Friday, February 2, 2018

Neither initiate nor tolerate harm 3/20/18

Originally, "First, do no harm in civic connections."

            Many people are aware of the moral: first, do no harm (FDNH). About FDNH, people think of medical care, but this human mandate may be applied to every human’s individual moral judgment and behavior. After several experiences and discussions, I modified the statement to: neither initiate nor tolerate harm.

FDNH's first expression may have been in Sanskrit; “One who does not injure others with words, thoughts or acts is named Adrohi,” meaning non-violent.[i] This application invites rules not only against harmful action or words, but against violent thought. DNH is taught in a faith workshop.[ii] It has a powerful expression which may be used to resist the egregious clinched fist of “solidarity”: Jainism’s open palm[iii] for “caution.” It could be used to represent collaboration to discover the-objective-truth.

A related Congressional act, HR 5272, died near the end of the Obama administration.[iv] The proposal is an unfortunate by-product of the failure of separation of church and state.[v] What’s needed is to reform the First Amendment so as to protect statutory justice rather than religious institutions---either eliminate the religion clauses or reform them to promote personal, civic[vi] thought, leaving religion a private pursuit for adults. Statutory justice refers to written law and commensurate enforcement based on the-objective-truth rather than dominant opinion (democracy). 

If some humans think there should be no violent thought, how do some defend violent speech? Why do some people extol freedom of speech rather than freedom of responsible speech? Why do some citizens remain silent while America barbarically fosters childhood poverty?

I would not influence anyone to study all the FDNH-information that is available, but it is worthwhile to form a personal opinion about FDNH. Stanford philosophers discuss the distinction: allowing vs doing.[vii] Perhaps that consideration influenced the addional phrase "nor tolerate harm." Stanford alerts us to consequentialism, which posits that neither intentions nor rules influence evaluation of consequences.[viii] If so, motive is not critical in discovering crime. 

However, for brevity, I would like to ignore philosophy (meaning, as in Merriam-Webster, a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology). I prefer to review a civic culture as understood in this blog: collaboration to discover the-objective-truth. The object is ideas a person can use for actual living rather than for speculating about better ways of civilization, socialization or arbitrary legalization. In a civic culture:

1.    The human individual may develop fidelity to the-objective-truth (fidelity).
a.     Fidelity cannot be taught.
                                          i.    Experience and observations persuade the individual to develop fidelity.
                                         ii.    Humility undergirds the individual’s private psychological power for fidelity.
                                        iii.    Yet, other people[ix] may coach and encourage the individual in fidelity by practicing fidelity themselves---by example.
b.    The-objective-truth exists and is increasingly discovered and understood
                                          i.    Humankind continually discovers the-objective-truth, but few individuals benefit.
                                         ii.    Humankind’s noble activity is to increase awareness and understanding of discovery.
                                        iii.    Exploration or research emerges from awareness and understanding.
                                        iv.    Discovery is continually increased; new understanding is expected; as evolution progresses, some discovered facts may change. For example, the earth was gaseous some 4.6 billion years ago.
                                         v.    The-objective-truth is not subject-to but can be obfuscated-by philosophical reasoning, evaluation, or judgement.
                                        vi.    Belief is no substitute for patience in the quest for awareness and understanding.
                                       vii.    As humankind’s journey unfolds, its work to discover the-objective-truth yields systematic awareness and understanding.
                                      viii.    Understanding empowers trust-in and commitment to the-objective-truth.
2.    The developing human may realize that fidelity extends to all people and things. That is, developing fidelity is a comprehensive, individual practice.
a.     With comprehensive fidelity, the individual may live at the leading edge of beneficial behavior, as the laws of civic morality are discovered. Conversely, the individual may choose to behave badly.
b.    Comprehensive implies all aspects of humanity; physical, psychological, especially the personal---inspiration, motivation, passion, serenity, humility, confidence and commitment.
3.    Only the individual human can choose to collaborate for private liberty with civic morality.[x]
a.     In collaboration, neither individual either imposes or tolerates personal opinion: both parties conform to the-objective-truth yet individually maintain their actual no-harm pursuits.
4.    Civic morality is mutual, comprehensive safety and security (security). The civic culture fosters security by example and coaching more than force. 
5.    In private liberty, each person pursues the happiness he or she perceives, always considering the-objective-truth. For example, citizens cannot evacuate a hurricane without departure.
a.     Some individuals test the leading edge of the-objective-truth.
                                          i.    If there are no harmful consequences, they may be exploring the-undiscovered-objective-truth.[xii]
                                         ii.    With harmful consequences and stubbornness to proceed, the person may be on an erroneous path that begs woe.[xiii]
b.    The-objective-truth does not exclude pursuit of hope and comfort respecting any unknowns. For example, no one knows if the future is controlled by anything, for example, someone’s personal God. I doubt it, however:
                                          i.    To object to someone’s hopes and comforts against the unknowns seemingly breaks the commitment, neither initiate nor tolerate harm.
                                         ii.    The condemned/constrained dissident is entitled to his or her hope and comfort.
                                        iii.    A harmful personal God seems incompatible with the-objective-truth.
                                        iv.    Awareness and understanding, so far, do not disprove the existence of God. For example, humankind may discover new perceptions in actual reality that access God. I doubt it.
6.    Some individuals dissent from collaboration for human justice, for particular reasons or none.
7.    Dissenters who do no harm enjoy private liberty with civic morality.
a.     Humankind benefits from some seven trillion person-years of development
b.    No person knows all the-discovered-objective-truth
                                          i.    Statutory law according to the-objective-truth may be used to record discovery and acceptance and the paths of accomplished reforms
c.     Every newborn starts innocent of the-objective-truth, awareness and understanding
                                          i.    Is uninformed but not in dissidence until error is made a habit
                                         ii.    May develop humility by trial and error
                                        iii.    May develop comprehensive fidelity
                                        iv.    May delight in continual discovery without expecting complete understanding
                                         v.    May develop infidelity to statutory justice
1.    Habitual infidelity fosters dissidence to justice
8.    Habitual dissenters may be constrained by statutory justice, once harm they caused is discovered.
a.     Statutory justice conforms to the-objective-truth rather than dominant opinion.[xiv]
                                          i.    Statutory justice includes both the law and law enforcement
b.    When the-objective-truth has not been discovered, evidence that is consistent with discovered awareness and understanding applies.
c.     Some individuals erroneously choose dissension so as to prey on the civic culture.
d.   Silence when harm is known is civic immorality rather than freedom of speech.
9.    The principles stated above can be applied to defend the dissident when a civic citizen has erred by imposing opinion rather than applying the-objective-truth in an accusation.

