Shocked and Embarrassed

As a Southern, white male; I am SHOCKED AND EMBARRASSED to know that in the 21st Century such openly organized racism in the form of such organized segregation has been allowed to remain intact and in practice to this very day!!!:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/us/in-rural-georgia-students-step-up-to-offer-integrated-prom.html

Dont get me wrong people; I KNOW that racism still prevails amongst Southern whites.  But I had no clue that organized segregation of this sort has been allowed to STILL exist.

I am SO SUPPORTIVE of these courageous young African Americans who are breaking “the color barrier” in the 21st Century South.

I also encourage everyone to visit the Facebook page referenced in this article and SUPPORT these young children; black and white, who are courageously breaking this shameful, SHAMEFUL “color barrier”….

On Goodness

Goodness is a quality which is natural to the human condition.

Goodness is neither dependent upon primitive words and ways;

Nor upon modern thinking and mechanical means.

Goodness is not driven in from without;

Rather goodness is derived from within.

For goodness is a quality which is natural to the human condition.

Goodness is kind, considerate and compassionate:

-Goodness is impartially kind.

-Goodness is impulsively considerate.

-Goodness is instinctively compassionate.

Goodness is sensitive, sensible, and sociable:

-Goodness is sensitive to the feelings of others.

-Goodness is sensible as to one’s own happiness.

-Goodness is sociable as a general rule.

Goodness may be dormant, declared, or demonstrated:

-Goodness which is dormant is a waste.

-Goodness which is declared is wise.

-Goodness which is demonstrated is a way of life.

Goodness does not want heaven.

Goodness does not fear hell.

Goodness is to be human.

For goodness is a quality which is natural to the human condition.

If We But Care

There is something alarmingly unnatural when a person is insensitive to suffering.

An aversion to suffering is a quality natural to the human condition.  Granted, there are exceptions to any natural truth.  Just as there are occasional physical birth defects, there are surely likewise social birth defects as well.  Yet for the most part every person is naturally sensitive to suffering. Most folks simply cannot bear the sounds or sights of the suffering of another sentient being.  Be it a complete stranger weeping; a dog writhing in pain after being hit by a car; or even a cow suffering as it is slaughtered for beef; most people cannot bear the sights and sounds of such trauma.  This human quality of “aversion to suffering” is a good quality, and one which we should heed as a worthy companion to guide us in our daily doings.

It seems to me that the natural aversion to suffering is founded upon yet a more fundamental quality which is likewise natural to the human condition.  Is it not genuine goodness which moves us to such an aversion to suffering?  Thus is not genuine goodness a quality natural to our human condition?  I personally cannot cipher it any other way.

Albeit genuine goodness seems to be a quality natural to our human condition; nonetheless such  must be cultivated and developed in order to be experienced.  In fact, such is the case with many natural human qualities.  Imagine a person who never stood on their feet to walk. In spite of their innate ability to walk, it would be as though they were a cripple.  So it is with those who do not cultivate their natural goodness.  It is as though they had no goodness within, in spite their own natural goodness.

And how does one cultivate the natural goodness within?  How does one stay in tune with their natural sensitivity to suffering?  By merely allowing our genuine goodness to naturally develop unimpeded by external influences.  There is no barrier to our “sensitive side” unless we are distracted from our own genuine goodness.   Many a good person is distracted from their natural goodness by external influences which condition them to become insensitive to the suffering of others.

For example, many a person has been distracted from their genuine goodness only to develop into a racist.  Yet no such person naturally develops into that pathetic state of thinking.  No one is born a racist, and no one develops naturally into that psychology.  External influences all too often distract a person from their natural goodness, only to condition a good person to become insensitive to the feelings of others.

There are others who have been distracted from their genuine goodness only to develop into sexists.  No man naturally develops into that pathetic state of thinking.  No man is born a sexist, and no one naturally develops into that psychology.  External influences all too often distract a person from their natural goodness, only to condition a good person to become insensitive to the feelings of others.

Then again there are those who are distracted from their genuine goodness only to develop so as to become greedy and selfish.  No one naturally develops into that pathetic state of thinking.  No one is born greedy and selfish, and no one naturally develops into that psychology.  External influences all too often distract a person from their natural goodness, only to condition a good person to become insensitive to the needs of others.

