Archive for the ‘Freedom of Thought’ Category
The male hormone Testosterone is what causes men to be more aggressive, competitive and to build larger muscles than their female counterparts. In the animal kingdom these qualities are manifest in the constant display of aggression in male to male combat for the privilege of mating with a female; very rarely is a male’s aggressive behavior directed at the female. This is quite different from the human male who often uses his more aggressive and stronger nature to dominate and abuse the human female. The extremely sad thing is that this belief of female subjugation to men is a doctrine taught in the pages of many religions, thus encouraging men to deny women their equal rights based on “God’s” order. The question that comes to mind is: does it really seem plausible that a gender neutral god, who supposedly created the universe, would decree that the stronger more aggressive male rule the female? I don’t think so…which strongly leads one to think that the gods of man’s religions are made up by them, because they are the ones who benefit the most. Giving men the rule over women is much like putting the fox in charge of the hen house, or having college boys in charge of the women’s dorm!
My focus in this article is on the Christian religion; because that is the one I am most familiar with – considering myself one for nearly 30 years. The Christian religion like many others has some very positive qualities and has done much good in the world, but the one glaring problem that to some extent overshadows all of its good, is the unequal treatment of women that it promotes. The Bible is anti-progressive compared to its secular counterparts when it comes to women’s issues, because of the fact that its decrees are written as coming from an unchangeable god, therefore whatever is spoken of as “God’s” laws remain immutable. The decree of Genesis 3:16 states a man is given ruler-ship over a woman because of her transgression; this remains a blight on the Bible’s message of unity that can never be overcome. Anytime the stronger and more aggressive male is put in a position of authority over his female counterpart by a god, the outcome is sure to be negative, which is exactly what we see has happened in Christianity. Men have used the Bibles message of male ruler-ship to keep women from fulfilling their full potentials, and it is only when women themselves have risen up in protest and demanded their equal rights as humans that changes have happened.
For the most part the Bible’s message has not helped women gain equal rights; it has in fact hindered the cause of freedom on many fronts. Every freedom that women have gained has been won by fighting hard against men who dogmatically hold to their god given position of ruler over women. The argument is sometimes used by Christians that the New Testament declares male and female, Jew and Greek to be equal, but that is clearly only meant in the spiritual sense. One only has to look as far as the book of 1 Corinthians to find the explicit statement that “man is the head of woman”, and that “man is the image and glory of god, but woman is the glory of man” which permanently places women under mans authority and ruler-ship… once something is decreed by god it can never be changed, thus making woman’s rights trapped in the mindset of first century males who considered women to be inferior and subordinate to men.
1Cor.11:3-10 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God….But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
Isn’t it time the Christian community moves past the biblical solution of dealing with evil by killing people, to a higher consciousness of love? The Bible isn’t the only religious book that teaches violence as a solution to the problem of wickedness in the world, but it is the book that is promoted by millions of people as being a guide to peace. When asked about the nature of Jesus, the first response of many Christians is to say that he was a man who espoused peace, with words such as “pray for your enemies” and “turn the other cheek”, but there is also a very violent side to many of his sayings found throughout the Gospels. The book of Revelation whose full title is The Revelation of Jesus Christ is filled with brutality and violence, which is the preferred method used by Christ to rid the world of evil. The pages of Revelation are saturated with one form of brutality after another, all done in the name of God to cleanse the world of evil and bring in peace on earth. A particularly ironic case in point happens in chapter 19 where it begins by introducing the marriage of Christ, calling all the saints to attend, and ending with the marriage supper where the flesh of all men is the food upon which the birds feast.
Rev. 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Rev. 19:17-18 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
Why is it that many secular humanists in this modern day and age are seeking peaceful means to try and bring harmony to the world, whereas the Bible teaches people the only way to peace and harmony is by brutality? How can slaughtering all the “wicked” people on the planet achieve peace? Yet, this is what we find in the pages of the Bible supposedly inspired by an all loving God. The biblical solution to every problem concerning the “wickedness” of man is to kill them, starting with the Flood in Genesis and ending with the battle of Armageddon in Revelation. This is what many Christians are expecting and waiting for when they speak of Christ ushering in the new kingdom on earth where peace and harmony is suppose to reign.