            I cannot possibly know the-objective-truth much less guarantee more than my awareness and understanding. But I offer to collaborate in finding words and phrases by which people may converse. That is, the first step is to collaborate on words and phrases for mutual understanding.

            In this essay about “neither initiate nor tolerate harm,” it seems clear that collaboration requires consideration of the phrase “the-objective-truth,” and either an improvement or agreement to use it to express actual reality. 

Copyright©2018 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included. Revised March 20, 2018

[i] Online at
[ii] Online at
[iii] Online at
[iv] Online at
[v] Online at
[vi] “Civic” refers to human justice in public or private connections and transitions more than conformance to a municipality, society, civilization, or institution.
[vii] Online at
[viii] Online at
[ix] My coaches include my wonderful wife (MWW), my children, family and friends, Emerson, Paine, Jefferson, Einstein, Faulkner, Plato, Chekhov, and many more
[x] Some species communicate, but only human beings record the progress of civic morality in a body of literature.
[xi] In public connections, if one party feels abused, the first requisite is to inform the other party. Thereby, the accused party may clarify the issue and obtain the accuser’s agreement, or the two of them may go to a third party to record the debate and help collaborate a lasting resolution. When there was no true offense, neither party subjugates or compromises: They collaborate.
[xii] Homosexual monogamy is a good example of such exploration. It seems evident that if two people are in love, they may commit to mutual care for life. However, their commitment excludes procreation and perhaps parenthood. To procreate, they must break sexual monogamy by using an adult contract with a third party or more. To parent, they must find a way for the child to experience or observe heterosexual monogamy. The evidence that family building by homosexual partners is civically moral has not been discovered.
[xiii] A good example is slavery. Most people can understand that slavery would not be good for them. Therefore, if they enslave someone, they beg eventual reckoning.
[xiv] For example, U.S. Supreme Court opinion that does not conform to the-objective-truth gets corrected. See Dred Scott, online at

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Personal civic authority

Key concepts: my experiences and observations on Rose Wilder Lane’s 1943 book, “The Discovery of Freedom”; mutual responsible freedom; the-objective-truth, which can only be discovered; personal authority for civic goodwill; physical and psychological person (human) power; civic morality---mutually just public and private connections; coaching in preparation for experiencing and observing; hierarchical repression of goodwill---tyranny over human personal authority.


            In public transactions, most people behave as though they appreciate mutual responsible freedom, or at least act as though they are civil. They understand civilization or social order. However, some people, perhaps 1/3, readily attempt to impose arbitrary authority over the other party. They are dissidents. Some dissidents attribute their behavior to an institution, church, or government. Civic persons do not readily yield to arbitrary authority rather than responsible freedom.
We assert that the human individual has and cannot delegate the authority for mutual responsible freedom, or civic justice. Two parties in a public or private transaction each have the authority to complete their transaction in mutual civic justice. If the two parties require intervention by a higher power, they have missed the opportunity to humanly collaborate.
Some individuals strengthen their personal authority through spiritualism, such as prayer to their personal God. However, spiritualism does not lessen the responsibility for mutual freedom in transactions with others.
In simple terms, if each person realized that they may personally take authority for mutual justice in one-on-one human conversations, things would go better.

