Monday, July 29, 2013

Are God's rules really eternal?

One of the most interesting things claimed by many theists these days isn't new.  I was watching Turner Classic Movies the other day, and they aired an old short film I can't remember the name of, in which the narrator used the constant phrase, "sin in the heart of man".  The theme was the same you hear today, that America's morals are off track, and sin is why.

Well, at least once, he noted that, "God's rules are eternal", as he denigrated the thought that modern morals have changed.

Oh, really?

So, if that is true, can I still go to New Orleans and buy a slave off of the old slave block right there on the docks, fresh from Africa?  Or, if I prefer, can I sneak off I to Canada and enslave one of our northern neighbors?  They are, after all, not American, and the bible says we can enslave our neighbors.  Of course, according to the bible, I can't hold a Hebrew for longer than seven years.  Then again, I can argue that since I am not Hebrew, that restriction doesn't apply to me, right?

Or, if I prefer, I can sell one of my daughters (I do still have one unmarried daughter) into sexual slavery.  She's a redhead, so she may be able to pay off all my debts at once, wouldn't you think?  I mean, it says so, right there in Deuteronomy, so it must true if God's rules are eternal, and redheads are still considered exotic!

Also, that same book tells us that shellfish are forbidden, eating animals with cloven hooves is also forbidden, and our modern practice of wearing mixed fabrics is too.

I could go on, but the point is made.  Today, in modern First World countries, none of these restrictions are followed, nor do we think about them at all.  Even First World churches pay no mind to these rules, even though Jesus himself told slaves to obey their masters, as did Paul.  No preacher today anywhere in the industrialized west would stand up in front of a modern congregation and advocate enslaving citizens of a neighboring country, nor selling young women off to pay their fathers' debts.

Yes, these "rules" are still written in the scriptures.  No, churches today do not put those verses on their reading lists for weekly bible studies, and the reason is obvious - religions must adhere to the current moral standards of the society in which it exists, or (lacking the force of government persuasion) people will stop going.

So the bottom line here is, no, the rules of God are NOT eternal, but are as subject to change as are the standards of any society which will naturally change with time and circumstances.  They must or the religion will die.

There is, of course, one exception to this, and I referred to it above.  If the religion is a State sponsored religion and the force and power of the State are behind rules which require attendance and adherence to the rules, then, obviously, whatever rules the leaders of that religion wish can then be enforced, and this will have the effect of artificially enforcing standards the population may not otherwise have wished to obey.  It may or may not have the effect of causing people to actually believe in those standards.  If they are far enough divorced from the general moral standards seen in use by the secular society prior to the beginning of that enforcement, they will breed resentment and resistance.  Eventually, even if not so far removed, if they seem to enforce rules that most of the population come to see as overly restrictive and protecting an upper privileged class, they can go so far as breed revolution.

My point here is that we know from history that the moral standards of societies do change.  Old practices such as slavery, dietary rules and other more mundane things such as fabric uses will be forced to change as the circumstances of the society change.  Economics, standards of education, and technical advancements can profoundly affect how societies manage themselves and how people's relationships in families, business and government work.

Religions that try to hold on to old, outmoded rules in ways that no longer make sense will, unless people are forced to stay, lose members.  Even if forced to stay, eventually, social pressures will eventually either force changes or those changes will be forced through violent means.  (Pay attention, this happened, in THIS country.  We forced a violent change to the rules, by forcing the state to divest itself of its religious connections.  We did this by violently divorcing ourselves from that old State and developing a new State!)

In the end, the lesson we learn is that nothing is eternal.  If there were a god which created us, loved us and wanted the best for us, he/she would use his/her superior knowledge to shepherd us into a better understanding of how to manage ourselves and better our lives.  This would not happen by enforcing rules that no longer meet the needs and requirements of a society which has outgrown the faults of a past age where violence was the norm.

Instead, we find churches that seek to use those old, outmoded rules to continue to force us to adhere to old social rules which make no sense and prevent us from growing and expanding human knowledge.  Rules which force us into past patterns of behavior which do not fit a modern, digital age in which knowledge and information is at one's fingertips.  Rules which seek to denigrate women, control our lives and support old established organizations which cannot change without being afraid of losing control.

Control which brings them YOUR money, YOUR support, thus supporting their secular, worldly power which in turn supports the lifestyles of the leaders.  The WEALTHY lifestyles. As we've seen over and over.

Thus, we see movements like Dominionism, which again seek to bring the old theocratic ways of the past to the present.  The rules which forced people to obey the old ways, the old patterns which bring power and wealth to those who control those rules.

Don't fall for it.  America is under attack from several directions, but the commonality is one of bringing control of this society to those who control the wealth.  Religion has ALWAYS been the means of control for those in power, and democracy put a rapid stop to much of that control.

You, the people, have the power to maintain your own control, the means to stop the power grab under way by the wealthy, by the cynical, godless men who would use your superstition to control you, like they did your grandfathers and great-grandfathers before you.

Only YOU can decide not to go along.  But you must see through their attempts to cloud your mind with superstition, with the old enticing rules which can seem so comforting, because they allow you to just drift through life without having to decide anything.  

But that is the way to slavery.  That is the way to letting someone else do your thinking for you.

Yes, cutting lose is hard.  It means you have to think, to actually take your life into your own hands and decide FOR YOURSELF who you want to be and what is important to YOU.  

The first step is letting go of the old comfortable rules and realizing that they no longer have any relevance to the modern world.  That they are the means to controlling you, not freeing you.

Remember, when they tell you to surrender to Christ, they are really telling you to surrender to the earthly leaders of the Christian religion.  Do you REALLY think those wealthy men have YOUR best interests at heart?


No comments: