Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is it possible to learn right from wrong without Christian beliefs?

I have always thought that the ten commandments constituted one of the most important revelations given to mankind through the Prophet Moses by God. Although Moses is not claimed to be the son of God as Jesus is he was sufficiently loved by God to receive a revelation in the burning bush. He was one of the most powerful prophets of Israel, to my mind, and like many shamans or religious leaders his connection to God was at times so intense it bordered on the miraculous. It follows perhaps for people to believe that the Messiah whose coming had been prophesied would have even greater powers, but it would not be surprising either that in setting down what happened during the life of Jesus there would be exaggerations and conflicts over exactly what kind of powers Jesus the Messiah had earned through his dedication and understanding of the messages of God.
We can see from all the wars that man's grip on the commandments is not always strong. Evil men have risen to power down through history and those they threatened were forced into war lest their countries be taken over and their people exterminated. But still the ten commandments or Mosaic law has been the foundation of many a country's laws. Such laws have also developed in countries and tribes outside of the range that Moses's teaching could reach. Men have had to come up with such laws in order for there to be order among them and progress. So even in tribes in the jungles not reached by so called 'civilization', laws to live by evolve.
In a country as diverse as ours the belief that Jesus is God incarnate is not quite as important to survival as it might have been when the Church was far more powerful than it is today. When people were severely punished for not believing and expressing it too strongly.
But I would say that adherence to the laws of right and wrong is still very important. Killing, stealing, transporting illegal substances, disobeying traffic laws resulting in endangerment to other people, and so on are laws that people get imprisoned for disobeying. Although at one time belief in the divinity of Jesus was thought to be very important, there are undoubtedly a considerable number who don't believe this now days who will not be arrested or otherwise punished for it. In other words the business of living can pretty much go on without that belief, which suggests to me that this belief is not as important as it was once thought to be. At one time I would say that it was thought to be a far more important belief that all people needed to be 'saved.'
Mormons teach that people need to go one step further than accepting Christ is divine and the son of God, they need to become Mormon, too, in order to be saved.
You will note I have a new blog on my blog list called Sibby Online. I consider this blogger to be a very good conservative writer who is pro life, which is very important to me. I was just reading a blog entry of his yesterday in which he denigrated the Gnostic way of thinking, I believe referring to the belief that Jesus was not the savior, the Messiah whose coming had been prophesied, the only begotten son of God, but just one of the great teachers and leaders the Jews have produced, and possibly only fulfilling some of the requirements of a Messiah. His blog contains many entries on his Christian religious beliefs.
I was very interested in what he feels about the Supreme Court which ruled on Roe vs Wade that no state had the right to deny a woman an abortion, thus opening the door to many more abortions a year than our country had previously allowed.
I would say that he tends to think that Christian beliefs help people to value life, to keep the ten commandments and that the Gnostic way of thinking does not.
I am not sure that I agree. I have been an abortion protester ever since Roe vs Wade since I just thought it was basically breaking the commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Kill" by trying to say that a person in the early stages in the womb cannot really be regarded as a life, and ignoring the fact that it takes blood shed to accomplish an abortion.
But what bothered me about the belief that Jesus differed from every other man in how he was born was this was all so vague. Nobody really knew how this was supposed to have happened. So I thought it was very important that there were documents written in the time of Jesus by people who knew him well claiming that he did not ever teach he believed he was set apart, that he was divine, somehow, that he had been born differently than any other men. These histories report that his mother had a number of children and that at least one of his brothers was revered as a great teacher by Jesus, as good a teacher as himself.
It also follows that when the bible was made up it was decided by powerful church men what writings to include and what not to. The writings included were also 'edited.' All in all there was a lot of opportunity to slant the Bible toward whatever beliefs the church favored.
We have to remember that great Kings claimed to be divine which their followers were very apt to try to believe, but of course, now we can say that all those who claimed to be divine certainly could not be.
But we are much more hesitant to conclude that the divinity of Jesus may have evolved the same way, that by the church claiming his divinity many more people would be apt to accept him and worship him than if he were just an extraordinary man although a great prophet. So it is easy to see why the myth that he was set apart, destined to be the savior of mankind through his unique divine birth grew and grew. Even today there are large numbers of people who might feel quite angry at even being subjected to a discussion about whether this could really be so or not. Which goes to show us how deeply some beliefs can take hold of us, even if they are not ordinary, that is even if Jesus would have had to be conceived and born some unknown way.
As far as we know nobody else could ever have been born that way, but still some people are going to believe this about Jesus. Which I have always found a little alarming, but I found the fact that people would believe Mormon doctrine alarming, too. And that I eventually did not feel I could survive any longer among such people.
I can certainly understand Jewish people down through the ages coming to fear Christians who hated them for being non believers. After the holocaust there was such a climate of fear that I don't believe hardly any Jews dared say what they really thought. They could not be blamed for thinking it was not safe.
Hitler's holocaust surfaced the dark side of Christianity when so many German Christians were rendered powerless to stop the murder of the Jews by a leader the country had allowed to come to power and flourish. But this was not the first time the Jews had been the victims of a holocaust. During the Inquisition and at other dark times Jews suffered severe depletion of their ranks for not being able to satisfy their persecutors as to required beliefs in Christianity.
So I do not think such people are going to be safe until Christians are ready to accept others not believing as they do, even when it comes to Jesus. It may even be in time that they will see they may be more in error than those who disagree. I simply say man is conceived and born one way. We do not know of any other way to man to be born, so if someone says there is an exception the rules of logic would suggest these people are mistaken, that nobody is born any other way, NOBODY. It seems like a simple thing to disagree and say I don't think anybody could be born any other way, but it is not. In centuries past many were killed for disagreeing, called heretics. Is the Inquisition gone from our hearts? Maybe there is still an inquisition in spirit and alive when people are persecuted for not believing.
I began to feel distinctly unwelcome in Utah for not believing Mormon beliefs. I don't think I can be blamed for thinking that that the grip the religion has on that state makes it quite inhospitable if you don't agree. I think twice now about even going there. If that is the way the people are taught, what can you expect? But yet I feel that I had to speak up to try to break the grip Mormons have on this state by dominating it in such numbers. I feel that these people are not living in an enlightened place because of what the church believes and preaches to the world.
People who have not disagreed with them on their home ground do not know what that is like. They create an atmosphere of fear about disagreeing. And that is going to have to be fought in order for those people to be free. To know what being free to say what you want to and think what you want to feels like. It is not the same in other states. You do not have the same freedoms in Utah simply because the church is too powerful. I can imagine what it must have been like to have the Catholic church stronger than governments and countries, one of the most feared body of powerful men recorded in history, during the days of the Inquisition!


