QUOTABLE QUOTES about CHRISTIANITY
from the works of Manfred Davidmann
Relevant to today's problems and towards a better future
What Jesus Taught
The social laws and social system of the Pentateuch (Five Books of Moses) ensure freedom and material independence and provide a good life of high quality here and now, backed by effective social security. No one may oppress or exploit another and all are equal, as a matter of God-given law.
Jesus taught that all the social laws and the social system of the Pentateuch had to be kept, that belief and practice included and had also to include the Ten Commandments and the Good Government (Kingship) laws.
The Ten Commandments underlie freedom, independence and strength to oppose and resist oppression. The Good Government (Kingship) laws lay down that those in positions of trust, responsibility or authority must not oppress people and also forbid personal gain from the misuse of authority or position. Those in authority must not be promiscuous and must not amass wealth.
At issue are the laws of behaviour and the social system which are laid down in the Pentateuch:
So the Pentateuch laws quoted here protect people and safeguard their strength and freedom by laying down that those in positions of trust, responsibility or authority may not grasp power, may not oppress the people, may not behave promiscuously, may not enrich themselves.
Those in authority must not oppress people so as to increase their own possessions and power, must not form enforcing squads or organisations so as to multiply their own power, must not behave promiscuously, must not gain wives or wealth (Pentateuch, Deut 17: 14-20).
They must know and observe the Pentateuch law and its intent and aim to see the Pentateuch laws applied.
Jesus taught that if the rich wish to be rewarded by God they will need to follow that which Jesus teaches by keeping all the commandments and the social laws of the Pentateuch. Jesus said that 'good deeds' by themselves are not enough to gain eternal life. Whoever keeps the commandments enters eternal life. To be a 'good person' and enter eternal life one has to keep the commandments.
The laws of the Pentateuch restrain the behaviour and limit the power of 'rulers', that is of government, of top executives and of the establishment, of those in positions of trust, responsibility or authority, no matter whether secular, religious or military, no matter what the hierarchy or organisation. The Pentateuch states clearly what they must not do.
They may not amass servants and may not oppress the people. They may not amass possessions and wealth, may not grasp power or behave promiscuously. In other words, they may not put themselves above others by grasping power, may not satisfy personal desires at the expense of others.
And a ruler (person in position of trust, responsibility or authority) has to follow these laws and abide by them every day if he wishes 'to prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children'. For 'kingdom' read 'position' and include 'influence'.
Christianity is struggling forward towards its roots in response to the social and economic problems of global humanity at the present time. Towards what Jesus taught, towards the social laws and social system of the Pentateuch which were being argued about and discussed by Paul and the writers of the Gospels (see the later "Origin of Christianity").
We will see how writers of the gospels struggled to put the record straight, struggled to record what Jesus actually taught. Throughout the ages, Christians of goodwill chose intuitively to interpret Paul's statements about those in authority as meaning that 'the authority of those in authority only comes from God to the extent to which they themselves live according to and apply the Ten Commandments, the social laws and the social system laws', and that only those can 'love one another' who comply with all these laws.
And wherever there is extreme poverty and suffering and pain you are likely to find Christians who are struggling on the side of the oppressed. Christians such as priests and nuns who provide encouragement and guidance to oppressed and suffering people in their struggle for a better life against the ruling establishment, against established ruling oppressors, doing so at much risk and without thought of personal gain.
Genesis and Evolution
Genesis begins by describing how the planet was created, in other words how it was formed, the changes which occurred as the planet aged, how plants and animals were formed, evolved and populated the planet. It describes how human beings evolved and also how the behaviour of life forms changed as human beings evolved.
When the Pentateuch (Five Books of Moses) was written about 3,400 years ago, people had but little knowledge about science or evolution compared with what is known today. So concepts for which we now have precise terms were described rather than stated and expressed in religious terms so that they could be appreciated and followed by the population.
Understanding this we see that there is no conflict, no contradiction, no divergence, only awe-inspiring agreement, between what is stated in Genesis and what we now know about the evolution of human beings by natural selection.
