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Reason vs Emotion

The Pentateuch, which constitutes the first five books of the Christian Bible’s Old Testament, is attributable to Moses and also forms part of the Jewish holy works. Throughout the Bible there are frequent mentions of the prophets, inspired teachers who claimed to bring the words of the one god to the people.

Islam was the message brought by Muhammad, who recognised much of the Jewish faith and regarded Jesus Christ as an important prophet, but claimed his own teachings should replace those of all the prophets who came before him.

All of these ancient messengers, recorded by the Jews, Christians and Muslims – all of whom, unlike the Hindus, the Greeks and the Romans, believed in just one god – were responsible for trying to establish a unifying set of laws for life. This, in turn, was intended to ensure that a community could live in harmony, recognising a superior being to whom they looked for guidance.

And, of course, mankind being what it is, this enabled the religious leaders to gain power – and we all know what power does!

Moses’ 10 commandments were a refinement of the laws of Hammurabi, an ancient king of Babylon, whose reign preceded the life of Moses, and whose code included the ‘eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth’ directive which is a foundation stone for Islamic Sharia law.

When you stop to think about the past, relying on rational thought rather than blind faith, you realise that the history of mankind is a search for answers.

At a simplistic level, what is thunder, and why does it follow lightning? When and how did we find the answer?

‘The more we know, the more we know we don’t know!’ is a trite but true statement.

A more modern saying is that ‘the only two certainties in life are death and taxes’ but, in my view, we need to modify it to read ‘there are at least three certainties in life, which are – change, death and taxes’.

Many aspects of change we take for granted, even though, when they first occurred, there might have been strong opposition to accepting them.

We witness this opposition today in the refusal by many religious people to accept knowledge which conflicts with their ancient rules for life.

At a trivial level, residents in the Middle East in ancient days had food laws which modern scientists recognise as sensible for an era when refrigeration had not yet become a possibility. But because these rules for living became part of religious ritual, they are now rigidly followed as being holy directives.

I have drawn attention elsewhere to the refusal of the Christian church hierarchy to accept scientific findings that are contrary to what the bible teaches.

It is only very recently that secular society has accepted that members of the LGBTQI community are not refusing, as a matter of choice, to be designated in a binary context but were born non-binary. Needless to say, the strongest opposition to accepting this as fact comes from the religious communities. They are putting belief in ancient ignorance above acceptance of modern scientific knowledge – even though they happily use refrigerators, fly in airplanes, mostly accept modern medical services (there are stand-out exceptions in some religious communities) and generally have adapted to most of the advances resulting from scientific research.

Much of what I have said above is based on my own educational experience. My specialist studies have been in mathematics and law, but a very broad general education has given me a curious mind and a desire to search for answers.

My reading in the context of history, indicates that, at least in Britain, the first ‘toe in the door’ to separate canon law from secular law came in the 16th century. Henry VIII had an interesting marital history which led to a serious lessening of the influence of the Roman Catholic Church canon law on the law of the land.

While England still regards Christianity as the recognised state religion, there is no coercion about it and the practice of other religions is tolerated.

BUT – and it is a big BUT – the law of the land is always paramount.

Here in Australia, thanks (or no thanks!) to having elected a significant number of politicians who refuse to represent their constituency, rather than their personal religious affinity, we no longer preference secular law over religious belief – however ill-founded.

And because the strongest religious influence appears to preference the ignorance of the biblical story over the rational advice of the scientists, we are refusing to take the action necessary to ensure out children will have a world worth living in!

Forget the arguments that our efforts would be a drop in the ocean – even though we know the ocean is going to rise to unacceptable levels for island nations.

Every time one more nation takes positive efforts, the pressure on other nations to do likewise in increased.

Our Constitution requires us to have a secular government. Is there a case for taking action against the current Coalition government for failing to act in accordance with the Constitution?

There is certainly a case for civil disobedience IMHO!

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  1. Jack Cafe

    ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’
    That injunction tells me two things
    1. That he admits there are other gods (otherwise why forbid people to worship them before – ie, ahead – of JHWH?) and
    2. He spoke Jacobean English.

    But it’s bollocks, really. As in all things human, you judge a man by the company he keeps, and a god by the arseholes he appoints to represent him.
    Say no more…

  2. Joseph Carli

    Joe Carli
    @JAYSEE423 1:31 pm · 22 Sep 2019
    “The State” & “The Government” are 2 different entities…The State is a constitutional authority, while The Government is a group of people representing a constituency w/vested interests..the two cannot be confused..The LNP have usurped authority of The State..they are traitors.

    Joe Carli
    The LNP has used its numbers in The House to force through legislation that is contrary to the fair meaning of the constitution. It has usurped the judiciary of the land to justify its tyranny & thieving by over-riding those constitutional safe-guards..They are traitors to Aust’.

