
I was asked to explore Carl Jung's question: "Why are so many millions willing and eager to turn their lives over to outside authorities?"
At first, in primal times, there was only the forces of nature and the unknown power behind it all. Gradually there evolved the concept of a Supreme Being, a female, a She, a Goddess who created the Universe and all of its laws. She was the ruler of Nature, Fate, Time, Eternity, Truth, Wisdom, Justice, Love, Birth and Death. .And so, for 25,000 years there was only the Goddess.
In my last column I wrote of the sex change from 25,000 years of female Goddesses to the male God of the sword, and of the fanatic zeal of Paul and the early Christian cult to destroy the female. The destruction of the female Goddesses were built into the dogmas and laws of the three religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
In 1945 an Arab peasant in the upper Egyptian desert near Nag Hammadi made a spectacular discovery. Buried in earthenware were 52 papyrus texts, some dating from the beginning of the Christian era and presenting a Jesus who said things that could have come out of the mouth of a Zen Master, or even the Buddha himself.
I like knowing where our celebrations fit into the large picture of our human family. I like knowing that the quest for religious literacy is finally finding its way into our high school classrooms. I like knowing that the traditional Christmas stories are today being taught as mythology in my grandson's class in Northern California.
"If I have stopped only ONE heart from breaking, I shall not have lived in vain." wrote Emily Dickinson. In this Christmas and Solstice season and throughout the coming year may our hearts be open for that one other heart that we might keep from breaking ... and then this season will not have come ... and gone ... in vain.
In the study of religion among primal peoples you find that many believed in "magic". Magic is defined as the belief that supernatural forces can be controlled, influenced and manipulated by executing a ritualistic formula, either physical or verbal. We still, today, in a more fashionable way, utilize superstition, prayer wheels, magic, sacrifices and elaborate doxologies to induce God to favor our requests, grant our wishes and perform miracles upon demand.
When I was reading the hysterical testimony of the Christian fundamentalist ministers before the Kansas Board of Education, my mind/brain went into rewind back to 1925. The Scopes trial in the fundamentalist town of Dayton, Tennessee was held that year over the same issue. Militant biblical and religious ignorance demanded to be heard.
It is religion that, historically, has always produced violence. From Moses to the Crusades, Henry VIII, Salem, Hitler, Kosovo. Today, in our own time, it is those countries without religion that are the LEAST vilolent. America is the most 'religious' of the world's industrialized nations, and yet is the most violent nation in the world.
If I hear one I more phony politician make the statement that "we need to return God to the classroom" ... I'll gag. The quackery of God and Jesus talk is a stink that is rising clear to the Ozone layer. What a blessing it would be for us all in these remaining months before the election if the phony "protectors of God" would grow up and recover something called ... integrity. It will be a sad day for America when we reward religious sham at the polls. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Harry Truman, and Barry Goldwater, where are you now that we need you?
Anyone who believes today in the year 2000 that the bible is "reliable" and "infallible," without error or contradiction, is approaching insanity.
Who must assume responsibility for creating an environment that stimulates and promotes such ignorant and brutal violence?
We are being drowned today in biblical ignorance, religious illiteracy and historical stupidity by the religious and political right in this country. In no other place is this so visible as in the prostitution of the "Ten Commandments." There is no need to ever fear aliens from outer space moving in with us. They would take one look at Congress and know, without a doubt, that we had not evolved past a Neanderthal mentality. They would give their space ships full throttle and head for home and sanity.
This is a season of myth, legend, folklore, fantasy, make believe and superstition. In the interest of mental and spiritual health a few historical facts need to be kept in perspective.
I am always overwhelmed with thanksgiving and gratitude that men of the stature and integrity of Jefferson, Adams and Madison never stooped to the low level of inviting a bible thumper for a "prayer breakfast" to placate bible belt America.
An exhibit opened at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles with the title of RELIGION AND THE FOUNDING OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC. The employee of the Library of Congress, James Huston, who put the exhibit together writes: "the founders thought that virtue and morality required religion, therefore religion was necessary." The naive, gullible, innocent and historically ignorant will believe this nonsense.
I have often asked "When are Jews and Christians going to grow up, evolve spiritually, and let go of the archaic and primitive biblical concepts of 'God'?"
We can ask the regular AM/FM stations that broadcast hate radio programs some questions. We can ask them to discuss responsibility, ethics, morality and the role of radio in the most violent industrialized nation in the entire world, this United States of America.
There is a sin among a large segment of the Christian clergy that I find despicable. It is the sin of omission, the sin of silence. It is the sin of promoting falsehoods in order to hold your job. It is the sin of not sharing with a congregation what you know to be true about the bible and Christianity.
Dr. Steven Weinberg is one of the true, authentic, Renaissance men of our time. He has been called the "Einstein" of our day.
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