There are also those who are distracted from their genuine goodness only to develop into homophobes.  No one naturally develops into that pathetic state of thinking.  No one is a born bigot, and no one naturally develops into that psychology.  External influences all too often distract a person from their natural goodness, only to condition a good person to become insensitive to the feelings of others.

There are those who are distracted from their genuine goodness only to become insensitive to the suffering of the poor and the underprivileged.  No one naturally develops into that pathetic state of thinking.  No one is born insensitive to the needs of the poor, and no one naturally develops into that psychology.  External influences all too often distract a person from their natural goodness, only to condition a good person to become insensitive to the feelings of others.

There are those who are distracted from their genuine goodness only to become insensitive to the suffering of those who are the victims of war.  No one naturally develops into that pathetic state of thinking.  No one is born insensitive to the suffering of “foreigners” or “enemy combatants”, and no one naturally develops that psychology.  External influences all too often distract a person from their natural goodness, only to condition a good person to become insensitive to the physical suffering of others.

Indeed it is the case that external influences distract so many folk from their natural goodness so as to condition the unsuspecting to a psychology foreign to their original nature and contrary to their original thinking.  There are so many social issues whose core problems derive from minds who have been collectively conditioned to be insensitive to the needs and suffering of others.

It is difficult to imagine anyone denying any other being  medical aid in time of physical need, yet so many argue against healthcare for all.

It is difficult to imagine anyone denying anyone else the social benefits of a loving relationship, yet so many argue against the rights of same gender relationships.

It is difficult to imagine anyone actually thinking they are any better than anyone else, yet so many prejudge another by their race or social preferences.

It is difficult to imagine anyone supporting the slaughter of the innocents, yet so many support mass killings in the quest for a certain few in times of war.

It is difficult to imagine anyone supporting physical torture, yet many actually debate the ethics of such in times of war.

It is difficult to imagine anyone actually killing another person, yet many do so and support the same; especially in times of war.

In fact, it is just all too difficult to imagine anyone supporting racism, sexism, bigotry, torture, murder, or any other number of “unimagineables”; but people, there is no need to imagine such since all we have to do is to observe the realities of a society who has lost its natural sensitivity.

People, we as a society have lost that which many single individuals lose “day by day along the way”.  As a society we have lost touch with our natural sensitivity to the suffering of others.  Shame on us!!

There are some who will disagree with my assessment.  There are some who will agree, but shrug their shoulders as if there is no solution.  There are those who will agree and exclaim:  “God help us”.

As for me; I exclaim:  “Let us help us!”  We are the problem; therefore we are the solution.

If we but care…..

The Selective Regulation of Certain Rights

“Patricia Maisch, a hero of the Tucson shooting that left six dead and another 13 wounded, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), was escorted by police out of the Capitol Wednesday for telling senators that they should be ashamed of themselves for blocking a provision requiring background checks for gun sales.”

So begins this week’s piece in the Huffington Post regarding the actions of the police this past week in escorting a genuine hero from the floor of the Senate after our representative body of elected officials blocked provisional background checks for gun sales.  The Post goes on to report that the mother of one of the wounded survivors of the Virginia Tech shootings was likewise escorted out of the Capitol:

“Lori Haas, who also told the Senate from the gallery that it should be ashamed of itself for blocking the background checks measure, was escorted out along with Maisch. Her daughter Emily was shot twice at Virginia Tech and survived.”

Oh, the dastardly deeds of these subversives:  They dared to speak out!

And oh the irony!  How dare these ladies exercise the unfettered privileges of the First Amendment in the light of our esteemed Senators’ decision to protect the rights of others to exercise the unfettered privileges of the Second Amendment.  How dare they?

Not to worry.  It being the case that there are apparently “reasonable limits” to the exercise of the First Amendment, no doubt our faithful social leaders will reason thusly with regards to the exercise of the Second Amendment….  Next time….

(To read the full article reporting these events:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/17/patricia-maisch-tucson_n_3103695.html

Also, my thanks to Martha Maria for posting this article on her Facebook Page.  Likewise I thank Nina Rene Pepper for her comments related to the piece in The Post.  It was in fact Ms Pepper’s comments which inspired my own.  Davey Lee)

The Bogeyman and The Bible

The bogeyman gonna “git ya”;

That’s what they tell little girls and boys.

