Read by Lorenzo De Leon
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Then said I: ‘Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak; for I am a child.’
But the LORD said unto me:
Say not: I am a child;
For to whomsoever I shall send thee thou shalt go,
And whatsoever I shall command thee thou shalt speak.
I never saw God, nor do I pretend to have any special insights. What you will see in this book are snapshots of God, not a complete film. This book is presented in an omnibus style and does not have to be read in precise, sequential order. What you will see is one man’s glimpses of God—images along the road of life. I do not represent myself as a theologian or a guru. There are no cheap thrills here for the spiritually bankrupt masses. It is my scrapbook of the highest power through dreams, memories, and stories, much like the ancient texts.
My last book was a number one New York Times best seller, without any support from the media. It’s my seventh book in a row that made the New York Times list, which is the gold standard of best-seller lists. Everyone reads it. So my publisher was thrilled. The people there said, “We want your next book.”
But I said, “Hold on, now. I’m not doing another political book. I told my audience the last one would be my final political book.” God gave me all my previous success. I knew my next book had to give something back to God.
My publisher agreed. They like me, and they figure that whatever I do, people will accept. I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t know if my audience is ready for a book from me about the Bible and God. But I wrote it. I had to.
I know a lot of people who are not religious but say, “You know, it’s terrible. We were once a great Christian nation, and the churches are empty and the mosques are filling up.” They always want someone else to go to church. People who don’t go to church don’t really believe in God. They want someone to believe for them. They cry, “Oh, why are the churches empty?” To which I reply, “Well, why don’t you go?” They aren’t religious, but they wish other people were. Well, you are the other people.
Honour the LORD with thy substance,
And with the first-fruits of all thine increase;
So shall thy barns be filled with plenty,
And thy vats shall overflow with new wine.
As I said many years ago, we’ve gone from St. Christopher medals to dream catchers in one generation. When I was a kid, it seemed as though every other car had a Catholic owner. They had little St. Christopher’s statues on the dashboard. Myself, I didn’t have one, but I liked that there were people who believed in God. And one day, I woke up, it was post-Obama and there were dream catchers hanging off mirrors. There are so many things hanging off mirrors, I don’t know how people can see through their windshields. Mirrors and beads and voodoo. There is voodoo paraphernalia hanging off automobile mirrors and the country is melting down. It’s total anarchy.
So what I’m trying to get at is that none of us lasts forever. There’s an hourglass. You turn an hourglass upside down and you watch the sand trickle through. Well, in my case—and I’m not trying to pull a tearjerker on you—there’s more sand on the bottom than there is on the top. There was a time when there was more sand on the top than on the bottom and I thought I had unlimited time to do everything. I don’t. No one does.
What I’m saying to you is, I’ve just knocked another ball out of Yankee Stadium. It’s called Trump’s War. What more do I need to prove to myself or anyone else? I began as a writer. Fundamentally, that’s what I am. But behind the writer, there’s something else.
But this is very important for you to know: When I was down and out, I had to go down to the core of my being and reach out to the man upstairs, to put it colloquially. And I had to ask Him to save me.
It didn’t happen like a boom went off or lightning struck or Charlton Heston appeared in my living room with a ticket to heaven. I had to keep asking for it. And it took me twenty years to climb out of that hole. See, God helps those who help themselves. He doesn’t give you anything. By reaching out to God, maybe you can help yourselves.
I don’t always practice what I preach. For example, I occasionally eat high-fat cheese, even though I’ve written health books. Once a year, I’ll eat a hot dog. Twice a year, I’ll eat a steak, even though I know it’s poison for me. I know it. We all do things we know aren’t good for us, but we do them anyway. It’s the same spiritually, right?
Recently I was having bad dreams. I can sleep through them. I’ve learned how to live with that my whole life. It’s nothing to me. I can sleep through the worst nightmare on Earth. I say to myself, “Oh, another one. That was great.” I can’t wait to go to sleep and see where my mind will take me tonight. What horror show awaits me?
I’d go to sleep, and it was like nightmare movies every night. I wouldn’t wake up, though, because I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t really matter if you have nightmares, if you sleep through them. It’s like a bad movie. I thought, “Wait a minute, there must be a way for me to deal with this.”
