If I’m an atheist, I make it clear that I don’t believe in the existence of God.
If I’m an agnostic, I make it clear that I don’t know what I believe about God’s existence.
If I’m a follower of any religion, I make it clear what I believe about The God or Gods according to the writings that have been passed down in that religion. Generally, those writings have been elevated to infallible status.
So, three positions:
- Decided against.
- Decided for.
With institutions of religion determining the boundaries of the debate by scriptures that they claim to be the very voice of God as He has chosen to reveal Himself.
This is Modern era rationality at its worst.
God bound up in institutional thought.
We need a baseline to live by, not a box to think inside of.
Proposal: An ancient baseline for actively improving things that will trend downhill if left untended. It’s been around in every major religion, but gets relegated to just one of the many “words” of the deity being worshipped. Here it is:
Treat others in the same way you would like to be treated.
That’s baseline thinking.
I believe in the one I heard it from: Jesus.
I see what He looks like when he lives as a guy like me and treats me like I’d like to be treated, even when I don’t return the favor.
I want to be just like him.
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Have you heard the Story of Stone soup? The follwing version is from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_Soup)
“Some travellers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travellers. Then the travellers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travellers answer that they are making “stone soup”, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavour, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travellers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.”
I love this story. My recollection of it is a children’s version we either had or borrowed from the library. I love the lesson of each one adding the ingredients they had to give that made the soup so delicious and nourishing. It seems the lesson learned is another of the side-notes to this “rule” we call golden. Luke points to it in his accounts of good news by Jesus. “Give and it will be given back to you, pressed down, shaken together and running over”.
Ben, I first saw this story hidden in the documentation of a computer program and it just smacked me in the brain, if you know what I mean. This was before I had heard of open source software, but now it gives me the thought of an “open source society” and how good that could be.
I LOVE the thought of “open sourcing” society. Everyone speaking into what would make it better and bringing their contributions to the “soup”.
So many thoughts when I read this, so many that it is hard to get them to settle into any semblance of order. One thought, perhaps to minimal to be understood is that “Jesus is God’s path from the way things are to the way things could be.”
“They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.” — Kurt Vonnegut
I like this a lot!