But it does only highlight that aside from academic lessons about Biblical texts, all spiritual guidance is just some person, expressing some interpretation they have on some curated set of hebrew/greek prose written ~2000 years ago.
No one has it figured out, because there's nothing to figure out. Live the best life you can, inflicting the least amount of pain on those around you, while hoping for the least amount of pain to be inflicted upon you.
It's the common thread of humanity's greatest teachings. However, it's not the "Golden Rule".
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
From what I understand today, the Golden Rule is insufficient. I would counter-offer what is termed the "Platinum Rule".
Do unto others as they would do unto themselves.
It's simple. Don't treat people the way you want to be treated... treat people they way they would treat themselves.
It's close...it may be a limitation of interpretation...but it has a key difference.
- The Golden Rule requires inflection on yourself, and then a projection onto others.
- The Platinum Rule requires empathy for others, and then a conscious decision to step out of your comfort zone and to be what is needed.
It was never a consideration in my upbringing that:
- Those people were living their own story, with their own beliefs, own rules, and own consequences.
- Those people were just trying to figure everything out themselves.
- Those people didn't need, and weren't willing, to hear from some uppity white boy about how they were going to suffer the consequences of a religious system they were not participating in.
So I unsubscribed from religion, and my perspective changed:
- the Old Testament changed to "a historical account of the line of King David [and other works]".
- the New Testament changed to "an account & collection of letters on the life & teachings of Jesus [and other works]".
- Abortion: I'm against it, but I'll allow it; I'm not getting one, so if there is a Great White Throne judgement, I am not held accountable for the actions of others.
- Gun Control: I don't own a gun, but I would expect it to be difficult for me or anyone else to acquire one.
- Homosexuality: I have a hard time with some things about it, but I’m not gay, and won’t be getting gay married, so it doesn’t matter what I think.
- Taxes: Rich pay more, poor pay less; where ever I fall into the spectrum is my duty as a citizen.
- Religion: simultaneously a way to control populations with rules, a guide to leading a civilized life, and a way for humans to cope with the finality death.
- Churches: a tax haven for con-artists.
Yeah, it's a difficult thing to ponder; it's probably a large part of why religion is so hard to let go, because of the fear of [insert: hell, judgement, nothingness, downward reincarnation, etc.].
The upside of all of this is that the burden of trying to live a life that is pleasing to an invisible man in the sky is gone, and since my perspectives changed, I have been doing my best to be nice to others without feeling like I have to inflict my beliefs on them (aka Discipleship).
That was literally a burden of mine that I had to push aside in the old days of this website. It was very difficult in my early 20's to put aside my Christian bubble of how the world should work, in order to allow everyone to speak, even with completely different beliefs than me. And sometimes I failed, but we managed...we managed to have Christians, Mormons, Atheists, Agnostics, and (apparently) Young Earth Creationists...and probably a bunch of others that I just can't remember.
But having to stand up for the right of people to have their views heard, even when I completely disagreed with them, was really the biggest lesson I learned from tsn.
And I wish it was a lesson that everyone else would take to heart, because it's really needed these days.