What separates me from anyone and everyone other than me … ?
My own prejudices. Or beliefs as we call them.
But my beliefs keep changing. Even the ones I don’t want to change.
And with them my prejudices.
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” Then he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.” Luke 17:20-25
I cannot “prove the bible” to you. I cannot prove that Jesus actually existed as recorded in the bible. Nor can I prove these are words actually spoken. So I always choose what I look for (and what I find) when I read these verses.
I used to look for a script, a transcript, an actual recording an actual event. I used to accept that these words were actually spoken as recorded. Then I found “editors” had been at work. So getting back to the “source” became important. Which is the Greek … or Greek from Hebrew … or Aramaic … And then the memory (collective or real) of whoever recorded these (or words akin to these) originally … And their absence of agenda imagined or real … and then the supporting archaeological evidence or its absence … And the supporting historical documentary evidence or its absence … And the style of documenting (in a time when documenting was a skill only for the elite) … And then the organised institutional selection in and out of those documented (actual) recordings … and the absence of an agenda (real or imagined) in that selection in and out by committee (who cannot function without an agenda) …
And ALL of that “stuff” is either no more than “belly-button fluff” … or is CRUCIAL and defining!
(or is just a lot of unnecessary noise)
I cannot answer any of that with certainty. Nor can you. So all we have is our prejudices (or beliefs as we call them).
So what REALLY separates me from anyone and everyone other than me … ?
“For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you .”
I have talked with many people over six decades. What I find time after time is a resonance in love. A love described in human and spiritual terms or both (usually both). A kindness that transcends dogma. A generosity of goodwill from connection with another being. A sense of humour that is not as universal (or regional) as we like to think – but is down to each connecting with another in a way that makes sense to both.
And when I talk politics there is the same fervour or weariness – and the same with faith and religion – and the same with parenthood and grandparenthood – and the same with romance and commitment – with anything and everything.
Colour is not it. Nationalism is not it. Language is not it. Culture is not it. And religion is definitely not it.
So my take on the bible and all sacred texts – my prejudice – is for love. Unconditional love. Universal love. Love that transcends dogma. Love that sees little difference between any dogmatic “sacred-text correctness”
prejudice belief which states:
”I am different to you.”
My prejudice is that I am not different (other than in my prejudices).
Except we don’t call them that. We call them “beliefs” which are rational … which are supported by “evidence” … which make perfect sense to anyone who will just listen for a minute ….
But if I tell you about my prejudices …
Then I become different and probably dangerous.