Sunday, 15 September 2013

An influence that will not be forgotten.

17:30:00 Posted by Shaun Brookes , 1 comment

This week, we've been looking at the bible. I haven't, because shamefully I couldn't find one in the house (Lord knows where it is). In the absence of the book then, I've been thinking about the way the Bible has shaped our lives how it may shape it in the future.
I consider myself incredibly lucky to come from a good home, from a decent family and in my opinion, a good school. I remember hymns in assembly, Christmas concerts and carol singing. I remember learning all about the good samaritan, David and Goliath and Moses but thinking back, despite having an A in GCSE RE, I can't remember a single story from another religion- certainly not a project on a single story.
This sort of a bias has happened up and down the country for years- and there will be many that say rightly so- but when it comes down to the way in which we've been influenced, the Bible has played a huge part even in an age of growing non-belief. People that reject God don't throw away the religious principles they have been brought up with. You wouldn't expect scientists to start cheating and murdering just because they've developed a logical creation story, and an atheist burglar still knows it is wrong to steal, with or without a prayer for release. This foundation of ideas is a key piece in society- a control- and because it is taught early, it permeates deep.
I have no problem with teaching Bible stories to be honest- they hold a certain moral code that I expect you will find in most holy texts around the world. Help others, do what you can, don't hurt for no reason- God will resolve any issues you may have with this contract. I do start to object when misguided, often non-religious people begin assuming that other cultures and religions don't have these morals and then use a religious text of some form or other to justify that belief. Be it Romanian immigrants or jihadist Muslims, we've been whipped into a frenzy about the influx of 'others' set to penetrate our shores and overrun decent society- and I just don't believe it is ever going to happen. (Meanwhile, we're using our own set of standards, drawn up in good Christian faith, to slowly but surely secure any threat of that 'other' becoming stronger than we are. We'll go to great lengths to halt the Iranians developing nuclear power on the grounds that when our side had the technology, it was used to make bombs, yet we're not prepared to accept that the people of another nation would likely be prepared to die protesting to prevent any nuclear action taking place in their name. )
We must accept that other people can and will believe different things than ourselves- such is the vast world we live in. We can't judge on economic backgrounds, colours, nationalities or religions as predetermined values. Given that on our own predominantly white, middle class, Christian shores we can't agree to vote in a majority government, we're in no place to talk about the right ways and wrong ways to do things, let alone the nature of 'other' cultures as generic exports. After all, where do we find our first example of loving these other cultures; our neighbours? The bible.
The truth is, with oil value rising and technology increasing trade markets everyday, the 'other' cultures is where the next big growth is going to come from. We can't run around the world holding up Christian values in the hope that Johnnie Foreigner will forget everything they have learned about how badly they have been treated now they have prosperity- the stories we were taught as children stayed with us and so they will in other cultures.
My hope is that as a predominantly Christian culture- with or without belief- we can see the Bible for what it is- and all books like it across the globe. To have religion is to have a belief system- with tweaks made to the design over thousands of years that ensure compliance. It is a book that offers hope, salvation, redemption, a path through grief... something better held up as an alternative to the everyday mundane and a way of looking at the world through slightly rose tinted eyes. It is a guide to how we can make decisions- a framework from which to justify our actions. It gives, just as most holy texts seem to, a way through troubled times, a light of hope if we promise to further ourselves as a society and to reject anarchy and hatred. Simply, it is one of the most powerful and important revised editions ever published- one of those books we should all probably get round to reading.

Thanks, S



Ashley R Lister said...

As Ghandi is supposed to have said, "I Like your Christ. I do not like your Christians."

Great post,