Do you need the bible to be a good person?

Do you need the bible to be a good person?


Absolutely no. You can use the bible to be a good person but it is important to understand the fact that there is a sense of right and wrong which is somewhat real to almost every person, except for the medically insane. This is also what C.S Lewis also talks about in the opening chapters of his classic book “Mere Christianity”, the moral law, as he called it. And one can be a good person without the bible.

Of late I have heard a lot of atheist complaining about christians that since the atheist lack a christian faith that automatically means they are without morals or people with no sense of morals. This is very wrong of us to do. This should not be done.

I have seen a lot of atheist-theist wars and now most of them just seem silly to me, an theist venting out or an atheist venting out are just that, folks who need to vent and on one needs to take it seriously as a moral crusader on both sides to just prove the point because frankly, loud mouthed bashing seldom hits home and rarely makes an impact, if at all.

There is a flaw in the argument when we say he is an atheist therefore his moral compass is bound to be screwed. He may not have a book to show you where he gets his morals from, and to be honest most atheists don’t feel the need to have a book at all, but that does not mean that he can’t be moral person. When in the dark ages and the days of the early church, when the church for almost a thousand years had forbidden the average believer like you and me to not read the bible or own one, does that mean all of those people were moral-lacking people who survived, prayed, believed and died for their faith, despite never even reading a bible? Not at all.

This fundamental error in judgement is a gross mistake of ours and when we need to stop making it. While a lot of atheists may lack a source of objective morals, unlike christians who think they have the objective basis, it is still not a fine point we need to hammer down just to feel that we have an upper hand in the argument.

Respect your neighbor because that is still a step behind than love your neighbour which we should be aiming at, even if that neighbor turns out to be an atheist or a hindu or a muslim or a mormon or a gay person that should not stop us from accepting the fact that they are too God’s children, and it is by your love they will see your morals and your faith.

You can be theologically correct while being empty in the spirit, devoid of the fruit of love which in a believer should be foremost and abundant. There is a fine line between good apologetics and bigotry. There is a fine line between defending your faith and insulting others.

Even Paul said that the law of God is written on the heart of men, even when they lack a written law. This is what the bible says at Romans 2:13-16. Is it that hard to accept it then?

Chill out folks, build bridges, not burn them. People can be of differing faiths and be very nice and good, having good morals. Lets be accepting rather than rejecting. Better, respectful communication leads to a healthier discussion. If you aim to interact, do it the right way.

The Law of Human Nature

The Law of Human Nature


Every one  has heard people quarrelling. Sometimes  it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely  unpleasant; but however it sounds,  I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”-“That’s my seat, I  was there  first”-“Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you  any  harm”-  “Why should  you  shove in first?”-“Give me a  bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine”-“Come on, you promised.” People say things like that  every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups.

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying  that the other man’s behaviour does not  happen to  please him.  He is  appealing  to some kind of  standard  of behaviour  which he expects  the  other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: “To hell with your standard.” Nearly always he tries to make out that  what  he  has been  doing  does  not really  go against  the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse. He pretends there is some  special reason in this particular case why the person  who took the seat first should not  keep it, or that things were quite different  when he was given the bit of orange, or that something  has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise. It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in  mind  some kind of  Law or  Rule  of  fair play  or decent  behaviour or morality or  whatever you like to  call it, about which they  really agreed. And they have. If they had not, they might,  of course, fight  like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word. Quarrelling means trying to  show  that the  other man is  in the wrong. And there would be no sense in  trying to do that  unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as  there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul  unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.

Now this Law or Rule about Right and Wrong used to be called the Law of Nature.  Nowadays,  when we talk of  the  “laws of  nature”  we usually mean things like gravitation, or heredity, or the laws of chemistry. But when the older thinkers called the Law of Right and Wrong “the Law of Nature,” they really meant the Law of Human Nature.  The idea was that, just as all bodies are  governed by the law of gravitation and organisms by biological laws, so the creature  called man also had his law-with this great difference, that a body could not choose whether it obeyed the law of gravitation or not, but a man could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it.

