Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 14:05
For those millions around the world stopping to reflect on the significance of Easter this weekend, it would be a good time to reflect on the conundrum posed by the saying “No good deed will ever go unpunished”. As an ultimate sceptic and while recognising that the New Testament was written by men, and edited years later in Constantinople, I do not find one inconsistent statement contributed to Jesus himself, only in what has been written about him. If therefore Jesus was responsible as Christians see for the world’s best “Good Deed”, saving us all from sin whatever that is, then he bears out that it did not go unpunished.
So go back a few thousand years and the beginning of some of our current surviving religions, or even further to the emergence of the cave men and we are faced by the ultimate question or where do we go to from here? This has always been man’s greatest fear in in the absence of any way of scientifically proving where this is, men have had to invent theories from which they can derive hope. They had to always think that there was some ultimate power greater than themselves and the wise men of the time solved that by having people worship the stars, the heavens and then of course Gods they created as living in those far off place. Without such ultimate power which must have all the answers, it would be difficult to live with the belief that man was put on earth for no practical purpose.
Religion then became an art form and drummed into the minds of everyone who needed relief from this fear. Of course leaders were smart enough to realise as even Karl Marx postulate, religion as the opiate of the masses, so some identified themselves as Gods themselves. This gets a bit dangerous when plagues hit their country and they as Gods can’t do anything about it so it was safer to separate leadership and the ruling classes. Hence priests were invented although at times as with the Pope, the separation became obscure. This religion was also handy when sending men into battle since without the promise of heaven and God on their side, fewer might resist heading off to the slaughter. Could things go wrong? Under Islam there is the promise of 72 Virgins but Arabic reads from right to left so perhaps it is only 27 Virgins?
While religion needs to promise rewards, we cannot have religion without the fear of punishment and retribution to keep the plebs in line. If there were no fear there would be nothing beyond natural attribution from keeping people from driving on both sides of the road. We have to have a Hell and for those issues on which it is difficult to legislate, like "honour your father and mother" and to some extent "don’t commit adultery", you have to have as number one, believe in your God and your Religion, OR ELSE. At least Christianity says offer the other cheek while Islam says Ha Ha.
So the years role on and we still do not have scientific proof as to where we finish up. Until we overcome this hurdle it is likely that religions will remain, and fighting continues over "My God is better than your God", or how many virgins will you get under yours?
Meanwhile we celebrate Easter and the symbols of Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs which really having nothing to do with Jesus but originated as a Pagan festival on the Spring Equinox. Neither was the resurrection anything new from Egyptian Horus, the Sumerian Goddess Inshtar through to Dionysus who brought his Mum back to life. All of this is of course inconvenient for the main stream Christian Church but until science provides a solution, people hang on this as their hope.
So while we wait on science” for an answer, the second saying goes like “Be careful what you wish for: they might in fact prove there is nothing there and all mankind can be self-serving, selfish, murderous and…. well you get the message.
Meanwhile we can enjoy an Easter break and contemplate what we can do for others and the sayings which provide an inconvenient truth.