Apologies for not having this up yesterday. Spent the day launching Laurie on a solo trip down the Colorado River and then moving myself on to a different site. Here I am almost exactly where I was a year ago. Friends will join me here. Wonder If I'm making any progress? Anyway, Here's the speech continued:
The biggest, most damaging lie that believers believe---is that ethics---the right way to live--- is revealed by God---through Holy men or holy books.----and that once revealed----it's absolutely true---and forever binding. And that our duty is to obey. Most people believe this lie. If we have a duty---it is to RESPOND---RESPOND--to every new situation before us.
Ethics is not revealed by God---it is created by people---slowly---over time and out of our common experience---we shape our notions of right and wrong. Our current ethics is our current fabric of agreement----and it slowly evolves.
In your lifetime you have seen ethics evolve on issues such as premarital sex---abortion---civil rights---corporal punishment---the death penalty---homosexuality---women's rights---children's rights animal rights.
And we're far from finished---slowly, slowly we are fine tuning our sensibilities to give more and more people freedom and justice and opportunity.
Believers are forever obstructing ethical progress. So often we have to drag them kicking and screaming into the new understanding: Let me name a few instances:
Jehova Witnesses have to be forced by court order to allow a life saving blood transfusion for their children.
Believing Catholics have trouble acting appropriately regarding birth control, abortion, divorce and homosexuality.
An orthodox jew cannot act appropriately regarding pork or the promised land.
nor a Quaker about war
Nor Mennonites about modern technology.
All these insanities and a thousand more-- would vanish if people would stop believing and start experiencing life.
Religion tries to freeze ethical evolution---don't let it freeze you into a lifetime of plodding obedience.
Even if----even if we knew all the right rules of living life----and spent our time obeying them---it would be a low order of existence.
Imagine that you have 2 kids---one of them seeks to fulfill himself by obedience---following all your rules. The other one seeks to fulfill himself by creatively responding to his world. Which would you admire?
Imagine there's a God-----Do you Think he admires those people who spend a lifetime seeking out his will----seeking his guidance---doing his will?
Or would he admire most---those people who co-create with him---inventing their own life.
How much needless agonizing guilt would disappear if believers could see that we the people create ethics---that it is not revealed by god.