One day, I opened an ancient Hebrew prayer book that a very religious man had given me. There’s a one-paragraph prayer that I’ve been reading for a while now. It’s called “Prayer Before Retiring at Night.” Is there magic? If religion doesn’t work, it’s of no use at all. If religion has no effect on your life, there’s no reason to go to church or synagogue. In other words, if it doesn’t make you feel better, what good is it? What, are you waiting for the next world? That’s a big gamble, my friend. That’s a huge gamble, to throw away all of life’s pleasures on the chance that you’re going to be rewarded in the next world. You begin to sound like those who think they’re going to get seventy-two virgins, or whatever the number is, for killing you.
I can’t live for the next world. I don’t even know if there is a next world. This is the only earth I know of, and this earth is the only heaven that I know of. This is also the only hell I know of. But I figure that if this stuff has worked for others for thousands of years, there must be something to it. Are all those millions stupid? Are they all idiots?
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying:
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee,
And before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee;
I have appointed thee a prophet unto the nations.
And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and saw them, and, behold, they were sad.
And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his master’s house, saying: ‘Wherefore look ye so sad to-day?’
And they said unto him: ‘We have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it.’
And Joseph said unto them: ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? tell it me, I pray you.’
Some people say they are. They say, “Religion is for idiots.” Really? All those millions of people through history who were and are religious, they’re all idiots? The ones criticizing them are the only smart ones?
I’m telling you all this because my dreams have stopped. At least the bad ones have. I sleep like a baby now. “Prayer Before Retiring at Night” is better than any herbal tea I’ve ever taken. Can I give you one paragraph? It begins, “Master of the Universe, I hereby forgive anyone who has angered or vexed me.” That’s the first thing you say. I say it, and the dog looks as though there’s a different person in the room. He thinks I’m crazy. He sees me standing near the mirror with the book, and he’s looking at me like, “What the heck are you doing now?”
“Master of the universe, I hereby forgive anyone who has angered or vexed me or sinned against me, either physically or financially, against my honor or anything else that is mine, whether accidentally or intentionally, inadvertently or deliberately, by speech or by deed, in this incarnation or in any other. May no man be punished on my account. May it be your will, Lord, my God, and God of my fathers, that I shall sin no more nor repeat my sins. Neither shall I again anger you nor do what is wrong in your eyes. The sins I have committed erase in your abounding mercies but not through suffering or severe illnesses.”
They cover all bases there. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before you Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Our Father, let us lie down in peace. Our King, raise us up to do a good life and peace. Improve us…”
Do you see what I’m saying? In other words, you’re supposed to forgive anyone who insulted you or robbed you or sinned against you in this life or any other. It allows you to go to sleep and not think about those things. Now, there’s much more to this prayer before retiring at night, but I want to give you a little taste, in common parlance, of where my head is going. These are simple things that have calmed people for centuries and, in these anguishing times, it’s very important to share with you some of these ancient methods of calming the human soul.
These are perplexing times. These are times that produce anxiety, and in our society, everyone has their own way of trying to deal with it: run, exercise, take a pill, drink tea, meditate, do Pilates, have sex… who knows? These are all things people use to calm themselves down. But the prayer I shared with you is a palliative that has been with us since the Rock of Ages was written. I wanted to share it with you because it’s carried me through some very hard times. So, too, have many of the other experiences in the pages ahead.
This is not a “religious book.” It’s a quest and odyssey. You might ask why you should read someone else’s odyssey. By the time you’ve finished this book, I hope you will have found the answer.
In this book, I will draw upon my personal experiences, the personal experiences of others, with God, without God; but most important, I will draw upon my personal copy of the five books of Moses the Jewish Bible. I have had this book for well over forty years. It has hundreds of little yellow Post-it notes that I have attached as I’ve read it for solace. My hope is to do service to God who created all of us.
But from thence ye will seek the LORD thy God;
and thou shalt find Him, if thou search after Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
DOES GOD EXIST?
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.
Does God exist?
What is the nature of God?
What is the nature of man?
There are people far more knowledgeable than I regarding the Bible, the Hebrew, the meaning, the theology, etc. But it does not mean they know anything more about God than you or I do. You can take the most ordinary person who is a believer, and I’ve met them, and they do more for inspiring the nonbeliever than does the most intelligent, intellectual theologian on the planet. God is about belief and faith. It is not about proving there is a God, for there is no proof. What proof can there be?