Executive Summary

            This presents a principle for mutual responsible freedom. The application is human-relations training in service industries such as medical-care. The thesis is: Evolution informs humankind that theirs is the species whose each individual has the potential physical and psychological powers to accept the authority to establish mutual responsible freedom. Some people erroneously avoid that personal authority. Some institutions unintentionally discourage that authority.
            In the hierarchy of interests to patient and health-care providers, are life rather than death; best possible physical outcome; best possible psychological outcome; and fiscal viability. Medical services accepts the authority and responsibility to preserve life; provide best outcomes, both physical and psychological; maintain availability to both paying patients and safety-first responders carrying injured people. Perhaps in no other human service is management of authority as critical, and the CEO has that responsibility.
            The ideal free market involves health care providers and patients. In 2018, I cannot innumerate the “provider’s category.” The contributions of doctors, nurses, medical aids, information workers, and communicators seem lost in the insurance and government aid debates. However, this improvement proposal addresses the one-on-one conversation between direct provider and patient that is found in each contact in a medical care event. We propose that the provider, whatever their role, accept the authority to collaborate for mutual responsible freedom in all conversations. When the patient does not understand responsible freedom, this system incidentally may fail, but most patients understand.
            Medical services involve conversation. In all one-on-one human connections, acceptance of the authority to practice responsibility for mutual freedom is critical. Ideally, neither the provider nor the patient imposes coercion or force on the other. To work toward that ideal, providers may choose a system that preserves the patient’s freedom as much as possible; accepting direct provider authority is the system. To accomplish this mutual responsible freedom, the provider must accept the authority and defend that authority with responsible action. If the patient does not reciprocate, the provider accepts that not all humans understand responsible freedom and then calls for help.
            Below, I explain this proposal in more detail. If it is interesting, the complete theory may be of interest. It would take a little time to assemble the existing ideas.
Accepting human authority
            The way things are, human beings face death, uncertainty, and opportunity, with determinants for each---a triad of controls. Death may come on either exhaustion of positive energy or on fateful event. Uncertainties come from the ever changing environment, including the psychological community and the physical universe. Opportunity comes from preferential use of personal energy. The individual may accept personal human authority. In other words, the individual may accept the opportunity to spend his or her lifetime energy to discover and acquire personal preferences. For example, I am glad to know I prefer both dark chocolate and to never lie.
            During his or her lifetime, the individual is subject to the world: physical and psychological evolutions, the market place, governments, the public, family and friends, and personal energy. Just as he or she must work to eat, he or she must work to understand fidelity, to establish and enjoy statutory justice, and to assure economic viability. Statutory justice refers to just written law with just law enforcement; in other words, responsible freedom. Rare is the person who takes the authority to manage these lifetime opportunities.
As cultures evolve most individuals expect and seek authority. Death is coming. Government contends with uncertainty. The individual may struggle to discover personal preferences. Often, the individual subjects to civility under the least repressive tyranny. Options range from democracy, communism, socialism, monarchy, and others to republicanism under statutory justice. There could be a way of life wherein government serves the individual. It could feature public justice with personal privacy---a civic culture.
A civic culture can be created wherein each newborn is both informed about existing knowledge and coached to take personal authority for responsible human connections in both private life and public life. This way of living empowers rather than represses discovery of personal preferences such as vocation, avocations, religion, fine arts, sports, etc. It offers private liberty with civic morality. Therein, the individual who accepts private authority for mutual justice may live at the leading edge of civic morality.

A viable method makes the change possible

The overall conditions in the world do not seem optimal. The triad of authority may not be serving the individual well, and there may be an achievable, better way of living. The individual may assume authority on all three levels of control. Thus, even though God/fate, government, and personal preferences exist, each individual develops personal authority in all three determinants.
Personal authority is made legitimate according to its fidelity to actual-reality or the-objective-truth. The-objective-truth is discovered rather than constructed; human inventions behave according to the-objective-truth.
            In the physical and psychological world that has evolved, one species, the human being has the capability of taking the authority to discover and benefit from the-objective-truth. The corollary is that each person has the responsibility for both personal freedom and civic justice in human connections. “Civic” means behaving for mutual justice in human connections more than conformity to a municipality or doctrine. When or if most inhabitants collaborate to prevent or lessen injustice, misery, and loss, they create and improve a civic culture. I say “most” because history shows there are always dissidents to statutory justice for reasons the dissident may or may not understand.

