Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BELIEVE AND BE DAMNED --- PART 3


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:




Oh listen to me sweet people: To the extent that we believe stuff---have rigid notions about the way things are---we lose our appreciation for the complexity and mystery of life.  Our universe is pulsating and alive and incredibly complicated.  Only a "beginners mind" is appropriate to its challenge.

 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.



(audience: amen)

How much needless agonizing guilt would disappear if believers could see that we the people create ethics---that it is not revealed by god.

(audience: amen)




 





3 comments:

George said...

Anyone who imagines that he has no religious basis of thought and action is merely using another name for his god. An atheist also has a god; perhaps it's capitalism, perhaps it's "Reason" or "Logic", perhaps it's Survival of the Fittest, etc., but there is some belief present that has simply taken the place of the traditional God, but is there nevertheless. Whatever is determined by the individual to be the nature of the universe and human beings.
It is impossible to live without some deep belief which guides our actions and choices.

Randy said...

George: Point taken--we all look at the world through some kind of glasses. Surely you understand, however, that some glasses are clearer---more useful--less harmful than others. Do you think the Hopi story of creation is as useful as the scientific one of evolution? Do you agree with me that everyone should seriously question his indoctrination and piece together a personal world view that best suits his values?

Jerry Flores said...

I would recommend the story of Einstein college professor encounter with Einstein's faith.