    Joe Carli
    The LNP have usurped the principles of fair and just legislation to create edicts of cruel and injust legal precedence that causes hurt and suffering to so many of the nation’s citizens that they can rightfull be named as “enemies of The State”

    Joe Carli
    While most of us have little knowledge of the intricacies of legal jurisprudence, particularly in constitutional law, we..of a certain age understand in lay-terms what constitutes fair & just laws of the land, & what is understood when a law is made that must satisfy the majority

    Joe Carli
    I call for constitutional justice NOW & for The LNP to be charged with an act of treason against the People & their Administrative Body : The State…They have usurped the power of The State NOT for the benefit of the nation, but only for the profit of themselves & their backers.
    Joe Carli
    I..as a free endowed citizen of The State of Australia, name the LNP & backers as ; “Enemies of The State” & call on my fellow citizens to do likewise and call out this travesty of justice that allows this “illegal government” to further cause hurt, harm and damage to The State.
    Joe Carli
    The LNP has stolen the authority of The State to manufacture a favourable situation for the profiteering of themselves & their backers against the interests of the majority of the citizens of The State..They are traitors to the principles of democracy as a servant of the people.

  3. Matters Not


    … history of mankind is a search for answers. … a desire to search for answers

    So the answers are already there – just waiting to be discovered? That we are born possessing all knowledge (buried deep in our souls) and our realization of that knowledge is contingent on our discovery of it?

    If so, then how does it fit with the notion (at the heart of modern science) that all answers we construct are always tentative? There to be replaced when a new theory picks out additional facts … etc

    Perhaps Plato’s legacy lives on. At least in the language we use.

  4. Keitha Granville

    We are at grave risk of the church overtaking the state. Never mind decrying fundamental regimes like Iran, we are heading in the direction of becoming a fundamentalist pentecostal state. We women will all be forced to wear shapeless clothing and follow several steps behind our husbands (although Jenny has improved her wardrobe of late), mandatory religious instruction in schools will be next, no work on Sundays. . . . Aarrggghhhhh !!!

    This went out with button up boots, what the hell are we doing allowing to creep back in !! I have no problem with anyone’s faith as long as they keep it to themselves.

  5. Rosemary J36

    MN: My understanding is that there is only one way to ‘construct’ knowledge and that is piece by piece. We conduct experiments to compare the outcome with our hypothesis and look at the probability that the match is close. We will never get a perfect match, which is why further experiments are conducted, often having tweaked the expectations. It is all essentially based on the ‘what is most likely’ principle.
    To rely on ‘beliefs’ based on ancient knowledge is to be stuck in the past, using candles when we could be using led light sources.
    Dreaming of a paradise after death may make life seem less desperate, and, since we will never know whether the promise will be fulfilled, it does no harm – unless it is attached to seeking martyrdom by killing others with a few virgins as temptation. Terribly sexist!
    The most important part of any religion is the ethical system which it embraces. And you do not need to believe in one god, or a pantheon of gods, to appreciate that if we all respected others, accepted difference and tried to help those who need help, then life on earth would be much better.
    Too many do not recognise the satisfaction that can flow from a moment’s unselfishness!
    However, we have to accept that free will ensures that not all will share that approach to life, and we need to make laws which enable the greatest possible good for the greatest possible number.

  6. Joseph Carli

    The Ant.

    The ant, in silence, goes about
    It’s ordered business,
    It builds nests,
    And it knows.

    The worm, in depths of dark, damp Earth,
    Tunnels and turns,
    In silence,
    And it knows.

    Humanity, goes about its intent,
    With all the noise and rancour
    Of accrued wisdom,
    But it knows not.

  7. John Lord

    What is the difference between the purpose of life and the reason for it.

  8. Joseph Carli

    ” What is the difference between the purpose of life and the reason for it.”……Perhaps the first is to “make a point” and the latter to “prove the point”…

  9. totaram

    RosemaryJ36: “…unlike the Hindus, ..,” please leave them out of this oversimplification. All Hindu “gods” are actually “lesser divine beings” no different from the Archangels, cherubs etc. Without going into complicated philosophical and metaphysical details, suffice it to say that in the final analysis, Hinduism posits only one “supreme being”, with everything else, including the entire cosmos, being a “manifestation” of that.

    i stand ready to be corrected of course.

  10. Matters Not


    Hinduism posits only one supreme being ,

    So it would seem. But there’s many who would debate otherwise. Just as there are those who see Christianity as NOT being monotheistic – what with God the Father; God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

    Well remember sitting in the dirt in the city of Nicaea (present day İznik,) and listening to a lecture (by a Muslim) on the contradictions and how the supposed divinity of both the Father and Son was resolved etc.

    Political compromises here, there and everywhere. Ahh – the wonders of Faith.

  11. Miriam English

    I would have less problem with religion if its followers believed something like Andy Weir’s short story “The Egg”. It is just as untrue as all religions, but creates a viewpoint that delivers a morality superior to any religion, except Jainism. (Andy Weir wrote “The Martian”, filmed starring Matt Damon.)

    The Egg (7 minutes 54 seconds)

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