Who won’t clean their rooms;

And put away their toys.

Santa Claus is makin’ a list;

And checkin’ it twice.

Gonna find out,

Who’s naughty and nice.

Jesus is comin’ soon;

Then comes Judgment Day.

So the Bible thumpin’ preachers;

Are often known to say.

Control by fear;

To monitor social error.

Behavioural modification;

By the basic means of terror.

The Good Book?: The Problem of Hell

The biblical doctrine of Hell simply cannot be intelligently reconciled with the notion of  a loving, merciful, all-knowing, and all-powerful Creator.  The idea that a loving and merciful God would have knowingly created intelligent sentient beings whose destiny was to be eternally tortured is simply inconceivable.

Perhaps there is a loving and merciful God.  Perhaps there is an eternal torture chamber called Hell.  Or perhaps there is neither.  Regardless, there simply cannot be a loving and merciful God AND an eternal torture chamber called Hell.  It is one; the other; or neither.  It simply cannot be both.

Such we shall consider in my ongoing writings regarding the question of whether the Bible is in fact “The Good Book”:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

So begins the Bible.  So sets in motion every chain of events recorded in the Scriptures.  In fact, so sets in motion every chain of events that has ever occurred.  At least according to the Bible.

It has been my observation that allowing for the validity of the Bible is an effective manner of exposing its teaching to critical thinking and careful analysis.  And so, for the moment we shall assume the validity of the biblical claim that “God created the heavens and the earth”; and we shall assume other pertinent biblical assertions.   However; we shall reserve the right to critique and analyze the implications arising from those alleged facts.  And so we proceed.

Assumed facts:

1.  God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1; Psalms 33:6)

2.  God created everything “good” (Genesis 1:31)

3.  Everyone sins, and falls short of God’s good graces (Romans 3:23)

4.  There is an afterlife for humanity (John 5:28-29)

5. There are people who will suffer an eternity of endless torment in Hell (Matthew 5:41; Revelation 20:11-15)

Assessment:

Assuming these facts to be true, then something went terribly wrong with God’s creation.  In the light of the atrocious human suffering so described, then an impartial investigation is warranted.   There is no justifiable reason for any sentient being to suffer without relief.  (If this point seems debatable to the reader, then insert the actual image of any sentient being whatsoever into the setting so described. Then ask yourself if the image of even a single  sentient being suffering endless torture and torment with no relief from the anguish is or is not an atrocity for which there is no reasonable justification).

As to the questions to be answered:

1. What is the cause for the endless human suffering in Hell?

2.  Who is responsible for the cause which lead to this atrocity?

3.  What did the responsible party know?  And when did he know it?

4. What measures could have been taken by the responsible party to prevent this atrocity?

5.  Perhaps most importantly of all: Why were such measures not taken by the responsible party to prevent the endless human suffering in Hell?

As to #1:   What is the cause for the endless suffering in Hell?:

Per biblical teachings, people go to Hell due to sin.  The Bible in fact teaches that everyone sins, and therefore falls short of God’s good graces (Romans 3:23).  If in fact everyone sins, then such indicates that we humans are equipped with an overwhelming inclination to sin.  Thus, assuming we are created beings, then biblical teaching indicates that we are designed to sin intermittently.

Hence, the reason people suffer endless torment in Hell is due to a creative design which allows all humanity to sin intermittently.  That being the case, then there subsequently arises the question as to responsibility and liabilities.

As to #2:   Who is responsible for the endless suffering in Hell?:

Anytime a product malfunctions so as to result in massive suffering, then there is most oftentimes the question of responsibility and liabilities.  Invariably, the manufacturer/owner must account for the malfunction, and in many cases has to accept applicable liabilities for any pain inflicted or damages incurred .  In the case of the atrocity of eternal Hellfire, damnation, and unending torture for the lost; clearly God himself is the responsible party.

Per biblical teachings,God is all too proud to take the credit for the existence of everything.  In fact, he boldly claims to have created heaven and earth (Gen 1:1; Psalms 33:6).  Thus, God is the manufacturer of all that exists.  God furthermore boldly claims all which exists as his own personal possession (Psalms 24:1).  Therefore, per the teachings of the Bible, God is both the manufacturer and owner of everything which exists.  Thus, per the terms of the commonly understood principle of the responsibility and liabilities of a manufacturer/owner, then God must be willing to accept responsibility when the products of his creation malfunction.

