I read a post and the comments that followed it. I will not quote the post nor will I quote the entire comment. The post was about a scientist being denied tenure at a university, i. e. a permanent position, because he felt God had something to do with the creation of our universe. Basically, the comment was about “Jesus’ words about people thinking they are serving God by killing believers…”
We do not live in a perfect world. Terrorists wrap bomb(s) around themselves and wreak destruction in the name of God. In short, we have killed thinking that we were “serving God” (the Crusades, Jews, sorceresses, etc.).
Jesus and the Christian Church as an Institution
Yes, we have killed in the name of God. Jesus, however, did not leave a sacred text and he talked in “parables” which is what a fabulist does, according to La Fontaine (see his Preface to his first volume of fables (1668), paragraph 6. Jesus, Isa ibn Maryam, did not write a sacred text nor did he found a Church. There were followers of Christ before 325 AD (CE), but the Christian Church was not founded until the First Council of Nicaea, which took place near the current Istanbul, Turkey. The Christian Church was founded under Roman Emperor Constantine I (27 February 272 CE – 22 May 337 CE), Saint Constantine or Saint Constantine the Great, Equal-to-the-Apostles, in the Eastern Church (Orthodox). (See Constantine the Great, Wikipedia.) Istanbul was first named Byzantium, It was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. On 11 May 330 AD, it became Constantinople, the holy see of the Christian Church. (See Constantinople, Wikipedia.) Constantinople was renamed Istanbul after the Turkish War of Independence, fought between 19 May 1919 and 24 July 1923.
The Sermon on the Mount: the Beatitudes
I have asked several theologians about the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. After studying the Gospels, reports not sacred texts, they have concluded that Jesus taught what is often summarized as “unconditional love,” (mercy, compassion, etc).
Matthew‘s account (5: 3-12 KJV) of the Sermon on the Mount discusses the Beatitudes, expressed as “blessings.” (See Beatitudes [a list], Wikipedia.)
“In almost all cases the phrases used in the Beatitudes are familiar from an Old Testament context, but in the sermon Jesus gives them new meaning. Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction[.]” (See Sermon on the Mount, Wikipedia)
French Enlightenment writer and philosopher Voltaire (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778) advocated two freedoms, “freedom of religion, freedom of speech,” and the “separation of church and state.” However, although he attacked “the established Catholic Church,” he could not deny God a role in Creation:
« Ce monde est une horloge et cette horloge a besoin d’un horloger. » in Poésies et « L’univers m’embarrasse, et je ne puis songer / Que cette horloge existe et n’ait point d’horloger » in Les Cabales de Voltaire (1694-1778).
“This world is a clock and this clock needs a clockmaker.” in Poésies and “I am intrigued by the universe, and cannot help thinking / That this clock should exist and there not be a clockmaker.”
There is “candour” in Voltaire’s statement. He is the author of Candide (1762). If God is good why did He allow such a calamity as the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon. It destroyed the city and its surroundings. (See 1755 Lisbon earthquake, Wikipedia.)
One can also say that, if there is a God, why did He allow Otto Warmbier to die. Not only is nature cruel, but so are certain human beings. Evil is a problem.
These are the “big” questions. The human condition is a “big” question. We are born and we give birth, but we die. One accident can shatter our dreams, take away a person’s dearest, perfectly legitimate and realistic expectations.
On the day my mother died, I sat next to her and spent hours telling her that she would see her dead children, her mother, her brothers and sisters, and angels everywhere. On that day, had there not been a God, I would have invented a God, a clockmaker, and an afterlife, which is perhaps the finest gift nature has bestowed upon us. We die, poor or rich, but we also live and can make our life and the life of those we know a happier passage. We can create and overcome what is otherwise absurd (see Albert Camus, Wikipedia). We compensate.
No, we should not kill in the name of God. We must protect our planet, be good and spread what happiness we can.
Sources and Resources
- Fables de La Fontaine, I – VI, Gutenberg [EBook #17941] FR
Haydn – The Creation (Die Schöpfung, Hob. XXI:2) – The Heavens are Telling
© Micheline Walker
30 June 2017
Religion is the excuse for evil
You’re right Derrick. It’s an excuse and it’s a poor excuse. We should always treat others well or never have a better world. It’s in our hands. Best, Micheline 🙂
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Pure soul, Micheline 🙂
S. We are not here to make one another’s lives difficult. I know a purer soul: you. 🙂
Very thought provoking, Micheline. What humans can do in the name of God is real baffling. It is the baser instincts in us that allows or prods us on to kill. Personally, I think we find it so convenient just o say that we are doing the killing for and in the name of God.
Thou shall not kill. It is clear that this simple clause or directive or commandment means little. Life, no matter how bad it i , is precious and so is the blood that we pour.
But God is a forgiving God, isn’t He? But for how long? 🙂
My dear Célestine,
God is forgiving, but, at this point, He just may wish to turn His back on us. We must learn to live in neighbourliness. Jesus,
Isa ibn Maryam, in Arabic, was a charitable man. We could use a little charity.
your subject: God: The CLOCK and the clockmaker – What is disturbing me here is, the aspect of a MACHINE and consequently of something “repeating endlessly” and even – may be – IDENTICAL. – Well … I recently checked excentricity and perihel-aphel-distances for every of the 9 main planets in our solar system in wikipedias and found, that those are NOT moving on KEPLER-ellipses, but on SLIGHTLY DEFORMED CIRCLES (as would have been the point of view in the Library of Alexandria). I may hint at two consequences: a) Those tiny faults and deviation from perfect circles as orbits may provoke the idea, that the PLANETARIAN BONE STRUCTURE might be a VIBRATING complex, that would be able to ACT and to RESPOND to inputs and outputs within the universe. b) If we consider, that IN NATURE it is really difficult to find PERFECT circles, this may lead to the idea, that there might be some sort of TECHNICAL reason, that the 9 main planets are on relatively STABLE circular orbits.- and IF so, we perhaps should be on the outlook for some sort of MAINTENANCE GROUP, keeping an eye or two on those TECHNICAL FEATURES within our planetarian system, to adjust them and to RECAUNT EVERY ITEM on a DAILY BASIS. If we tend to such ideas, we finally might question the widespread MECHANICAL imprssion of the functioning of our universe, may be in IDENTICAL REPETIONS OF ENDLESS CIYCLES of CYCLES of CYCLES.
Well, the universe is too great to be put into one small comment – and such I may close here somewaht abruptly!
Voltaire lived in the 18th century. Nowadays, he would use another metaphor, but he marvelled at what he saw around him and sensed thought or godliness. I look at orchids and also sense a mystery. Have a good weekend.
The clockmaker picture of the world is not accurate. We now know that life has evolved and is continuing to evolve, and that the physical universe also evolves and changes over time. The Bible legends present our world as static and fixed by the hand of God. But we have fossil records that chronicle evolution, and we can detect radiation from dying and also developing stars that are billions of miles away. The lessons of Jesus and Muhammed remain valuable nonetheless. I finally read Candide this past year, btw. It is full of magnificent wit, a thoroughly entertaining and hilarious read.
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Candide is a jewel. We are of course in an age of discovery. Outside the clock, Voltaire was at a bit of a loss for finding metaphors. How nice of you to drop in. Best, Micheline
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