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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

“How Do We Teach Values to Our Children With No Church to Rely On?

A beautiful young woman with two small children asked me that question.

At first, I thought it was a non-issue for me—having raised my children with no organized religion. And then I pondered the question…

It seems clear to me that ethics and values and humanity are outside the scope of religion. Unless you consider religion to be the holder of the philosophy of the ages, which it is not. Philosophy and ethics and morality teach rather than control.

We still bow to Popes and Priests like they are Gods, and think our ministers can set us straight. Authorities know more than we do. Fear is the paramount controller.

Sorry folks, if this offends, but look at it. How many of us were raised believing that if we were bad we would go to hell? What was bad? What “sin” did we commit as a child? We got angry. We experimented, we had “impure” thoughts. We were normal. We were human.

Now really, would any sane parent send their beloved child to eternal damnation? I think not. And the idea of original sin is absurd. If God had been a woman instead of a man, she would have known her kids would eat of that forbidden fruit. And remember they had an eternity in which to be tempted.

If you want to blame Eve, blame her for being smart. If someone told me if I ate of that fruit I would be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil. Do you think I would say, “Oh, but I can’t. Daddy told me not to?”

The Garden of Eden is an allegory.

If you look at the Journey of the Hero as put forth by Joseph Campbell, he explains the archetypes of the human, and it is a pattern that drives most stories—such as the story of Adam and Eve.

The  archetype of the innocent, as with Adam and Eve, must get kicked out of their comfort zone, for if not there would be eternal frisking and frolicking, but no growth, and no adventure.

The archetype of the Orphan enters, he is lost, alone, and becomes a Wanderer for a time, searching for his place in life. The Warrior raises his mighty head, and fights for his place in life, but wait, the archetype of the Martyr  knows that some sacrifice is in order to get along with his fellow man.

Finally, in our Heroes Journey our hero meets his mentor, he fights the dragon, and he emerges victorious. He  becomes the Magician, he has learned to use magic powers, to become wise, and thus he is peaceful again, like the Innocent. Our hero has become full circle. (Look at Luke in Star Wars.)

Someone long ago said, “Do unto others. as you would have them do unto you.” This has been attributed to Jesus, but long before he appeared on the scene others said it, Plato, and his voice Socrates.  Confucius said it, the Greeks “Do not unto others what you would not like to have done to you.”  And from The JewishTalmud:  What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.

Dear woman with the children, remember this poem:

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten
by Robert Fulghum
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

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