Tom Pittman's WebLog

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2009 April 20 -- 1+2C

It is very seldom I see an idea so elegant. The Darwinist idea of "survival of the fittest" is such an idea, but it lacks conformance to reality. It's so beautiful it must be true -- except it doesn't match experimental data.

Last night the beauty of the First and Second Great Commandments (1+2C) opened up to me like a rare blossom. I have long had an appreciation for what Jesus taught as a complete summary of God's Law, but suddenly I saw it as so simple, so comprehensive. 1+2C implies every other moral obligation of mankind. That's not new with me, Jesus and Paul both said it. The new insight is that there are two matching comprehensive vices: pride and selfishness. Pride is the negation of the First Commandment (1C), and selfishness is the negation of the Second (2C).

Spiderman 3 tells us that you can make right choices -- and he's right. Right choices always conform to 1+2C. The problem is that most of us -- including Spiderman in the movie -- are proud and/or selfish some of the time. Some people are proud and selfish all of the time. But you can choose to do good. It's a choice. Rightly or wrongly, we make that choice all the time. After a while the choice to do evil gets stuck, but that's a different story. Forgiveness cancels past karma, so you can make right choices again.

I see a lot of anger in the world I live in. 1+2C explains anger, because anger is the expression of pride. Our educational system teaches self-esteem (another word for pride), and then we are surprised at the epidemic of uncontrolled anger? The Bible tells us to get rid of anger. It's not an emotion over which we have no control. Either we feed it by pride, or we get rid of it by obedience to 1C. I guess there is a place for righteous indignation, but I don't see much of that. Most of the anger I see is over the violation of rights, and rights are about pride, pure and simple.

Most churches teach a deviant form of Christianity I call Relationshipism. It's not truly Christian, because Relationshipism is selfish and proud. Relationshipism looks at my interaction with other people; 2C is only concerned with the other person's benefit. The beauty of 1+2C is that it does a pretty good imitation of Relationshipism. There is a significant difference, but Relationshipists will not see it. That's because Relationshipists are selfish; they are looking at their own benefit, and 2C offers it. Reciprocity is required for "relationship" but 2C works unilaterally (and therefore is not contingent on another person's moral compliance). Furthermore, if both parties practice 2C, then you get "relationship" for free. That's why the Bible teaches 2C and not the false god of "relationship".

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