Why the Good Samaritan is relevant

Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right:this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way:and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was:and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

To me, it is irrelevant whether the events in this story happened. It does not matter whether there is a God or not. It does not matter if Jesus existed or if he actually told the story.

What matters is that this story is one that nearly everyone has access to in their bibles. Many Christians claim that they believe every word of what they call the Bible, Good Book, or Word of God.

Those who do believe that this story is from God should consider which character is most like them. Are they one of the thieves who hurt the man in the first place? Are they a priest or levite who did nothing? Are they the Samaritan who tried to help the stranger he didn’t even know?

For people like me who don’t believe in the God of the Jews or Christians, this story is an example of what happens all the time. The story may not always happen in the way described, but there are people who have been injured terribly or need something that they cannot possibly get on their own.

I was once the injured man from this story, but now I plan to be the Good Samaritan. My moral philosophy is heavily based on the Golden Rule and the Good Samaritan. I do enjoy the fact that this story is easy for anyone to find, but I am sad that very few have read it or live as if they understand it.

If verse 27 is true, I will most certainly not inherit eternal life because I can’t love a God I don’t believe in. This will not prevent me from loving my neighbor as myself.

Why compassion is relevant

Wiktionary defines “compassion” as:
“Deep awareness of the suffering of another, coupled with the wish to relieve it“

The first part of compassion is the awareness, understanding, or knowledge of the suffering, pain or misery. The second is to have a desire, wish, or want to do something about it.

There are times when even an apathetic person like me can understand the suffering of another. However, this alone means nothing if I do not know what I can do to solve the problem. Like anyone else, I have limits to the time and money that I can use to help someone who has a need. When I give money, I want it to give it to a person or cause that is effective, efficient, or relevant.

This is why I chose to sponsor a child through Compassion International. $38 does not last long in the United States of America, but when given to those in poor countries, it can provide food, clothing and education for a month.

My opinion is that compassion requires thinking. To be effective, I must use my brain to solve a problem. This often means that my own personal feelings about a situation can sometimes be irrelevant, but that the difference I can make can be more relevant than it would if I based my actions on emotion without reason.

Why hell is irrelevant

I spent so many years being afraid of hell that I think it is relevant for me to explain why I no longer believe in the religious idea of hell. Not only is the idea of burning forever the most painful thing that the mind can imagine, it is also so illogical that my mind CANNOT imagine it. It never did make any sense to me, but repetition can convince people of anything.

I was told by some former friends that “friends don’t let friends go to hell”. When these “friends” rejected me, I learned that not only were they not friends but that they also did not truly believe in hell. If they were concerned about people going to hell, they would spend more time preventing them from going there. Instead, they bring them to church where they can experience the musical hell of their “worship” songs. It may be true that burning for eternity sounds painful, but not as painful as hearing Contemporary Christian music performed by people with no musical talent for all eternity!

But there is another problem with the hell idea. Mainly the fact that the idea of a human burning forever without being consumed would clearly imply some type of supernatural miracle. It would require some type of God to first create this place of torment, then to intentionally create humans to fill it.
The hell teaching is scary enough on its own, but some Christians teach that, later on, this God changed his mind and decided that people could instead be tortured in another place called heaven, where they can reunite with many of the same Christians who abused them on earth. I wish that they could at least explain exactly what causes people to go to heaven or hell. Then I may have the knowledge to avoid both places.

In contrast to the teaching of the sadistic God, people are also told that there is a God who loves them unconditionally (as long as they meet certain conditions, of course) . How is anyone supposed to make sense of all this? I know I could not. It leads me to think that it is best for me to wait until a proper definition of God is given that makes sense. I challenge anyone to explain why God can’t simply love people unconditionally.

In my mind the story is too bad to be true. If it is true, then I am probably destined for one type of eternal torment or another. I can’t help but wonder why I was born on this earth instead of in hell to begin with. Just maybe God is too nice to burn me forever.

Why “love” is irrelevant

Many times I have asked the question “What is love?”. People mean all sorts of different things when they use the word. Some people say that they are “making love”. Other people say “God is love”. How can a person make any sense of love when they are given totally different definitions which are entirely irrelevant to each other? The word “love” is used far too much and I think that it needs a more specific definition.

Sometimes, to get a better understanding of a word, it is a good idea to check a dictionary and see if it has an antonym. In this case, “hate” happens to be the antonym of love. For some reason, hate is understood better than love. Just think of hate as disliking something. Like and dislike of anything is simply an opinion someone has. They use love as a synonym for like and hate as a synonym for dislike. People do not always explain the reason why they like or dislike something.

I do not often say that I love someone. They may want to hear it, but I see it as a misleading term. I think that actions speak louder than words. There must be some better way to communicate that someone is relevant without using a word which means nothing.

A world of fake love

A world of fake love

As I was analyzing the problem of evil in the world as I usually am. I had a strange thought. Often I wish God would just set the world straight and fix all the problems people have caused, punish the ones responsible, and make the world a much safer place.

However, I realized something, suppose that God did rule the world constantly and every time someone tried to lie, kill, rape, steal, or anything like that, he instantly stopped the action from happening.

What we would have is a world full of people who we thought loved us and were our friends. The truth would be that the only reason they don’t push us off a cliff is because God wasn’t allowing them to. We would be living a lie. I’m sure that people would probably still know in their hearts that something was wrong, but they wouldn’t know exactly why.

Also, wouldn’t that make God pretty much the same as the very people that many Americans despise in the US Government? People don’t like being told what they can do or not. Some examples are the silly laws that the New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes. Two links are below.

Banning drinks larger that 16 ounces in restaraunts

Forcing Women to breastfeed by hiding baby formula in hospitals

The point is that we already have other humans controlling our lives, we should be greatful that God doesn’t force us to behave the way he wants.

So basically, I’ve been criticizing God for not doing what I think he should, and yet, if he did, I’d be mad for him controlling me. God can’t win. It must be a hard job being God.