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Apr-17-2009 07:23TweetFollow @OregonNews
The Challenge of TruthKenneth G. Ramey Salem-News.com
It seems a misnomer to suggest that God is Love when Jews claim to be Jehovah’s Chosen People, Islam considers Jews and Christians to be instruments of the Devil, and the Christian God loves only Christians...
(PASO ROBLES, Calif.) - Religious enthusiasm evokes in some conduct that runs contrary to the teaching of their faith, and is not limited to the clergy.
Mother had cancer, and when I got a call that she was being returned to the hospital, I drove to her apartment and found the ambulance backed into the driveway that served other apartments as well.
Its lights were flashing and the rear door open to receive mother who was being carried very carefully down the stairs, and would be gone in a matter of minutes. But the Apartment Manager was in her car and leaning on the horn. It was Sunday, and she was indignant. "Move!" she hollered, "I'm going to be late for Church."
She was of the Greek Orthodox persuasion. Later, her husband stopped by to apologize, but such hypocrisy does little to convince me religion is a purveyor of love.
It seems a misnomer to suggest that God is Love when Jews claim to be Jehovah’s Chosen People, Islam considers Jews and Christians to be instruments of the Devil, and the Christian God loves only Christians, some of whom suggest He loves them more than others. If there really is One God, you would never know it. Nations and individuals, with the mind of those who have been taught, continue to perpetuate the artificiality of their faith and lives by adhering to the persuasion of religious leaders more interested in power than with Truth.
True and considerate love recognizes the commonality of man, and seeks to understand rather than react aggressively to cultural or political differences that only widen the divide. Responsible love strives to be in tune with reality, and accepts that there is unity in diversity, the common emotional aspect of every human's being.
It is the opposite of what is known as the Ugly American syndrome that judges others against one’s own comfort instead of trying honestly to appreciate the values of others; the sort of love that will produce a Citizen of the World.
When human decency is teamed with consideration, it can be an exercise in fundamental wisdom. In my youth I had a friend whose car was always running out of gas. I helped push that car in all sorts of weather and at all hours of the day and night.
Consequently, I made up my mind that when I owned a car I would always drive on the top half of the tank. For, once the investment is made, it costs no more to drive on the top half of the tank than the bottom. Besides contributing to my peace of mind there was the added comfort of knowing those who rode with me would never have to get out and push. Immediate gratification between sexes does not always lead to happiness, whereas delayed satisfaction more often than not will lead to a grander sense of fulfillment if it results in married bliss.
Responsible love is no guarantee of the best of both worlds, but fulfillment [a combination of respect and spontaneity] is more likely if the focus is on delayed satisfaction.
“Social dysfunction” is a term used to describe persons whose need for immediate gratification prevents them from realizing the value of deferred rewards. Such persons may become a liability to themselves and to those close to them. They may be acting out attitudes that are a product of their givens [even if defensively] or their conduct could be an inherent condition.
Either way, they may be said to suffer from a state of poverty, not having enough sense or sagacity to take seriously the need to care for basics because the immediacy of their desire ignores the richness of enlightened fulfillment. Narcissism [excessive self-centeredness] focuses on the “now” that blinds people to truths hidden by imprinting and visceral reactions [or urges] that reject deferred logic and reason.
Propaganda can produce similar results. It is really sad to see how willingly some people will act against their own interest in favor of the super-rich and politicians who dream up false schemes such as the 2009 tea-bag revolt, a test and a ruse perpetrated by the Republican Party to discern how gullible [and reliable] is its indoctrinated but uninformed base that will act as a block without the foggiest notion of the damage they are doing to themselves or to the nation.
Their minds are like a prison that confines persons who have never seen the inside of a jail. It is a condition of mental incarceration that denies people the chance for self-realization because their thinking is controlled by others. Frustration only adds to the condition that, if one is not careful, can lead hopeful escapees into rougher rather than calmer waters.
Common sense dissolves into impetuosity especially when combined with frustration that together can rob folk of their better judgment - the failure to consider the consequences of what may seem an opportunity - but that has led many unsuspecting folk into a lifetime of regret. There is no more beautiful love than that which is dedicated to helping others realize and become the “self” within them, especially children.
Children should be treated with affection, but not as pets; they need direction if they are to succeed in the culture into which they happened to be born. A Chinese proverb says “as the twig is bent, so the tree is inclined,” that implies parents should use good and proper judgment in preparing a child for his role as a contributing adult. It takes imagination to visualize what a child can be, and responsible love to remain focused long enough to see the vision fulfilled, keeping in mind that tendencies should play a role in the final result as well.
One cannot know precisely the composition of another's fundamental mass of life tendencies, even of his child. Exploration and flexibility are the essentials necessary to discovery, and patience and persistence the ingredients for success if the potential of a child’s life is to be realized. Parents are not totally responsible for the result, but they have an obligation to see that the child gets off on the right foot. For children do become adults, and need to be guided and prepared to accept responsibility for their own conduct and the future good of their community.
Except in the case of ignorance, or where an ulterior motive is involved, true love will not impose upon the mind of others beliefs that have not passed the test of logic and common sense. Yet, each generation having been taught by its predecessor, the next generation will be taught as was the current generation, and teachers will believe that what they teach the next truly is correct when given in the name of religion. But religion has a history of forcing on others a communal Love of God at the expense of individual rights to personal fulfillment according to logic and their inborn tendencies.
In the 1980s I asked a Protestant minister [about to retire] to have lunch with me to discuss matters of religion. To my surprise I learned he never had read Plato. He had preached all these years unfamiliar with the philosophy of the man whose works are fundamental to the Institution of Christianity. Nor was he familiar with the Hermetic Tradition that contributed so much to the Gospel of John, the last of the four.
I knew then that I must somehow contribute to the avoidance of error through logic which is as much an act of love, in my opinion, as is the application of religious band aids to spiritual-wounds artificially inflicted. The challenge that life extends to all mankind is one of distinction, to discern accurately between what we have been led to believe is true, and what logically is not based on independent evaluation. Truth must be pursued alone and with an open mind to avoid the habit of believing what others would have us believe.
I read a lot, and have a bookmark on which is written, “life is a book, but he who does not travel reads just one page.” I’ve traveled a lot too, but writing itself is a journey. I seldom wrote an article but what I learned something I hadn’t noticed previously; it was fun and often an eye-opener.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Bonnie and Tim King of salem-news.com, for providing a platform and encouraging me in the endeavor I now consider concluded.
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