It is time the Christian community opens their eyes to the brutality of the Bible and understands that the mindset of Bronze Age man saw only one way to achieve peace and that was through domination and violence by a warrior god. It’s time to go beyond the mindset of biblical brutality and seek new ways to achieve solutions to the evil we see around us in accordance with our higher level of knowledge. Looking to brutality as an answer to the problem of wickedness will never work…violence only begets more violence, even if it’s done in the name of God.
One can compare the functions of the right and left hemispheres of the human brain to the writings of the Old and New Testaments. Just as the left hemisphere of the brain thinks in a linear fashion focusing on details and order pertaining to absolutes, the Old Testament gives us a detailed account of the laws man perceived were given by God in all their minuet detail, focusing on the letter of the law and following rules of absolute right and wrong. On the other hand the right hemisphere operates in a much more abstract way; it is where our intuitions and emotions lay, living in the here and now and perceiving the “whole picture” beyond the sum of it parts. In much the same way the New Testament portrays Jesus as encompassing the whole of the Old, while looking to the underlying intent of the “whole picture” which he sums up as “Loving your neighbor as yourself”.
For an individual to live a balanced life, one must live in a harmonious state with both the right and left hemispheres functioning together. Each part of the whole plays a vital role in the dance of life that makes up how we perceive reality. When one side dominates (usually the left) as is common in our modern, western civilization the well-being of our minds suffer. Balance of both hemispheres is essential to proper functionality and well-being, but in modern societies the left side tends to dominate instead of being in partnership with the right leading to a lack of harmony and sense of well-being. The same is also true for the mind/body balance, if the mind dominates the body both end up suffering which happens many times in fundamentalist religious mindsets where the desires of the body are seen as sinful and something that needs to be denied and put down by the ruling mind. To have true harmony one needs to live life in a state of mind/body unity and wholeness letting each work together in partnership.
Once consciousness arose in animals the next step was self-consciousness, the state of being aware of oneself…from the point that humans became aware they naturally connected the idea of right and wrong using themselves as the model for morality.
When one is aware of disliking something done to their own selves, one then projects that dislike onto others, hence the birth of the “Golden Rule” or “Morality”. Self-consciousness is the state from which morality was born, that is what sets us apart from all the other animals…the ability to project our own feelings and desires onto another being and know that it is either right or wrong because of our own awareness.
Self-awareness also gave birth to the idea of purpose and beginnings. Naturally when one is aware of their own existence, the question emerges…where did I come from, and what is my purpose? Thus, the idea of a creator who formed us for a purpose naturally arose, since our origins are hidden from our understanding.
Sin, like morality is a concept, not an “objective fact”, which emerged out of the consciousness of man. Without the self-awareness of the human animal “sin”, like morality does not exist; it is not a law or principle upon which life is built. The concept of sin arose solely from the state of self-awareness of our own selves, and the idea that somehow the desires of our humanity are innately bad.
If morality exists as a “truth” in the universe in the same way as say the Pythagorean Theorem does then why has mans concept of what is moral continued to change with time, and consciousness level? Take for instance the biblical passage in Numbers 31, where Moses orders the Hebrew soldiers by command from God to kill all the male children and women who are not virgins, and then proceeds to give the remaining 32,000 virgins girls to the Hebrew soldiers to keep for themselves…by today’s moral standards killing women and children and taking people as slaves is totally unacceptable and immoral, yet the Hebrew’s in biblical times seemed to think God allowed such behavior.
Num.31:1-2 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people. 18-19) Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
There are countless other examples in the Bible where acts that are considered immoral by today’s standards are commanded and condoned by its God. Morality appears to come solely from the emergence of self-awareness and the ability to reason, there is no need of a “Divine Source” as the author of morality.
The very nature of a functioning universe requires some form of order and laws… subsequently order implies discoverability, so any consciousness that arises out of that ordered system by its very nature is going to have the capacity to discover it. Secondly, any system that is self-regulating (as our universe seems to be) demands balance to sustain itself…that is the property that allows continual forward motion to happen. Balance is the key… in an ordered system under Axiarchism “reality is ordered for the positive realization of moral (and aesthetic) value”, so instead of a self-regulating system which sustains itself through balance, we find that the Axiarchal system must be “manually” sustained through some type of intervention to keep it skewed toward the positive.
