We can learn from the examples of an ingenious civilization from the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia, whose sages tell us that intelligence is not about power or personal gain.
"6 STARS!!! WHAT A DEAL!"
When most of us hear the word "Auschwitz" it immediately invokes black and white, grainy footage of living skeletons, gas chambers and inhuman brutality of a level never seen since. But the thing that most people do not realize is that before the town of Auschwitz was used as a death camp, it was one of the most posh and cosmopolitan towns in all of Austria. It was a prosperous Jewish enclave known rather fondly as "Little Jerusalem".
"SO SAD THAT THIS IS HAPPENING EVEN TODAY"
Because Israel has contributed so much to all of us, what was once just an Israelite culture has grown to become what is by and large an inherited world culture. As the scriptures promised to Abraham, "I will make your descendants countless as the dust of the earth; if anyone could count the dust upon the ground, then he could count your descendants." I believe that this scripture does hold true.
"What a great deal, two life changing books!!!"
Experts on ancient history consider the epic of Gilgamesh to be the oldest preserved Mesopotamian poem ever written. Archeologists say that the story was originally written on 11 clay tablets in cuneiform script. The story was about the notable exploits of a historical and legendary king of Uruk (modern-day Iraq) who lived somewhere between 2750 and 2500 BCE. His name was Gilgamesh.
"Such a cool, biblical book!"
When the Bible said that the system of the world is characterized by "lust of the flesh" (1 John 2:16) it shows that the presence of pornography in the world will never decrease. From the very beginning of human history, sexual sins are not removed from the scenario of humanity's rise and fall. It always plays a major role in the lives of men and women, civilizations, and kingdoms, either for better or for worse. Thus, addiction to it is not uncommon, but seems to be a necessary normal pleasure built in within our self as humans.
In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John wrote about a great religious system and organization that would be present and influential during the so-called Seven Years Tribulation Period, in which the Anti-Christ will be revealed and reign supreme. With his own divinely inspired words, he described this religion as, "mystery Babylon the great," and, judging by his statement, it's interesting that this mystical religion can be traced all the way back to the times recorded in the book of Genesis.
"The truth will set you free!"
It's December 1999 and many are wracked with fear over the turning over of another new year. The year not only stands out because it is the end of a millennium and comes replete with some fancy new front digits in the form of "2000", but also has decades of baggage and propaganda that had filtered through to the public over the years. And at least one of the most infamous of doomsday scenarios that circled around the year 2000 was based on some fact.
"Wow, such a cool a book!"
One of the grilling hot seats of controversies that breed not only human and public discrimination but fierce judgment is the issue of homosexuality. The grilling questions are: Are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people corruptions of human nature and dignity? Or are they the design of creation that expresses uniqueness and evolution? These essential questions are crucial in order to address the root issue. And this book was created for that purpose.
"Thanks for exploring this possibility!"
It was a Roman historian and writer, St. Augustine, who coined the phrase "City of God" in a book of the very same title. But the city of God that Augustine was referring to was not in Jerusalem. When Augustine wrote his book, it was hundreds of years after the Jewish city of Jerusalem had been overrun and destroyed by the Roman legions; he was writing of Rome as the city of God and the center of the Roman Catholic faith.
"I WANT TO TRAVEL THERE!"
We have been conditioned by so many ideas around us that the measure of intelligence is material gain. Well, this book is a far cry from that. Learning from the examples of the ancient sages from among an ingenious civilization located in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia, we will learn that true intelligence is not a matter of power, self-gain, and modern achievements.
"SUCH A COOL FACTUAL BOOK!"
In telling this story, I am not interested in taking any side. I just want to tell the story of how one small nation and a small group of people have had the tenacity and courage to defy the odds and preserve an ancient culture that has become the epicenter of not just conflict but religion, philosophy and human society as a whole.