The commonest statement I have heard since infancy is: “The Jew loves you that’s why he died to save you.” I asked them: “When did he die?” They answered: “Two thousand years ago.” Ah! but I didn’t exist then and what am I saved from anyway? What are they talking about? Dear readers, I do believe in love but I have a question. Can someone die (out of love) to save you at a time you didn’t exist?
Here is the funniest joke of the last two millenia: A Jew died for the love of Africans.
And no, he didn’t just die for only Africans who are alive today.
He died for all who died before him, after him and even those who are yet to exist – the nonexisting ones.
Ok, let’s just assume it’s not a joke, that everything is true. If he died to save us why is there so much evil in the world?
It is a fact that different societies have different morals and value systems. This argument is further advanced by most amoralists and serves as a basis for a rejection of universal moral values. But even when we look at the great diversity in human nature, societies and their values and norms, it is by all means that whatever one does, one will be repaid in full. This is what justifies vengeance even if it is done in the name of one god or another god. The desire for justice is innate in every human. Morality itself is not based on reason, it has its basis in instinct. So a rational discussion on morality is futile – one would just be moving in circles. However, one thing that runs through all moral laws irrespective of geographic location, social group, race or nation is that there is reciprocity. There is something akin to a reward or payback (though sometimes difficult to perceive) based on an act that was perpetuated or neglected thereof. This reciprocity is not peculiar to only relationships within social groups, it is the fabric of all individual human interactions. Others call it karma. The problem however is that sometimes this reciprocal relationships are also subject to subjective interpretations and people with similar perspectives randomly self organize and create a morality of their own. They may even seek to punish someone who may have done something right for the majority. In a society as dysfunctional as mine, based on random self organization, criminals or the most unscrupulous are sometimes selected as the decision makers and adjudicators. When it happens that way the righteous is punished and everyone turns evil. There is reciprocity in there. Society has to be better than individuals so it is very important that people aspiring to leadership positions have high ethical principles and are people of highest moral standards. This ensures that the right values are emulated and promoted in the system. Sadly, as the reader may be aware this is often not so. We elect leaders based on their wealth and connections, then we turn around and complain when they attack us.
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them,
“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
“An honest man has never grown.”–Socrates
“The kingdom of heaven is within you.”–Leo Tolstoy
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”–Buddha
I quote furthermore,
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven (mind), where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal”
Here we can see that Jesus was encouraging his followers to acquire wisdom or something in relation to the intellect. Note that many of his disciples were practically unlettered.
“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments:
Do not commit adultery,
Do not kill,
Do not steal,
Do not bear false witness,
Honour thy father and thy mother.
And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing:
“Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said:
“How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”
Thus from this, I conclude that the kingdom of God means nothing other than peace of mind; in so far us we are being discouraged to pursue material comforts. If one has no property in this fallen world, then one has nothing to lose and if one has nothing to lose, then why worry? No property equals peace. And when one has peace (both inner and outer) then one has everything, for the flesh belongs to the devil and is condemned to end up in the grave whereas the soul strives towards the divine.
Note: I treat Jesus as a real man who once lived, whose occupation was carpentry and who later became a truthful preacher and a humanist.
I have always said, in reply, (to friends who ask why I no longer take organised religion
seriously) that I did not previously attend church because I wanted to go to heaven or expected a miracle.
Nothing new can happen, the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west.
But I went to church because it was a community of people like myself.
People I grew up with; friends, neighbours etc who make up the larger community.
If there is a God, and I believe there are many, then they must be concerned about the welfare of humanity.
By promoting the welfare of humanity, we are realising God and therefore advancing our spirituality.
This is why I cannot surrender my intellect or emotions to any organised religion but humanism.
I have never felt as bored anywhere as when I am in church —
If not for brief conversations with old friends.
I don’t think it has anything to do with the priests or prophets or the scriptures.
I can tell there is an originator, when I consider the process of human reproduction.
But I don’t think any religion can make evil men good
Or good men evil, religions may facilitate it though.
There are men who are inherently good and others inherently evil.
When people sing and make chattering noises on the street we label them maniacs.
But in the church, it indicates most profound “piousness.”
I will rather stroll in the forest and listen to birds sing.
“Truth is so hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible.”
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Religion has injected stupidity into our men
And has turned our women into suckling babies,
So that they cannot tell the sky and the earth apart.
As for our leaders, the least said the better.
Very soon all the churches will be empty.
No man or woman will pass by to pay his or her tithes.
The drums and the bells will be silent like eternity,
The communion and the wine – so called body and blood
Will remain shut in their boxes – we are not vampires.
These greedy, hypocritical evangelists will no longer feed well.
It’s coming; it has already started in distant lands.
Alas! The opium will stop working.
Know! you poor mortals –
There is a god inside every man.