Commenting on George Harrison’s religious song AWAITING ON YOU ALL Part 3

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George Harrison – ‘Awaiting On You All’ – Original Audio

 

Awaiting on You All

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Awaiting on You All”
Song by George Harrison from the album All Things Must Pass
Published Harrisongs
Released 27 November 1970
Genre Rock, gospel
Length 2:45
Label Apple
Writer(s) George Harrison
Producer(s) George Harrison, Phil Spector
All Things Must Pass track listing

Awaiting on You All” is a song by English musician George Harrison, released on his 1970 triple album, All Things Must Pass. Along with the single “My Sweet Lord“, it is among the more overtly religious compositions on All Things Must Pass, and the recording typifies co-producer Phil Spector‘s influence on the album, due to his liberal use of reverberation and other Wall of Sound production techniques. Harrison recorded the track in London backed by musicians such as Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Klaus Voormann, Jim Gordon and Jim Price – many of whom he had toured with, as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, in December 1969, while still officially a member of the Beatles. Musically, the composition reflects Harrison’s embracing of the gospel music genre, following his production of fellow Apple Records artists Billy Preston and Doris Troy.

In his lyrics to “Awaiting on You All”, Harrison espouses a direct relationship with God over adherence to the tenets of organised religion. Influenced by both his association with London-based Hare Krishna devotees, known as the Radha Krishna Temple, and the Vedanta-inspired teachings of Swami Vivekananda, Harrison sings of chanting God’s name as a means to cleanse and liberate oneself from the impurities of the material world. While acknowledging the validity of all faiths, in essence, his song words explicitly criticise the Pope and the perceived materialism of the Catholic Church – a verse that EMI and Capitol Records continue to omit from the album’s lyrics. He also questions the validity of John Lennon and Yoko Ono‘s 1969 campaign for world peace, reflecting a divergence of philosophies between Harrison and his former bandmate after their shared interest in Hindu spirituality in 1967–68.

Several commentators have identified “Awaiting on You All” as one of the highlights of All Things Must Pass; author and critic Richard Williams likens it to the Spector-produced “River Deep – Mountain High“, by Ike & Tina Turner.[1] The track is featured in the books 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery and 1001 Songs by Toby Creswell. A similarly well-regarded live version, with backing from a large band including Clapton, Ringo Starr, Preston and Jim Keltner, was released on the 1971 album The Concert for Bangladesh and appeared in the 1972 film of the same name. Harrison’s posthumous compilation Early Takes: Volume 1 (2012) includes a demo version of the song, recorded early in the 1970 sessions for All Things Must Pass.

Background[edit]

In his book While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Simon Leng describes George Harrison‘s musical projects outside the Beatles during 1969–70 – such as producing American gospel and soul artists Billy Preston and Doris Troy, and touring with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends – as the completion of “a musical-philosophical circle”, which resulted in his post-Beatles solo album All Things Must Pass (1970).[2] Among the songs on that triple album, “My Sweet Lord” and “Awaiting on You All” each reflect Harrison’s immersion in Krishna Consciousness,[3][4] via his association with the UK branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known as the Radha Krishna Temple.[5] An ISKCON devotee since 1970, author Joshua Greene writes of All Things Must Pass providing an “intimately detailed account of a spiritual journey”, which had begun with Harrison’s embracing of Hinduism while in India in September–October 1966.[6]

Having long disavowed the Catholic faith of his upbringing,[7] from 1966 Harrison was inspired by the teachings of Indian yogi Swami Vivekananda.[8][9] The latter’s contention that “Each soul is potentially divine, the goal is to manifest that divinity” particularly resonated with Harrison in its contrast to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.[10] By 1967, Harrison’s religious awakening had progressed to include Gaudiya Vaishnava chanting,[11] a form of meditation that he shared with his Beatles bandmate John Lennon[12][13]and would go on to espouse in “Awaiting on You All”.[14] Further to Vivekananda’s assertion, chanting the Hare Krishna or other Sanskrit-worded mantras has, author Gary Tillery writes, “the ability to send spiritual energy through the body, leading to the enlightenment of the person chanting”.[15]

