The Good Book


“And then you got them to do a good book!  Why …. ?”

Growing pains.  A child whose behaviour at small people’s school was a cause for concern.  Concerns expressed by the school.  Concerns shared by the parents.  Concerns not expressed or shared by the child.  It was agreed that a Naughty Book (although never called that) would be kept.  Recording, by the school, behaviour not acceptable or appropriate.  Behaviour management: punish bad behaviour by listing all the misdemeanours.  It worked.

Maybe it worked because the child was the centre of attention.  Maybe it worked because the child was noticed.  Maybe it worked because the child was punishment-averse.  But it worked over time.  So the parents suggested – rather than remove the naughty book – it was continued but now called “the good book”.  The school thought that a tad odd.  But agreed.

And now the centre of attention was not on punishment – but reward.   Now the recording of behaviour taken for granted and hardly noticed at school.  Behaviour that does not require an intervention.  Does not distract.  Does not interrupt – behaviour of the “wallpaper kind”.

That book was less successful because it required more work, more energy, more time.  And time is precious when there other “distractions” to manage.

I sometimes wonder if the bible is a book we prefer in the style of a naughty book.  A book where sin is recorded to be forgiven or punished.  A book where transgressions are recorded.  A book that is taught to teach Christians to be aware of their bad behaviours with judgement and punishment and reward to be handed down.

But with a “get out free” card to be found – the “I been saved” card.  A book which maintains the hierarchy of control here on earth: God first, Christians second, sinners never.  And is called The Good Book – and referred to as The Good News …

“You are already caught and banged to rights.  Here’s how to get out of it.”

I may be wrong about this.  I may be wrong about “making sinners of the saved” but how is that “love without condition”?  How is that “good news” … ?

That God accepts every creation of life to be guilty without doing anything at all?  That the “sins of our forefathers” (original sin as taught) is not only visited upon every single innocent life – but taught as right and correct (by Christians).  That teaches that each and every single creation of beautiful life is (pre) destined for an eternity of pain / separation (”hell” for shorthand) – unless …?

How is that even fair (let alone love without condition)?

Whether “fundamental religious nutter Christian” or “no threat to anyone and peace to all Christian” … the good news (of an unconditional loving God) is that I am guilty of punishment for eternity simply by being born.  And – to add insult to injury of that “unconditional love” – I never even asked to be born.

I think “The Good Book” is.

But I question the teaching more and more.

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