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Sadly, there’s no doubt organised religion has a lot to answer for.
I guess you could say it’s what I think someone on Pluto might see if they chose to look back at us through our media!
In a fantastic interview with Bishop John Shelby on the Weekly Show with Charlie Pickering (on ABC TV last week – see https://www.facebook.com/theweeklytv) the controversial American Bishop lamented the fact that “Church” is often the slowest mover when it comes to adopting positive societal change.
He discussed racial discrimination, slavery, and the subjugation of women – all as examples of issues where society has moved faster than organised religion in accepting and making positive changes.
He made no excuses for the poor performance and instead, when specifically discussing sexual orientation discrimination, actually pointedly apologised for what he called “the ignorance” of leaders within the Church. He sees it as a travesty that people of influence continue to espouse values that are clearly based in bias and prejudice rather than scientific fact.
He was not only eloquent but inspirational – I would love to be present during a direct conversation between himself and Cardinal Pell!
Despite it all the Bishop continues to have a strong faith and has not left the Church. Rather he has made it his life’s passion to challenge and question bias he sees as rooted in popular opinion rather than known fact – that is opinino based in fear and hypocrisy rather than in love and compassion. “Who are we to judge?”
… to challenge and question bias that he sees as rooted in popular opinion rather than known fact, and in this way based in fear … rather than love.
His comments got me thinking – If the Ten Commandments where set today what would they look like?
I don’t want to appear blasphemous but many find the ones in the bible hard for us to fathom let alone reconcile with our modern society.
So I took today’s media (paper, radio, TV and on-line) and used the content as the context to try and interpret a set of Modern Commandments – something reflecting how we are behaving right now. It resulted in the following.
COMMANDMENT 1: Any individual, organisation or Nation with a lot of money, should be honoured and protected. Don’t overly tax or annoy them or challenge them to do more good within society. You don’t want to put them off side.
COMMANDMENT 2: Losers should be shunned. Teams, individuals, and/or organisations that make mistakes should be abandoned and torn apart. Let that mistake not be forgotten.
COMMANDMENT 3: Raise up those that entertain us. A social media following is a modern Congregation so if they make you laugh, show you how to wear your clothes, play sport really well, date the right person or cook amazing food worship them. They are today’s Saints.
COMMANDMENT 3: Raise up those that entertain us. A social media following is a modern congregation
COMMANDMENT 4: Show no compassion but zealously guard your borders – turning those in need away. If you happen to end up with some people in need, make it someone else’s problem.
COMMANDMENT 5: If a person is struggling, pay them off. Make it easier to live dis-empowered, unemployed and displaced. Heaven forbids you to help them develop self-respect. Whilst doing this though, complain bitterly about their lack of initiative.
COMMANDMENT 6: Take everything you can get – now! Have no consideration for future generations. The only hole that matters is the one in your pocket. A clean environment is over rated.
COMMANDMENT 7: No matter what “IT” is, tear “IT” down. Consistently look for the worst in people and don’t stop looking until you find it.
COMMANDMENT 8: Disrespect and mock parents. Make it harder than ever for families to have time together. Schedule work 7 days a week and make the cost of living prohibitive.
And while we’re at it – make sure that only your definition of family is acceptable. After-all, it would be ridiculous to suggest that “love” is at the heart of any family! It’s obviously about the sex of the parents and their consciously, coupled, biblically ordained status.
COMMANDMENT 9: Define love within tight boundaries. Judge others openly and make a lot of noise to justify your opinion.
COMMANDMENT 10: Elect people who generally encourage others to continue to have the lowest of societal ambition. Leaders that seek to inspire minds and open hearts shall be few and far between and generally run down by the system before they can do any good.
And while I hate to say it, I think this modern generation actually has an Eleventh Commandment:
COMMANDMENT 11: Whatever you do, do NOT treat others as you would have them treat you. Cut in front, yell, honk, snarl, snatch, complain, push – the world is not made of “fairy-floss” so stop looking for the sweet in it and protect yourself and your turf at all costs.
Am I being too cynical? ……… Maybe.
It’s important to note the above exercise isn’t an expression of my opinion. Rather it’s what I think someone on Pluto might see if they chose to look back at us through our media.
Having said all that I am eternally optimistic – I might worry I live in a world of “fairy-floss” (ie a world where good always wins and the best in people need only be encouraged) but ultimately I can’t think of wanting to live any other way.
In this way you might be able to accuse me of living “naively” but Bishop Shelby Spong’s interview, and my observations today, have made me more determined to not live “ignorantly”.
Yours in forming inspiring, informed opinions