THEOLOGY REQUIRES KNOWLEDGE, THE GOLDEN RULE REQUIRES A CONSCIENCE | 2004-02-21
Theologians never mention the fact that Jesus never condemned anybody for not reading the Bible enough.
He condemned many who were Biblical experts, like the scribes and the prideful high priests of the Temple.
There have always been many who substituted theology for a conscience.
At the end of the eighteenth century, Doctor Jenner came up with a means of ending the deadly scourge of smallpox. He found that if you gave a person a shot of cowpox, it would make them immune to the deadly smallpox.
Practically every preacher in London started screaming about how evil this man Jenner was. They quoted the Old Testament about how the human body was the temple of the soul. They said putting cow germs into humans was something no Christian would do.
As a direct result of that campaign against vaccinations by the preachers, thousands of people died of smallpox. Thousands more were horribly disfigured for life.
There is no record of any preacher ever feeling the slightest bit guilty for this. If you've got your nose stuck in the Old Testament, you don't need a conscience.
So theologians find everything easy. There are millions of people in wheelchairs for life. Maybe developing embryos and using them to replace cells could put those on their feet. If I were the embryo, I wouldn't mind at all. But if you can just quote the right theology, you can block it, and if you are a good theologian, the real people in the real wheelchairs won't bother you a bit.
No matter what happens no theologian will ever feel guilty about mere human beings. But if you are stuck with the Golden Rule, the world is a very complicated place. You can't stick your nose in the Old Testament and forget that people exist.
If you are stuck with the Golden Rule, you can't ignore anybody. If you are stuck with the Golden Rule, you have to try to realize exactly how others think and what other people want.
Life is much simpler if you can ignore the Golden Rule and look for a good quote in the Old Testament that saves you from having to think and feel.