I was reading yet another news article/commentary about rape. But not just the act of “rape” – in these cases the rape of very young girls – and not just the young age, but in each of the three reported cases the perpetrators returned to set fire to their victims. I find that mentality incomprehensible. I am at a loss to understand the ability to act in that way at every stage. And even before “acting” – to have a mindset that includes the possibility of those actions. The fact of the country in which these things happened not being my country is irrelevant.
In my country we have food banks running out of food. We have rough sleepers intimidated. We have young girls abused and raped. We have a spate of “scooter thugs” throwing acid over their targets. My country thinks itself sophisticated and mindful of human rights – a “first world” country. My country views this other country a (rich) “third world” country – no matter the evidence in every country throughout the world that says things are not so “economically simplistic” – not so “binary” – not so “right or wrong”.
Last night I made the comment that there is much more goodness (in everyone) than we like to admit. And back came examples of goodness where goodness shouldn’t be. Goodness that had nothing to do with faith or religion or sacred writings or anything like that. Just humans being good to other humans where “economic simplicity” says no such goodness should exist. And just what is economic simplicity?
One of us has something the other doesn’t, and one of us believes it is okay to take it. Usually it is money or possessions. Often it is the basic rights of one over another. Always it is power. I have it and you don’t. The consequences of power in action that means behaving that way is okay.
I have no idea where the food banks are in my country. I have no need to know. I have no idea where the people who prey on others live and work. I have no idea what makes one human being think it is okay to be more than another. And I have an increasing irritation with those who bang on about the bible as being the answer – or no answer at all. My irritation is with those who see the bible as either absolute truth – or absolute bullshit.
Nothing is ever one or the other in my experience. Binary is simplistic. Binary means I am either better than you or worse than you. Binary says that I am right and you are wrong. Binary says that I am good and you are bad. Binary says that God is good or God is fiction. Binary says that the consequences of my being right allow me to dismiss you for being wrong. Binary says the world is full of bad people doing bad things.
Binary doesn’t see goodness where no goodness should be.
I cannot agree the bible is inerrant and infallible. I cannot even agree the bible is God-breathed as an endorsement of (it really being almost) inerrant and infallible. Yet neither of those statements mean I cannot – or do not – see great value in the bible. I can and I do.
I see a lot of fiction – yet I learn from “fiction” in all walks of my life. I see a lot of “moral lessons” … I read of manipulated actions and consequences … I see a bible written with purpose. And yet I read a bible full of love, of invitation, of great hope and of great power. And it is still not the answer (and never will be).
I am the answer – you are the answer.
Me (and you) seeing “goodness where no goodness should be” is the answer. Me (and you) having no need of being right or better is the answer. Just as “love is always the answer” is the answer.
A love that is not “binary” nor “economically simplistic”. Love that disallows the binary crap – the simplicity – in thinking (and treating) each as better/worse, right/wrong, worthy/unworthy, deserving or invisible. I have seen the bible used to justify that thinking and doing. And that is not love. But nor is dismissing the bible as bullshit.
The bible is not the answer. It was never intended to be the answer. No sacred writing is the answer. It is what I do, think, and “am” that is.
And that is what I read in my bible.