We  may put this in another way. Each  man is at every moment subjected to  several different sets of law but there is only one of these which he is free to  disobey. As  a  body,  he is subjected to  gravitation  and  cannot disobey it; if  you leave  him unsupported in mid-air, he has no more choice about falling than a stone has. As an organism, he  is subjected  to various biological laws  which he  cannot disobey any more than an  animal can. That is, he cannot  disobey those laws which he shares with other things; but the law which is peculiar to  his human nature, the law  he does not share  with animals or vegetables or inorganic  things, is the  one he can disobey if he chooses.

This law was called the Law of Nature because people thought that every one knew it by nature and  did  not need to be taught it. They did not mean, of course, that you might not find an odd individual here and there who  did not  know it, just as you find a few  people who are colour-blind or have no ear for a tune. But  taking the race as a whole, they thought that the human idea of decent behaviour  was  obvious to every one. And I believe they were right. If they  were  not, then all the things  we  said about the war  were nonsense.  What was  the sense in saying the enemy were in the  wrong unless Right  is a  real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we did and ought to have practised? If they had had no notion of what we mean by right, then, though we might still have  had  to fight them,  we could no more have blamed them for that than for the colour of their hair. I  know that  some  people  say the idea of a Law  of  Nature or decent behaviour known to all men is unsound, because different  civilisations  and different ages have had quite different moralities. But  this  is  not  true.  There have  been differences  between  their moralities,  but  these  have  never  amounted  to  anything  like  a  total difference.

If anyone  will take the  trouble to compare the  moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians,  Babylonians,  Hindus,  Chinese, Greeks  and Romans, what will really  strike him will be how very like they  are to each other  and to our own. Some of the evidence for this I have put together  in the appendix of  another  book  called  The Abolition of  Man; but  for  our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality  would  mean. Think  of  a country  where  people were admired  for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might  just as well try to imagine a country  where  two  and  two made five. Men  have differed  as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to-whether it was only your own  family, or your  fellow  countrymen, or everyone. But  they have always agreed that you ought  not to  put yourself  first. Selfishness has never been  admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they  have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.

But the most remarkable thing is this. Whenever you find a man who say she  does not believe in a real Right  and  Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later.  He  may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to  him he  will be complaining “It’s  not fair” before you  can say Jack Robinson. A  nation may  say treaties  do  not matter, but then,  next minute, they  spoil  their case  by saying that  the  particular treaty they want to break was an unfair one.  But if treaties do not matter, and if there is  no such thing  as Right and Wrong- in other words, if there is  no Law of Nature-what  is  the difference between a fair treaty  and  an unfair  one? Have they not let  the  cat out  of  the bag  and  shown  that, whatever they say, they really know the Law of Nature just like anyone else?

It seems,  then,  we are forced to  believe in a real Right  and Wrong. People may  be sometimes mistaken about them,  just as people sometimes  get their sums wrong;  but they are not  a matter of mere taste and  opinion any more than the multiplication table. Now if we are agreed about that, I go on to my next point, which is  this. None of us are  really keeping the Law  of Nature. If there are any exceptions among you, I apologise to them. They had much better read some  other work, for nothing I am  going  to say  concerns them. And now, turning to the ordinary human beings who are left:

I  hope  you will not  misunderstand what I am going to  say.  I am not preaching, and Heaven knows I do not pretend  to be better than anyone else. I  am only  trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year,  or this  month, or,  more likely, this very day, we  have  failed  to  practise ourselves  the kind of  behaviour we expect from other people.  There may be all sorts of excuses for us. That time you  were so unfair  to the  children was  when  you were  very  tired. That  slightly  shady business  about  the money-the one you have almost forgotten-came when you were very hard up. And what you  promised to do for  old  So-and-so and  have  never done-well, you never would have promised  if  you had known how frightfully busy  you  were going to  be. And as for  your behaviour to your wife (or husband) or sister (or brother) if I knew how irritating they could  be, I would  not wonder at it-and who the dickens am I, anyway? I am just the same.  That is  to say, I do not succeed in keeping the Law of Nature very well, and the moment anyone tells me I am not keeping it, there starts up in my mind a string of excuses as long as your arm. The question at the moment is not whether they are good excuses. The point is that they are one more proof of how deeply, whether we like it or  not, we  believe in the Law of Nature.

