Strait-jacketed ape by Nathaniel Gold.
I started this book, Religion In Human Evolution, which has a lot of ideas per page. Here’s one, that history is older than texts, thus older than 5,000 years and mixed with evolutionary biology. This I believe most sincerely to be true, but it’s still a rejection of an established view. Indeed, the time before text is often called pre-history, and many people are happy to let it dwell in mystery or myth.
However, we are still made of star dust and are physically connected back to everything. Hence I think an understanding of science, especially evolution is, if anything, more relevant than read chronicles of kings. Take Sri Lanka. The Mahavamsa is a great text, both entertaining and accurate, at least in terms of times and places, generally. It however, dates the origin of Sri Lanka back to one mythical progenitor (a kind of proto-Malaka Silva, really) and this is often taught as fact. This leads to all sorts of complications not really grounded in reality. I’ve heard quite sensible people asking why Tamils or Muslims don’t ‘go back’ without realizing that this could apply to everyone.
Personally, I believe that nationality is not so much property as traffic. You get really pissed if someone cuts you off in traffic, but everyone is fundamentally moving.
Anyways, if your history effectively ends two thousand years ago, then you cut yourself off with a whole bunch of family, essentially, and things can get a lot more hostile. The further back you go, however, in evolution, you get more and more relatives, and feel more connection and compassion to them all. For example, humans all walked out of Africa in a rather small band 50-70,000 years ago. Hence, the term humanity is really the most relevant unit. Prior to that, we have much in common with apes (on whom medical testing is beginning to be suspended), and mammals and other animals going down to fish and beyond. Then plants, and the earth, etc.
If we’re going to be hostile to anyone, it should really be aliens.
Anyways, my point is that when history becomes wider, it becomes more accurate, and your heart gets wider as well. This to me is part of the connection between science and faith, and how the former can enrich the latter. From the understanding that we’re all connected, that we have a shared history and thus destiny, comes a great feeling of wonder and love that you can feel free to call God. Me personally, I go back through this family tree when saying metta meditation, which essentially radiates compassion out from the self and family to progressively wider spheres, as per the Buddha’s suggestion:
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
seen & unseen,
near & far,
born & seeking birth:
May all beings be happy at heart.
As you can see, this also includes aliens. So I try to include them as well. History hasn’t quite got there, but perhaps it will.