I propose the natural order of all reality is maintained through balance, when it swings toward the negative the pull becomes greater towards the positive, thus we have a system always in motion and always moving towards order, and balance. Such a system only requires a negative/positive principle to sustain itself, and when life arises out of such a system the Balance Principle allows for continual forward progress, which in turn manifests what I call the Triangular Principle. The Triangular Principle is built upon the idea of the duality of the natural world which if it leans toward the negative direction it causes an opposite pull from the positive side, thus when equilibrium is arrived at a net gain has been acquired, forming a three-pointed triangular shape.
Instead of saying (as in Axiarchism) that “reality is ordered for the positive realization of moral (and aesthetic) value”, we could say that reality is ordered for balance by its built in nature, showing that the only way conscious agents could influence each other for good or for bad is by having a universe where the negative/positive duality is what drives it forward, always seeking balance – not by having it ordered for the positive in the first place. In the negative/positive universe of balance, the focus is on progressing forward, instead of the idea of attaching “value” to that which is considered good.
From this concept of a universe that is steadily progressing forward, it is easy to see how each individual part plays a needed role no matter how small it is. This could be called the built in purpose of all living things, which would consequently give conscious agents like humans the ability to self-determine their purpose, thus in some way always adding to the whole, while being a part of it.
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Why does God require praise?” If one does a comparative study between the work of a human and the work of God, the outcome is very interesting. Take for instance a woman carrying a child: all through her pregnancy term she does everything she knows to ensure her child is born healthy, after birth and for the entire time she raises the child she sacrifices and commits her life to giving her child the best education and living environment possible. Her child may or may not praise, and thank her for what she has done, but that is not the reason for her commitment to his care.
Now let’s take a look at the God portrayed in the Bible: he is said to be the creator of all and he requires continual thanksgiving, and praise from his creation for his creative works, though he does not always do everything possible (considering his omnipotence) to ensure the well being of his children. He allows them to commit fatal errors through ignorance, die of diseases and hunger, gives unfair laws which allows the abuse of the female half of creation to name just a few, yet over, and over again in the pages of Scripture we see God angrily lashing out at his people for their lack of praise. What’s up with that? It seems we humans are better parents than God.
The thought recently occurred to me how different the Bible would be if it had been written by women instead of men. Life through the eyes of a male is very different then that of a female; for one thing the nature of a male is much more aggressive and focused on strength and control – quite different from that of the female.
It is quite apparent – biblically speaking – when one examines the overall nature of Scripture, you can see that much of the content and themes are focused on fighting, control, power struggles, women used for reproduction instead of partners, and God presented in a very masculine way. Imagine for a moment, what the nature of the Bible would be if it were given from the female perspective, which is just another of the many reasons to stop and take a second look at the idea of the Bible being the word of God. Do people really think that the cosmic mind behind all that we see is going to present his existence to us in such an unbalanced and lopsided way, only giving one side of the whole picture?
Life must be in balance in order for there to be unity, and harmony. There is a place for the aggression and physical strength of the male, but it must be equally balanced with the feminine qualities to give us life at its best, working together to create one body. Because the Bible is written by men from a male perspective, the focus tends to be on the masculine, leaving a gapping void on the feminine side.
The human experience is not just male, even though most of history is presented totally from the male perspective – half of life is female. My greatest desire is for people to be able to learn from the mistakes of the past and understand that for almost the entire span of written human history, half of the picture has been missing, so it is time now to begin to fill the void and let go of the misconceptions that have come about because of ignorance. Instead of hanging onto the errors of the past let us journey on ahead opening our minds to truth….life is balanced – male and female.
The question of purpose is one that has been on the minds of mankind since the dawn of civilization. There seems to be an innate need in us humans to have meaning and purpose to our lives, and we seek for it with great passion. Religion seems to be the place most of us turn to for answers, because that is where we think we will find God….and if God is the creator of all then surely He had a purpose for us in mind. The problem that quickly arises is which religion is the right one that will tell me “For What Purpose was I Made?”
In trying to answer this question of purpose by using my own intuition and ability to reason about such matters, I have come to the conclusion that I must first start by asking myself: what purpose would I give my life if I were the creator of it? Since all I really have is my own innate ability to reason and judge what is true, then I shall begin with my own sense of purpose.