An achievable improvement

In a civic culture, collaborating humans enjoy private liberty with civic morality; dissident citizens are constrained by statutory justice (civic laws and law enforcement). Civic citizens look not to tradition but to actual-reality to guide human connections so as to live at the leading edge of civic morality. For example, the British commoners who settled this country vaguely knew that Lords fox hunt for revelry; the American settlers adapted to indigenous peoples’ cultures, hunting for food rather than for revelry. The British purpose for hunting became obsolete for Americans, yet remains the English tradition. A civic culture allows the individual to develop private hopes according to personal preferences. In fidelity, each person, in their daily choices, discovers his or her preferences, and therein his or her person. The dissident is a slave to habit, subjugation, or other tyranny.
No institution should repress the civic person’s quest for self-discovery. To put it another way, cultural evolution that influences people to assign the authority for civic connections (human goodness) to institutions is erroneous. While it may be true that a higher power (God, physics, energy, or other) controls fate, goodwill between two humans is a consequence of mutual civic justice. The erroneous tendency to assign authority for goodwill to institutions can be lessened by collaboration and coaching. The spiritual person errs to neglect personal authority for mutual responsible freedom in transactions.

Illustration in hospital services

            A hospital is a human collective that takes or accepts the opportunity to preserve life and its benefits. The doctors take responsibility for medical care and supervision of assistants---specialist, nurses, aids, and other direct medical providers. Close to the direct medical-care providers are administrators---record keeping, appointment schedulers, food servers, room janitors, and other people who communicate directly with patients. The administrators coordinate with the direct care providers and all other necessary functions---data, legal, collections, maintenance, etc.
            A hospital takes responsibility for the both the patient’s well-being and the risk of causing death. The last thing a hospital wants is to perceive they may have caused the dreaded fate: death. In other words, no civic person serves in a hospital so as to participate in deadly error. Hospitals do all they can to continually discover potentials for error and eliminate them. Application of the theory of human, mutual responsibility for freedom---in other words, accepting civic authority---may be advantageous for hospital-employee training.
            The hospital personnel may decide to accept the triad of authority:  opportunity, uncertainty, and fate. In every civic connection, the patient rather than institutional authority may be the prime consideration. With common practice, the public would perceive the better relationship and reciprocate---take the authority to preserve mutual appreciation.

An example

An example will help understanding for collaboration on this idea to consider developing it for inclusion in employee training. We choose the doctor’s appointment scheduler (DAS) to illustrate a care-giver who may take civic authority. By DAS, we mean the person who confirms the doctor’s availability, for example, when the hospital’s general appointment scheduler needs assistance from the doctor’s suite or the patient is in the doctor’s suite. In this example, a patient came to the office for an appointment that was interrupted by an emergency. He asked to be called at home when the doctor arrived. The DAS did not feel authorized to say, “Okay.” Explanation of both sides of the conversation will aid comprehension.

The patient’s situation 

The patient seems a candidate for stroke or heart attack. He had 3 stents added to a fourth in the same vessel on August 25. There was another serious concern:  In an unrelated subsequent first appointment, regarding a 2.5 cm thyroid-nodule, the endocrinologist would not schedule a needle biopsy because of Plavix. In a subsequent phone call, the cardiologist’s nurse reported that Plavix could not be stopped until a year had passed. The patient was anxious for the December 15 appointment with Dr. Janes.
The patient is a lung-cancer survivor, so his family is very alert to cancer. They are upset with the thyroid uncertainty; the patient not so much, because he considers risks low.
His wife is a Parkinson Disease patient and blood in her urine was confirmed on December 13. The family is very concerned about that and anxious for her to see the urologist on the PCP’s referral. On December 15, he was in the shower when his wife heard a message being recorded on the home phone from the doctor’s office. Soon, the patient, at the phone, dressed in a towel, saw two recordings from physicians, heart physicians at 9:30 and urology physicians at 9:33. He requested his wife’s permission to make an appointment for her (with Dr. McNeal) and did so.
Then he called heart physicians and talked to one person who then dialed another number, I suppose in Dr. Janes’s suite. After several minutes, the family was urging him to get off the phone to avoid being late for the appointment. He hung up and left.
At the office, the ground-floor appointment clerk sent the patient to the ninth floor. There, Dr. Janes’s scheduler presented the options: wait for Dr. Janes’s return, or reschedule for Monday. The patient thought; did not want to risk a Monday appointment; then asked, “I live only five minutes from here: Please call me when you know a time Dr. Janes can see me today.” This kind person had the opportunity to say, “OK,” but did not accept the authority to do so. She is not to blame, because she lives in a culture that represses mutual responsible freedom in favor of hierarchical authority. What’s overlooked is that the patient’s health may be at risk. She would like the opportunity to say “Okay. In other words, without institutional repression, people behave with goodwill.
A few fortunate people take authority and minimize human misery and loss despite institutional constraints. And that’s how this story ends, below.

