Posts Tagged ‘Greater Good’
Whatsoever is good, whatsoever is right, whatsoever is kind … whenever in doubt always err on the side of kindness. One can never go wrong with actions or words of kindness. No matter how bad the situation, kindness always makes things better, kindness always takes the higher road. People always flourish more with kindness and a difficult path is much easier to walk.
Mercy is one of the many aspects of kindness which would serve the world well if more people practiced it. One of the problems with the dogmas and doctrines of religion is that they tend to beat mercy and kindness out of those who feel compelled to “Keep the faith”, when faith means practicing and adhering to biased and unjust teachings.
This year let us all make the resolution to err on the side of kindness … it can only make the world a better place.
Kindness … the Salvation of the World
Only through human kindness will the world be saved
With each gentle word and caring deed
With every empathetic touch and heartfelt gesture
The world becomes a more peaceful and harmonious place
Violence or abuse does not have a place in acts of kindness
Nor does anger and hatred
Kindness builds a strong foundation for every relationship
And supports the framework of human values
The power of kindness is a force that can change the hardest heart
And it is through kindness that the human spirit is refreshed and restored
Above all else kindness gives humanity hope …
In light of the recent Duck Dynasty uproar, I have been confronted in my wanderings around the internet with the numerous reasons why Phil Robertson supporters are outraged by what they see as a great injustice done to him. Focusing for the moment on his sharp and judgmental opinions on homosexuality summed up in the quote below from his interview with GQ magazine.
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine,” he later added. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
Those who feel the need to defend Phil Robertson, use his Christian faith and freedom of speech as the point which they feel he is being attacked on. But when one begins to dissect the problem it lies with neither freedom of speech nor his Christian faith, after all Phil had no problem expressing his distaste for the gay lifestyle, or his belief in the anti-homosexual passages in the Bible … ending his tirade with the statement that “It’s not right”.
The common sentiment expressed by many Christians and Phil himself is that he was just sharing his belief in the Bible as god’s word and he’s being attacked for his faith. Well, it’s not quite that simple, especially when he inserted the judgment call of “It’s not right” in his interview. The bottom line is that it’s none of Phil business what lifestyles others choose to live, and he should have kept his opinions to himself if he didn’t want to be called out on it. Just because the book of doctrines and the god he chooses to believe in condemns homosexuality does not mean it is right. We all live in a country whose constitution guarantees our individual right to the pursuit of happiness, regardless of ones sexual preference. Christians seem to be so focused on Phil’s right to disparage a person’s lifestyle that they seem to forget they live in a country where they are allowed to practice a religion that condemns and labels the sexual preference of others as “sin”. Read the rest of this entry »
It is well known that women are oppressed worldwide and discriminated against for the sole reason of being female…in the majority of those cases the basis for that oppression is religion. Most religions throughout history have emerged out of patriarchal societies, having their origins in the imaginings of the male mind that seeks domination. This includes the three major religions of today…Judaism, Christianity and Islam which directly trace their genesis to the authors of the Old Testament scriptures called the Torah, or the five books of Moses, named after its supposed author. One of the commonalities that these religions share is their overt oppression, discrimination and subjugation of women, supposedly commanded by their male god. The degrees of oppression and subjugation vary, but they all share one common theme…their bias against women that traces back to the Garden story of Adam and Eve…where it says the woman was deceived first. Each patriarchal society that adopted and followed these beliefs subsequently imposed their own interpretations onto it. Why does religion have such an abysmal record when it comes to growth in the areas of human knowledge and liberty of thought? The Dark Ages is a good example of a period in history that was caused by religious doctrines and dogmas suffocating the ideas of creative thought. Anytime a segment of society stifles and suppresses the pursuit of its thinkers to expand and reach for new horizons everyone ends up suffering. A good definition of patriarchy is given by Allan Johnson in his book The Gender Knot, “A society is patriarchal to the degree that it promotes male privilege by being male dominated, male identified and male centered. It is also organized around an obsession with control and involves as one of its aspects the oppression of women.” Read the rest of this entry »
Humanity thrives on it
Anything that helps to alleviate suffering in this world, no matter how small is considered a good thing; whatever unnecessarily adds to suffering is considered bad. This is the value of well-being. As can be clearly seen from examples in the Bible, unnecessary suffering caused by a tyrannical deity that demands worship and praise at the expense of well being, and metes out punishment when it is not received, does nothing to promote human flourishing or alleviate suffering. What good parent ever causes their children to suffer needlessly, or inflicts cruel punishment upon them because they do not praise or honor them, yet this is what the Bible teaches as acceptable, with its deity being portrayed as a father who instructs his children in this manner. The parenting lessons one learns from biblical instruction are at best unjust and unfair with rules being meted out according to ones gender or status. A good example is that of David being excused of the crime of murder because of his status as king, and Bathsheba being punished by having her firstborn son stricken with sickness for seven days and dying all because of David’s sin. If a high value is not placed on human well-being and fairness, moral integrity begins to decline. Read the rest of this entry »
An interesting thought to contemplate and question to ask of the Biblegod, is why does an all knowing god allow evil people like Hitler to be born, when he knows that they will do nothing but perpetrate tremendous suffering upon humanity? We know from the Bible that its god has no problem with withholding conception and shutting up a woman’s womb for his own purposes.
