I just awoke from a dream in which I was at some sort of hipster hangout with wi-fi. While I sat there, sipping a hot chocolate and enjoying a respite from the chill outside, I overheard a discussion between four people. Two were atheists and the other two were religious and both were making the sad mistake of trying to convince each other through arguments.
I could tolerate the discussion passably enough as they quoted Hitchens this and Augustine that, but when one of the religionists tried to use Karen Armstrong’s views to defend his position, I had to say something. Personally, I find Armstrong’s defenses of faith to be equivalent to a court restraining order: not very solid and easy to brush aside. I’m sorry, but I would prefer a theist whose views don’t seem so close to appending the prefix a- to one’s position.
It being my dream, I could expound at length on my ideas.
“Look, all of you, quit trying to use proof from philosophical arguments. It won’t convince the atheists because they have their own arguments and they will cause doubt, rather than true enlightenment among those who believe. Argument and doubt are both injurious, and what’s the point in hurting each other?
“Here’s my proof. Yes, proof. God is love. Love is God. If you’ve ever loved, you’ve experienced God’s influence in your life. There’s the proof, with all the implications for behavior with it. Ignore it if you want, because you’re free to do so, but you’ll still know deep inside that I’m right and that love is the key to what we need to do here.
“And as for the Old Testament, here’s the key to understanding that book and reconciling it with the New Testament. Nowhere is it written that the Hebrews were righteous as they left Egypt. In fact, Moses says quite the opposite. The acts they perform are not those of the righteous, but of the wicked sent to destroy the wicked. The good never destroy the wicked: they always flee from it. Abraham was righteous – he left where it was wicked. Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife rather than contend with her. Elijah sequestered himself from the wicked Israelites. They were righteous, in contrast to most of the rest of the people around them.
“The wicked destroy the wicked, the good depart when they cannot help the wicked become good. It is true among so many faiths, not just Christianity, because it’s a law of the universe. Mohammed left Mecca and its wickedness. Gandhi would not lift a finger in violence, but prayed for his enemies to recover their senses. Jesus spoke his words and then, being done with his work, died. It is the same with anyone else that initiates a great change in the world: Gandhi died after bringing independence to India. Mohammed died after cleansing Mecca and instituting the faith he believed in. In my own faith, Joseph Smith sealed his testimony with his blood, but only after he had established the faith he believed in. So it is with anyone truly seeking after perfect love that creates a new way.
“For those that follow in those ways, we do not argue. We testify of the truth of our ways and then provide instruction on how to better live with them. Take it or leave it, but it’s the right thing to do. Discovering love is discovering truth. Science teaches us that we do not ignore truth, but we bend or abandon whatever preconceived notions we have in order to accept that truth and everything it implies. When I discovered truth, I accepted it and changed my life to live with more love in my life. I could have done otherwise, but I would not be living in harmony with the laws of the universe.
“Did you learn nothing from Lao Tzu? Did you learn nothing from the Bhagavad-Gita? If you did not read them, then do so, for they have much to offer us. Lao Tzu teaches us to seek harmony with the universe. The Gita teaches us to abandon our passions and inertia and live our lives in doing our duty – in so doing, we find harmony with the universe.
“When we love each other, we are discovering what it is like to let God help us in our lives. When we surrender our imperfections and seek to love more perfectly, we approach greater harmony with the universe, which is what all true religion teaches us to do. Where there is destruction, there is wickedness. Where there is peace, there is God, meaning there is love.”
Having finished what I had to say, I awoke, leaving their world. Therefore, I gave the people of some world created from my dreams a new way to live. May it help them to find true love and harmony with their universe.