An Atheist Sermon

Jesus taught a new Prime Directive: Where you find evil, return good.

jesus teaching on mountain

pleni sunt caeli … the heavens are full

Why is a modern atheist like me a student of a Jewish preacher from 2,000 years ago?

Because I believe our current bad monkey behavior has no future. It  would be heartbreaking to wipe ourselves out while we stand at the threshhold to the stars. But: Now that there are over 8 billion of us, we consume everything in sight and threaten not only ourselves but most of the life on this planet. What’s wrong with this picture? 

Religions are part of the problem, not the solution. They endorse and promote what the rulers of society want for their own benefit - wealth and wars. Paul diverted Jesus' small Jewish sect into a full blown greek mystery religion, with magic and miracles, including raising the dead. Then, with Constantine's help, it became the Imperial state religion of the Roman Empire.  

I agree with Jesus that we need a new start, both as a society and as individuals. Jesus called his new society the Kingdom of God and our individual change being reborn. Translating across 2,000 years, we find two steps to his challenge:

1 - Guide yourself from within,
           instead of being channeled by the external forces of society and religion

We created society. It took us to the Moon. BUT it also teaches greed and racism, war and militarism, mostly to benefit a few at the expense of everybody else. There have been some before - that broke free of society. Who has this kind of courage? -  Jesus, Francis, Becket, Tolstoy, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero. You? Me? Isn’t it amazing how one loving heart can shake the world?

2 - Where you find evil, return good.  or as Tolstoy said it:
            There is only one way to put an end to evil, and that is to do good for evil.

From nature, we know that like produces like. Figs produce figs. Grapes produce grapes. Apples produce apples. Similarly, Evil produces evil. War produces war. Hate produces hate. But returning evil for evil, bad for bad, increases, even multiplies the amount of evil - in a world of tit for tat morality. As MLKjr pointed out“An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind..” When however, we return good for evil we increase the amount of good in the world, instead of increasing the amount of evil. Let us tip the scales for good.

This is a long way from society’s churchianity,
but very simple, if you have the courage:

1 - Guide yourself from within.

2 - Be new humans with new behavior:

Where you find evil, return good.

And I will leave you with that. Yes, most of religion is bogus bull. Even the actual teachings of Jesus are hard to find in all the clutter. But there is treasure here. Here is what I found.

This might be our last chance.

_________________________

NEXT >>>>> Jesus, A Master Teacher

© Gareth Harris 2017       --------        Contact email: garethharris@mac.com        --------         see also: GarethHarris.com