Whereas Lennon’s interest in spiritual matters waned following the Beatles’ visit to India in 1968,[16][17][18] Harrison’s involvement with the Radha Krishna Temple led to him producing two hit singles by the devotees over 1969–70, “Hare Krishna Mantra” and “Govinda”.[19][20][nb 1] While Lennon and his partner, Yoko Ono, undertook a highly publicised campaign for world peace during 1969,[24][25] Harrison believed that all human suffering could be averted if individuals focused on addressing their own imperfections rather than, as he put it, “trying to fix everybody else up like the Lone Ranger”.[26][27] This divergence in philosophy also formed part of Harrison’s subject matter for “Awaiting on You All”,[28] a song that, Greene writes, “projected his message to the world”.[29]

Composition[edit]

I was cleaning my teeth … and suddenly in my head came this “You don’t need a dum dada-pmm pa-pmm-pa, you don’t need a bmm papa-bmm.” All I had to do was pick up the guitar, find what key it was in, and fill in the missing words.[30]

– Harrison, on writing “Awaiting on You All”

In an October 1974 radio interview with Alan Freeman,[31] Harrison recalled writing “Awaiting on You All” while preparing to go to bed, and mentioned it as a composition that had come easily to him.[32] In his autobiography, I, Me, Mine, Harrison states that his inspiration for the song was “Japa Yoga meditation”,[33] whereby mantras are sung and counted out on prayer beads.[34]Musically, the composition has elements of gospel and rock music;[35] Leng describes it as “gospel-drenched” and cites Harrison’s production of “Sing One for the Lord“, which Preston recorded with the Edwin Hawkins Singers in early 1970, as a “catalyst” for the new composition.[36] The song opens with a descending guitar riff,[37] later repeated after each chorus,[1] which ends on the melody’s root chord of B major.[38]

In his lyrics to “Awaiting on You All”, Harrison conveys the importance of experiencing spirituality directly, while rejecting organised religion as well as political and intellectual substitutes.[28]Author Ian Inglis writes that the lyrics recognise the merit in all faiths, as Harrison sings that the key to any religion is to “open up your heart“.[39] The choruses proclaim that individual freedom from the physical or material world can be attained through “chanting the names of the Lord“,[40] implying that there is a single deity who happens to be called by different names depending on the faith.[39][41]

John Lennon, pictured during his 1969 Montreal “Bed-in for Peace”

The song’s three verses[42] provide a list of items or concepts that are unnecessary to this realisation.[41][43] The opening lines – “You don’t need no love-in / You don’t need no bed pan” – serve as a criticism of Lennon and Ono’s bed-ins and other forms of peace activism during 1969.[28][39] While Inglis views these words as indicative of a possible rift in Harrison’s relationship with Lennon,[39] Leng identifies the “tongue-lashing for John and Yoko” as the singer dismissing “all political-cum-intellectual musings”.[28][nb 2] Harrison then uses what Christian theologian Dale Allison terms “the language of pollution” to describe the problems afflicting the world,[46] and offers a method by which to cleanse oneself spiritually.[15]

In verse two,[47] Harrison sings of the futility of passports and travel for those searching to “see Jesus“, since an open heart will reveal that Christ is “right there“.[48] Allison remarks on the song expressing Harrison’s “syncretistic view of Jesus”, a view he shared with Lennon, and cites comments that Harrison later made to Radha Krishna Temple co-founder[49] Mukunda Goswami, that Christ was “an absolute yogi” yet modern-day Christian teachers misrepresent him and “[let] him down very badly”.[50]

Pope Paul VI, whose papal office in 1970 Harrison scorned in his song lyrics

In the song’s final verse,[51] Harrison states that churches, temples, religious texts and the rosary beads associated with Catholic worship are no substitute for a direct relationship with God.[41][43] These symbols of organised religion “meant searching in the wrong places”, Tillery writes, when in keeping with Vivekananda’s philosophy, “the spark of the divine is within us all. Every person is therefore the child of God …”[52]AllMusic critic Lindsay Planer comments on Harrison’s “observation of [religious] repression” in the lines “We’ve been kept down so long / Someone’s thinking that we’re all green.”[43]

Harrison’s most scathing criticism is directed at the Pope,[41] in the lines: “While the Pope owns 51% of General Motors / And the stock exchange is the only thing he’s qualified to quote us.[28] Contrasting this statement with Harrison’s song-wide message that God “waits on us to wake up and open our hearts”, Allison concludes: “whereas the Lord is about the business of helping human beings to wake up, the Pope is about the business of business.”[53]