The doctor’s suite’s situation

December 15 morning, Dr. Janes was called to a heart attack situation and the staff kindly wanted to contact me, the patient, to say I could come wait or reschedule for December 18. It was nice of them to try to call. However, as described above, I did not get the message, ran out of time, and drove less than a mile to the appointment. So far, no problem to anyone.
There, facing the options: wait indefinitely from 10:15 AM or reschedule for Monday, interrupting my family-holiday-time, I responded, “I live only five minutes away. Let me go home, and call me when you know the time Dr. Janes can see me.” Unfortunately, the nice person did not feel authorized to respond, “Okay,” as described above.
The next event was typically unhelpful:  The person she looked to for authority perhaps did not take the time 1) to understand the simplicity of the request and 2) to consider the reality that they had already called me once that morning. She merely repeated the options offered. In effect, they could call at 9:40 to say Dr. Janes was gone but could not call when he returned. When I was incredulous and stubborn, that person got a third person, who gruffly said, “Come into that office [pointing] and we’ll . . .” (I did not really hear the rest of her sentence.) That unfortunately excited me. When I responded to her “police order” to sit in the hall, I turned to sit down and saw that another customer was in line behind me. The staff knows the other patient could wait in line across the hall. In other words, to me, three care-providers were not considering me their patient; call it the hospital’s patient. The institution did not care that a heart patient was being excited to high blood pressure (see below). The “police” action was, in my opinion, an abuse:  My objections were placed on public display.
The above described events are typical of busy work places like hospitals. The first care giver has the first hand conversation but does not perceive authority to respond “Okay”. The second person may have the authority but does not have the first hand conversation---does not really appreciate the simplicity of a second phone call. Any third person becomes mere force without consideration of the patient. The hospital’s freedom is more important than the patient’s freedom, and the patient is paying the bill (paying for the insurance).
Meanwhile, the patient has human energy and psychological power that does not accept care-giver conveniences as legitimate responses. In other words, “we can’t call you,” when they had already called does not compute. The object of this proposal is to change the authority-culture so as to take advantage of the human psychological power to reject nonsense on both sides of a conversation and use it for opportunity for goodwill or civic morality or mutual responsible freedom.

Incident resolution

The situation was resolved when Pamela Sharpley was asked to offer care; seated in the hallway between the two doctor’s suite schedulers. (A policeman might imagine that if the patient suffered a stroke it would be best for the public to witness the preceding dialogue. The patient would prefer appreciation as a patient, agitated as he may be.)
Pamela and I patiently spent the time it took to mutually understand the two issues: 1) patient communications including a phone-tree that can leave a patient in indefinite wait and 2) completing the December 15 appointment. She not only reached understanding of both problems, she created a new option for Dr. Janes’s emergency absence: examine me for the vital data so that when Dr. Janes arrived, the appointment could be expedited. Then, Pamela contacted Dr. Green’s nurse at BR Clinic (overcoming my equivocation that he is at OLOL) to clarify the needle-biopsy needs; four days without Plavix. However, my expected blood pressure could not be measured, because the actual data was 160/90. A check at the end of the exam was the same. Dr. Janes knows me and was not concerned with the emotionally elevated blood pressure. On December 20, my blood pressure was 134/72.


The person who made the decision to call me about my cancelled appointment had the patient in mind, but no idea the chaos I, the patient, was calmly handling. When I hung up on the stalled, automated phone-tree, I was only driving less than a mile and would be on time for my appointment. No problem, so far. However, when the same people could not see their way to call me again, things became psychologically challenging to me to the point of emotional blood pressure.
Pamela patiently listened to me suggest a better way. It’s based both on experiences and observations and on reading Rose Wilder Lane’s 1943 book, “The Discovery of Freedom.” Read it in PDF at, perhaps on library loan, or consider purchase options at
The point in this example is that when all that matters is human, civic collaboration, as in “I called you before, so I can call you again,” the direct caregiver can and may take authority rather than call in a third party. Pamela took complete authority and the results, which seem unusual by today’s institutional standards, can become the normal, better future at all levels of hospital services.

