#10. Imitate God's Good & Upright Ways.
Do Muslims look forward to praying five times a day, or are they bored and irritated by it?
Do Hindus enjoy their caste system?
Are Buddhists really all that peaceful, inside or out?
Are Jews more lawful?
Are atheists less inclined to be virulent or ideological?
The answer to all these questions is a resounding NO.
The exceptions to the rule, probably 20% of the population of any belief system, will object to my characterization of their belief system, since they are the “good example” for themselves and the rest of their flock. They consider themselves to be following the good and upright ways determined by either a Good Book, their elders, or their conscience. They consider themselves to be archetypes, even prophets, of the religion or cause. This applies whether that person is activist or pacifist, believer in God or not.
What gives a person this ego? What nature urges a person to stand forward to protest on behalf of his own actions? Or, in the case of the altruist in the moment, on behalf of someone else’s actions who may be admired? Why does the Muslim protect the actions of Mohammed? Why does the Buddhist bristle for Siddhartha? Why does the Jew stand up for Moses or Abraham? Why does the Christian defend Jesus? And why does the atheist point the average believer in God towards the more humanist viewpoints of any Good Book or prophet thereof?
Simply, every person knows this world can do better. Whether it is to cease conflict, feed the hungry, or to mind your own business, every ego which stands forward in such a way does so to defend the idea of what it means to be “good and upright.”
Naturally, different religions and belief systems exist due to the varying nature of what is “good and upright.” People do not seem to agree. Whether we speak of the right foods to eat, the wrong sexual partners, or the manner of wearing hair, there are huge differences between many faiths, indeed between the sects or denominations of many faiths, including atheism.
One thing we do all seem to agree upon is the Golden Rule. Even if one believes he is permitted by his own conscience to murder, or steal, or rape, or lie, or otherwise decimate, no person wants it done to him. No criminal allows it to himself. No adulterer allows it to herself. No Muslim wants jihad on his own circle. Not even a masochist wants carnage if it is not pleasurable. In other words, when bad things happen to us, all of a sudden we want law and order.
But where is this cry for “law and order” in the abstract? Why do we not in advance promote law and order, to prevent such chaos? Why do we not demand that the governments follow the Constitution? Or, if we live without a constitution, to institute one? Why is government corruption ignored? Why do we look away from evil? Why do we stand by while our freedoms are ravaged?
Quite simply, we are selfish creatures. Though given by God the power to plan and build a future, and to promote that future by construction of better rules, and enforcement of those rules, we rather are more interested in our own desires, appetites, and vanities. The mirror is more important, the belly more immediate, the sexual urges more demanding. And the more vainglorious our behavior, the more sedate and fey we become, easy prey for those with even fewer barriers to their whims. We become targets for savages and predators.
The best law and order, therefore, is not one which promotes individual liberties but rather one which promotes greater responsibility for those we elect, or otherwise have, as our leaders. Your individual liberty is not as important as the accountability of your congressmen, for example. If your president is a tyrant, what good does it do you to be free in your desires? In fact, those freedoms shall be short-lived once the tyrant takes note of you as a danger to the community. The tyrant is like you, interested only in his own appetite and liberty, but, unlike you, the tyrant shall smash you to attain more or to keep the status quo.
Obviously, those smashed shall be angry and will want an end to tyranny. However, what if that smashed section of society, that subculture, is a danger to an otherwise perfectly-sound society? Is not the smashing warranted? Is not the so-called tyrant actually a defender of society? Freedom is a wonderful thing, but not when the freedoms of a countervailing subculture, of a minority, begin to erode and destroy the freedoms of the majority.
Am I implying that fascism is good? Plato regarded the "benevolent dictator" as the highest form of government. One man making correct choices for a mostly sedate and uninvolved populace who, as long as society is stable and generally fair, with equal justice, shall not complain or revolt. It is only when the general population is irritated and robbed and murdered that such complaints and revolution shall remove the government, whether benevolent dictator or democratic Parliament. Thus, it is imperative that whoever rules the nation or state shall do so from a law of the highest good which benefits the greatest number.
Even the atheist must agree that society requires defending, but who shall defend it? Shall it be dedicated military that defends society? If so, is their allegiance to other men or to a higher power? Where shall they derive what is good and what is not good, and what is evil? Shall other men tell them what is good and what is evil? If so, how does the atheist, having asserted that the Bible and other holy books were written by men, promote yet other men as educators and arbiters of good and evil, but not the Bible or other holy books? How can the atheist defend this when in fact the atheist prides himself on behaving in ways which God should find good and upright? Does not the atheist, even after denying God, not strive to imitate the ways of God? Does not the atheist promote such godly goodness as "humanism"?
Therefore, having dispensed with the idea that an irreligious society should be any different than a religious society, the only question remaining is why society ought to be irreligious rather than religious. If we say that religion is hypocritical, commanding but not doing as commanded, this is correct, but atheism is also hypocritical, pretending God does not exist while still demanding people act in godly rather than ungodly ways, pretending in fact to have invented this humanism rather than admitting it stolen from the Bible or other holy books. For there is no goodness demanded by humanism which is not in the Bible, and there is no wickedness decried by atheism which is not addressed or forbidden by the Law of God. The atheist claims, however, this one exception, which is the right to permit all manner of hedonism. Yet, such hedonism, eventually weakening society, will at some point become a target of elimination for the atheist also, unless the atheist is either blind to self-destruction or desires it.
In sum, even the atheist must imitate God in order to found, maintain and secure a lasting and good society.
Today's lesson seeks more on this valuable message.
Copyright 2004-2017 Tom Wise. All Rights Reserved.