If there were a firm proof, there would be no need for this book. It would’ve been done a thousand times by now. The fact that we’re even contemplating whether God exists indicates that nobody really knows. But I say the obverse tells us that God does exist.
For example, you run into a person who says, “I’m an atheist. I don’t believe God exists.” What does that do for the universe? Does God cease to exist because one person out of the billions who are living and the billions who have lived suddenly says, “God doesn’t exist”? Is that person so narcissistic as to believe that because he or she says, “I don’t believe in God,” that, therefore, God doesn’t exist? That’s absurd. God doesn’t need that individual to prove His existence.
No, my friends, the fact of the matter was stated to me by a hobo I met many years ago in the streets of San Francisco. As we spoke, and I looked into his startlingly blue eyes with a shock of white hair, I asked him (he told me his name was Moses), “Moses, do you believe in God?” He looked at me in a puzzled manner and replied, “Who do you think created me?” That solved it for me. I have met many believing people who don’t need proof. That’s what I’m trying to say to you. This is not a book that will try to prove to you that God exists. Not at all. God doesn’t need Michael Savage to prove His existence. Michael Savage needs to write this book to prove to himself that Michael Savage exists.
Does God exist? This question has plagued mankind from the beginning of recorded history. Even the saintly Mother Teresa admitted in her last years that, many times in her life, she did not know the answer to this question. Yet we live as if God does exist and as if there will be a Judgment Day when we will be judged for our good and bad deeds. But what is good and what is bad? That has become increasingly confusing in this age of relativity. There seem to be no mores that are considered universal. Can that be so?
Look at the Ten Commandments. Read all of them. “Thou shall not kill.” What does that mean? Aren’t we told to kill in war? Well, if you read the original Hebrew, the word is “murder.” The commandment is “Thou shall not murder.” It does not say, “Thou shall not kill.” They are two completely different things. It takes some knowledge of the history of both the Hebrew language and of the prophets themselves to properly interpret not only the Ten Commandments but mankind’s guidebook for life on this earth, the Bible.
As I take you on this journey with me, I ask you to have patience, for I am neither a prophet nor a holy man. I am just a man who has thought about the questions we will explore together in the pages that follow since the beginning of my consciousness. Why was I put here? Why were you put here? Why are we born if we’re born to die? Why must we suffer? Why does God forsake even the good among us? Why do little children suffer so terribly in cancer wards around the world? Why are so many good men and women slaughtered in war? Why do evil men thrive, unpunished in their lifetimes?
Many of you have given up on God. You think it’s nonsense. You haven’t been in a church or a synagogue your entire adult life. Some of you are Jewish. You had a bar mitzvah and that was the last time you were in a temple. Oh, once in a while, you observe Rosh Hashanah. You do the mumbo jumbo; you put on the hat. And then you go and have a meal and think you did your thing. Or you come back to do a thing for the dead.
You tell yourself you don’t really believe in it, but there’s a little tiny part of you that does. And what will happen is, as you get older, it will become bigger and bigger and bigger. When you’re young, you can believe in nothing except your pleasure center. That’s the norm. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. But as you get older, as things happen to you, as things break in your body, you want to turn to somebody. But you don’t know where to turn. These questions have plagued me to such an extent that I have lost my faith many times along the rocky road we all walk. But we all must walk along this road, no matter how much our feet bleed, no matter how they ache.
Years ago, I stumbled upon a small book entitled Peace of Mind. In it, the author wrote that he does not believe that God is omnipotent. He is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere at all times, but He does not control everything that occurs. He wrote that if he believed that God was omnipotent and controlled everything that happens—babies with cancer, innocent men and women slaughtered, innocent children raped—he would cease to believe and become an atheist on the spot.
But he concluded that God is in fact not omnipotent but only omnipresent, meaning we do have free will and control our destinies. Yes, there are things encoded in us, perhaps through genetics, perhaps through faith, that we cannot control. Perhaps we are born for certain faiths. But within the parameters of these genetic or predetermined destinies, we have wide latitude. And that is why we need the guidebook called the Holy Bible.
