Posts Tagged ‘violence’

IS THE GOLDEN RULE REALLY THE BEST IDEA?

May 28, 2010

What is today known as the “golden rule”, is found in similar form in at least 37 often non-connected cultures.  Thus, the laws of God are clearly written on the conscience of humanity, as the Bible claims and as Jefferson echoed in the Declaration of Independence.

According to Jesus, “Therefore, whatever you want people to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets”.  The added, “for this is the law and the prophets” in the society of Jesus, meant similar to as if today someone said, “this is the foundation of human rights and the sum and purpose of all reason, wisdom, philosophy, science, education, morality and ethics.”  Is this really the best idea for achieving human rights in the modern age?

Upon closer examination, most of the so-called “golden rules” found in other societies, including the one attributed to the Jewish teacher Hillel, are considerably different than that taught by Jesus.  A similar one to Jesus is found in a saying attributed to Mencius.  But unlike Mencius and all of the other known sages of history, only Jesus gives this positive, pro-active version the all-important status of being the foundation for all that matters towards positive human enlightenment and achievement.

So-called “golden rules” found in most societies instruct us not to harm others as we do not wish them to harm us.  But Jesus teaches us to reach out and help other people, even if they do not first help us. Consider how much less effective it is to tell a child not to harm someone, than teaching the same child to pro-actively treat others as they like to be treated.  For example, is a homeless widow better off if someone just doesn’t harm her or, if someone provides her food and shelter?  Isn’t it far more effective to teach us to help each other than just saying we should do no harm?

Some modern intellectuals claim we should instead, treat other people as “they” wish to be treated.  This supposed “improvement” contains at least two significant flaws:  1) It is rather difficult to know how another person wants us to treat them unless we first befriend them as we wish to be treated.  2) If we treat others as they wish to be treated without any measurement against our own well-being, we will soon be extremely tired, penniless and destitute.

Today, the term “empathy” is favored by many, apparently because it is less religious sounding than the idea of loving our neighbor as ourself.  Although it is a good idea to empathize with others, is this idea really an improvement over teaching us to pro-actively love our neighbor as ourselves?

Is the Jesus version of the golden rule the best idea?  Does anybody else have a better idea for curing what ails a race called “human”?  Do we want less than the best for our children?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

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DOES BELIEF IN GOD CAUSE WAR AND OTHER HUMAN OPPRESSION?

April 20, 2010

Is it really accurate, as some intellectuals claim today, to blame belief in God as the cause of war and other human oppression?  Is this any more correct than blaming science and education?  Isn’t it more honest to instead, blame people who mis-use technology and belief in God for their own nefarious purposes?

Obviously, someone can aim the fickle finger of fate at war waged in the name of religion.  But, even before the invention of the wheel leading to ever-improved knife, spear, bow and chariot design, human science and education has been intricately entwined with waging war. Military applications have long been interlaced with government-funded science, education and modern space exploration.

Consider the Manhattan Project, nuclear missiles and space-ray weapons.  And, the rise of oppressive imperialism alongside industrial age invention; the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions; WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.  Incalculable human oppression has been aided by science and technology and, waged in the name of nationalism, democracy, capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, anarchism and other intellectual idealism and often, just plain old fashioned human greed and lust for gold.

Arguably because of their belief in God, billions of people have helped the sick, poor and oppressed masses throughout the ages.  Consider names like Isaiah, Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and, celebrities like Danny Thomas, Jerry Lewis and Martin Sheen.  Consider the Union Rescue Mission and LA Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles.  Throughout the European “dark” and Middle Ages, many individuals, including some popes, established public hospitals, housing and bread lines.

Consider modern electricity, medicine, surgery, global travel, computer technology and other marvels of a 21st Century age of science and wonder.  And to be fair, weigh this in the historical balances against WMDs, global mass pollution, depletion of fisheries, rain and other forests, fresh water pollution, mountains of garbage and cesspools of toxic waste left in the wake of the “Age of Enlightenment”.

Why is oppression waged in the name of Christianity, Islam and other religions any worse than that waged in the name of manifest destiny, communism and fascism?  Is human oppression a result of sincere belief in God?  Or, is it rather, a result of human beings wrongly using the sincere beliefs of others for their own devious purposes?