In his book No Sympathy for the Devil, Dave Ware Stowe writes of the effect of “Awaiting on You All” on Evangelical Christian sensibilities: “this was dangerous stuff. Harrison’s lyrics exemplified what many in the Jesus Movement considered a lure and snare of the devil. No doubt the song was spiritually resonant, even reverent, but it leaves the all-important object of veneration vague.”[54]

While identifying a similar ISKCON-inspired theme in Harrison’s 1973 song “The Lord Loves the One (That Loves the Lord)“, Allison discusses “Awaiting on You All” as a precedent for further statements by Harrison against organised religion, particularly Catholicism.[53] Among these, Harrison parodied the Last Supper in his inner-gatefold artwork for Living in the Material World (1973),[55] dressed as a Catholic priest and again mocking the “perceived materialism and violence of the Roman church”, according to Allison.[56][nb 3] In addition, in his role as film producer, Harrison supported Monty Python‘s controversial parodying of the biblical story of Christ in Life of Brian (1979),[60] about which he said: “Actually, [the film] was upholding Him and knocking all the idiotic stuff that goes on around religion.”[61]

Production[edit]

Phil Spector’s involvement[edit]

Harrison and American producer Phil Spector began discussing the possibility of Harrison recording a solo album of songs in early 1970,[62] after they had worked together on Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band single “Instant Karma![63] Before then, to show his support for Spector’s comeback from self-imposed retirement, Harrison had supplied a written endorsement of the producer’s work on the Ike & Tina Turner album River Deep – Mountain High, when A&M Records issued the three-year-old recordings in 1969.[64][65][nb 4] Long a fan of Spector’s sound,[68] Harrison praised River Deep – Mountain High with the words: “a perfect record from start to finish. You couldn’t improve on it.”[69]

Beatles biographer Peter Doggett suggests that Harrison had intended to make an entire album of devotional songs but, with that not being “an appropriate dish to set before Phil Spector”, Harrison chose to delay starting work on All Things Must Pass and instead continued his activities with the Radha Krishna Temple.[70][nb 5] It was only after Paul McCartney‘s departure from the Beatles, and the band’s break-up,[72] that Harrison finally began sessions for his solo album – in late May 1970, at Abbey Road Studios in London.[73] Noting Spector’s application of his signature Wall of Sound production on “Awaiting on You All”, Inglis writes that, but for Harrison’s lyrics, the song “could be mistaken for the instrumental track of a song by the Ronettes“,[74] one of Spector’s girl-group protégés during the 1960s.[75]

Recording[edit]

The line-up of musicians on the basic track included Harrison and Eric Clapton, on electric guitars; bassists Klaus Voormann and Carl Radle, one of whom plays six-string bass;[76] and drummer Jim Gordon, who formed Derek and the Dominos with Clapton and Radle during the sessions.[77] In addition, Bobby Whitlock, the fourth member of the Dominos – all of whom were formerly part of Delaney & Bonnie and Friends[78] – recalls playing Hammond organ on the song.[79] Authors Chip Madinger and Mark Easter note the presence of a piano part on the recording as well.[76]

Derek and the Dominos, including Bobby Whitlock (third from left), founded in 1970 by former members of Delaney & Bonnie’s band

In his 2010 autobiography, Whitlock writes of Lennon and Ono visiting the studio during the All Things Must Pass sessions, during which Lennon “got his socks blown off” by the music Harrison was recording.[80][nb 6] The Hare Krishna devotees regularly attended the sessions also;[82] Spector later cited their presence as an example of how Harrison inspired tolerance in non-believers, since the Temple devotees could be “the biggest pain in the necks in the world”, according to Spector.[83][84] Among the many unreleased songs from the All Things Must Pass sessions, Harrison recorded his all-Sanskrit composition “Gopala Krishna”,[85] which Leng describes as “a rocking companion to ‘Awaiting on You All'”.[86]

Just listen to the leaping guitar/bass riff which opens the cut, or the great contrasting rhythms on maracas and tambourines, or the guitars sliding down at the end of each chorus before being cut off sharp by one of those cosmic thumps … The difference Phil Spector can make to a record becomes clear.[1]

– Author Richard Williams, discussing “Awaiting on You All”

Madinger and Easter view “Awaiting on You All” as one of the more “heavily Spectorized” productions on All Things Must Pass,[76] due to Spector’s liberal use of echo and other Wall of Sound techniques.[87] Among the extensive overdubs on the basic track, Harrison added what Leng terms a “virtual guitar orchestra” of harmonised slide guitar parts,[88] and former Delaney & Bonnie musicians[89] Jim Price and Bobby Keys supplied horns.[90] Whitlock and Clapton sang backing vocals with Harrison,[79] credited on the album as “the George O’Hara-Smith Singers”.[91]