Fear thou not, for I am with thee,
Be not dismayed, for I am thy God;
I strengthen thee, yea, I help thee;
Yea, I uphold thee with My victorious right hand.
Faith and Reason
Now, why would I throw the word reason in when faith is the opposite of reason? If you’re an educated person who also believes in God, there is almost a dichotomy there. People call my show, The Savage Nation, and ask, “How can you believe in God and be a rational man? How can a rational man believe in a figment of the imagination, some kind of voodoo that was created to hoodwink people thousands of years ago in ancient Palestine?”
Judaism was the progenitor of the three major religions, the other two being Christianity and Islam. Many people may not know that it was Judaism first, then Christianity, then Islam. So the three Abrahamic religions, the three monotheistic religions, go back to Judaism.
Many people still ask, “How do you know?” They argue that people were so wild in those days in Israel, those ancient olive growers, there had to be controls. So they came up with some myth about Heaven and a burning bush to scare them that if they didn’t do the right thing, they’d be punished in the next world. How can a rational person believe in God?
Well, I’m a very rational person, as evidenced by many things I’ve achieved. I think logically, up to a point. But faith is something different from reason, isn’t it? That’s why the title of this book is God, Faith, and Reason. I do not believe that reason is incompatible with faith. Faith is believing in something, whether it’s reasonable or not.
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions;
I believe in God. I’m a superrational man, up to a point. But I’m also a believer. The mystical Jews say the actual writings about God are in the white spaces between the letters. That’s a conundrum unto itself. Well, it’s the blank spaces in talk radio that explain who the host is. What you don’t hear in between what you do hear is what you should hear.
I have often thought about arguments concerning reason and religion. Are reason and religion compatible? I need to hear them from an educated person who believes in God. In other words, I’m not knocking you if you didn’t have the chance to go to college and get a higher degree and become a doctor or lawyer or engineer, but I often wonder about engineers who are rationalists and also believe in God, because if you’re an engineer you are an utter rationalist. How do you make that compatible? How does that work?
The photographer who took the cover pic for Teddy and Me also took the picture for the cover of this book. The session didn’t go well at first. I don’t like posing for pictures. I don’t like to do television. I’m a terrible author for my publisher’s marketing department. I don’t like to be seen; I like to be heard.
I said to him, “Look, I’m not a hero. I’m simply a writer and a broadcaster. What you see is what you get. If you want a heroic pose, you’ll have to hire an actor.” But just before he left, he tried one more time to get what he wanted. It was drizzling outside, and I was sitting on the edge of a sofa with rain falling behind me. And he caught something in my eyes that reveals a different Michael Savage. Maybe it was another part of me. Maybe it was the real me, the essence of me. I’m not sure, but it’s the Michael Savage I want you to see. I’m not trying to convert you to religion or sell you on religion. I just want you to feel what I’ve seen in these snapshots of God.
I don’t know of a man or woman on earth, not even an atheist or communist, who hasn’t explored this question. I would say that even the leftists who listen to my show purely to mock me afterward have at some point in their lives thought about God. It amazes me that people won’t even talk about it anymore. They’re afraid or ashamed to show their vulnerability to this higher power. They don’t want to reveal that they are not all-powerful themselves.
Everyone wants to act like a macho person who controls everything. I think that’s the basis of it all, the narcissism, the ego, the vanity. Who was it who said, “All is vanity”?
Are faith and reason incompatible? I know some highly educated people who are very religious. And I know scoffers who say, “How can you, as an educated man, believe in God?”
Reason leads to faith. In fact, the greater your reasoning powers, the purer your reasoning powers, the greater your mathematical abilities, ultimately they will lead to an understanding of God.
I will cite one example. Albert Einstein said the further he got out into the thought process of the universe, the more he realized there had to be a greater power that had created it all. There was no other explanation. You’ll find that the higher your own reasoning power becomes, the more you’ll realize that reason doesn’t answer every question. Instead, it leads you to faith. If it doesn’t lead you to faith, you’ll really be in trouble. It will lead you to drugs and rehab and the destruction of your soul.
- "An engaging, detailed and spirited work - both conversational and soul-searching, restless and reassuring all at once."—The Washington Times
- On Sale
- Nov 14, 2017
- Hachette Audio