If we  do not  believe in decent behaviour, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently? The truth is, we believe in  decency  so much-we  feel the Rule or Law pressing on us so- that we cannot bear  to face the fact that we are breaking  it,  and consequently we try to shift the  responsibility. For you  notice that  it is  only  for our bad behaviour  that we find all these explanations. It is only our bad  temper that we  put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.

These, then,  are the two points  I wanted to  make. First, that  human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in  a certain way, and cannot  really get rid of it. Secondly,  that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law  of Nature; they break it.

These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.

**********

From Mere Christianity, Chapter 1: The Law of Human Nature

by C.S. Lewis.

 

Condemning Sin or Imparting Grace

Condemning Sin or Imparting Grace


Harold_Copping_The_Prodigal_Son_400On August 30th last year, I wrote somewhat of a controversial post titled “Love thy gay neighbor”. One of my friends, over the phone told me that I had gone overboard with it and that if someone was a liar or a thief would I love them too? He is not a bad person but he wanted to convey his point and so he did and I gently explained to him why I wrote what I wrote and that I stood by it. Yes I do support the gay cause, I say this at a risk of offending my close friends but I have good reasons to hold on to what I believe and I love my friends and hope that they see my reasons too. But back then when I told my friend this, he replied:

“But shouldn’t we condemn sin?”

And it caught my attention. Because I have was hoping he would say:

“But shouldn’t we love the sinner?” he didn’t say that.

This regrettably shows the attitude we Christians on the upfront have adapted. It is strictly not about the gay issue, it is about every issue that we take an offense to. Talking with my friend six months back, I realized this is what the church generally is teaching our congregations and our children, they teach them to condemn, we may not have been teaching them this aggressively but that scale tips because we teach them this attitude passively by playing it out in front of them. Through our actions we validate our error and pass it on.

Our focus has shifted. We are called the house of God, but we are moving towards the point where we are a house of legalistic people who pick out gnats but leave the greater truths of the gospel, love and mercy, aside. What difference is there among us and the pharisees of Christ’s time, if we are only looking to condemn, let that be people or sin, we don’t care; the whole point of Christ dying for sinners is lost when we engage in this behavior. Read more

Drones for Children

Drones for Children


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A drone toy for children ages 3 and up has recently sparked a forum for satire on its Amazon page. The Tailwinds toy is titled “Scale Die Cast United States Military Aircraft – US Air Force Medium Altitude, Long Endurance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator.”

As if kids weren’t already militarized enough, this toy normalizes our new, perhaps most abhorrent form of war for children — some of whom aren’t even old enough to read yet.

Fortunately, Amazon users began mocking the toy in its review section, disparaging drone use while managing to pull off such hilarious sarcasm. As one reviewer complimented these satirical critiques: “The reviews that this abomination has generated have restored some of my hope and faith in humanity.”

Here are the 10 most biting reviews for the drone toy: Read more

How do you define a terrorist?

How do you define a terrorist?


“Remember, remember the 5th of November. The gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.”

These are the the lines of the movie V for Vendetta, which in my opinion, is a movie which openly endorses a terrorist as far as he is shown in the movie. It is a brilliant and yet love me/hate me kind of film. Frankly because it shows another side of the terrorist problem we seem to be facing in the real world a lot lately.

vendetta_07V: …A building is a symbol, as is the act of destroying it. Symbols are given power by people. Alone, a symbol is meaningless, but with enough people, blowing up a building can change the world.

Obvious tones to the 9/11 incident but V puts out another riddle, how do you define justice and how do you define a terrorist?