The recording also features prominent percussion such as tambourine and maracas.[1] While the precise line-up on many of the songs on All Things Must Pass continues to invite conjecture,[92][93] Badfinger drummer Mike Gibbins has said that Spector nicknamed him “Mr Tambourine Man” due to his role on that instrument throughout the sessions,[94] and that he and future Yes drummer Alan White played most of the percussion parts on the album, “switch[ing] on tambourine, sticks, bells, maracas … whatever was needed”.[95]

Release[edit]

Apple Records released All Things Must Pass on 27 November 1970,[96] with “Awaiting on You All” sequenced as the penultimate track on side three, in the original LP format, preceding the album’s title song.[97] Of the 23 tracks released on All Things Must Pass, it was one of the few overtly religious songs.[98][nb 7] Concerned at the potential offensiveness of the lyrics, EMI omitted verse three of “Awaiting on You All” from the lyric sheet.[39] Madinger and Easter write that the lyrical content of this verse “probably shot down any chances of it being the hit single it could otherwise have been”.[76]

Issued during a period when rock music was increasingly reflecting spiritual themes,[100] All This Must Pass was a major commercial success,[101][102] outselling releases that year by Harrison’s former bandmates,[103][104] and topping albums charts throughout the world.[105] Describing the impact of the album, with reference to “Awaiting on You All”‘s exhortation to “chant the names of the Lord”, author Nicholas Schaffner wrote of Harrison being “rewarded with a Number One single all over the world” with “My Sweet Lord”.[106]

Reception[edit]

On release, Rolling Stone critic Ben Gerson described “Awaiting on You All” as “a Lesley Gore rave-up in which George manages to rhyme ‘visas’ with ‘Jesus'”.[107] While he considered that lyrics such as “You’ve been polluted so long” “carry an air of sanctimoniousness and moral superiority which is offensive”, Gerson added: “Remarkably, he vindicates these lapses.”[107] Writing for the same magazine 30 years later, Anthony DeCurtis opined that “the heart of All Things Must Pass resides in its songs of spiritual acceptance”, and grouped “Awaiting on You All” with “My Sweet Lord” and “All Things Must Pass” as Harrison compositions that “capture the sweet satisfactions of faith”.[108] In his 1970 review for the NME, Alan Smith described “Awaiting on You All” as “a rapid fire thumper with good chord progressions” and “one of the better tracks” on the album.[109][110] AllMusic critic Richie Unterberger views “Awaiting on You All” as a highlight of a collection on which “nearly every song is excellent”,[111] while author and critic Bob Woffinden lists it with “My Sweet Lord”, “Isn’t It a Pity” and “What Is Life” as “all excellent songs”.[112]

In his book Phil Spector: Out of His Head, Richard Williams writes that, unlike Lennon and McCartney on their 1970 solo albums, “Harrison concentrated on pure joyous melodies – the kind of songs that had made the group so loved”, and he says of “Awaiting on You All”: “Spector repaid Harrison for his benediction on the Ike and Tina Turner album cover by turning it into a virtual remake of ‘River Deep – Mountain High’.”[113] Mark Ribowsky, another Spector biographer, writes of the producer’s contribution to this and other songs on All Things Must Pass: “Phil’s rhythmically pounding basses and drum feels sutured George’s sentimentality with cheerful energy and made Indian asceticism into dance music.”[114] Simon Leng describes “Awaiting on You All” as a “hot gospel stomper” and “the most successful example of Spector’s work on the album”.[115] Writing for NME Originals in 2005, Adrian Thrills named “Awaiting on You All” and “Wah-Wah” as examples of “a tendency to over-egg the mix” on the otherwise “magnificent” All Things Must Pass, adding: “it is hard to think of another big rock album on which the tambourine is shaken quite so relentlessly.”[116]

In his AllMusic article on the song, Lindsay Planer views it as “somewhat of a sacred rocker” with “ample lead guitar”, and comments that Harrison’s lyrics “cleverly [draw] upon an array of disparate imagery to convey a conversely simple spiritual revelation”.[43]Harrison biographer Alan Clayson considers the track “more uplifting” than “My Sweet Lord” and remarks on the aptness of Harrison’s subject matter in 1970–71, when religious texts such as the Bible, the Koran and ISKCON’s Chant and Be Happy “now had discreet places on hip bookshelves”.[117] Former Mojo editor Mat Snow describes the song as “glorious white gospel”, in which Harrison “rejects the Catholicism of his Liverpool upbringing”.[118]