The hospital message

The message from my reading Lane’s book is this: The hospital’s hierarchy of personnel has direct authority for medical care. The hospital, intending to effect favorable outcome, takes the risk of causing unfortunate fate. Each caretaker in the hospital has human authority to take responsibility for just connections---good will---with patients and visitors. The judge in human connections is mutual responsible freedom---in other words, appreciation by both parties in the connection. When someone responds to one patient’s emergency, the routine patient may also be viewed as a human with the potential for emergency. His/her reasonable request in the face of options he/she deems nonsensical (“I called once but cannot call twice”) ought to be considered by the caregiver. The-objective-truth is that humans are too psychologically powerful to collaborate on nonsense. This principle applies to both parties in the transaction. Just as the patient will not accept nonsense, the care-giver who is not repressed to take authority does not offer nonsense. The psychologically powerful care-giver who nevertheless yields to repression regrets forcing nonsense. This no nonsense civic morality can be taught and coached. As in all things, there will be some bad events outweighed by more good consequences.
If this concept is useful, the actual training principles must be developed. The goal is most providers and patients completing connections with mutual appreciation. With future practice, frequency of mutual appreciation will increase.

A simpler example

            A couple went to dinner to celebrate a 48th wedding anniversary. The restaurant was very crowded but so large that they were seated right away. One member of the party needed assistance to maneuver the busy isles and take a seat. The party of four used a spare chair to hold heavy coats and hats. Later, a server demanded the chair, but the waitress intervened. The party of four, by agreement, each ordered what they wanted when they wanted it. One party ordered an entrĂ©e later than the rest so as to complete the preliminaries and not overeat. The waitress took complete charge of the extended service, and every need was met. She empowered a celebration that could not have happened without her authoritative approvals of off-menu orders.
            I realize that to some waitresses and waiters such service is commonplace, yet I had not expected it. When service is so civic, it demands appreciation.

Copyright©2018 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included.

Monday, November 20, 2017

More erroneous NFL

Yesterday, we were informed that the NFL flag-and-anthem-kneeling stunt came as what Jesus would do.[1] The NFL seems in jeopardy due to "religious" beliefs of a few players!
Is there an entity, “erroneous religious belief,” or is religious belief an erroneous public pursuit? Can a human being add to his or her person by belief? Is belief more important than fidelity to the-objective-truth?[2] Can virtue supplant humility? Is belief the gullibility to one’s own wisdom? The NFL anthem-kneel poses such questions. I do not know the-objective-truth, but history seems to inform that fidelity to discovery is preferred to belief in ideas.

Fundamental cultural evolutions

            Perhaps human ancestors grunted for expression starting 2 to 3 million years ago. Culture-developing “language must have emerged sometime after 200,000 years ago and prior to this cultural ‘big bang’, some 50,000 years ago.”[3] Grammar might be 10,000 years old.[4]
            Discovery is a slow process, so we still don’t know the oldest tool. A 2015 report claims 3.3 million years old.[5] We may guess that humans were continually discovering how to survive long before they made the first tools. And before that, they discovered that sun overexposure could kill and, therefore, considered it a higher power long before it was called “the sun”.
            Some tribes imagined the sun’s power could be harnessed for favor in civic living so developed theories for benefits. Timing agriculture on the seasons---planting after winter and harvesting before winter proved out. Naming the sun a god was thought to help tribes in war. Human sacrifice to appease a god never seemed promising and eventually was deemed immoral. Eventually, humankind discovered that the Sun is a natural nuclear reactor. Sun gods became obsolete. Discovery accelerated, and in 2016, Einstein’s general theory of relativity was affirmed.[6] However, most cultures continue to develop particular god constructs.


            Perhaps 4,000 years ago, some cultures asserted monotheism. Their god was God, and they were chosen people. This practice continues, and today, believers have personal God with character that only partially conforms to the God of an institution: each person has his or her particulars. Thus, while there are perhaps 10,000 theistic institutions, God is characterized by the individual believer.
            Also, there are many people who, on considering humankind’s discoveries, question the existence of God. They are motivated and inspired by the-discovered-objective-truth and collaborate for more discovery. They consider their work equally applicable in the physical and in the ethical.[7] They have no problem with belief in God as long as believers don’t try to oppose or reverse discovery, as Michael Polyani may have attempted.[8] A person’s hopes for the hereafter may enhance fidelity to civic peace. In other words, we can appreciate believers if they behave with civic morality.
            In summary, starting with no ideas about God, humankind has evolved into various cultures having three characteristic beliefs:  God, no God, or it is acceptable to wait for discovery. There may be a more erroneous belief, depending on whether or not the belief is held in civic peace.

Freedom of religion

Of course this cultural evolution affects the world, but it is especially evident in the United States of America, where there’s great pride in freedom of religion rather than celebration of opportunity to exercise powerful human psychology. That is, celebrate the opportunity to responsibly pursue personal dreams rather than conform to someone else’s plan for you. From a British colony, the USA evolved into a celebrated refuge for oppressed, civic individuals. By “civic” I mean persons who collaborate for mutual, comprehensive safety and security, in other words domestic, civic peace. People who are dissident to civic peace, or justice, are constrained by the rule of statutory law. The tension between civic citizens and dissidents to justice is expressed by the agreement offered by the preamble to the constitution for the USA, which is neutral to religion.

