Tag Archives: prophets

Prophets should Keep their Mouths Shut: Part II

When I posted the Aphorisms for Heretics a few weeks ago, I knew there would be some disagreement with those statements, but I must say I hadn’t thought that Rev. Kelly would decide they needed a full-on debate. I enjoyed reading her position, it was uniquely hers and brought up some good points: namely the ideal of a Prophet being a teacher of how to live in a humane and loving way, the wonderful diversity of belief the various Prophets have brought to us, and yes, even the minor point of a prophet in the role of a soothsayer (her notorious obsession with the Tarot—she does have some lovely decks of cards!)

While religious teachers through history have given us much that is good, their followers have often twisted those teachings or used them in ways that most likely would have appalled their originators. I will point out that it is not a Prophet’s fault if his followers choose to change things, but if the incentive had not been there, perhaps things might have been different.

If you have any doubts as to my stand on this position, I can point you to many, many historical examples: the Crusades, the Witch hunts of Europe, the events of 9/11; the persecutions of the Protestant Reformation when it was Christian against Christian, the bombings and infighting of Muslim sects at the current time and of course, the Holocaust. Even the Bhudda’s concept of the Middle Way has caused conflict and strife as his followers through the centuries have attempted to force compliance among other groups to their standards.

As far back as the ‘Heretic Pharaoh’ of ancient Egypt, Ahkenaten, conflicting religious visions have more frequently produced social strife, political turmoil and devastation than peace and plenty for all.

Believe it or not, my point is one of pragmatism, not religion: conflicting religions cause conflicting politics, often to the point of vicious bloodshed. When you believe that your God has commanded a course of action, anything goes. No crime is too horrible, no destruction too great, no devastation too much to be contemplated so long as it is committed in the name of the teachings. Those who do not follow those teachings must be removed to prevent their offending viewpoint from tainting the pure minds of your believers.

Had Ahkenaten not forced his monotheistic vision of sun worship on Egypt, they may have held onto their empire a little longer.

If Moses and Aaron had not lead Isreal across the desert, Canaan may well still exist and many of the problems in the Middle East may never have occurred.

Had Jesus kept up with the family carpentry business, the Crusades and Witch Hunts would not have happened, nor would the barbarity of the Holocaust stain all of Europe for generations.

If Mohammed had continued as a humble caravan leader and trader of the respected tribe of Quraysh, what would the map of the Middle east look like now?

In the light of everything that religion has done for us all, good and bad, I still cannot help wondering how different things might have been if the world had simply said ‘Yeah, okay, there is a God or Gods, but I need to get some work done, okay? ‘Bye.”

But for Kelly’s sake I would hope that there would still be Tarot cards—they are nice to work with some days.

 

Find your Peace, friends.

Rev. Zita.

Prophets should keep their mouths shut. Part I

For something a bit different this week, Zita and I agreed to take a side of one of the Aphorisms and argue it. I think that when we post a list like that it sometimes helps you to see where we are coming from, and know that is it OK to disagree with us (respectfully) since we do not always see eye to eye either. I believe that Zita is preparing her side to be posted on Friday this week, so keep an eye out for her rebuttal.

Aphorism #3 is Prophets should keep their mouths shut. According to Dictionary.com, a prophet is someone who speaks for a god or deity, or from being divinely inspired, or it is a person who predicts the future. And with that last part of the definition, we are all prophets at one point or another.

Without prophets, we would not have the wonderful variety of religions we have today. Granted each one claims their god is the true god, but each one also teaches very basic rules to living that, at least I believe this, we should all follow to get along with each other.  Muhammad, who was inspired to set up the 5 pillars of Islam , While 4 of those pillars have to do more with professing belief rather than living right, the 3rd pillar has to do with giving to charity or to those less fortunate than you are. I think that if we have extra, be that time, money, or stuff, we should give it to charity so that someone who really needs it can have it.

To some Jesus is the savior of the world and to others, who do not believe he is the Christ, believes he is a prophet. Either way, I think that he said one thing that makes sense over all the rest. Jesus claimed he was sent by God to bring us a new law, and that is to love one another. I think this just extends what Muhammad’s law about giving to charity, so now we have to care about those around us. We are supposed to love them deeply. Just think that if we all loved our neighbors like that, even if we didn’t understand them, how much more peaceful our world would be.

I could go on from a religious stand point, but let’s take a look from the practical stand point. The last part of the definition says that a prophet also predicts the future. Hmmm…I am not sure about you but the first image that is brought to mind is a Gypsy fortune teller. The Gypsies have a lovely and long history with magic and foretelling the future, would you want to take that away from them? And, OK that is not so practical, but it is a very cool image.

A more modern version of a prophet would be the weather person on the nightly news. Many of us depend on those prophets to know how to dress for our day or how to dress our kids so they will not freeze or overheat. What about those economists that predict how the various market s will do? They are a form of prophet, albeit one that is not very good at their job, but a form of prophet none the less.

Finally, on a personal note, I enjoy reading tarot cards and collecting them (I have 64 decks to date, and need a way to display them if you have ideas email the Practical Heretic).  Would you take a hobby that give me joy away; even if I am wrong about 10% of the time? The rest of the time I am very good at what I do and how I do it. Can’t I keep my prophet hood?