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When I was very young I was forced to go to church. However, when the preacher of the church was found to have stolen money from the church funds, I didn’t have to go anymore.
Yippee! No more Vacation Bible School! No more early Sunday mornings! I was happy, but at a very young age, I was already questioning the religion that I was indoctrinated into.
What’s funny is I was more interested in religion after I wasn’t forced to go to church anymore. When I was forced to go, it was so boring. I paid no attention to things that were said and I simply went through the motions.
When the preacher broke one of the Ten Commandments and actually stole from the church, and ultimately God, that brought up moral questions within me I was too young to answer for myself.
My grandmother, who raised me, tried to keep up on the indoctrinating, but sitting there one on one with me she often struggled to answer the questions I had for her about God, Jesus, the Bible and Christianity.
In my teens, twenties, and even still today, I enjoy learning more about all religions, keeping the good messages, and doing away with the bad messages. Without religion, I still have my own moral compass that enables me to discern what those good and bad messages are.
This is not to say that religion is useless. Religion has given comfort to many people I love dearly, and helped many people I know deal with their personal demons. I have to give credit where credit is due as well. The preacher stealing from the church fund was most definitely bad, but good things did come out of it.
It was one of the first steps toward me learning that I should never just go through the motions of life, blindly following and believing others. It was one of the first experiences of my life that made me question authority.
Through the years, I have read and learned about many different religions, questioning their messages to come to certain truths that I should hold on to, and Christianity does have some very good stuff to offer. In my Drug War activism, I have used messages from the Bible to guide me even though I am Agnostic. And so here it is, an Agnostic’s guide to the 5 best moral lessons from the Bible:
1. Matthew 7:12
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
This is basically the “Golden Rule,” to do unto others what you would have them do unto you, and it is a universal moral imperative found within several religions and moral doctrines; Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, Judaism, Hinduism, and even ancient cultures in Babylon, Egypt, and Rome.
The Golden Rule does not mean you should treat others exactly how you want to be treated. People are different. It means to behave in a way that does not harm others, because you wouldn’t want others to harm you.
It means giving and loving, because you would want others to treat you in a loving and giving way.
2. Luke 6:37
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
The message of passage is very simple, don’t judge people, or condemn them, and forgive people, so that you will also be forgiven. I try not to judge people. I also try to forgive people, and I don’t mean just saying “I forgive you” but also forgiving them in your heart, which is much harder to do.
I have found through personal experience that forgiving someone else has more to do with you than the person who wronged you; because once you can truly forgive someone, then weight is lifted from your own heart.
Those who have judged others for drug use and supported laws that condemn drug users and addicts (along with their loved ones) to a life of poverty, jail cells and misery may now be subjected to the same condemnation of the very system that they supported. More and more actions are becoming illegal every single day, and there have been SWAT raids for raw milk, baby deer, poker games, and open Wi-Fi networks.
Do not judge others. Do not support systems that cause others to be unjustly judged. Then, you will not be judged. This is a great message!
Also, we must learn to forgive those who are on the other side of the fence, the drug prohibitionists. Do not allow them to weigh down your heart. Please forgive them, speak your truth with courage and conviction, and at the end of the day they will probably have a heavy heart when thinking about it all. They may just have a change of heart, if you can just forgive them.
3. 1 Corinthians 16:14
“Do everything in love.”
I take this message from the Bible very literally. It is not a metaphor. It can’t be taken out of context. Do everything in love.
Drug law reform activism is about loving all of the children, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and friends who have been harmed in this awful war, the War on Drugs. It is about loving all of the people who are suffering every single day because they are not “allowed” to have the medicine they need. It is about loving all of the non-violent people in prisons, jails, on probation and parole, and killed by police over a substance. It is about loving these people and acting on that love.
4. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
This is absolutely true. There has never been a time in my whole entire life where I have ever thought to myself, “Well, gee, I wish I didn’t have anyone to call on for help when I need it.”
This is why in the drug law reform community we need to stick together! This does not mean we need to think alike, but when we do have differences of opinion or a conflict, we need to pull out the glue and stick together through turbulence, because problems are temporary but friends, true friends, are forever and the problem is too large to solve alone.
5. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
“but test them all; hold on to what is good”
I take this as we need to question what we are being led to believe, all of it, and hold on to the good things.
This philosophy is probably the whole reason I am Agnostic and a Drug War activist.
I questioned what the Bible told me, and I decided to dismiss that which I thought was untrue, while holding on to what I decided was good and true. I became a Drug War activist because I questioned the Drug War, and I came to the conclusion that the messages of the war were untrue, and that what is good and true is ending the abomination that is the War on Drugs.