The Origin of My Main Message
Copyright 2018, John Manimas Medeiros
The two principles and five questions - the scientific method used by John M. Medeiros to study the Gospel message as a scientific document (1958-1977-2007):
A) The Gospel message is about scientific facts, not about morality.
B) The purpose of the Gospel message is to tell us what we need to know, what we need to know in order to survive and thrive as a species.
1) What is the kingdom of heaven?
2) What is the main theme or main idea conveyed by the parables?
3) Why are there so many parables about good servants and bad servants?
4) What do all the good servants have in common?
5) What do all the bad servants have in common?
Elaboration as may be necessary
(History and rationale) In 1957-1958 I read the Christian Bible with my mind open and in a state of innocence. By that state of innocence I mean that I read the New Testament with the assumption "running in the background" that everything Jesus taught would be consistent with our science, including our modern scientific views of how the universe works. This caused me to feel, or believe, that I somehow understood something about the New Testament that others missed. This caused years of intellectual struggle, but not necessarily the same intellectual struggle that Catholics typically experience. There is something more, especially something more regarding the common "pre-supposition" that controls the mind of a Bible reader.
Here is the psycho-social explanation: Throughout the world people hear about the Bible and the story of Jesus early in life. What they hear may be supportive of mainstream Christian theology or negative. A family with a Catholic heritage will transmit rigid and intensive belief in the sanctity of Jesus and his MORAL teaching and moral example. Both Catholic and Protestant households tell children that Jesus was God or the Son of God, and his moral laws determine whether we go to heaven after we die or to hell. Of course there are varying degrees of indoctrination. Some households teach these things as unchangeable doctrines; others teaching them as ideas open for discussion. Non-Christian households, but those adhering to another religious tradition, will tell there children that the story of Jesus is respected and or believed by many millions of people and that Jesus and his teaching have had a profound influence on human history. Many households will tell their children that the Christian church and its history includes some very negative events in human history, the inquisitions of the Middle Ages in Europe, the Crusades, colonization and enslavement of indigenous peoples that is all clearly contrary to Jesus' teaching and a betrayal of Christian morality. Some households where the prevailing belief system is atheism, or agnosticism, or a plainly contemptuous view of religion and religious institutions will still tell their children that Jesus and his teaching is known around the world as the moral law of God or the moral philosophy of an interesting and kind man. This story of moral teaching is accompanied by superstitious myths about miracles and healing and rising from the dead. The anti-religious household would naturally discredit all of the faith and magic they see in religion and promote an opposing scientific outlook. This opposition of beliefs gives us the philosophical war we call "science versus religion," which has often produced real, physical wars and other patterns of violence. The inescapable reality, as I see human history, is that virtually ALL households and ALL religious and intellectual factions teach the same pre-supposition about the story and message of Jesus Christ: His message is about moral law or moral philosophy.
It is crucial to understand what is meant here by "pre-supposition" and the impact it has on what people see and believe about the New Testament parables. A "pre-supposition" about a text or message, any text or message, means that any person, adult or child, who reads or examines that text or message, and who thinks about it, HAS ALREADY BEEN TOLD IN THE FORM OF A KIND OF DOCTRINE WHAT THAT TEXT OR MESSAGE IS ABOUT. The universal pre-supposition around the world is that the life and teaching of Jesus, the message of Jesus, is about moral law, moral philosophy, or moral ideas. And this means NOT about science, not about the real, physical universe. In fact, the text and the pre-supposition both begin with the concept that the kingdom of heaven in "another realm," another world, and another reality, and by definition not the scientifically measurable reality of the real physical universe that our bodies live in and with here on Earth, in the solar system, in a galaxy. The result of this universal pre-supposition is this: All the world views the parables as stories that are entirely metaphorical in order to teach or illustrate concepts of moral behavior. This means optional behavior. This means we choose to comply with the "high moral standards" and unselfishness of Jesus, or we can be average or normal humans who due to human frailties or flaws are often selfish or immoral such as by lying, cheating, or stealing, or even killing people. THIS MEANS THAT THE PARABLES ARE ABOUT MORAL CHOICES THAT WE ARE ALL FREE TO MAKE, WITH CONSEQUENCES THAT ARE ONLY PERSONAL. SOME PEOPLE WILL GO TO HEAVEN BECAUSE THEY WERE GOOD, AND SOME PEOPLE WILL GO TO HELL BECAUSE THEY WERE BAD. THIS MORAL THESIS IS FURTHER COMPLICATED BY ONGOING AND UNRESOLVABLE ARGUMENTS ABOUT GOD'S MERCY AND FORGIVENESS AND WHAT KINDS OF BEHAVIOR WILL BE FORGIVEN AND WHAT KINDS WILL NOT BE FORGIVEN. The controversies include, of course, a range of different interpretations regarding marital fidelity, sexual behavior, and the effect of "faith" as opposed to the effect of "works." ETC ETC ETC but it is all about morality, moral thought, such that some go so far (Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung) as to claim that the parables are not about the real, outer, physical life of a human being but rather about the "inner life" of the mind. In other words, this pre-supposition that the parables are about morality takes some people to the conclusion that it is all ONLY ABOUT WHAT WE THINK and not about WHAT WE DO WITH OUR LIFE HERE.
FURTHER: The parables and Jesus' teaching are broadly discredited throughout the world by people who emphasize precisely the proposition that Christianity is all about moral thought, questionable and foolish moral thought. The discrediting argument is essentially the common defense of science and the scientific method as the only valid way that we can learn and understand anything that is real and worth knowing; and religion is all about magic and myth and false hopes and unrealistic beliefs and nonsense that leads people to terror and anger and rage and horrible violence and offenses against humanity. World History seems to be a history of religious wars. The whole of the message of the parables is rejected as not only false and unrealistic morality, but further as extreme hypocrisy that does more harm than good. All this is the effect of the pre-supposition that the parables are about morality and ONLY about morality.
THEREFORE: In order to see the parables with new eyes; in order to seriously consider the possibility that the message is not about morality but actually is a scientific message, and actually scientifically sound information about how the universe works, ONE MUST DISCARD THE UNIVERSAL TRADITION THAT THE PARABLES ARE ABOUT MORALITY AND PROPOSE A NEW PRE-SUPPOSITION, THE PRE-SUPPOSITION THAT THE PARABLES ARE ABOUT THE REAL, PHYSICAL UNIVERSE, FACTUAL INFORMATION THAT WE NEED IN ORDER TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE AS A SPECIES, not as separate individuals who will be divided into two groups "in the end" good and evil, angels and devils, winners and losers. And that is why I wrote down the TWO principles that guided me in my study of the parables, and the set of five scientifically-formulated questions, questions that can be answered, as in an experiment, through the application of observation and reason. The unresolvable questions as to whether Jesus was God, or whether there is a God or not, and whether we have a soul that lives after our physical death, are all set aside because those questions cannot be addressed effectively by means of the scientific method. But the five questions can be addressed with the scientific method, if one dares to be free to such a degree. The Primacy of Stewardship is the long version of my answers to the five questions, developed through a period of fifty years. -end- John Manimas Medeiros
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