“Awaiting on You All” has featured in the music reference books 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery[119] and 1001 Songs by Australian critic Toby Creswell.[35] The latter describes the combination of Harrison’s “tasteful” guitar parts and the “galloping” rhythm section as “sublime and divine”.[35] In Dimery’s book, contributor Bruno MacDonald writes of the track: “‘Awaiting on You All’ has a timeless exuberance that even Beatles-haters should experience.”[120]

Live version[edit]

“Awaiting on You All” was one of the songs Harrison played at the Concert for Bangladesh,[121] held at Madison Square Garden, New York, on 1 August 1971.[122] Featuring backing from a band including Clapton, Voormann, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Jim Keltner and Jim Horn,[123] Harrison performed the song at both the afternoon and the evening shows.[124] The latter performance was included on the Concert for Bangladesh live album, which Spector again co-produced,[125] and in the film of the concert.[126] Joshua Greene comments on there being a “logical chronology” to the first three songs in Harrison’s setlist for this second show: “starting with ‘Wah Wah,’ which declared his independence from the Beatles; followed by ‘My Sweet Lord,’ which celebrated his internal discovery of God and spirit; and then ‘Awaiting on You All'”.[29]

Writing in Rolling Stone, Jon Landau compared the less-polished performance of “Awaiting on You All” with the studio version’s “perfect production” and concluded: “it is exhilarating to hear his voice clearly singing the song for the first time, likewise the excellent guitar.”[127] In his album review for Melody Maker, Williams wrote of Harrison’s opening trio of songs: “Unbelievably, they’re as good as the originals, and in some ways even better, because they combine the power of the arrangements for horns and rhythm with a sense of joy that comes only in live performance. The two drummers (Ringo and Jim Keltner) are just breathtaking on ‘Awaiting’ …”[128] Planer also compliments what he calls “the tag-team percussion” of Starr and Keltner, which “driv[es] through the heart of the performance”.[43]

Reissue and other versions[edit]

In February 2001, during his extensive promotion for the 30th anniversary reissue of All Things Must Pass,[129] Harrison named “Awaiting on You All” among his three favourite tracks on the album.[130][131] The electronic press kit accompanying the release included a scene where Harrison plays back the song at his Friar Park studio and isolates certain parts of the recording in turn, such as the backing vocals and slide guitars.[132] In the CD booklet, Harrison’s liner notes conclude with a thank-you to “the amazing Mr. Phil Spector” and the acknowledgement: “He helped me so much to get this record made. In his company I came to realise the true value of the Hare Krishna Mantra.”[133] The Pope-related lyrics in “Awaiting on You All” were again omitted from the booklet;[133] they similarly do not appear on the lyric sheet supplied with the 2014 Apple Years reissue.[134]

Part of the 2001 playback scene was included in Martin Scorsese‘s documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World,[135] and an early take from the 1970 sessions appeared on the bonus disc accompanying that film’s DVD release in late 2011.[136] This demo version, which Harrison introduces as “Awaiting for You All”,[137] was included on the compilation Early Takes: Volume 1 (2012).[138] Referring to Harrison’s stated regret at the amount of echo Spector used on All Things Must Pass, compilation producer Giles Martin says of the song’s sparse arrangement on Early Takes: “I think this is really cool, it’s got a good basic band groove, I think of it as George breaking down a wall of sound.”[137]

In 1971, Detroit band Silver Hawk released a cover version of “Awaiting on You All” as a single,[139] which peaked at number 108 on Billboard magazine’s Bubbling Under listings.[140] In Canada, Silver Hawk’s single climbed to number 49 on the RPM Top 100.[141] A cover “worth mentioning”, according to Planer, is a version recorded by pedal steel guitarist Joe Goldmark, released on the 1997 tribute album Steelin’ the Beatles.[43]

Personnel[edit]

According to authors Simon Leng and Bruce Spizer, the line-up of musicians on “Awaiting on You All” is as follows:[90][115]

