Saturday, 10 October 2009
Truth vs. Safety?
The Bible is not a nice book. Beyond all the atrocities of the old testament (rape, slavery, genocide, misogyny, war, murder, animal sacrifice) the new testament is supposedly better. Yet, what we find is not much in the way of condoning the old testament and the addition of hell, the idea that we are all deserving of infinite torture, and human/god sacrifice.
Yet, most modern Xians today will say that the Bible is a wonderful book, filled with peace and love and all kinds of great moral lessons. I can only surmise that they are selectively reading both in which passages they read and how they interpret them (as there's no good way to spin genocide and those other things listed above). So, we are left with a serious disconnect between what people believe their holy book is about and what it's really about.
Well, maybe I've got it all wrong, right? Maybe it's all about peace and love and all that. Surely Xians have been peaceful and loving due to their Bible for the last 2000 years, right? Well, no, that's not right. It's only recently that this idea of the Bible as being a book about peace and love has been in fashion. Certainly early Xians didn't think this way, nor did Xians who participated in such things as the Crusades, Witch trials, the Inquisition, or even those Xians who participate in today's organizations like the KKK or any other white power movement. For them, the Bible could only be said to be about peace and love once you're done eradicating all non-Xians.
Still, many Xians do hold this new view of a more peaceful scripture and presumably a subset of them will act more peacefully due to it. We've seen what rampant hate among a Xian majority can wreak in terms of havoc, and while we still see problems from the Xian majority trying to unduly influence others, this idea of a peaceful Xianity seems to have a dampening effect. So, my question is, should we embrace this and push more Xians to act in accordance with peace, or should we lay out the evil that is contained within the Bible and proclaim the truth?
I can see benefits to both sides. As I talked about above, a more secure lifestyle for non-Xians is a desired goal, and if Xians think that their religion should allow for this, it would be beneficial to us not to stop them. Of course, the downside is that the irrationality of the belief system will be seen as even more acceptable and more congruent with morality, which would be a serious drawback for actual morality.
On the flip side of things, truth is its own reward. We should be truthful and honest, and help Xians see how vile and evil their beliefs/scriptures really are. Yes, if some Xians succumb to that and actually become more vile and evil, it will be detrimental, but I happen to believe that other Xians may wake up and see their religion for what it is. They may throw off the shackles of irrational and outdated thoughts and help us to drag ourselves out of immorality and irrationality.