Monday, July 4, 2016

Heresy 4/2/17


             Most people are aware of extreme inquisitions that concluded with a verdict of heresy and execution of the subject/subjects. The “witch” executions[i] of Europe and Salem come to mind. But most people never hear their thoughts labeled “heresy.” The inquisitioner is cold, confident, and arrogant, without possibility for humility. The sincere person who is accused of heresy feels head-throbbing, intense emotions. Private rage follows. Then, the sincere person seeks resolution of the issue, but may have to exercise self-reliance.
Many people protect themselves from inquisition by both gravitating into social groups that are like minded and carefully protecting the propriety of the association and not allowing certain sincere dialogue. The consequence is alienation of a possible over-arching society that protects broadly-defined-civic-safety-and-security, hereafter Security. Let me restate that: By isolating in like-minded groups, we, the people alienate Security. The reality of isolation becomes more obvious with each Independence Day, the 4th of July.
Some persons may not recognize the tacit examinations regarding civil heresy that diminish daily civic connections. Many humans are aware that their brains evaluate ideas, but few are willing to express disagreement with civil or conventional thought. People take for granted the cultural norms in their home, street, town, county, state, and nation. They prefer to “go placidly” through life.[ii] Consequently, some persons live in unhealthy steady-state conflict that could be lessened through civic morality.[iii] In civic morality, a person’s thoughts are appreciated as that person’s experiences and observations, and if they are important to the civic connection, they become the object of collaboration. For example, monogamy between two adult persons may be celebrated, regardless of the bodies the two persons occupy. With widespread practice, confrontations that were once reinvented from generation to generation, even connection to connection, may be put to rest. For example, a current unmentionable is black Jesus vs white Jesus. Open debate could lead to the possibility that skin color is not important to the important Jesus, but socio-economic reform is important to Security.
                An inquisition is an examination of a person’s authenticity respecting a practice and abject dissent is heresy. There are many examples respecting civil societies but none respecting a civic people—those who collaborate for Security. Online,[iv] there’s a list of nine historical actions against civil heresy. The Quranic inquisition of 827 CE[v] and the Christian witch executions[vi] increase the list to eleven. The list does not address the personal inquisitions that happen when humankind or a private conversation alienates persons.
How many private inquisitions might a modern person face? Life is so short and human experience and observation so extensive.[vii] And humankind's experience is carried in diverse existing peoples. Is each person aware when they are being examined for heresy? Is standing for the pledge of allegiance to the flag for the USA an inquisition? I think inquisitions happen so frequently a person is unlikely to notice an attack on their private liberty. Private liberty requires civic morality.[viii] And civic morality requires fidelity. But fidelity to what and to whom? Each person has their own thoughts, and therefore, they cannot be faithful to others’ thoughts, except in one commitment: immediate safety and security so as to collaborate for Security. Perhaps the world had to reach its present unhappy state to draw attention to Security.
            In the first place, “private liberty,” attractive as it is, is not a customary phrase,[ix] beyond Western discussion of property rights. Most writers extol “the greater good,” meaning everyone submits to a religious belief or to the dominant political opinion (majority rule or democracy) or to other tyranny. In the context of this essay, private liberty refers to actions that do not involve connection with other persons, whether direct or indirect. For example, members of the same church do not collaborate on private beliefs—each member follows his or her personal religious opinion, even as they affirm church doctrine. Readers, beyond reading clubs or friendships, do not collaborate on the next book they’ll read. Further, private liberty necessitates private morality; [x] otherwise, privacy is at risk due to consequences of immoral behavior.[xi] For example, promiscuity becomes known when a sexually transmitted disease is detected.
Actions that ineluctably involve another person or other persons are considered public rather than social, and only real-no-harm public actions are civic. In civic connections, neither party is qualified to judge disputed morality. Therefore, persons collaborate to conform to discovered and understood physics, [xii] the indisputable facts of reality or the-objective-truth, the object of civic morality. [xiii] Humans do not accept opinion-based laws as bedrock civic morality.[xiv] The civic bedrock to which each person may anchor fidelity or examine heresy seems to be the-objective-truth.