Notes[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Among his non-musical activities on behalf of the Hare Krishna devotees, Harrison served as co-lessor for the Temple’s new premises in central London,[21] and he financed the publication of ISKCON’s 400-page KRSNA Book.[22][23]
  2. Jump up^ In an April 1970 radio interview in New York,[44] Harrison referred to his difference in ideology with Lennon: “This is really where I disagreed with John … I don’t think you get peace by going around shouting: ‘GIVE PEACE A CHANCE, MAN!’ … [Instead,] put your own house in order; for a forest to be green, each tree must be green.”[45]
  3. Jump up^ Among his later songs, Harrison sent up the Catholic faith in the posthumously released “P2 Vatican Blues“.[57] In one of his final recordings before his death in November 2001, “Horse to the Water“,[58] Harrison sings of a “truth seeker” being denied access to God, Leng writes, by “religious civil servants for whom the organization and the rules have become more important than the message”.[59]
  4. Jump up^ Produced by Spector in 1966, the Turners’ album was withdrawn from release following the disappointing commercial reception afforded its title song in America.[66] Considering “River Deep – Mountain High” his masterpiece, Spector temporarily withdrew from the music industry after the single’s failure.[67]
  5. Jump up^ Harrison made a promotional visit to Paris with the ISKCON devotees in March 1970,[70] in addition to carrying out further recording in London for what became the Radha Krsna Temple album (1971).[71]
  6. Jump up^ In light of Harrison having had many of his songs turned down by Lennon and McCartney during the Beatles’ career, Whitlock recalls Harrison’s satisfaction after this visit, and suggests: “George’s new album was better than anything John had ever done, and [Lennon] knew that as well.”[81]
  7. Jump up^ In author Robert Rodriguez’s estimation, “My Sweet Lord” and “Hear Me Lord” are the only other tracks that directly express a religious message.[98] Leng similarly writes of “two key spiritual songs” on an album that focuses on Harrison’s “attempt to break free from his Beatles identity”.[99]

Francis Schaeffer with Dr. C. Everett Koop in their book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? noted:

The New Mysticism
What about the spread of Eastern religions and techniques within the West – things like TM, Yoga, the cults? We have moved beyond the counterculture of the sixties, but where to? These elements from the East no longer influence just the beat generation and the dropouts. Now they are fashionable for the middle classes as well. They are everywhere.
What about those who take drugs as a means of “expanding their consciousness”? This, too, is in the same direction. Your mind is a hindrance to you: “Blow it”! As Timothy Leary put it in The Politics of Ecstasy (1968): “Our favorite concepts are standing in the way of a flood tide two billion years building up. The verbal dam is collapsing. Head for the hills or prepare your intellectual craft to flow with the current.” So we see again the rejection of the mind. The verbal dam, the concepts, the intellectual craft? These must be bypassed by the “new man.”
Wherever we look, this is what confronts us: irrational experience. We must be careful not to be bewildered by the surface differences between these movements. We are not saying they are all the same. Of course there are differences. The secular existentialists, for example, disagree with one another. Then, too, secular existentialists differ with religious existentialists; the former tend to be pessimistic, the latter optimistic. Some of the movements are serious and command our respect. Some are just bizarre. There are differences. Yet, all of them represent the new mysticism!
The problem with mysticism of this sort is, interestingly enough, the same problem we considered earlier in relation to all humanistic systems. Who is going to say what is right?
As soon as one removes the checking mechanism of the mind by which to measure things, everything can then be “right” and everything can also be “wrong.” Eventually, anything and everything can be allowed! Take a simple example from life: If you are asking for directions in a city, you first listen to the directions your guide is giving and then you set off. Let us say the directions are: “Take the first turn on the right, called Twenty-fourth Street; then the next turn of the left, called Kennedy Drive; and then keep going till you come to the park where you will see the concert hall just past a big lake on your right.” Armed with there directions, you go along – checking up on what you have been told: “Yes, there is Twenty-fourth Street. Yes, there is Kennedy Drive,” and so on.
In other words, you are not just told words; you are able to see if these words relate to the outside world, the world you have to operate in if you are going to get from A to B. This is where your mind is essential. You can check to see if the information you have been given is true or false.
Imagine, on the other hand, that someone said, in answer to your request for directions, “I don’t know where or what B is. It is impossible to talk about a `concert hall.’ What is a `concert hall’ anyway? We can only say of it that it is the `Unknowable.'” How completely ridiculous for you to be told, “Go any way – because this is the way”!
The trick in all these positions is to argue first of all that the End – Final Reality – cannot be spoken of (because it cannot be known by the mind) and yet to give the directions to find it. We should notice, however, that in this setting we can never ask questions ahead of time about the directions we receive. They are directions only for blindfolded experience, the blind “leap of faith.”
We cannot ask, “How will I know that it is truth or that it is the divine I am experiencing?” The answer is always, “There is no way you can be told, for it is an answer beyond language, beyond categories, but take this path [or that one, or another one] anyway.”
Thus, modern man is bombarded from all sides by devotees of this or that experience. The media only compound the problem. So does the commercialism of our highly technological societies. The danger of manipulation from these alone is overwhelming. In the absence of a clear standard, they are a force for the control of people’s minds and behavior that is beyond anything in history. In fact, there are no clear standards in Western society now; and where there is an appearance of standards, very often there is insufficient motivation to lean against the enormous pressures. And why? In part, at least, because there is an inadequate basis for knowledge and for morality.
When we add to this that modern man has become a “mystic,” we soon realize the seriousness of the situation. For in all these mystical solutions no one can finally say anything about right and wrong. The East has had this problem for thousands of years. In a pantheistic system, whatever pious statements may be made along the way, ultimately good and evil are equal in God, the impersonal God. So we hear Yun-Men, a Zen master, saying, “If you want to get the plain truth, be not concerned with right and wrong. Conflict between right and wrong is the sickness of the mind.”
Society can have no stability on this Eastern world-view or its present Western counterpart. It just does not work. And so one finds a gravitation toward some form of authoritarian government, an individual tyrant or group of tyrants who takes the reins of power and rule. And the freedoms, the sorts of freedoms we have enjoyed in the West, are lost.
We are, then, brought back to our starting point. The inhumanities and the growing loss of freedoms in the West are the result of a world-view which as no place for “people.” Modern humanistic materialism is an impersonal system. The East is no different. Both begin and end with impersonality.