And some 150 years ago there were those who wondered why God was being referred to by different names in Genesis. At that time a likely explanation appeared to be that Genesis had been written by a number of people pretending it had all been written by one person but that each author naively referred to God by a different designation. This multiauthor hypothesis has undertones of propaganda aimed at discrediting the Pentateuch (Torah, Five Books of Moses) and its benevolent social teachings, by discrediting its single-author-based religious authority. The multi-author hypothesis was disproved some time ago. And what you will see here is that the different designations for God are not only meaningful but extremely important.
In reality, Genesis Chapter 3 (Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden) actually describes the evolution of Homo sapiens in a way which could be understood at the time it was written, and which can now be understood as it was intended to be understood, following the publication of Manfred Davidmann's 'The Meaning of Genesis: Creation, Evolution and the Origin of Evil'. For example, Genesis records that childbirth became more difficult as a result of the increased brain size, and states the necessary division of work between the male and the female, as equals in different roles, in protecting and bringing up their children.
Life as we know it today appears to have developed very, very slowly by a process of trial and error. Each change was evaluated by the extent to which it enabled a life form to survive and multiply in a largely hostile environment in competition with other life forms.
Remarkable is the enormous timescale during which this slow process has enabled ourselves to be created. We are the most complicated and advanced life form and there are many gaps in our knowledge and appreciation of the way in which we exist, function, live and behave.
Alarming is the infinitesimally small period of time in which our technological progress has so vastly exceeded our social organisation and behaviour that now the survival of our species is in doubt.
Evil must not gain the upper hand under any circumstances.
Each person can now have access to vast knowledge undreamt of only a few years ago.
But this needs to be supplemented with the ability to think clearly, to assess and evaluate reliability and applicability, on the basis of knowledge of good and evil and of the essential need for behaving humanely, for following (doing) good instead of evil.
It is here that the relevance and importance of the Pentateuch's social laws and teachings become apparent. The Pentateuch adds to mere mechanistic and chance processes the knowledge that human beings need to behave humanely if they wish to prosper and succeed. Stating clearly what is, and is not, humane behaviour, clearly defining the difference between good (including human rights and justice) and evil, adding that human beings stand or fall by the way they behave.
Outstanding is that the contemporaneously written, agreed and finalised Christian Canon and Jewish Talmud were shaped by and independently record the same confrontations and struggle and sequence of events we have here seen unfold.
The agreement between Christian and Jewish writings is so complete that we are now reasonably certain about the main course of events.
For the first time we can now see the whole pattern.
Laws protect people when those who break them are punished. So Paul is saying that there would be no punishment if the laws were abolished, implying that antisocial activities can be allowed to take place without restraint.
The social laws and social system of the Pentateuch ensure freedom and material independence and provide a good life of high quality here and now, backed by effective social security. No one may oppress or exploit another and all are equal, as a matter of God-given law.
Paul acted on behalf of the rich and powerful when he proclaimed that those in authority were God's representatives on earth and had to be obeyed, and that the social laws and social system did not have to be kept. What Paul said and put forward in (Romans 13: 1-10) apparently became official Christian doctrine and is still taught today. But it is neither God's word nor is it what Jesus taught.
The Catholic Church's statement on its social doctrine, for example, shows that the Church follows Paul's ideology that rulers rule by 'Divine Right' and have to be obeyed, that the Church is apparently teaching that the relationships and duties of a Christian towards the authorities are as stated by Paul in (Romans 13: 1-7).
And the Pentateuch's God-given right to social security enables those who benefit to remain independent breadwinners, enables each to remain the master of his fate. But the Church replaces the right to effective social security, with charity, and charity can be used to exploit the needs of the needy by making the receiver indebted to, and depending on, the giver for survival.
Hence the Christian establishment condemned and condemns Christians to unavoidable inescapable consequences, to sufferings and severe hardships according to the extent to which they follow Paul's ideology, in accordance with the Social Cause-and-Effect Relationship. Which the prophets knew and understood, which we now know and understand.
The often quoted phrase '..., and he shall rule over you.' from Genesis, is quite mistakenly assumed to lay down male dominance over the female. Genesis Chapter 3 describes the evolution of early human beings, the role of the family in bringing up their children, and the respective roles of husband and wife within the family. What is described is the so-necessary division of work and teamwork between them, between husband and wife, between equals.