The first question I ask myself is: what gives my everyday life purpose? For me everyday purpose is drawn from helping my fellow man, making their lives happier and better, doing for them what I would like done for me. When I contribute in whatever way to others, I find myself benefitting greatly and having a sense of fulfillment….thus, purpose is drawn from following my heart, or one might say: “Following your Bliss”. This idea of following ones bliss can be directly seen as purposeful; for every action on my part if a positive response is received, then that reinforces my own innate sense of meaning and purpose. My next step would be to compare my innate sense of purpose with others and see if it is something I share with them.
Looking to a religion to give one answers to understanding God, and our purpose on this planet seems to be a hit and miss situation with no real way to discern if what a specific doctrine is telling me is true, whereas when I search my own soul and follow it I am able to draw a much clearer sense of purpose, and act upon it with my whole being.
So, if I had to sum up my understanding of the purpose to my life from looking into myself, I would have to say that it comes down to:
1. “Treating others as you want to be Treated”, and
2. “Following your Bliss.”
Most humans have an innate sense of morality, but where did that idea of fundamental right and wrong come from? In this article I am going to explore the roots of Morality, and how it has come to be a universal standard amongst humans.
First let me define what I think absolute moral laws are. They are actions that when imposed upon another human, would be defined by you as wrong IF that same action was imposed upon you….for example: any human on the planet would judge themselves being tortured for fun – WRONG – that is what I consider an absolute moral law. There are some who have tried to devalue and diminish others humanity in order to view them as less than equal, so the idea of morality does not apply to them, but this is clearly an act of manipulation to take advantage of the weaker mental or physical condition of others and has nothing to do with innate morality.
The roots of morality probably originated with ancient tribal communities, and the sense of each member of the tribe (family) being an equal member of that tribe. In all likelihood this tribal morality would not have applied to other tribes, since in many cases the other tribes would have been seen as a threat to their survival, thus not equal to themselves. As small tribal communities grew into larger groups those same moral laws would apply to all citizens of equal standing in the community. The larger groups eventually grew into civilizations which encompassed a whole race of people whose leaders wrote codes of law applicable to all within their authority.
Different civilizations continued to spread out farther and farther, each always being defined as a particular race of people whose moral laws only applied to those of equal standing amongst their own people in their civilization, barring those such as slaves and foreigners (and sometimes women) from equal standing as humans.
Many great philosophers such as Confucius sought to apply moral laws equally to all of humanity, but those ideas were slow in spreading much beyond the boundaries of their own country. What it seems gave global equality was the Prime Directive of Christ which stated that the Gospel was to be spread into all the world with the declaration that there is neither Jew nor Greek, Male or Female in the Kingdom of God. This concept of all of humanity being equal regardless of race or gender was something that had never been conceived of up to that point….now it was that decree, by one who claimed Godhood that catapulted that concept to the whole human race. The followers of Christ (first from the Jewish race), in turn dropped their belief of exclusivity and went forth into the world declaring all mankind to be created equal. This equality is the premise upon which America was founded: “All men are created equal” (even though it took almost 200 years for that statement to be fully implemented for slaves and women).
What started with the moral laws of individual tribal communities, having no foundation in God per-say was catapulted to global prominence amongst all peoples through the message of Christ. And even though the message of equality for all was greatly distorted by many who called themselves Christians….nevertheless it found its way to be the guiding truth upon which America was founded. So, even if we don’t need the Bible to convey to us our Moral Laws, it can be clearly seen that the pivotal point of the Prime Directive of taking the Good News of human equality to the whole world, spread the idea of Moral Laws from the tribal community to the global community.
What greater calling is there than to devote ones life to encouraging, and helping others to live their up to their full potential? For in so doing we pattern ourselves after that which was shown us by Christ. In lifting up our brothers and sisters we not only give to their lives a greater hope, but in the process our lives are enriched by them. No matter how small the deed, what we reap conditions our souls for eternity.
We have so few real choices in this life, that it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to devote every opportunity we can find to enrich the lives of ourselves and those around us with whatsoever is good, and kind, and uplifting; working all things for the Greater Good of shaping our souls. No gift of caring is too small to share with another….and the rewards reach into eternity!
John15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Phil.4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
1Cor.13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.