Jonah and Pinocchio

We went to messy church today and the story was Jonah and the Whale. If you don’t know it, basically God told Jonah (or Jonah just dreamed it from his own mind, if that makes it easier to swallow(?!)) to go and spread the word to the Naverenes as they were living badly and said if they didn’t reform in 40 days he’d do something dreadful. Jonah didn’t like the Naverenes so went off somewhere else instead on a boat. God sent a storm, so Jonah asked to be thrown overboard and got swallowed whole by a whale. After 3 days in the whale he got spat out and he went to speak to the Naverenes who mended their ways.

I don’t know if there is any literal truth to the story- has anyone ever survived inside a whale? But the message is simple and relevant:

Jonah is wrong to pass judgement and discriminate against the Naverenes.

God (or good humans if the word God offends) will always forgive wrongdoing once responsibility is taken and people make a change – Jonah and the Naverenes.

I personally don’t like the fact that the original message carries a threat, I think that is wrong as people should be enabled to choose the right path without being forced to as then they will live in fear and may only do the right thing as they are fearful, rather than because they truly believe it is the right thing. I guess Jonah could just tell them the real consequences of their wrongdoing? e.g. being selfish and greedy won’t make you happy, if everyone behaves like this you won’t be able to trust your fellow man so you’ll live in doubt and fear. If everyone behaves selflessly and acts with love for their fellow man, you can trust others and live life in joy and peace. 

So what about Pinocchio? It’s almost the same as Jonah, but more detailed. We accept the story as we know it is made up and respect the author’s intent. It is a simple story of redemption and Pinocchio straying from the path of learning – please note, learning isn’t simply accruing facts, it is also about achieving understanding and empathy for the whole of humanity and our environment. Eventually after a trip to the hellish funfair of delights where he ends up looking an ass he has to sacrifice himself into the sea to learn the truth of the consequences of his actions. Then he becomes a real boy and no longer a puppet.

I wonder if our current capitalist society isn’t making asses of us all as we respond puppetlike to the demands of state, advertising and a selfish (teenage, emotionally immature) society to earn more, want more and sacrifice our children to the same future?

Maybe if we sacrificed our know all attitude that makes us so easy to manipulate (like puppets) and accepted the “real boy/girl” deep in our hearts, we could get off the capitalist wheel of doom and wake up to the truth and beauty of the world around us? Will we encourage our children to follow their own path of learning through life, doing what they enjoy most? Or will we decide for them the path they should take that will lead to a good job at the end? What is more important? Living life in enjoyment with an ever open and inquiring mind? Or getting through life without rocking the boat or standing out as different to end up with status and power/money/knowledge over others?

 

Knowledge without understanding and empathy is useless. Learning isn’t about knowing facts, it is about understanding how to apply those facts for the common good.

 

It’s strange that on the one hand we want our children to be treated as unique individuals, but we also want them to fit in and behave like all the other children so they aren’t bullied for being different. Doesn’t that make them more susceptible to bullying as we teach them to behave as puppets with parents/teachers/authority/peer pressure/selfish society holding the strings? 

I prefer to teach my children that they are different to other children and point out the disadvantages we live with compared to other children in their peer group. However, in truth we are so lucky to have all that we have and we ought to look out for those less fortunate than ourselves. It is wrong to discriminate against people for things they cannot change, but it is perfectly OK to discriminate among children in your class who behave badly towards you. Never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, even if others think you are wrong, but at the same time be prepared to listen to those who hold different views and allow your understanding to deepen as you accept new ideas.

 

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Belief Vs Science

Believing a God of fairness and reason exists gives humans a reason to be fair and equitable in their affairs.

Scientifically we know there is no such God, but do we have to stop believing just because we know there isn’t a being overseeing our decisions?

I thank our ancestors for their belief which kept them modest in their desires to save resources for their children (us).

How will our descendants judge our current society? Are we using finite resources sparingly for their benefit?

God teaches us to want less and be more. This puts the good of humanity before the selfish whims of the individual.

Science and state currently teach us we can have what we want and never mind the consequences. The more we consume the better for the economy and therefore all of us, but in a capitalist society this just leads to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Parents invest in their children and stockpile wealth to give them an advantage over their peers, but then that leads to a generation of idleness, or children doubting their own abilities as they have never earned for themselves. The poor are unhappy, but so are the rich.

If ever there was a time for the church to step in and sort out what really matters, it is now. Our society is seriously selfish and warped and our education system has lost the plot. Unfortunately our church leaders don’t truly understand God. They are too busy insisting he is real to accept it is the concept of a fair minded forgiving judge that is most important.

It is only with absolute empathy for all humans as exactly equal that any of us can pass judgement on the affairs of others. How do we know if our empathy is absolute or that we don’t hold some deep seated discrimination at the core of our being that stop our judgement from being perfect?

Do we believe truly that we are equal to all other humans?
Or were we brought up to believe we are superior to other humans outside our family? In conflict we assume we are right and others are wrong.
Or were we brought up to put the needs of others before our own to such an extent that we believe our needs to be inferior to those of others? In conflict we automatically look to ourselves to see what we have done wrong.

Do we believe men and women are equal? Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. If we don’t treat boys and girls as equal  we can hardly expect them to grow up believing themselves to be equal. Belief and perception are equally as important as reality when it comes to the human mind.