Per biblical teachings, the malfunction of the products of the Creator is the pertinent topic to the subject at hand. God claims to have made everything good (Gen 1:31).  Then later, as the biblical account goes, humanity sinned; thus falling from God’s good graces. (Romans 3:23)  The fact that humanity was made “good”, then later sinned is irrelevant.

As previously considered, the weakness of humanity to “sin” is universal (Romans 3:10, 23);  and thus we are designed with an overwhelming capacity to do so.  Hence, since our capacity to sin is a condition of our humanity, and our humanity a condition created by God, then God is ultimately responsible for the sins of humanity.

“Sin” then being that which ignites hellfire; the problem itself is built into the condition of our humanity.  God himself being the creator of humanity, the flaws within such are his responsibility.  Therefore, if the biblical teachings be true, then God Himself is responsible for the endless suffering and eternal human torment in hell.

And so to recap:

The Atrocity:  Endless human suffering and torment in Hell.

The Deficient Product:  Humanity

The Cause:  The design of humanity which allowed for an overwhelming capacity to sin.

The Owner/Manufacturer:  God

The Responsible/Liable Party:  God

Having established that God himself is the party who is responsible for the endless suffering and eternal torment of people in Hell, we now proceed to the question of what God knew as to the capacity of humanity to sin, and exactly when he knew such information.

As to #3: What did the responsible party know?  And when did he know it?:

Can God be justified based upon ignorance as to what would happen when he created humanity?  Inconceivable!!!:

Per biblical teaching:

God knows everything (1 John 3:20).

His understanding is beyond measure (Psalms 147:5)

His understanding is unsearchable (Isaiah 40:28)

God knows our words before we speak (Psalms 139:4)

God fills heaven and earth (Jeremiah 23:24)

No creature is hidden from his sight (Hebrews 4:13)

The Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought (1 Chronicles 28:9)

God is perfect in knowledge (Job 37:16)

Frankly, the Bible teaches that God knows everything.  Thus, ignorance cannot be utilized to justify the fact that God created beings who were designed to intermittently sin.  If biblical teachings are true, then:

-God knew all too well that humanity was designed with that overwhelming inclination.

-God knew all too well who would reject him and therefore be sent to an eternally suffer in Hell.

-God knew their names, knew their faces, and God knew their plight.

-God knew the people who would spend an eternity suffering endless torment.

Nonetheless; per biblical teachings, God opted to create the world in spite of the intense and eternal suffering which would ensue from that decision.

Perhaps God did not know that people would go to Hell until it was too late to change the fact.  Inconceivable!!!:

Firstly, per biblical teachings God can do anything (Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37).  Thus, it was never too late to undo the damage of creating flawed products.  Thus, at any point in the process, even including right up to this very moment, God could undo everything; thereby relieving anyone of suffering eternal torment.

Secondly, per biblical teachings God is an eternal being (Deuteronomy 33:27; 1 Timothy 1:17)

Since God is both all-knowing (see above) and eternal, then God has always known everything. Therefore, God knew before he created the world  and all living beings therein that there would be people who would spend an eternity suffering endless torment.  Nonetheless; per biblical teachings, God opted to create the world in spite of the intense and eternal suffering which would ensue from that decision.

As to #4:  What measures could have been taken by the responsible party to prevent this atrocity?:

Clearly, there is one particular measure God could have taken in order to prevent the disaster known as eternal suffering in Hell.  He could have simply not created the world and all things therein!!  If we of humanity are so bad that it grieves him when we sin (Genesis 6:5-6); and if the consequences of our sin is to be tortured for all eternity (Revelation 20:11-15); then all God would have had to have done to prevent this disaster was to not have made us in the first place. Never to have existed would have been no issue for any of us, for we would have not have known any better.  Frankly, no one asked God to make us in the first place!!

Or,as previously mentioned, another measure that God could have employed would have been to simply undo it all!  If God is so all-powerful that he “spoke” us into existence, then by the same logic, could he not merely have “spoken” us out of existence?  Furthermore, could he have not done so without inflicting any pain and suffering? Per biblical teachings; “with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:26); Luke 1:37).  That being the case, then at any point in history, right up to this very moment, God could just speak us out of existence; no pain, no suffering, no problem.  He could; but he doesn’t!  That is; if biblical teachings are true, then he could.