When civic morality is insufficient and the force of law is required, the-objective-truth is used to legislate laws of reality rather than laws of opinion. Ultimately, humankind masters the laws of reality. Then, each person knows the bedrock against which to examine political heresy.
            Assuming that a human being is comprised of body, mind, and person (and perhaps soul), a person might encounter inquisitions at those respective levels. Life connections are determined by family, community, state, nation, the Earth, and the universe, respectively: fidelity to those entities might be considered. How important are customs, conventions, and cultures? They are vital to the institutions, but often of no value to the person. For example, allegiance to your city or state might help your city or state but hurt you and your family: you might be better served by a different state. Changing nations is a bigger challenge, so collaboration for national justice might be important for personal life and for children and grandchildren. However, allegiance to a political regime may conflict with justice. An inquisition regarding a soul does not seem viable.
            Among viable considerations, one evaluation seems to stand out: Does a person’s behavior cause physical or psychological harm? The answer “No” should not be expressed lightly, because often there is unexpected harm. In other words, sometimes there are unintended consequences of behavior. And often acceptable behavior by one person surprisingly motivates another person to do harm. Sometimes an intended joke becomes the motive for someone’s violence or injury. The combination of carrying a gun and resisting police-inquiry can invite woe--even death.
Despite errors, personal perfection can become each human’s goal, whether he or she is aware of the possibility to achieve perfection or not. The extensive understanding required by each person to strive for perfection seems manageable; in other words, human awareness is so acute that an attuned person can sense error in time to change behavior. And when errors occur, they should be understood and not be repeated. However, some error is irreversible. For example, a car-rental agency that does not warn customers about local risks may suffer loss, but should make corrections and survive the error. The customers involved may find recovery almost impossible, but they should recognize that their life is still perfectible.[xv] Personal perfection is a private quest and ever renewable, living determination.
An infant, being uniformed--feral, is not humanly perfect and must take charge of his or her perhaps three-decade Overstreet transition,[xvi] in order to psychologically grow. The infant must, on his or her own, craw, walk, talk, detach from mom, discover personal autonomy, adopt collaborative authenticity, and embark on adulthood with understanding and intent to live a full life. There is no evidence that a person cannot, during a full lifetime, perfect[xvii] himself or herself. In this quest, the person must maintain fidelity to the-objective-truth, to self, to family, to friends, to neighbors, and to humankind, respectively and collectively.
            Humility admits judgment of fidelity outside the person—judgment by an entity beyond the person. By what standard is fidelity to be measured? The law? Someone’s opinion? A god’s doctrine? Again, perhaps conformity to the-objective-truth is the test of heresy. I want to examine a few cases from my experiences and observations to offer them for collaboration with readers about heresy and inquisitions. I know I do not know what I do not know and am sincere in my request for collaboration by readers:  Please comment on these ideas.
Civic anxieties
            There’s a tension between persons of differing chronological or psychological maturities. There’s no shame in being uninformed—only shame in preserving ignorance. The tension seems an artifact of the primitive time, when humans had only imagination with which to cope with how the-objective-truth was treating them. Also, each newborn starts with equal-obligation-to-self to learn. Today, with some 7 trillion person-years of experience and observation, each person should learn as they struggle for personal authenticity –work to make the most of their perhaps eighty year window for a full life. Fortunately, humankind’s knowledge is substantially accessible with wise use of the Internet.
Any conversation that challenges a person’s understanding may create anxiety for one or both parties. For example, a person might carelessly say, “The Sun’ll come up tomorrow.” The other party might happily respond, “You do realize that’s only a metaphor.” If the first party googles and selects the wrong URL,[xviii], [xix], [xx]  or overlooks responses like that by Tom Hannon,[xxi] he or she may still be unable to respond with comprehension: The earth rotates on its axis toward the East, un-hides the sun each morning and re-hides it each evening. In the dialog, both parties may depart with civic anxiety if the-objective-truth is not resolved.