More erroneous religious belief

            The civic/dissidence tension is illustrated explicitly by humankind’s struggle over slavery. It was taken for granted 3800 years ago in the Code of Hammurabi.[9] The Church took slavery for granted when it canonized the Holy Bible 1620 years ago.[10] Popes authorized slavery[11], African slave trade[12], and colonization[13]. Colonization of North America in the 16th and 17th centuries involved the Atlantic slave trade. “The major Atlantic slave trading nations, ordered by trade volume, were: the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Spanish, and the Dutch Empires.”[14]
            In this country, colonization met its end when British-American subjects in the thirteen eastern seaboard colonies decided England would not respond to pleas for relief from oppression and changed their style from colonists to statesmen.[15] Revolutionary war soon broke out and in 1781, France helped the Americans defeat the British. Thirteen free and independent states ratified their treaty with England on January 14, 1784.[16] Many statesmen, such as Benjamin Franklin,[17] intended to free the slaves.[18]
The confederation of free and independent states was not viable, especially when 8 of 13 or 60% were slave states. Consequently, 12 states sent delegates to the 1787 constitutional convention. A nation predicated on supervision by the people in their states rather than by the state governments was proposed. Establishment required approval by the Continental Congress, then individual state conventions, and ratification, by the people in 9 of 13 states; the first Congress would add a bill of rights. On June 21, 1788, nine states establishing a nation of people, the USA. Four states remained free and independent. Three states remained dissident after the USA began operation with 10 states on March 4, 1789. They had joined by the time the Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791.

Future emancipation from slavery’s consequences

Both the preamble and the articles of the 1787 draft constitution established the words for seamless transition to a nation without slavery and English common law (classism). The 2/3 of states representatives who signed the draft constitution envisioned a nation that would be inviting for all inhabitants and would establish civic peace. The draft constitution completed General George Washington’s 1783 four pillars for survival as a nation,[19] and likewise did not impose religion.
However, the first Congress, by May 1789, established legislative prayer, or American theism, bringing the Holy Bible’s affirmation of slavery back into civil debate. Legislative prayer imposed the erroneous Christian impression that government is of God[20] and legislators have divinity. The first Congress made dominant the erroneous re-institution of American theism by the religion clauses of the First Amendment to the constitution.[21]
Frederick Douglass, in 1852, sixty-four years after the people ratified the preamble and established the USA, railed against American theism, stating, “America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven who does not know that slavery is wrong for him.”[22] After extensive argument, Douglass asked:
What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman cannot be divine. Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may - I cannot.
Only four year later, Robert E. Lee, lamenting the abolitionists, without sympathy for African slaves, spoke the erroneous proposition. Refuting Douglass’s no “man beneath the canopy of heaven,” Lee looked past civic morality to eternal, Christian work under Jesus:
There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race. While my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more deeply engaged for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, physically, and socially.
The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race, and will prepare them, I hope, for better things. How long their servitude may be necessary is known and ordered by a merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild and melting influences of Christianity than from the storm and tempest of fiery controversy.
This influence, though slow, is sure. The doctrines and miracles of our Saviour have required nearly two thousand years to convert but a small portion of the human race, and even among Christian nations what gross errors still exist! While we see the course of the final abolition of human slavery is still onward, and give it the aid of our prayers, let us leave the progress as well as the results in the hands of Him who, chooses to work by slow influences, and with whom a thousand years are but as a single day.
Although the abolitionist must know this, must know that he has neither the right not the power of operating, except by moral means; that to benefit the slave he must not excite angry feelings in the master; that, although he may not approve the mode by which Providence accomplishes its purpose, the results will be the same.
Without erroneous Christian beliefs, Lee might have sold all his property and moved to a non-slave state or territory before his liberty to do so was eliminated when the CSA fired on Fort Sumter. Lee’s concern was abolitionists interfering with what Jesus was doing rather than inhumane slavery!
            There is false belief rather than irony in the Confederate States of America, four years later, making a long list of issues that might have been settled by collaboration for civic peace and concluding that diplomacy was impossible because Abraham Lincoln was elected president:
The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.
Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.[23] (Emphasis mine.)
Before the first shot was fired, President Lincoln cited a civic people as the hope for justice:
Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.
The history of slavery shows that its effect on American history is an indication that religious hopes, for example, favorable personal afterdeath, must be secondary to civic peace. To be an island of justice in a conflicted world, civic citizens must protect collaboration for mutual, comprehensive safety and security---must not yield to religion. Religious beliefs must not be imposed on civic morality.