Francis Schaeffer has correctly argued:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

We looked earlier at the city of Lachish. Let us return to the same period in Israel’s history when Lachich was besieged and captured by the Assyrian King Sennacherib. The king of Judah at the time was Hezekiah.

Perhaps you remember the story of how Jesus healed a blind man and told him to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. It is the same place known by King Hezekiah, approximately 700 years earlier. One of the remarkable things about the flow of the Bible is that historical events separated by hundreds of years took place in the same geographic spots, and standing in these places today, we can feel that flow of history about us. The crucial archaeological discovery which relates the Pool of Siloam is the tunnel which lies behind it.

One day in 1880 a small Arab boy was playing with his friend and fell into the pool. When he clambered out, he found a small opening about two feet wide and five feet high. On examination, it turned out to be a tunnel reaching  back into the rock. But that was not all. On the side of the tunnel an inscribed stone (now kept in the museum in Istanbul) was discovered, which told how the tunnel had been built originally. The inscription in classical Hebrew reads as follows:

The boring through is completed. And this is the story of the boring: while yet they plied the pick, each toward his fellow, and while there were yet three cubits [4 14 feet] to be bored through, there was heard the voice of one calling to the other that there was a hole in the rock on the right hand and on the left hand. And on the day of the boring through the workers on the tunnel struck each to meet his fellow, pick upon pick. Then the water poured from the source to the Pool 1,200 cubits [about 600 yards] and a 100 cubits was the height of the rock above the heads of the workers in the tunnel. 

We know this as Hezekiah’s Tunnel. The Bible tells us how Hezekiah made provision for a better water supply to the city:Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?(II Kings 20:20). We know here three things: the biblical account, the tunnel itself of which the Bible speaks, and the original stone with its inscription in classical Hebrew.

From the Assyrian side, there is additional confirmation of the incidents mentioned in the Bible. There is a clay prism in the British Museum called the Taylor Prism (British Museum, Ref. 91032). It is only fifteen inches high and was discovered in the Assyrian palace at Nineveh. This particular prism dates from about 691 B.C. and tells about Sennacherib’s exploits. A section from the prism reads, “As for Hezekiah,  the Jew, who did not submit to my yoke, forty-six of his strong walled cities, as well as small cities  in their neighborhood I have besieged and took…himself like a caged bird, I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city. Earthworks I threw up against him,” Thus, there is a three-way confirmation concerning Hezekiah’s tunnel from the Hebrew side and this amazing confirmation from the Assyrian side.

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription

George Harrison – Awaiting On You All – Lyrics

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