Per biblical teachings, this entire Universe exists because of the willful decision of one being and one being alone:  Jehovah God himself.  Thus, God and God alone is responsible for creating a scenario which would inevitably lead to intense human suffering; if indeed biblical teachings are true.

As to #5:  Why were measures not taken to prevent the endless human suffering in Hell?:

Why then did God make the world, since indeed the decision to do so lead to intense human suffering?

If God created the world to demonstrate his mercy and loving kindness; then in the light of the inhumane suffering of the many in an eternal Hell, he failed miserably in that regard.  Choosing not to have created the world in order to prevent human suffering would have demonstrated a sincere mercy and kindness towards those who never would have had to suffer.  As it is taught though, God chose to proceed with his plan in spite of the inevitable human suffering which would result from his decision.

If God created the world in order to give humanity a choice to love and serve him so as to live with him throughout eternity, then why did he not give humanity a choice as to whether to exist in the first place?  Was it so important to God to have faithful followers that he  was willing to allow the endless suffering and torment of those who chose not to follow him, in order to have the faithful following that he apparently so badly coveted?

If God created the world for his own glory, then in light of the endless human suffering and eternal torment which ensued from that decision, such would indicate a God too consumed with his own glory to consider the suffering of the many who sought not his glory.  Indeed, as indicated by the following passage, biblical teaching is that God created his faithful followers for his own glory:

“Everyone who is called by My name,

Whom I have created for My glory;

I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” (Isaiah 43:7)

If God created those who would be his faithful followers for his own glory, then why did he create those would choose not to follow him?

Why indeed would a God who is allegedly good, supposedly loving, reputably all-knowing and all capable; create intelligent sentient beings who he knew all too well would suffer excruciating and endless pain and torment as a result of his decision to do so?

Conclusion:

When biblical teachings are analyzed critically and rationally, the notion that the Bible is “The Good Book” is found lacking in substance.  For some 2,000 years now, a major portion of humanity has sold itself on a bill of goods which simply cannot be reconciled by reason.  The very idea that a loving, merciful God would have been party to a scenario that resulted in even one single person suffering endless torment is an insult to the very concept of “goodness”.

As I stated in my introductory remarks, it simply cannot be the case that there is a loving, merciful God AND an eternal torture chamber called Hell.  Perhaps there is the former.  Perhaps there is the latter. Perhaps there is neither.  But there simply cannot be both.

Frankly, how I ever could have regarded the Bible as being “The Good Book” in the light of its justification of endless human suffering and torment is beyond me. It is to my shame that I acknowledge such.  As to the Bible itself; I regard its fictitious nature as its foremost quality.  What a relief that it is not true.

Thank you for reading my ongoing thoughts regarding the general debate of whether the Bible really is “The Good Book”.

More next time….

On Stumped Toes and Social Concerns

There is hardly an experience more uncomfortable than that of the stumped toe.  Unless it is that of the speck in the eye.  Then again there is the infamous “brain freeze” (Did the condition of “brain freeze” exist before the invention of Ice Cream?). Take your pick, none of these experiences are desirable, to say the least.  Although each of the aforementioned experiences differ as to specifics; these and other such bodily discomforts share in common:

1. Everyone is uncomfortable when experiencing such annoying and painful bodily discomforts.

2.  No one has peace of mind until the suffering of such uncomfortable experiences ends.

3.  The complete focus of each and every person in such uncomfortable circumstances is to relieve the suffering and re-establish bodily comfort.

4.  No individual part of anyone’s collective anatomy is exempt from the discomfort or from the efforts to end the suffering of the afflicted body member.

5.  Thus each and every part of anyone’s anatomy so afflicted becomes actively involved in cooperative efforts to end the suffering of the afflicted body member.

Furthermore:

6.  No individual body part wastes time and effort debating the worth of the suffering body part.

7.  No individual body part wastes time and effort expressing resentment over the suffering body part receiving undue attention during the process of relieving the suffering.

8.  No individual body part wastes time and effort questioning whether the suffering body part ever did anything for them.

