Thursday, April 14, 2011

How GOOD Can It Be?

Curiously, today's seems rife with stories...everything from Victoria Jackson taking issue with a gay story line on the show, "Glee," to details of the on-set negotiations that apparently went on during the filming of "Soul Surfer", the story of Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer who lost an arm to a tiger shark.

As long as the world we live in remains fallen, there will be no agreement or lack of controversy on how to manage the "Jesus Issue."

What is it about this guy that seems to make it impossible to remain really neutral?

Hopefully, you realize that I pose the above question with tongue firmly planted in cheek....there are many reasons why Jesus is seen as a 'polarizing figure.' My take is that chief among these reasons is the pivotal fact of Jesus' mission: to rescue us from the consequence of our inherent sin; a fact which requires us to acknowledge that we DO, in fact, miss the mark when it comes to being holy enough to be in relationship with God. And, face it, who wants to look at their own sin?

And once you've allowed for the possibility that none of us is as good as we could or should be, well then, my friend, you are only a baby step away from assenting that we do, indeed, live in a moral universe.

Which is why I find it so curious, and mildly bewildering, that a serious British scholar has found the need to compile a secular Bible. Now, "bible" is simply a word for "book." But The Holy Bible is a wholly unique book from a holy and unique God.

Why, then, does Prof. Grayling find the need for creating his own 'bible'? Well, here's a clue. He identifies himself as an atheist; in which case the whole God/Jesus thing is a bit inconvenient. So, instead, Mr. Grayling has painstakingly culled through centuries of recorded wisdom, meditation, and other 'good thoughts.'

He makes no claim to original inspiration here...just the fact that he undertook the massive task of reviewing, researching, evaluating, and eventually compiling this 600+ page book of worthwhile thoughts as an ethical guide. With an open mind, with a searching eye, and with absolutely no restrictive boundaries or limits set by moral or religious notions. But, why would you care about being ethical if there is no plumb line by which to define it? What's ethical to Eve, may be unethical to Steve. Confusing?

However, more than this, I find myself wondering, why Mr. Grayling decided to entitle his new tome, The Good Book: A Humanist Bible and how he can define the word "good" apart from a moral connotation.

Good (per morally excellent, virtuous, righteous, pious. Really, if there isn't some external, reliable, unbiased standard by which to evaluate, how good can it be?

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