Each member of the family gets strength from the others. Two heads are better than one, and work divided between two people in such a way that each can become expert in his or her own area is done much better than one person trying to do it all. The family gives people enormous emotional and economic strength to overcome life's problems. Husband and wife battle on together back-to-back and they do so successfully regardless of how tough the struggle may be. You cannot win all the battles but what cements the relationship is not just battles won but battles fought together. The depth of such a relationship between husband and wife and the wealth of strength it gives regardless of the opposition, this you know as well as I do. The children follow the example of their parents, gain the same strength and pass it on. It all depends on deep and secure emotional involvement between two people, between husband and wife.
The relationship between the two spouses is a functional relationship and functional relationships are often misunderstood and misrepresented.
The spouses share out between themselves what needs to be done, each specialising, concentrating on, areas of work in accordance with their abilities, knowledge, understanding, (and the) likes and dislikes of each.
Equal as people, each takes the decisions falling within their own area of competence and responsibility. ... But each discusses matters with the other family members before deciding from the point of view of what is best for the family as a whole. ...
Such a functional division of work and responsibilities, of co-operation and teamwork between experts, enables us to survive and do well in the dangerous environment in which we find ourselves.
All this was clear (way back) in the seventies:
Destructive aggression, viciousness and brutality of people towards each other, disregard of the value of the individual and of life itself, are not normal behaviour. People who behave in such ways become isolated and divided against each other.
Consider two media reports of a current event. Each reports the same event, each apparently telling the truth, each report giving its viewers different impressions of what actually happened.
How come? Can there be more than one truth?
Such reports may tell only part of what happened, may report only what seems relevant to the reporter, may then be selecting what seems to support the particular viewpoint of those who prepared the report.
Compare these 'truths' with that demanded from a witness in a court of law: 'The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.'
Which means that what is required in a court of law is the truth with nothing taken away and nothing added.
If we agree on this as a definition, then the word 'truth' has become more meaningful.
To me it seems that the list seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, refers to essential environmental characteristics on which depends the continuation of human life on the planet. A warning to humanity.
Genesis from then on defines evil more closely and describes and lays down what humane behaviour is and how it can be achieved, stressing justice and retribution. Genesis describes what constitutes humane, good, behaviour, how to resist, counter, overcome beastly temptations, to compare good with evil so as to choose good. And Genesis makes the point that if human beings wish to survive and prosper they need to follow the rules of behaviour laid down by God.
I warned a long time ago that if we did not observe and put into effect the social laws (rules) and social system of the Pentateuch and its code of behaviour, then the planet would become uninhabitable for human beings. This danger has since become common knowledge, people have become aware of the risks.
Roman Catholic Church
Here I find myself in the position of the medical specialist who is talking to a very good friend and notices certain symptoms. Unless treated the disease is fatal. So what can one do? I can ask him how he feels, and he says he feels well. I suggest he goes and sees a doctor and as he is feeling well that could be the end of a beautiful friendship. But I know and he doesn't know that he can be cured but only if he takes action fairly quickly. In the end all that I can do is to tell him something about my qualifications, describe one or two of the symptoms in a mild sort of way and suggest that investigation is required. What he does after that is up to him.
And now the Catholic Church has a conscious choice to make, has to decide. It can continue to follow Paul (Romans 13: 1-10, as a whole or in part) and so continue to condemn its catholic believers to the unavoidable consequences, suffering, hardships and evil which followed in the past. Or it can begin to understand, follow and teach the God-given social laws and social system of the Pentateuch including the laws of Good Government (Kingship).
It is only when people struggle for a better life, struggle for the God-given social laws and social system to be applied and followed, that a better quality of life can be achieved on this planet for all human beings, instead of just for a few at the expense of poverty and deprivation for many.
So it appears that the teachings of the religious hierarchy condemn their Christian believers to sufferings and hardships while the hierarchy seems to tell the believers to blame themselves and not the religious hierarchy!
To me it seems unreasonable for the Church to guide its believers into following the word of man (Paul) instead of following the word of God, apparently telling believers to blame themselves for the inevitable harsh and bitter consequences of following the Church's teachings, of following the words of Paul instead of following the teachings of Jesus.
The Site Overview page has links to all individual Subject Index Pages which between them list the works by Manfred Davidmann which are available on the Internet, with short descriptions and links for downloading.
To see the Site Overview page, click Overview
Copyright © 2005 Manfred Davidmann