Erroneous Jesus beliefs

            I have no idea what Jesus was like or said, but have personal views that can easily touch my deepest emotions. However, “the doctrines and miracles of our Saviour” Robert E. Lee spoke of where in his mind, not the mind of Jesus. Lee embraced the sermons of Virginia ministers and the distortions of his own integrity[24] to beg personal woe. Jesus is not to blame for Lee’s folly, because every person has the psychological power to sense gullibility to personal wisdom, hubris, and pride, and ward them off using humility.
            Yet powerful people keep making the mistake of attributing personal error to God and on that gullibility inviting woe. Roy Moore, of Ten Commandments monument fame,[25] has dedicated his life to imposing Christian values onto American life so severely that he seems clearly opposed to civic morality. He seems to have never considered collaboration for civic peace so that every person may pursue the happiness they prefer instead of the values Moore wants for them. If he cannot be elected or serve in the US Senate, he may perceive he begged and received woe; I do not know, but he does know. But he inspired current Christian controversy invoking claims against virgin birth, a founding Christian miracle.[26] You might call such hypocrisy the abuse of Jesus.
            I have long objected to Fellowship of Christian Athletes[27] and Bible based prison ministries,[28] because the ministers prey on captive people. The former is especially egregious, because the subjects are young. We know that the human body does not complete the wisdom building parts of the brain until 25 years old,[29] a quarter century, and it takes a few more years for experience and observation of misery and loss before the need for wisdom to become vital to a person. If fidelity to belief is too deeply inculcated, the chances to develop fidelity to the-objective-truth are lessened if not prevented. Of course good coaching, as a person successively discovers personal autonomy, collaborative association, and intent to live a full human life can instill the intention to fidelity rather than beliefs.
            We learned today (Footnote 1) that Christianity is egregiously involved in the NFL disruption of civic morality over flag-and-anthem-kneeling. Colin Kaepernick had his reasons to sit. Then Eric Reid and Nate Boyer erroneously stepped in to assert what Jesus would do is kneel.[30]
They said, “We all have a love for people.” Love? How about appreciation? Their love-idea does not appeal to me at all. As a civic person, I want them to behave so as to warrant appreciation---collaborate for civic peace. These three relatively young persons have distinguished themselves as erroneous Jesus persons---people who use “Jesus” to impose their opinion on civic citizens. Like Robert E. Lee, they are victims of personal gullibility, and the remedy is humility. Hubris begs woe: humility inspires fidelity.

Proposed remedy

            For readers to whom the above review of erroneous beliefs ind history and current events, there remains the question of what a person may do about it. I think a person may separate fidelity for living from hopes for the hereafter. For living, civic citizens, whether American or not, may trust and commit to the preamble to the constitution for the USA to order public connections. Civic citizens collaborate for mutual, comprehensive safety and security, in other words, civic peace, using the-objective-truth, which can only be discovered. With civic peace, each person may pursue the happiness they perceive, rather than the dream someone else has for them. A civic people motivate dissidents to reform so as not to risk woe they may invite.

Copyright©2017 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included.

[1] Rob Maaddi, “Christian players frustrated by criticism for anthem protest,” AP, Nov 13, 2017,
[2] The-objective-truth is the expression I use for reality that can only be discovered be evidence that can be repeated. In other words, it is not truth someone expressed but no one can experience or observe.
[3] Vyv Evans, “How Old is Language?”
[5] Lowmekwi,
[6] Confirmation of general theory of relativity 100 years later,
[7] Albert Einstein, “The Laws of Science and The Laws of Ethics,” 1941, Note: “science” is a study and its object is discovery. Einstein spoke a conference on science and religion.
[8] Michael Polyani, Personal Knowledge, The University of Chicago Press, 1958.
[9] Code of Hammurabi,
[10] Bible canon and
[11] Dum Diversas,
[12] Romanus Pontifex,
[13] Inter caetera,
[14] Atlantic slave trade,
[15] First Continental Congress,
[16] Ratification of the Treaty of Paris,
[17] Philadelphia abolition society,
[18] Petition to congress for abolition of slavery,
[19] Circular farewell, June 8, 1783,
[20] James R. Rogers, “One and a Half Cheers for More Civics Education”, November 11, 2017,
[21] The First Amendment religion clauses may be reformed to protect responsible thought or fidelity to the-objective-truth or better.
[22] Frederick Douglass, “The Hypocrisy of American Slavery,” July 4, 1852,
[23] Declaration of Secession,
[24] The physics of slavery---chains, whips, brutality and rape to slaves with physical and psychological burdens to overseers and guilt to owners---make the evil of slavery self-evident.
[25] Roy Moore,
[26] Christopher A. Frilingos, “Did early Christians believe that Mary was a teenager? It’s complicated,” RNS,
[27] Fellowship of Christian Athletes,
[28] Prison Fellowship,
[29] David Dobbs, “Teenage Brains,” 2011,