            Discussion between a person who disbelieves or doubts the Bible or other book held to be “Scripture” and a person who doubts evolution can be confrontational. Alienation can happen. Feelings may be hurt. It’s a tragic disconnect that could be avoided by collaboration on the-objective-truth rather than striving for dominant opinion about what was undiscovered when the “Scripture” was written or what may be yet-undiscovered. For example, the Bible-believer may choose not to suggest that the earth is only thousands of years old, and the evolutionist may choose not to question the believer’s god. Also, some evolutionists are not atheists. Some non-theists are not atheists: They just don't have a god-theory.
            Perhaps more potentially alienating is a “progressive” person trying to converse with a “conservative” person under conventional proprieties. One of the conventional rules is tolerance, which for some politicians recently morphed to "respect." Hypocrites love to challenge the oppressed party, "You may say anything you want to say as long as you say it with respect." Supposedly, the party who perceives the higher argument tolerates the other until the other becomes “enlightened,” and then the tolerant will prevail. Similarly, the party with the “better” opinion respects but could not possibly appreciate the “lesser” opinion. The “respected” party probably feels unappreciated. But in practice, both tolerance and respect effect alienation when there could be collaboration. And neither tolerance nor respect is justified when neither party has more than opinion to express—neither party knows the-objective-truth. For example, the person who claims everyone should have equal health insurance cannot ignore the person who claims that that is true only for the people who behave with health care. In other words, only people who have equally healthy behavior should have equally-priced health insurance. Both parties could be collaborating to understand and apply the-objective-truth and find a proposal for a better future both in health care and in health.
Some people claim evidence-based opinion. However, often the evidence cited has been generated by data-gathering intended to support an opinion. For example, a professor reports gun-control opinions of Republicans versus Democrats without considering whether the subjects of the opinion survey are hunters or not; most Republicans are also hunters. Unlike statistical evidence, often based on subjective tests, the-objective-truth can be used to collaborate for a better future.
                I grew up totally accepting “religious freedom” ideas like, “Around here, it’s mother, god and country” and “America: love it or leave it” and “God bless America” and “America: God’s country.” I did not feel intimidated by these statements until I lived in Greece for sixteen months. Greek Orthodox Christianity seemed more authoritative than Southern Baptism and at least competitive with either Louisiana-French Catholicism or Roman Catholicism. I learned a little humility in Greece and more after returning to the USA with a broader world view. When I returned home, it was difficult to brook jingoism, and slowly, I withdrew from the practice. Finally, I objected when someone expressed ideas such as American exceptionalism or racism. I goodheartedly, foolishly trusted friends and neighbors to understand statements from the-objective-truth, but slowly began to realize my views had been changed in ways most Americans could not—would not--understand. Those old phrases began to seem like tests of my Americanism. I realize that to many Americans, I am a civil heretic: I do not accept the tyranny of the majority. Also, I regard the majority as factions who delude themselves with the word "sect." What to them is sectarian morality to me is factional morality. (See more, below.) However, I am working to establish a super-majority who collaborate for civic morality and slowly persuade dissenters to collaborate for Security.
                My family had, before this decade, the tradition of hosting Independence Day parties. They were day parties with a late lunch, so guests would often be at the house for six hours or so. At one point, I would read the Declaration of Independence (DI). Its noble words and the hypocrisy that was evident for some of our guests made the reading uncomfortable. Also, the realization that the DI meant more to most Americans than the Constitution for the USA posed a mystery, and it inspired me more than ever before to understand the USA’s actual history rather than its propaganda.