I only know that believing and faith allow our minds to be open to new experience and new learning from other humans. Closing our minds to an ideal of absolute Godlike empathy leads to us closing our minds to people who behave differently to our experience.

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The wrong questions

I believe all people are created equally, this means I believe I am equal to the worst criminal sitting in a prison as well as Jesus, Plato, Aristotle, Budhha, The Queen, some random Mother born millennia ago who first told the story of Adam and Eve. We’ve just had different life experiences that’s all and the only reason I’m not a criminal in prison is because I have faith in myself and in others so have managed to lead an honest life. Until this year I also believed the authorities stood for the same things as me so I would be protected from the bad behaviour of others, but now I realise that isn’t so. It appears to me that the current authorities in England believe all people are inherently bad and to blame and deserving for any bad things that happen to them. I disagree. Vehemently!

Anyway, questions…

For centuries people have been asking how we were created and where is God and atheists have been poo pooing a whole religion as they don’t believe in a God on high. But just because God isn’t in outer space and we know about Darwin’s theory of evolution it doesn’t mean the Bible stories aren’t true.

Stop thinking literally and think metaphorically.

Stop trying to pick holes and show how clever you are and just accept there was a reason for the story to be included in the Bible and try to work out the lesson it is trying to teach. I haven’t read the whole Bible. I might do one day, but if you are a pedant I am sure you can find a story that is rubbish, contradictory to the main message of love and use that to dismiss the whole book. Don’t be such a teenager. Think a bit harder about why society at that time wanted to include that story. Extract the goodness from it, if there is no goodness in the story, dismiss that story, not the whole book.

What is Adam and Eve about? If you think back to when the story was created you can get a better understanding of why it endured.

Society was much simpler then. People would have lived in family groups with everyone knowing everyone. They would have taught their children about God as being the person the adults answer to in order to keep society equal and manage resources fairly. Then when the youngsters reach puberty and get a dose of hormones/energy, they would have been able to see that it is the grown ups who are actually in charge of resources and making things fair and that leads to them being tempted to go against the rules. After all, the only person they are answerable to is themselves. They would then have used their extra dose of hormones/energy to start building their own family, or wanting to explore and gain new knowledge of how things truly work. After having a few children the Mother would begin to learn from the children and understand why the rules they adhered to as a child were necessary and why belief in a God who was fair helps the children to believe in themselves. They would then be able to relax and let go a little as they teach their children to take responsibility for themselves so they can go back to feeling carefree again and regain their innocence.

So Adam and Eve were like innocent children having responsibility free and innocent fun, protected by God (parents). Eating from the tree of knowledge is what happens when they reach puberty and work out it is the adults who are actually responsible for creation (of children) and being fair and good. This sends them out of the Garden of Eden as responsibility makes things tougher – they are forced to grow up and cut the apron strings, realising the buck stops with them. There is nobody to blame if things go wrong but themselves.

Then Cain and Abel. What’s that all about? Sibling rivalry of course and the fact that parents aren’t perfect and they have their own likes and dislikes and you should aim to use your unique talents to please yourself, not your parents. God just happens to prefer sheep to the arable offerings of Cain (have I got that the right way round? I ought to check with a bible, but I’ll let you do that, or you can just go with the general gist), but Cain cares so deeply that his offering isn’t preferred that he kills his brother. Cain is then given the choice to conquer over sin. He has committed a terrible crime through jealousy, yet instead of being struck down he is still given the option to learn how to change his behaviour.

We haven’t changed biologically since Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel. Think about how cosseted and carefree you were as a child (assuming you had a happy childhood – I hope you did), now modern society is in teenage. We are stuck in the doing phase, striving for more knowledge, building our families, our homes, trying to work more hours to afford more stuff. We are still looking for ultimate approval, a validation for our lives so that we can reach a point where we can relax and just enjoy “being” again, like a child. But it is only when we stop “doing” and look around to see the only people we are accountable to is our children that we can relax.

Children don’t care what their parents do for a living, they don’t care if they are rich or poor providing they are safe and looked after. Our children accept us as we are. As people. As the human animal we have been trying not to be as we substitute status, money, knowledge, drugs, alcohol for the feeling we miss from childhood. The feeling is still there within us. We just have to slow down and allow ourselves to just “be”. Let go of all our hang ups and insecurities, our children can’t see them. Our children judge us by our actions towards them and others, the way we make them feel, not by what we say or how much stuff we give them. Acknowledge you have insecurities and hang ups and work out how to resolve them so you don’t pass them on. Take full responsibility for your life then begin to let go and relax and teach your children how to be responsible too – use my 2 rules, they are all you need.

So basically what I’m saying is, stop wondering about God. Accept that a Mother created God to help children learn how to take responsibility for themselves and live a fair and joyful life. God is relevant to us today as we still suffer the same failings as humans millennia ago – wanting to know too much, not enjoying responsibility, but also not enjoying being told what to do by mere mortals, jealousy, seeking approval.

We are no better emotionally, mentally or physically than the first people who walked the earth, we just think we are because our society is so complicated we’ve distanced ourselves from our humanity.

So stop questioning where, what, how God and begin to understand why.

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