Adam Lanza made headlines around the globe and didn’t live to see it. And now I see everyone either going anti-gun or pro-gun. The question which is left in the middle is not why Adam Lanza did such a horrible thing?. The real question is what did he think he was doing? Sounds weird, right. I guess some might even find it mildly insulting that I am trying to soften the image of Adam. Far from the truth I think, there is a good deal to look at here which people aren’t looking at.

Adam Lanza probably justified himself in a horrible way. And that he ended it turning the gun to himself only means a few things:

1.He was too proud to be caught, like many other killers, especially Hitler.

2. He knew he had done wrong, and though he might have acted out in rage, he saw he did something terrible and the guilt made him kill himself too.

3. He just didn’t care about how anybody viewed him, he was tired of life. He knew he was not brave enough to speak out or make a statement and he knew that no one would listen to him or believe what he had to say. 

He was no Timothy McVeigh, no political agenda, nothing.  Adam Lanza was isolated, he was shy, he was unable to communicate properly. These are all factors, which are in many many people at his age. I was the same in school and college, hell, I am still a bit reclusive. These things don’t make anyone a mass murderer.

Out of the three IMAGINATIVE scenarios that my poor intellect can form, I am most scared by the third. Because that reflects a problem which doesn’t end with the criminal.

It starts with motive, thought, guilt, remorse, redemption and pain, tremendous amount of pain or pressure. Where the person starts to see himself as a victim against a system. That is the time when a terrorist is born. Read more

Materialism and Consciousness: an atheist talks

Materialism and Consciousness: an atheist talks


Consciousness makes evolutionary sense only if one does not start far enough back; if, that is to say, one fails to assume a consistent and sincere materialist position, beginning with a world without consciousness, and then considers whether there could be putative biological drivers for organisms to become conscious. This is the only valid starting point for those who look to evolution to explain consciousness, given that the history of matter has overwhelmingly been without conscious life, indeed without history. Once the viewpoint of consistent materialism is assumed, it ceases to be self-evident that it is a good thing to experience what is there, that it will make an organism better able so to position itself in the causal net as to increase the probability of replication of its genomic material. On the contrary, even setting aside the confusional states it is prone to, and the sleep it requires, consciousness seems like the worst possible evolutionary move.

If there isn’t an evolutionary explanation of consciousness, then the world is more interesting than biologists would allow. Read more
Can opinions be wrong? Walking the thin line.

Can opinions be wrong? Walking the thin line.


You should always believe in your self,…but not when you are wrong!

Every once in a while I get the chance to run into someone who thinks that they know the Bible. Atheists, Christians, Agnostics, it can be any individual from any group. And unfortunately they have read their bibles 10 times at least. I say at least because they haven’t read it in full. No, they just cherry pick stories and read it. The first three books of the Bible Genesis and Exodus and Leviticus, Joshua, Job, Kings, Chronicles, Jonah, the gospels, and revelation. Most people only read these 15 books out of the 66 which are in the standard protestant canon – and they think they understood the complicated history, the texture, the technicalities of the most widely read book in history. Atheists often do not read the Bible at all or read it selectively, they would prefer a “killer” book by some very outspoken atheist than read the Gospel.

So getting to know these 15 books out of the 66, makes an atheist comfortable, because he or she thinks they got it nailed down. I have rarely met an atheist who actually knows about Biblical scholarship without talking from both sides of his mouth. This is not a generalization, simply my experience.  And not to begrudge my good atheist friends, I admit it without any hesitation that the same goes for most Christians too, they do not have any idea about the intricacy of the Bible, they just love the Sunday school stories and that’s pretty much about it.

Anyone who wants to critically look at the Bible should know three things before they even think about establishing views about the Bible.

1. Hermeneutics

2. Exegesis

3. Context and historical background

If you do not know these principles do not bother wasting your time. It is like digging up a dinosaur fossil with your bare hands and no knowledge of placing it right in the tree of life, you will mess up big time and people do. Most people I have seen barely know the last point. And yet people are forming opinions as if their opinions are based on some scholarship, that scholarship usually means a few pages of some website which they skimmed through. Read more