Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Bible and Qur’an: The Trap, the Illness and the Cure

The written word can trap the mind of man. It is in our nature to grant some respect to what has been written. Some of us go so far as to grant ultimate and unequivocal respect to a writing that is held to be infallible. Once that happens a trap is set. If the writings themselves contain a circle of reasoning that threaten punishment for doubt as to truth of the writing, the trap snaps shut. A physical connection in the brain is forged, obscuring paths of logic with releases of fear inducing chemicals.

Many years ago, after we had evolved to our awareness of our own existence, we had begun to see each other as individual agents, operating according to our own internal plans. We saw this same pattern of agency in the great beasts of the field. We heard their distant roars in the evenings and we found them hidden in the grass, stalking and planning a time to strike. We saw the sudden springing, the vicious blows with claws and teeth and the execution of the kill.

We heard the distant thunder in the skies and learned that it could portend the same sudden strike and execution. As the thunder grew in power we huddled together and waited, assigning agency to the whims of the storms. This was a logical conclusion for our primitive logical minds. The storm was angry, like the great cats. Quivering against the torrents and lightning we breathed silent wishes as supplications, to beg the storm to move on and spare our children. When calm had returned we surveyed the windblown damage and counted who remained. We logically concluded that the angry storm had acceded to our requests and a concept of prayer had entered the mind of man.

From these simple beginnings, when we were just evolved and unaware of the science of nature, we elaborated stories of the great and powerful agent behind the volcanoes, storms, and earthquakes. We had little choice but to do so. We thought our only chance was to behave according to the wishes of the agents. And so we created stories of one or many Gods who demonstrated anger and discontent with the behavior of man. We learned that these stories can serve as a basis for moral rules and that if the community obeyed then relative peace could be observed.

As we evolved the written word these stories were set down and shared. The writings became sacred. The trap firmly closed around the inquisitive mind of man. The trap has always been with us, we are well and truly trapped, ruled by fear, ruled by the physical construction of a false idea in our brains. We are physically ill. The words of the writing command that everyone believe and worship. It is almost as if the false idea has taken on a life of its own, fighting as viscously as the lion for its survival. Men feel forced to honor the angry agent by killing others who dishonor its name. The false idea replicates, just like any living thing. It replicates throughout the generations of man. We have inherited the same false idea.

There is a cure. The false idea was sprung from our ignorance, the medicine is learning, the patient study and accumulation of knowledge.

There is no angry God, commanding belief and worship, intently watching with perfect eyes the eternal burning of anguished people in hell. Such a beast has never existed. It was borne of our ignorance and fear.

There is no God at all. We have this universe, we have each other. There might be life elsewhere and someday we can find it if we all survive.

Some of us wish for God to exist because we awaken in a world with children who need love. We are born and grow older and find each other looking for relationships of trust and love. And upon embarking on a journey of love we can hardly help but to whisper an occasionally prayer, that if there be any power that can lend some help that such help be given to the one who is beloved.

Indeed, if God exists at all, then all of us can see the decisions of God. And the decisions of God indicate clearly that if God exists at all, she must very beautiful and benevolent. She creates life, as newborn infants, and entrusts them to us. She is exquisitely beautiful in her nature and it is difficult to not believe in her, to not love her dearly in return. If you must believe then believe in the beautiful God you can see with your own eyes.

Let us take each other’s hand and climb together out of the trap. We escaped the fear of Zeus and Wotan, we can escape the fear of the angry God of Abraham, the Yahweh of the bible and the Allah of the Qur’an and all such angry punishing gods who we now can see never existed at all. We believed them in our youth and ignorance, we are grown now and putting away our childish things. We can understand now that those that spoke of them, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and all of the rest, were themselves entrapped when young by the false idea of a god that has never existed. They reached out, to believe in God, meaning well for their people and we can honor them for that. We should not dishonor them by remaining ignorant in the trap we can now all clearly see.

Let us put down all our sad scriptures, and leave them for the historians to summarize. Let us take up instead books of science and knowledge and educate all of the children of man with whom we find ourselves entrusted.

Let us educate every child, leaving no child behind. They will educate their children and this will continue through the generations until someday, just maybe, you will be reborn as one of them, a brand new baby, with brand new memory, born into this beautiful universe, all of the accumulated knowledge of man freely available to you, waiting for you to once again take the lead, to lead the children of man, and if you wish the children of your beloved creator, to lead them to galaxies of watered planets.