9.  In fact, all body parts under such circumstances exercise swift and coordinated efforts to relieve the anguish of the suffering member.

Frankly, when I experience any such bodily discomforts, no other parts of my anatomy are in any way comfortable until such time as the suffering of the afflicted body member has ended.  For example, when I stump my toe, my hands immediately squeeze the injured party, for no other apparent reason than to squeeze the pain away!  Likewise, when I have a speck in my eye, my hands immediately rub the eye which is so afflicted, in the obvious effort to remove the foreign particle so as to re-establish clear vision and bodily comfort.   Perhaps most amazing of all, when I experience “brain freeze”, I simply will not take another bite of Ice Cream, until such time as I have squeezed my forehead sufficiently to end the agony.

When it comes to our own personal body, our various members are never any more cooperative and caring than at the point of suffering.  For our anatomic philosophy is to naturally respond to suffering.

Oh that the natural principle so illustrated by our own anatomic instincts would guide us as to social concerns. Oh that the suffering of the poor were so swiftly and cooperatively addressed by each and every member of a given culture.

Oh that the toothache of the child on the other side of town were as important to us as is our own personal “brain freeze” when we eat Ice Cream.

Oh that the well being of the homeless were as important to us as is our toe when we stump it on the door of our place of dwelling.

Oh that the education of the poor were as important to us as is our own vision when we suffer the effects of a speck of dust in the eye.

Oh that we, as a society, would realize the natural principle so exemplified by our own anatomical experiences:

That the party which suffers should be the object of our primary concerns and the beneficiary of all our concerted and coordinated efforts. Unless of course, we simply regard such natural principles as applicable to stumped toes and “brain freeze”….

On Religion and Corporations

It was back in 2010 I do believe,

When the Supreme Court of this here “world’s greatest nation”,

Declared that Corporations are people;

Now this caused me great aggravation.

‘Cause I was under the false impression,

Oh silly, shallow minded simpleton that I am.

That only folks born of a mother,

Could be qualified as human.

But apparently I was wrong,

As so often in my life I tend to be,

I am so glad that the US Supreme Court,

Clarified that issue for simple minded Davey Lee.

And now once again so embarrassed am I,

To learn that religions are people as well.

It seems I don’t know a person from an ideology,

Oh woe is me; oh what the hell.

I am now being told,

That if agnostic thinking I dare to mention,

That I am guilty of society’s newest crime,

“The defamation of religion”

So apparently religion is a person,

I just assumed religion was an ideology.

And I thought only people can be “defamed”,

Glad to meet you; Mr Theology.

And I do apologize Mr Theology,

If your feelings I failed to spare.

It is not my way to insult my fellow person,

Please don’t think I do not care.

Yeah, I hear the world is overcrowded.

Well so long as “people” experience constant revision.

Humanity will grow by leaps and bounds

There will arise more “people” with each social decision.

Well, since religion can be defamed;

A fact now brought to my attention.

Hopefully corporations will not exercise their freedom of speech,

By defaming the sacred name of religion.

The Good Book: Introduction

(Note:  This is an introductory article to a series which I am entitling “The Good Book”.  At the risk of offending those who cherish their Christian faith, I am compelled to offer my thoughts as to biblical teachings.  It is not my intent to hurt, but rather to enlighten.  May these articles be evaluated with the same scrutiny to which I expose the Bible.  Dave)

Oftentimes I hear the Bible referenced as “the good book”.  Having referenced it thusly myself for many years, I can relate to the perspective.  Having reasoned my way from faith to skepticism, I simply can no longer relate to the practice of referencing the Bible as “the good book”..  

As to how I reasoned my way from faith to skepticism:

After years of professing Christianity, a few years ago I decided to put my faith to the test.  I made the decision to study the Bible as I never had before.  I chose to read the Bible from the perspective of critical analysis instead of viewing select passages through the prism of christian faith.  I opted to acknowledge the demerits of any act which I deemed unethical or immoral; regardless of the offendant.  In essence, I began to read the Bible just as I would read any other book which claims to record historic events.  Although I had thought myself an unbiased Bible student, it did not take long for my newly exercised hermeneutic to take effect. Frankly, the result was a completely altered perspective as to the nature of the Bible.

