Thursday, August 05, 2021

We Need a Rebirth of the Enlightenment!

Wir brauchen eine Wiedergeburt der Aufklärung! / Nous avons besoin d'une renaissance de l'Éclaircissement !

Perhaps unbeknownst to us all, we are falling backwards: And as a result, darkness is befalling the world! We need a rebirth of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment ‘mark 2’, if you will.

Each day, we read stories of anti-Semitism, homophobia, confusion of homosexuality with paedophilia and even with bestiality. We also hear of people believing in demons and in eastern Europe and in the Middle East, stories of their ‘exorcism’, and much else dark besides.

In my lifetime, I have seen a seismic shift in values and ideas. In my childhood and early years, I never heard people talk seriously of demons and their power over man. (Yes, ‘man’! I don’t do politically correct jargon if I can help it.) Further, I never heard my parents’ generation talk in such derisory, derogatory terms even about homosexuals, though I feel sure that they probably didn’t understand it or condone their mode of loving. That’s a generational thing. However, it appears that with increased access to higher education, people have become more certain of their ignorance! They speak with certitude about matters they simply don’t understand; they quote the Bible, even though most of them have never read it, still less led a life based on its teachings.

I do not profess to be religious; indeed, I do not wish to be. These days, I prefer to say that I am spiritual. But I have lived my whole life, as best as I have been able to, based on sound Christian principles, as set out by Jesus: not to judge others lest you yourself be judged; not to harm others; not to steal; not to kill and to help others when are where possible.

But these days, it seems that so many people, though ignorant of the core teachings of Christianity, are willing to cast the first stone – the very thing that Jesus Christ Himself told us not to do. So many people live dissolute lives; yet are willing to judge the lifestyles of others, even when they know nothing about those lifestyles they are judging.

It is, perhaps, worth noting that Jesus said nothing—zilch—about homosexual love in his teachings. Upon close examination of Jesus’s teachings in the Bible, precisely nothing is to be found. You’d think if He thought it so important that He would have done so, wouldn’t you? In fact, in the Bible in its entirety, there is very little to be found about homosexuality at all; and NOTHING about homosexuality in its modern understanding. What is to be found, comes not from Christ Himself, but from Paul, for example, who was a convert to Christianity. Paul was previously known as Saul of Tarsus, who had his conversion to Christianity on the road to Damascus. Incidentally, Paul was in a protracted dispute with Jesus’s brother James about how Christianity should develop after Jesus’s death. James, apparently, wanted Christianity to remain close to its Judaic origins. Had James won the dispute, perhaps we’d all be donning phylacteries, or tefillin, when in prayer now! Just as practising Jews do.

What people of yore understood about loving someone of the same sex was very different from what we understand by this attraction today. Indeed, the very term ‘homosexuality’ was coined in recent times. People who lived in Biblical times had no understanding of ‘being gay’ as we understand it.

Now back to the Enlightenment…

The Enlightenment brought with it an ability to put aside superstition and irrational thought. Nowadays, we are losing that ability: so we are reverting to irrational thought!

This pandemic should have shown us all just how fragile life truly is. None of us can be sure of tomorrow. Not one of us! So why can’t we just learn to live together, side by side, in harmony, regardless of skin colour, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. If we are to believe in the Almighty, then one thing is certain: We are all God’s children; and we are just as He created us – with skin colour, eye colour, varying degrees of abilities and intelligence, and yes, sexual orientation, too.

To question God’s judgment is itself a manifestation of lack of religiosity. It is tantamount to questioning God’s wisdom. Further, how can we worship God and ask for and expect His mercy when we cannot ourselves show mercy to others? He who expects God’s mercy must, of necessity, show mercy to others. Not to do so, if one is a believer, is asking for God to judge you too – and be merciless! We are all God’s children; and He alone is our judge. The Day of Judgment will come soon enough! And I speak as a spiritual person rather than a committed religious one. I am simply applying Christian teachings as I was taught them and as I understand them. If I have erred, then the errors are mine alone.

But one thing is sure: The world would be a whole lot better and more peaceful place to live in if we adopted one simple principle, which is in accord with Christian teachings: Live and let live!

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© Mark Alexander