Me said...

A very very good read.Your knowledge astounds me.... said...

I agree with Me....very interesting blog. Your intensive reading shows. Good picture too. The dark circles under your eyes seem to be getting lighter.

Anonymous said...

Buddha seemed to know right from wrong just fine. ~Mary

Amrita said...

The moral law of God is written on the hearts of each man. It is how God has created us.

Paul in his letter to the Roman (New Testament) says

"Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are when you judger e another; for in passing judgement upon him you condemn yourself, because you the judge, are doing the very same things...

When the Gentiles who do not have the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them...

Gerry said...

Amrita, I think when the democratic party stood for civil rights for all people, this law was God's law, written in their hearts to which they responded with legislation that was very important in extending something more resembling equality to minorities, but when this same party embraced abortion rights which had been decreed legal by the Supreme Court could we say that this was in opposition to God's law written on their hearts? I think right then religion took a big hit and what is called secular thinking began to dominate in the US. People were not talking about God's law and abortion in the same breath, because they knew abortion was a violation, so instead they stopped talking about God's law, and any time man abandons God's law written on all our hearts we are in big trouble. We are going to experience a feeling of abandonment by God. We are now going it alone because of the unwillingness to fight a solution that is in violation. So when abortion was legalized in America this posed a great moral problem for all religions trying to stay in harmony with God's law. They had to fight what had become law. Other concerns paled with the toll of lives this change was taking. Religions have never been so challenged in this country I would say since the days of slavery when Christians embraced slavery in opposition to God's law. Abolitionists were inspired by God to head the fight to abolish slavery as evil. Now we have got people saying abortion rights are necessary for our survival.


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