As to the Bible being “the good book”:

Unfortunately, in so many ways the Bible is anything but a good book.  Oh, there are some wise teachings in certain texts.   Yet most biblical “morality” is based on fear or reward.  There is very little in the way of encouragement to develop our natural goodness for no other reason than to be genuinely decent.  Behavioral modification in terms of punitive measures or promised reward is about as good as it gets.  And frankly; that perspective leaves much to be desired.  

On the  other hand, there is plenty of bad in the Bible.  In fact, there is  material that I would classify as bad in both the Old and the New Testaments.  The Bible records horrific deeds which would be regarded as perverse, cruel, and tyrannical.  And some of those passages cite God himself as the offender!!  Indeed, the atrocities recorded in the Christian Scriptures are such that I am lead to conclude that the leading quality of the Bible is its fictitious nature.

Conclusion:

For those who are Bible believers, I counsel thusly:  Read the Bible.  I mean READ the Bible.  Read the Bible as you would read any other book.  More specifically, read the Bible like any other book which claims to be historical non-fiction.

1. Read the Bible FOR YOURSELF.  Do not read the Bible for your father or for your son.  Do not read the Bible for your mother or for your daughter.  Do not read the Bible for your preacher or for your pastor.  Read the Bible as you would read a newspaper or a historical account.  Read the Bible for your own benefit.  

2.  Read the Bible sensibly and logically.   Do not assume anything as you read and research.    Remember, you have an intellect which is naturally provided in order to guide your thoughts, your actions, and your conclusions; so utilize your intellect as you read the bible, just as you would any other book.

3.  Read the Bible with compassion and sensitivity.  (WARNING: Graphic atrocities and violence.  Animals and innocents harmed, tortured, and killed).  In order to contemplate the atrocious deeds depicted within, I suggest that you actually visualize what you are reading.  Focus on the deeds and the doer within each specific context.  And in so doing ask yourself:  If these deeds REALLY occurred, howsoever can the doer be just and the deed be justified?

4.  Every person must choose for themselves what is real and what is fantasy, but ultimately there is reality and there are fictitious fantasies.  As for the Bible, in the light of its teachings, it would be a shame if the nature of such were the former and not the latter.

To be continued….

On Natural Aversions and General Applications

The Natural Aversions :

1.  We of humanity have a natural aversion to our own discomfort on all levels..

2.  We of humanity have a natural aversion to the discomfort of others on all levels.

Our every thought and deed address our natural aversion to discomfort.  So preoccupied are we with our own personal comfort that a pebble in our shoe or a speck of dust in our eye will consume our thoughts until we act to remove the pebble or wash out the speck of dust.  We are naturally preoccupied with our own comfort, and we simply cannot experience peace of mind so long as we have to endure discomfort in any way.  A foul odor must be eliminated or avoided.  We dress so as to be comfortable with relation to the climate. We spice food to suit our taste.  Indeed we of humanity have such a natural aversion to discomfort that our every thought and deed are towards establishing our own personal comfort.  Bodily comfort and peace of mind being our naturally desired state, then it is clearly towards those ends that our thoughts are consumed and our actions are exerted.

Although we of humanity are indeed preoccupied with our own comfort, we likewise have a natural aversion of the discomfort of others as well.  No one can be comfortable while hearing an animal in pain,or while witnessing a person break down and cry.  In fact the suffering of others is yet another source of our own personal discomfort.  So natural is our aversion to the discomfort of another that when we witness such, we become naturally preoccupied towards the ends of eliminating the suffering at hand.  And so it is that we are as naturally preoccupied with establishing the comfort of others as we are with our own comfort zone.

The General Applications:

The natural aversion of humanity to our own discomfort, and towards  the discomfort of others leads me to the following thoughts:

1.  Being self-centered is not a sin; but a natural way of being.

2.  Being sensitive to the suffering of others is as natural as being preoccupied with our own concerns.

3.  The source of all written “do’s and don’ts” and “thou shalts and thou shalt nots” related to ethics and morals was inspired by the natural goodness of humanity rather than by a supernatural moralist.

4.  Genuine goodness is derived from within; rather than driven in from without.

5.  If we of humanity will but follow the the natural goodness which is derived from within; then natural goodness will follow.

6. The cultivation of our genuine goodness is the most natural of all experiences, and is the most noble of all endeavors.