It’s been an odd week so far. Crazy, yet sympathetic, tin-foil hat person on Monday, disturbing dream on Tuesday that kept distracting me, and today… well, today was contemplative. Contemplative is, for me, decidedly in the “good day” category, but that doesn’t make the day a simple one.
Anyway, got to the end of the day and got into a fun conversation with someone. Started off as politics, then migrated to the topic of groups which feel entitled to act against other groups (in this case, we were talking about radical environmental groups who sue the government to enforce their ideals of what use public lands should be put to), and that eventually got us on the topic of religious law versus social or formal law.
Though we never really talked about it in so many words, a good deal of our conversation centered on the concept of objective versus subjective morality. Oddly enough, he from a religious perspective argued the subjective side, while I from the atheistic perspective argued the objective morality side. Stereotypically, that set-up is reversed with the believer arguing for the existence of an objective (god-given) morality and the atheist arguing for a subjective (culturally-based/situationally-based) morality.
It was a very stimulating conversation, however, like so many of the sort, amounted to little more than running on the mental treadmill; energizing and works some muscles, but doesn’t get you anywhere.
I have accepted the mission, set by my curiosity in my fellow human, to re-read the bible. My goal is to try to understand why its legions of followers have dubbed it the “Good Book.”
Now, I have read it before, though it was a long time ago. I read the entire book—cheating a bit by skipping all the “begats” portions—when I was going through confirmation when I was about 11. We were instructed to read the bible, and so I did. It did not take long before the overwhelming details of god commanding death, war, genocide, rape, slavery, torture and otherwise doing or ordering his followers to do some decidedly evil shit that I decided there was a problem. I went to my pastor with questions, and he said to read the bible, as it would answer my questions, so I pressed on.
Long story short, I read it, had ten times more questions at the end than I had early on when I questioned him, the paltry answers I got were in no way satisfying, and ultimately I realized none of what I’d been told in church or read in the bible made any sense.