Isn’t it more likely that we all contribute to the negative downside of human history, whenever we fail to treat other people as we ourselves, wish to be treated?  Isn’t it more accurate, as Jesus pointed out and as Freud, Jung and modern behavioral science agree, to blame the “seething mass” of irrationality and frustration buried deep within individual human beings, as being the real cause of our problems?

If we are going to rationally and fairly blame something as being the “cause” of our problems, maybe it’s wise to first take a good look in the mirror.  Does belief in God cause human oppression?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

IS THE BIBLE REALLY ACCURATE?

February 8, 2010

This question of necessity raises several other fundamental questions, forcing one to think outside the modern English language box in regards to long-cherished and deeply-held beliefs of religious orthodoxy, historical, intellectual and other misconceptions.  And if that doesn’t adequately describe 21st Century American religious, scientific, educational, political and other confusion, most likely nothing ever will.
For example, note the rather threatening tone implied in the King James English:

1) Thou shalt not kill,
2) Thou shalt not steal and
3) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

The conservative religious sounding tone and threatening archaic style of this language here in a digital age land of once shining seas, likely comes across as threatening, mean-spirited and religiously offensive to most Americans, as it does to me personally.

Instead of insisting on using the flowery archaic King James version commonly found and far less commonly followed, in many conservative fundamentalist hard on one’s backside pews of today, consider how the original Hebrew could and arguably should be translated into our modern common usage English reality:

You shouldn’t kill.
You shouldn’t steal.
You shouldn’t say untrue things about your neighbor.

By revising the same English language into modern usage form while remaining fair to the original source, a much more reasonable sounding, kinder and less threatening God suddenly emerges, in language making perfect sense if God actually cares about people.  As opposed for example, to a vague and distant “deist” type of God, who doesn’t give a damn about how we treat each other or otherwise, rape, pillage and pollute his creation to the  high heavens, kingdom come and beyond to our collective capitalist enterprising hearts’ content. 

Virtually all modern progressives are in complete agreement with these three basic moral laws, even if they don’t ever read the Bible or even believe in God.  Thus, among other things, this short illustration demonstrates how language and other cultural barriers, in particular from centuries past using the same “English” language, often leads to all manner of erroneous misconceptions, conclusions, deliberate falsifications and outright lies.

Today the archaic King James English version is invariably branded by liberals as belonging in a category labeled “religion”, being entirely undesirable to even mentioned in a supposed “free and democratic society”.  While the less religious sounding updated English example is universally viewed as being basic to human rights, common decency, morality and ethics.

And, it remains a significant cornerstone of not only American, but global ethics, morality and legal law.  Not to mention, it is both prudent and correct to adhere to such common moral decency if we are to have any hope of living in a peaceful and just 21st Century reality.

How accurate is the Bible? Perhaps a better question is, just how badly deceived and otherwise completely and entirely misinformed, are modern-day Americans in general and, often hard working, tax paying and, most unfortunately for everybody including their own children, “church going” sincere religious fundamentalists in particular? 

You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

IS OBAMA SMARTER THAN BUSH?

November 5, 2009

According to George W. Bush, we are fighting in Iraq to “secure the peace” and, to “secure freedom and democracy”.  Is there any historical or other rational reason to believe this?  If war can secure peace then why, after 10,000 years of war, isn’t there peace on earth by now?

War didn’t begin with the American Revolution, nor did it end there; many soldiers who fought against the British rose up in “Shay’s Rebellion” against wealthy colonists who were taking their land and throwing them into debtors prison.  Soon after, another war against the British erupted.

Then came the Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War and War in the Philippines.  And then, the so-called “war to end all wars”, WWI, soon followed by WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War and now, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Spaced among this long sad bloody list of war after war after war, were several slave uprisings, a long drawn-out war against Native populations and many smaller wars and battles.  There have also been many “uprisings” within the U.S. population, including mob murder of African-Americans, Irish, Jews, Mormons, Chinese, Latinos, adult and even, child workers on strike.

Yet today, after all this bloodshed, we find ourselves at war, yet again.  In spite of the overwhelming historical evidence, a morally bankrupt American population remains quick on the trigger and very slow to understand, that war will never “secure the peace”.  Is President Obama acting any wiser than Bush by continuing to stay the course in Iraq and increase troop levels in Afghanistan?

