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A Treatise On Loving One Another
I identify as religious. I am a very spiritual person. This morning I am reminded of the Old Testament prophets. They were different than their contemporaries. They often called out others for the disregard of what is important in life. They shouted from atop the ramparts of ancient Jerusalem; we do it on Facebook. Their contemporaries always complained those prophets shared too much. They annoyed and shamed them. They should give it up and get on with the rest of us. Live in the real world. Sound familiar to anyone who labors to improve social justice, science advocacy, etcetera?
My entire 2020 has felt like a long lamentation in the wilderness. I cry out, REPENT! They say, respect other people’s opinions. I say Black Lives Matter, they reply All Lives Matter. I say, show it then, wear your mask. They say, fuck off. Our world is not so very different than that of ancient Israel. People do not have the capacity to change as much as we would all like to believe.
What was it like for Nathan, Ezra, Isaiah, etcetera, begging the Israelites to turn away from evil? It is quite similar to what activists experience today. The prophets lectured from rooftops, nearly always unsolicited, and as a result, they were hated by all. They preached about returning to a sense of community. The audacious notion that we should love one another, resist selfishness, and refrain from thinking your life means more than another. In other words, give up your idols. Ironically, they prophesied devastation, plagues, financial ruin, military loss, and inept leadership would be the consequence of human denial. See, we don’t really learn. Look at the world around us. People’s selfishness will always fan the flames of despair. Today we preach, wear a mask, love thy neighbor. People say, respect my rights. The masses are their own tyrants.
“When the mob gets involved in reasoning, all is lost.”Voltaire
Like the prophets of old, I cannot respect the ‘rights’ of anyone who believes their actions do not carry consequences for the greater community. The language of ancient Israel was religion. Today it is science. But both share the same ultimate truth. We have to work together, listen to wise counsel (science), and stop thinking this world is everyone out for themselves. The latter is a worldview that is a direct offense against God. In America, where I live this is particularly hard. We have an entire economy (capitalist) built on the idea that everyones selfish actions together, ultimately benefit everyone else. I am not anti capitalist, but I am against notions of individual self interests outweighing the collective good of everyone else. Sure it works on paper; there is no denying that, but it robs people of their souls. That is another rant for another time.
I believe the commandment loving thy neighbor is a non-negotiable. Jesus said loving your neighbor encompasses the entirety of the law. This means, for example, during a global pandemic, you wear a F..KING mask! You listen to those endowed by their qualifications; experts. You may have the right to be careless with your health, but you do not have the right to risk the health of others.
To love another person is to see the face of God.Victor Hugo
Lately, my social media has come under hard scrutiny. These are some of the rebukes shared with me: I post too much against those who deny science. There is a proper place to say things. Back off; shaming does not work. God will protect me, you do you, I will do me. Lets bring up the Old Testament prophets again. These are almost identical complaints they received from their communities. Standing in the market square, telling others they should care for the poor and stop their vile practices of child sacrifice for gain was unpopular. The people mocked them. Beat them. Often the prophets paid with their lives. The lesson here, people do not like being told what to do. The reality, the masses have to be led. Before modern globalized leadership continuity, the world was millions of tiny factions, constantly warring with one other. Think of the stone ages. If you leave radicals to themselves, they will destroy society. There is no utopia. There is only the noble idea of working together. Selfish ideologies are sins against community.
I cannot be silent. I have an obligation to my faith to lift up the example of faith. So do you!
The very people who claim they aren’t sheep for disobeying science; are indeed the most sheepish. A cacophony of experts, largely unbiased, all say the same thing; follow the science; the modern, love thy neighbor. Instead they hang on the words of incapables. Like the ancient Israelites hanging onto idols. They put loyalty to a President and their self interests over the collective welfare of humanity.
There is no utopia. There is only the noble idea of working together.
— W. Alexander
I believe there are two fundamental reasons behind their disconnect. One, they are preyed on by agenda focused conspiracy organizations. This whole QANON is nothing more than the Golden Calf the Hebrews started worshiping in the desert. These people are unable to accept truth; so they create their own. We all know how that worked out. And we all know how these Q people will work out; shamed and left behind. Two, humanity is tribal. Fear polarizes our species. The masses, throughout all of history, given to manage their own self interests, do just that; act only according to their own individual interest. This philosophy is a breeding ground for selfishness and greed. They do not love thy community; despite praying to a God who commands it. It is the obligation of mankind to love one another. Love can be a visible comfort to all by something as simple as wearing your mask.
“It is the obligation of mankind to love one another. Love can be a visible comfort to all by something as simple as wearing your mask.”W. Alexander