Eamon Daly on GOODNESS and BADNESS

17:12 19-12-95
Eamon Daly

i've noticed it before, but this was the first time i saw it laid out so clearly.

 On December 19th, Carolyn said:
 : Are Christmas songs rituals fromthe public coffers of acceptable
 : behaviour? Yup. Evil, or its notion, is too. It is the publically
 : acknowledged cause of bad things, of pain. Christian cause. Christmas
 : songs. Of light and goodness, happiness, and birth. And through
 : contrastive implication, evil. The source of all evil, though not of
 : either pain or bad things, is the public coffer's distribution of the
 : list of what is good. If not having sex out of marriage is good, then
 : sex out of marriage is evil.  If 3 wise men arriving to give gifts is
 : good, then evil demonstrates itself in not giving gifts at Christmas?

this seems far too polar, even for christianity. "good" isn't the same as "not bad". "excusable" is not the same as "permissible". pain can bring a lot of good, while luxury doesn't insure evil. and i'm pretty sure that's the point you're trying to bring across: morality, reality, and the world at large just doesn't work in polar opposites.

but what you're guilty of, in your dismissal of rituals (religious or otherwise) in the opening of this paragraph and elsewhere throughout the diary, is the exact same thing you rile against in christianity: ignoring /why/ things are done. is there /value/ behind the act and if so, does that make any change in its spot on the good/evil thermometer?

i think any ethical roadmap consists of an evolution, and at some early stage, it must be presented in black & white. this is bad. this is good. the human mind (and soul?) is too weak to think in judgement terms, so it compensates with sweeping generalizations. eventually, with enough background and exposure and experience, one makes the leap and asks, "but why is this good? and why is this bad?"

then, more questions. then, less answers. then the mind falls back on black and whites. gains more knowledge. reassesses. more questions. and so on.

christianity is presented to many this same way. tugging suzie's ponytails is wrong. doing your homework is right. god punishes. god grants. jesus was god. jesus was man. man was bad, until jesus was good.

a lot of people never question that stuff, and it's a shame. but equally depressing is the number of people who dismiss it all entirely, falling into the exact same category of those who never question.

hey. it might be true. it might be bullshit. it's important enough to check out, though.

and then you learn that maybe pulling suzie's ponytails really /is/ wrong. unless you're just trying to get her attention because you might care for her. and maybe doing your homework really /is/ right. until you learn that your research position has shifted to a new chemical warfare product.

<sigh>

and on a simpler level, according to the bible, the shepherds had no gifts, and they were blessed. jesus flipped out at the temple because the righteous had no idea what they were talking about.

actually, jesus questioned everything judaism ever was. he was a real dick. made people examine what the hell they were saying in the temple every saturday and ask why the hell they all figured god was going to come down in a big fat v8 low-rider to cart 'em all to heaven.

what people have done with all that... well, that would be the trappings of history. christianity has no set moral code. no basic truths. there was a guy named ya'hosua and he wasn't caucasian and he said lots of stuff and that is the core of christianity. "no sex before marriage"? that would be the vatican. not the same. "10 commandments"? that would be judaism. PROBABLY A GOOD IDEA TO FOLLOW, but again, not the same. "this is the body and the blood of jesus"? ha. ask ireland if that's a tenet of christianity.

anyway, so that's that. polarity equals bad, which proves itself false in the saying.

. .


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