                I think the history is better understood by reading the national documents rather than taking courses or reading books about the documents. Revisionism by Abraham Lincoln, for example in the Gettysburg Address, explains the origins, but much deeper civic conflicts explain why many Americans trump the constitution (1788) using their ideas of the DI (1776). Three key issues are “consent of the governed,” “Nature and Nature’s God” and “all men are created equal.” The first means agreement to subjugate to English common law (Blackstone), the second establishes the war claim “Our god will defeat your god,” and the third seems to claim that elite patriots may govern on par with the king and parliament. Moreover, the DI does not trump the preamble to the constitution for the USA. My opinions about the DI would not pass most Americans’ inquisitions, but many of them think the preamble came from the DI. I’ll give some references to these issues later.
                I do not think many white Americans can pass some black Americans’ examination for racism. In the first place, a white American is ineluctably associated with white Christianity and European hegemony or domination or supremacy. The summation of white privilege is that a white person cannot possibly relate to black victims. Furthermore, a black American cannot imagine a white American feeling that white Americans are victims of the ubiquitous African slave trade. I think “black power” represents the arrogance to blame European customers of African slave trade but exonerate the African captors and sellers of nearly twenty million persons in a couple hundred years.
In the last three decades, humankind has been informed by mitochondrial DNA that everyone alive descended from one mother who lived some 140,000 years ago and her Y-chromosomes were perhaps contemporary or as much as 100,000 years older.[xxii] But more recently it seems our commonality in both mtDNA and Y-chromosome dates back only 60,000 years.[xxiii] Once again, our generation—the people of 2016--may collaborate for a better future by focusing on the-objective-truth rather than competing for dominant socio-economic opinion. Few people are willing to discuss the kinship of everyone who is alive, but to me, it is wonderful information.
            Traditional black church in the USA was founded in 1758.[xxiv] I do not know how old the song is, but I have stood singing, “Give me Jesus,”[xxv] with tears streaming down my face. No one could understand me then or now, but I do not care to question anyone about my feelings. That is, the other person's opinion about my sense of victimization are not important to me. No one will be examined respecting my victimization. Yet I am a victim who does not care to find fault. I am simply glad to be an American and glad to have the preamble to the constitution for the USA and the-objective-truth on which to propose a civic people, ACP. Also, much as I am willing to sing “Amazing Grace,” for what it may mean to members of ACP, I am willing to sing the black American national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” And it does not offend me for real-no-harm black church to sing it for their special, cultural reasons. Yet I work to establish ACP. For its lyrics, "Amazing Grace," is just another inquisition. I do not want fear, whether it comes by grace or not.
            Racism took a heavy blow with liberation theology, which claims that elite Europeans used Christianity to repress the poor and thereby made victims of them. However, the poor have collaborated in their victimization by subscribing to the canonized Bible. Any group that wants to can claim victimization and use that claim to demand retribution.[xxvi] And some black theologians, such as Jeremiah Wright, have fallen for the scheme started by James H. Cone in 1969. [xxvii]
            In its most extreme form black liberation theology seems to posit that white Church, which alone created the plight of African slaves, is Satan. The only way a white Christian can save his or her “soul” is to help Black Americans reign supreme. This seems an egocentric, socio-economic scheme. African chiefs who sold slaves are exempt.
            I have discovered that merely speaking the phrase “black liberation theology,” is taboo, no matter where or when the phrase is uttered. Thus, my freedom to explore it is purely private, and the literature available is suspect, even though it seems scholarly. By all means, internet sources are suspect. I have no idea how liberation theology came to be. Perhaps liberation theology came from South America, perhaps Brazil, in the late 1950s. Perhaps the black application originates in the early 1960s.
            As in all matters of opinion, there is some justification for the claims of liberation theology,[xxviii] even if not for its particular application by blacks. Slavery was well known 3800 years ago,[xxix] and the-objective-truth of slavery—chains, whips, brutality and rape to slaves with burdens to slave masters—was well known. However, the priests who canonized the Christian Bible in 300-400 AD included passages that condone slavery and perhaps declare slavery an institution of the Christian god. Popes followed up in the fifteenth century by authorizing first Portugal then Spain particular monopolies in the African slave trade.[xxx] Those facts do not exonerate the Africans for their commodity trading in human persons. And they did not inspire my poor-white ancestors in Harlan County, KY, USA, or Tater Valley and McMinn County, TN, USA, to do more than work hard for better living. On of my favorite sayings handed down from them is "Worse things have happened to better people." Is there a harsher boot-out-of-the-bed-of-depression?
