The degradation of love and the fallacy of reason.
The heart of humanity is ethics
regardless of race, culture or creed. It matters little what a person
does so much as the intention behind the deed.
There is an expression, ‘the
road to hell is paved with good intentions’. Quite simply, action
taken without an examination of the thought or intention behind the
action is as likely to be a hellish thing as beneficial. Thoughtless
action is like a game of chance or Russian roulette. It is to take a
potluck attitude to life whether that is the intention or not. Good
intentions are not good at all unless one examines the intention and,
indeed, what is good.
Herein lies the folly of
religion as a mere observation of doctrine. The pernicious belief that
the Christian Bible is the inerrant word of God requires no
understanding and denies the critical human faculties that are a vital
part of our humanity. Worse than this, though, it denies the moving
spirit that each life inalienably is. No teaching or belief can cover
every eventuality in life. Sooner or later we must make hard won
decisions and bear the consequences of the outcome of those decisions
against which good intentions are a mere cop out and inhibit the
learning process that is life.
Good intentions are not ethical
and have no basis in either ethics or goodness. Let us bear with
intention and not confuse intentions and goodness for that will only
blind us to the knowledge of ourselves. It is perilous in life not to
understand our intentions, let them be the focus and we shall know for
ourselves the good or bad, and thus prevent them from being an
affliction to others and to life.
As we own our intentions then we
can begin to grasp the complexity within each one. In our forming and
birth is one person made with more goodness than another or with less
covetousness or jealousy or hatred? Are we not all a complex measure of
all these things, of the finite range of emotions and desires, virtues
and vices, which make up the inner human being?
There is a biblical story of
‘the widows mite’, which is a perfect example of the examination of
ethics, intention and goodness. How was Jesus able to say the widow, in
the offering she made to the temple, had given all she had? Was this
purely a monetary consideration? If it was and ethics are measured in
such terms then there is little point in religion, religious debate or
any exploration of ethics. Viewed in such terms it is clear that what
she did merely meant that she was then broke and the rich men, in
offering only a portion of their wealth, were not, and one can only
conclude that they were rather more sensible than the widow. We must
therefore conclude that what occurred was about intention and the ethics
behind that intent.
In this light what the widow
gave was her heart. It was her intent to give all she had, whether her
two mites or a million mites. It was her intent and indeed her pleasure
and love that prompted such an act. Was this a good intention? No, good
doesn’t come into it. The moment she asked herself if this was a good
thing to do she would have reduced the gift to a reasoned or
intellectual one and reason should have told her that it was not a very
sensible thing to do. She may have reasoned that her God was worth her
all, but that is a mere observation, it does not engage her inner being
of spirit or ethics. Such compulsion, because God is worth it, or worthy
of it, is entirely beside the point.
For Jesus to have made the
comment he did the widow had to have given her last mite because behind
all intellectual considerations she placed her heart, the quintessential
essence of herself, in the offering. She was fully and knowingly engaged
in the offering. She was not seeking to do good, nor impress others or
please or appease God. It was her intention to offer the best of herself
to that which she saw as best. Jesus, in his comments, said that she had
put in all she had, even what she had to live on. She clearly knew the
consequences of her actions, but to call her intentions good would be to
demean the gift and the sacrifice. Only a spiritual charlatan would
consider the good as meaningful here. The person who means well or has
good intentions is morally and ethically bankrupt.