An East-West Dialectic Synthesis
Dr. Gerry Lower, Keystone, South Dakota
One self-evident problem with western religious legalism is that all of
the guidance it offers to the people is in the form of negatives. Do not
do this, do not do that, or you will be subject to the wrath and
punishment of a vengeful God, as carried out by God's vengeful spokesmen
on earth. Without faithful believers willing and able to behave just like
JudeoRomanism's vengeful God, that supernatural god would have no power
whatsoever on earth, simple as that.
In the Mosaic Decalogue, established to help the people maintain the societal status quo, there is not one word about how we ought behave, in the interest of justice and fairness or in the interest of spiritual maturation. That door has been left closed to allow the rich and powerful to hide and do unto others as they damned well pleased. The result of this approach has been to put control in the hands of the religious rich, at the expense of the people, a fact which motivated the American Revolution against the European church-states employing religious coercion to exploit the American colonies.
Sin, in the western world, was to go against God's laws, laws that told one what NOT to do. One had to be either obedient to law or suffer the consequences, or one had to be willing to lie through one's teeth in order to cover one's ass. The enlistment of negative religious law to control human behavior has likely caused more lying in the JudeoRoman western world than any other single factor, and to a greater extent than any other human culture. But then the western religious approach began with the lie of supernatural, external authority so as to keep the people for looking to reality for the causes of their problems.
In the JudeoRoman world, there was no religious sin, however, in failing to honor the ethical precepts of nascent Christianity. That is one of the more obvious differences between nascent Christianity and the JudeoRoman church which the Roman emperor, Constantine, established in the name of Christ. Rome's unholy synthesis of Christian ethics and Jewish (God-given) and Roman (Imperial) law provided Rome the absolutist, self-righteous authority to conquer the western world in the name of an ethical morality which it seldom, itself, practiced, most noteably at the top. Rather, JudeoRomanism has provided the driving attitudes beneath western imperialism, colonialism and the current Bush administration's religious capitalism. The western world remains Roman after all these years, still
Catholic despite the Lutheran and myriad Protestant Reformations.
In contrast, nascent Christianity has, from the beginning, stipulated a positive ethos, an ethical morality to guide human behavior, e.g., love of one's fellow man, compassion in thought and action, and forgiveness as the only intelligent solution to vengeance-based cycles of violence. Christianity asks only that we think for ourselves in comprehending the dark side of vengeance-based moralities, absolute legalism and penalism, and marketplace pragmatism.
Gandhi could take this inclusive Christian ethos no further, since it already resided firmly on dialectic human ground. But he did achieve an east-west synthesis by addressing the causes of social unfairness and injustice. Gandhi provided the people, for the first time, with an earth bound place to look for the roots of their problems, as opposed to having the rich top assign them to a lack of law and order and blame the poor bottom for a lack obedience. In contrast to the Mosaic Decalogue of negatives, Gandhi provided seven root causes of unfairness and injustice, all consisting of volitional human activities in the absence of socially-redeeming moral content.
Gandhi's Seven Root Causes
Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience
Knowledge without Character
Commerce without Morality
Science without Humanity
Worship without Sacrifice
Politics without Principles
Here, Gandhi, speaking from the ethical east, is pointing out that most human activities are honest and just only if they are assigned a moral qualifier aimed at preserving, not law, but Christian ethics. Insofar as these moral qualifiers are not honored in human societies, we can expect to find social pathology, e.g., corruption, exploitation, and despotism. Welcome to Bushs world of religious capitalism.
Indeed, America under the auspices of Bush's religious crony capitalism can not claim to honor a single one of the dialectic (moral cum ethical) principles set forth by Gandhi. Rather, Gandhi's root causes of human misery fairly well describes the Bush administration's mindless, despotic
policies and approaches in its quest to fulfill religious prophecy.
The global religious machinations of the Bush administration have no ethical content and no moral content, only absolutist legal content aimed at furthering neoconservative dominion. Gandhi's moral qualifiers, being based upon dialectic human values, are entirely Christian in content and scope. They have no place in Bush's JudeoRoman view of the world. They do, however, have a clear role in helping the people think for themselves in identifying the roots of their problems. They do have a central role in maintaining a government "of, by and for the people." They do have a central role in the nourishment and maintenance of a global democracy.
America under the Bush administration has fulfilled Dennis Diderot's worst nightmares of a thoroughly wretched world, a world where the people "feel guilty when doing nothing wrong, and proud of themselves in the midst of sin." This, in Diderot's considered philosophy, was the hallmark of religious despotism.
Dr. Gerry Lower lives in Keystone, South Dakota. His primary concern is the development of a rigorously-definable global philosophy and ethics suitable for a global democracy. His new book, "Jefferson's Eyes - Deist Views of Bush World," can be explored at www.jeffersonseyes.com and he can be reached at email@example.com This article is copyright by Dr. Gerry Lower and originally published by opednews.com but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this entire credit paragraph is attached