Gen.30:2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?
1Sam.1:5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb. Read the rest of this entry »
In re-reading the story of Lazarus and the rich man found only in the Gospel of Luke, some new insights became apparent that I had never noticed before.
Luke 16:19-21 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
In the first few verses we have the description of the rich man and the beggar named Lazarus. The story tells us of a rich man clothed in expensive garments who eats extravagantly every day; while on the other hand the poor beggar is starving and full of sores, which are probably caused from leprosy. It says that the beggar is waiting for crumbs of food to fall from the rich mans table while dogs are licking his sores; quite a graphic picture of a suffering human being. Jesus chooses to relate this particular story and focuses our attention on the rich man eating sumptuously while the beggar eagerly waits for some of his crumbs, which of course garners our sympathies for the poor man and heightens our anger towards the selfish rich man. What goes unnoticed, and Jesus fails to expose, is the greater responsibility of the biblegod whom he calls his father. Whether or not the rich man is guilty of not giving of his abundance and sharing with the beggar, should in no way dismisses the fact that the beggar was a sick man in need of healing which the rich man was incapable of giving him, whereas Jesus or his father had the ability to heal this poor sick man (at least the Bible tells us he does), who had dogs licking his wounds, yet they did nothing. Read the rest of this entry »
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!
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.
If God is the only standard for Good…how can there possibly be a Hell created by Him? How can the Greatest Good create a place like Hell to cause eternal suffering?
It is not conceivable that the Greatest Good which is God, could possibly create a place that is outside the bounds of His Mercy. It is one thing to be outside of God’s Grace because of being lost in unbelief, and quite another to be sent to a place of torment for eternity, that was created by the very God who is portrayed as the Greatest Good, with no hope of ever being reached by Him.
By the very act of God pouring out His Mercy on mankind, He takes that which is sinful and changes it into that which is pure by Grace alone ….therefore all that is sinful can at some point be covered by God’s Grace. The doctrine of eternal Hell as a place created by God that excludes God’s Mercy from ever reaching it, is impossible in a universe created by a God of Love.
The way I like to think about God’s universal Love is that those who are lost keep seeking until they find the door provided by Christ’s death on the Cross….once that door is found reunion with God happens. This is far different from the idea of a place created by God where lost people are sent to, forever slamming the door on any hope of reconciliation from that point on. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is the perfect example of God’s eternally reaching Love and Mercy that is always there to reach out to a lost soul.
Does the Bible teach violence? If one holds to the doctrine of Eternal Hell for the crime of unbelief, which is to be an enemy of God then the Bible does indeed teach violence.
Rom.5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
If the Greater Good is to love our enemies and to do good to those that hate us as the Bible teaches, how can God do any different? Jesus said that in order to be called children of God we must not only love our neighbors, but we must pray for and love those who persecute us….if that is the case then how can the doctrine of Eternal Hell be true? For if it is, God would be violating His own Word!
Matt. 5:39-40 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also….43- 45 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Can you think of anyone who would willingly choose torture over love? In my book, loving ones enemy does not include sending them to Hell….so how do we reconcile the teaching of Eternal Hell with Eternal Love?