            In this section, I have segued from racism to slavery in Babylon, where slavery was not confined to a skin color or nationality. Victims of slavery both as captives and as masters has been worldwide and has touched every race. Yet religion is a common basis for erroneous opinion about slavery. Indeed, the USA, by not resolving Bible interpretation about slavery and racism is itself a victim of religion. Religion seems, so far, a cultural institution, without natural source other than the primitive unknowns that lessen with each discovery. Many religions are constructed on a god-hypothesis, and, so far, some god-hypotheses have not been negated by discovery. Also, humankind's tools for perception may not be fully developed.
            My religious path is perhaps unusual, because of particular interests, experiences, and observations. Those are the considerations which I think contributed to the choices (and mistakes) I made in my person’s life. The early choices had unexpected impacts on the actual path and the psychological progress/regress so far. Of course, I think there has been progress but must leave that judgment beyond me.
            I was born into an East-Tennessee, Southern-Baptist, monogamous-for-life family yet with natural, personal trust in and commitment to the objective truth of which most is undiscovered and some is understood. My four families, Booker and Inklebarger[xxxi] and Beavers[xxxii] and Farley[xxxiii] [xxxiv] were great survivors and some were great providers. There are English, German, Irish, and Scots-Irish influences. They were all Bible interpreters, and I tried to mimic them for five decades but emerged, thanks to my wife and me, with trust and confidence in the objective truth. I am fortunate to write that last sentence about me, but do not want to influence anyone to change either their path to self-discovery or satisfaction with where they are as a person.
Primitive humanoids,[xxxv] perhaps 8 million years ago, were born with both instinct and ignorance that did not lessen much as they chronologically matured during short lives. But by 2.8 million years ago, they learned to make tools. By 1.8[xxxvi] million years ago, hominids spoke and made better tools. Maybe the god hypothesis is that old. Thinkers imagined beings in another world controlled the phenomena that impacted human life. But the god-hypothesis may have come much later—with the species I’d call humankind. Sun gods were symbolized 7,000 years ago.[xxxvii] Perhaps monotheism was imagined 4,000 years ago.[xxxviii] The books that became the basis of factional Christianity were canonized 1600 to 1700 years ago. Some scholars dedicate themselves to reconciling the claims in the Bible with the objective truths that unfold as humankind discovers the-objective-truth. For examples, there were times when a person could argue, without anxiety, that the earth is the center of the sun’s rotation and the earth is flat. Some people still argue that the earth is only thousands of years old. Accordingly, religion may be viewed as an intellectual construct that bemuses believers until the-objective-truth is made plain to them by discovery. No one knows if the human imaginations on which the religious constructs were built will stand the test of discovery.[xxxix]  Only personal experience and observation can change an opinionated mind.
            I was reared on the premise that the Bible is the word of my parents’ god, which was the Southern Baptist, Christian god. It was “God.” No one asserted that the prescribed name is “the Lord.”[xl] Mom and Dad seemed to attest, her to her god and him to his god, and Dad displayed a sign, “God is the boss in this house.” As a boy, I read the last page of the Bible. The threats I found did not seem necessary for a god I would believe, and the experience gave me precious doubt.[xli] Yet the doubt was insufficient in the face of the abundant care I received from Dad and Mom—two great, lower, middle-class providers--and the fear of their gods they inculcated.
