Sunday, February 15, 2009

Christian beliefs resulting in problems

My friend Buck and I have been having conversations for many weeks about the nature of spirituality and our involvement in truth-telling and compassionate action. Today, Buck begins a series of posts on the subject of:

Christian assumptions that have created major problems for Western Civilization.

1. Believing that the story of creation in Genesis is true history has created the enduring and unproductive controversy of evolution versus creationism and has caused many to ignore the huge amount of evidence for evolution, and caused some to even doubt the validity of science in general. But even more important is the presentation that evil is a force directed by a powerful being called the Devil or Satan. What the Genesis story is really presenting is two different basic philosophical ideas represented by the images: (1) The Tree of Life and. (2) The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life world view is the foundation of monotheism or the oneness of all creation and promotes peace. The other world view based on the image of The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil generates dualism promoting the Devil to a godlike position in Western view and generates right versus wrong thinking which in turn leads to conflicts and wars. This idea has also led to the assignment of evil to women (Eve offering the fruit to Adam) further promoting conflict and inequality. Not all Western thinkers have taken this dualistic point of view. Some Kabbalists in Judaism, the mystic or Gnostic traditions within Christianity, and the Sufis in Islam overcame this limitation and promote more peaceful ways of being in the world while the literalists in Christianity, Islam, and Jewish religions often think and act in ways that lead to wars. To explain further, if some are “saved” and some are doomed to Hell, and “I” am one of the saved, are not the “doomed” to be feared, ostracized, and possibly defeated? On the other hand, if we are all “family” and I realize I share the common human experience with all people, then will I not first look to peace and love in my dealings with them?

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