Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Dangerous Descent into Doctrine: Step Away, not Down

Please note: Today’s worldly strife is NOT of God! Yes, much of the fighting deals with religion, but God is not religion.
Many justify the destructive hatred and violence as God-ordained, God-directed, and God-orchestrated. They are wrong.
The Judeo-Christian creation story never mentions divine wrath or annihilation. No revisions. No rebuilds. The whole universe in its original condition earned God's pronouncement, “It is good.”
And when God created humanity in His own image, He reveled in his handiwork, bestowing nothing but blessings.  
Life. Water. Food. Everything "that was pleasing to look at and good for food." (Genesis 2:7-9)
Most significantly, God provided companionship, relationships based on love. While he labeled the rest of the cosmos good, the tie between God and humanity was supreme.
Then came sin, humanity's betrayal. Despite the pain, did God sever the relationship in a flurry of flogging, disembowelment and death by chigger bites?
Was there punishment?
Yes. But not not abandonment. Not destruction. Not divine hatred and retribution.
Instead of schmucking Adam and Eve with a brick as He could, God gave them a new set of clothes, exchanging their fruity patches of fig leafs for more durable garments of skin. 
Violence and the destruction of life eventually came, but not at God’s hand. As human jealousy and anger grew, God tried to head off the inevitable. 
He exhorted Cain, "Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast? Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It is desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it." (Genesis 4:6-7)
Still, Cain murdered his brother Abel. But even when he did, God did not break relationship with him. 
No capital punishment. No corporal punishment. Not even future condemnation to hell. In fact, God protected Cain from the violence of others. 
In fact, the first mention of vengeance in Genesis is not of God’s, but rather Lamech killing an unnamed man for some unknown crime. 
And the descent into doctrine began.
Like Lamech, people abandoned their relationship with a loving God and depended on recrimination rather than repentance.
Instead of accepting responsibility for sin, people justified themselves without consulting God, punishing others with a ferocity God never even visualized. Rather than turning to God for direction, they relied on doctrine and revenge.
And so mankind began a four-step descent of doctrine that led to the type of destruction we see today, beginning with the initial step of
Humanity's first creation chronicles succinctly and joyously pronounced God’s action and proclaimed our importance to Him. No detailed explanation of how and why. Just that it was and that it was good.
As sin became more prevalent and pervasive, however, humans recognized the need to control the unruly. Authority needed to be asserted, people thought, and if God wasn’t going to do it…. That altered description of God's nature––a human-tempered avenger––led to perverted human justice. 
Still, to lend credence to their savagery, mankind invoked God’s name and moved to step two of the descent into doctrine:
 Rather than highlighting God’s forgiving and protective reaction to the Fall, humans further disguised and warped His image, portraying Him as what modern skeptics call a savage, hate-filled "invisible sky wizard.” 
In God's wrathful name, humans eagerly unearthed the depravity in others and willingly ignored their personal perversion while slaughtering the heathens.
Unfortunately for them, God’s voice kept speaking annoyingly in their defiant ears, which necessitated step 3:
Easing––or rather, ignoring––mankind’s collective conscience required a speck of mental gymnastics and a whole mountain of denial. 
First, they had to disavow any involvement in the disintegration of society. This meant that they must embrace hypocrisy by selectively utilizing and ignoring the truths of history, science, and reality.
Secondly, they must deny the very composition of God, rejecting what they knew from the moment of their creation, that God is love.
Finally, to assert their singularity, mankind had to deny God's supremacy, by denying His very existence and relying on their own "wisdom and strength." 
All of which has led the world to the final step in doctrine's descent,
To some, the outbreak of war and violence today causes little concern. The incidence is limited in scope, they argue, and sure to end soon. 
But despite this wishful thinking, human behavior is as subject to the Laws of Nature as a feather in a windstorm.
When Sir Isaac Newton postulated his Third Law of Motion (“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”), he did not simply clarify the physical universe; he exposed the human instinct to meet violence with further violence.
Unfortunately, the endless echo of retribution from competing doctrines, with the attendant devastation and death, can only truly end in one way––the permanent annihilation of the combatants.
Alternative plans
Which leads us to the good news. If mankind prefers to exist––and most people do–– particular remedies can be taken. 
First, reject violence as a solution to anything. Just stop. Violence has never ended violence in the past; it never will.
Second, reject any doctrine that embraces or even allows anger, hatred, and violence. However, most descend to this level and are better exchanged for the third and only real solution to the problem.
Accept the reality that GOD IS LOVE! And created us to be. Seek the relationship He always wanted to have with us…and for us to have with each other.
In other words, step away from the dangerous descent into doctrine and up to the rewards of relationship.