Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Lessons for Unbelievers from Bible Fables

I can't comprehend how anyone who has even read the Bible can ever claim "This is mine.  I earned it.  I have a right to it.  I deserve it.  You can't take what's MINE."  Even if you don't believe the Bible and view it only as fable and literary fiction, the lessons and morals must surely be clear.

Even those who dismiss Daniel's dictum that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men must see the practical lesson that it is absurd hubris to claim "I built this."  That the mightiest of empires and the greatest of emperors can be destroyed in an instant by events beyond their control.

You can believe that David vs. Goliath is just legend and still see the reality that no matter how well armed you may think you are, it is not uncommon for the mightiest of armed and arrogant invaders to be repelled by the equivalent of kids with rocks.

Surely even the secular reader must be touched by the struggles of the rejected wandering homeless, the refugees from slavery, the lowly and dispossessed, the conquered, the desperate due to forces beyond control, and see that even those are fellow humans seeking meaning and purpose as well as sustenance.

Even such a jaded and skeptical secular seeming observer as the Solomon of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes tells us that the competition does not always go to the better or most deserving; that the wicked prosper while the deserving suffer.

You need not believe in a virgin birth to recognize that the greatest of people are sometimes born in stables to destitute parents.

Even those who view Jesus as simply a teacher of morals must see the reality in his teaching that the accumulation of wealth is worse than useless, never brings happiness or satisfaction, and is never really within human control anyway. That our humane responsibility is not to despise or reject strangers but to help them.

Even those who doubt Jesus even existed must surely see the truth in the lessons attributed to him that those who claim moral superiority are inevitably hypocrites who refuse to see their own immorality.

Even if you read Job as mere poetic fable, the lesson must be clear that suffering and misfortune are often as undeserved as wealth and prosperity, and that we struggle in vain to give reason to either.

Even if you think epistlers Paul and John were deluded followers of a dead man, surely there are eternal truths in their teaching that self-sacrificing generosity is always better than self-righteous possessiveness.  That love is always better than hate.  That we all need mercy more than justice.

How much more then must it be clear to those who claim to actually believe the Bible, who accept that God is in control, who believe that all that we are and all that we have are the undeserved gifts from God, and that we are all unprofitable servants deserving nothing at all?  How much more to believers must it be obvious that wealth, power or status are rarely products of virtue or righteousness.  That we have no right to anything at all, and that anything we have been given is meant to be shared?  That it is not our task to worry about laws, rulers, taxes, politics, or whether the destitute or the stranger are worthy of help or ought even to be here: Our task is simply to help them.