Some people claim Gandhi was wrong because he ended up a martyr.  Yet, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and a great many others claim to have been inspired by him.  Did Gandhi lose in the great historical war between pro and anti-human rights forces, the only war that really matters?

According to Jesus, the solution to war is to put down our swords.  A small child can easily grasp this crystal clear logic of Jesus, yet we find people today pretending to follow him, who still promote war as the solution to somehow secure the peace.  The life of Jesus has inspired millions of people to promote peace and goodwill.  Thus, he won a far, far, far greater victory than all of the military generals in history combined.

It is entirely logical, that if I promote peace and goodwill, I will help humanity and leave a positive legacy for others to emulate.  It is likewise, entirely logical that if I promote war as a solution, I will hurt humanity and extend the trail of tears for others to emulate.

We as individuals have little choice what our leaders or other people do.  However, we each have a personal choice to make, to either stand up for peace and goodwill or, to bow to peer pressure and promote war and other violence.

It takes courage to stand up against one’s own society, which is why Isaiah and Jesus continue to be revered by millions.  It takes only a victim of societal pressure to promote war.  It is mature to promote peace and goodwill; it is childish, historically and patently absurd to promote anything else.

Is Obama any smarter than Bush?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

WHY IS BILL MAHER LYING TO AMERICANS? ~ Does Belief in God Really Cause War?

October 17, 2009

Unlike in the time of Thomas Jefferson, when “Creator”, “religion” and “church” represented three distinct ideas, “religion” today is a very loaded term.  It is entirely inaccurate, as Bill Maher and other atheists often do, to lump belief in God, organized religion and the evil that adherents of a particular religion engage in, together under a common term and then, to place the blame there for humanity’s problems.

For example, Jesus is very clearly not the founder of Christianity or anything remotely like it, nor is it any more fair to blame Jesus for what people do in his name, than it is to blame Copernicus and Isaac Newton for Hiroshima.  The same applies in varying degrees to Buddha, Confucius, Zarathustra and certain other so-called “founders” of various religions.  There is no greater critic of fundamentalist religion or religious hypocrisy in history than Jesus, nor is there any greater advocate for personal, local and global peace.

Like religion, science and education are historically intimately entwined with war and human oppression on a massive scale, tracing back from ever more effective designs for ancient war chariots, DaVinci’s war-machine inventions and, on up through the Manhattan Project, the modern-day military industrial complex and ever worse weapons of mass destruction.  The American, French, Russian and several other revolutions were fomented by so-called “enlightened” intellectuals.

It is correct to say religion is a tool often used to foment war and human oppression and, it’s just as fair to point out science and education are often used for the same purpose.  However, it is not accurate to pretend either one is a root “cause” of human aggression. Believers in God and scientists both often leave a positive legacy and, many of history’s most revered individuals demonstrated a profound personal belief in God.  Jesus correctly singled out religious hypocrisy, rather than belief in God, as having a significant negative societal impact.

Since the invention of printing, which helped break the societal stranglehold of organized religion, justification for war has more and more been shifted away from religious to other excuses.  In a so-called “post-Enlightenment Age”, wars are now often fought in the name of democracy, freedom, communism, socialism, anarchism and even human rights.  Those who blame belief in God for war, rather than placing the blame for war where it squarely belongs, on individual human beings making their own poor choices, are plainly liars.

According to Jesus and some New Testament authors and, according to ALL known scientific and historical evidence, the root cause of humanity’s problems is sin, causing individual human frustration, greed and aggression, resulting in negative choices being made by individual human beings.  Families, tribes, cities, states, nations, armies, religions, political parties, corporations, unions, educational institutions, professional scientists and all other “groupings” of human beings, are made up of individual people, each making their own individual choices.

It would be refreshing if modern educators and people like Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens could grow up just a little and, begin placing the blame for humanity’s problems where it belongs, squarely on our own self-contradicting shoulders. Perhaps then, a modern species in grave peril of losing it’s own commonly shared global habitat, could begin to have a little more unbiased and accurate understanding of where Jesus and the authors of the Bible are actually coming from.

Were the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions, WWI, WWII, Vietnam and Iraq, among hundreds of other wars from the 20th Century forward, caused more by belief in God, organized religion, intellectual idealism, nationalism or just plain old common human greed, as ALL wars can invariably be traced back to?  Does belief in God really cause war?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article