            For sophomore, college English, I wrote a term paper on Hinduism. It seems Hinduism denies monotheism, but to me, the "world soul" was like the Lord, and perfective-reincarnation until the soul rejoins with the world soul was on par with eternal life in heaven. I practiced some of the hygiene and thought well of it. Finally, I concluded that one religion was sufficient, and Dad and Mom’s religion was good enough. Yet, an appreciation for other people’s heartfelt, real-no-harm constructs in order for them to contend with humankind’s unknowns had been instilled in me. Later, appreciation increased, primarily because of my regard for my wife of forty-seven years plus courtship.
            When I realized I had met and was in love with a serenely independent, responsible woman, a school teacher and Louisiana-French Catholic, I tacitly--I thought secretly--explored the possibility of her joining my Christianity. She directly responded that her religion was not a matter of collaboration. I had been through decisions before, like choosing a science curriculum in high school and in college to study chemical engineering rather than chemistry, but I was not prepared for a challenge of personal authenticity to my faction of Christianity. I certainly did not regard it as an inquisition, but understood that my choice was cooperation more than collaboration.
I barely noticed initial resistance from my Baptist family, who expressed total support once I decided to take my “whatever will be” chances with a Christian authority, which my Baptist family believed led people to hell. My bride and I attended Pre-Cana classes and, after I promised to rear any children we might conceive in the Catholic Church, the priest agreed to marry us. So much for Baptist heresy, but I did not know:  Full understanding is not scheduled for the adolescent believer.
            Thinking that one Christianity is as good as another, I still worshiped in the Baptist church as always and with my family in Catholic churches to the extent I felt I was not compromising myself. The experience enriched my understanding that my religious education was wanting. I had, at age nine, “accepted Jesus as my savior” with a Phil Beaver understanding of “Jesus.” I had my own Jesus: For example, in Catholic Mass, I would repeat, “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ has come again.” I hoped someone who heard me would inquire and collaborate, but no one did in perhaps fifteen years. I wanted to respond, “Jesus comes each time we behave according to his teachings.” (A subtle heresy there is denial of election: Jesus does not lose the elect, John 6:39.)
            Ten years later, I found myself defending Catholicism in my Baptist Sunday school classes. For example, a teacher was asserting that Catholic baptism dooms believers to eternity with Satan—in Hell. I saw this as a challenge to my belief that one Christianity is as good as another, not too concerned about the claim against my children, bride, and friends. After all, it was only the teacher’s opinion. I shared what I knew about infant baptism, having been a participant three times. The family and community, including priest and god-parents, speak for the infant to reject Satan from the infant’s life. Next, the parents see to it that the child is reared with catechism, either in a school or in classes for those in public school. At age thirteen or so, the informed adolescent rejects Satan and takes his or her first communion. It seems a more thorough system than the one I experienced. In typical ignorance, the Baptist teacher responded, “Yes, but confirmation is not a sacrament.” Every Eucharist is a sacrament. I did not consider these debates inquisitions, primarily because of my impression that Americans appreciate neighbors who hold different opinions. But that is not so; each majority stonewalls the minority, even though the majority is factional. The tyranny of the majority works in political ideologies in the same way, as discussed below.
            We read the Bible as a family, so that we could understand the overall literature from which Catholic homilies were coming. After our reading, each member said what the passage meant to them. It was a family collaboration, and I learned a lot from my children and wife.
            After about fifteen years of my dual Christianity, I approached a Catholic priest I liked and asked him to allow me to accept the Eucharist with my family, for me as a remembrance of Jesus, as I practiced in the Baptist Lord’s supper.[xlii] He said he would be glad to converse. In our last meeting, he explained transubstantiation, carefully describing that the prayers of the people in collaboration with the prayers of the priest convert the essence but not the physical properties of the wafer into the body of Christ. I was grateful I had never disgraced myself by falsely participating. But I responded that the procedure seems to abate my direct relationship with the Christian god, and I could not submit my personal connection with god--its a room no one every entered, not even my parents. He knew it was a firm decision and stated that we no longer had reason to meet. I apologized to my wife for my long-standing ignorance. Eventually we both knew that better understanding made me a better spouse and person.
            That key enlightenment coincided with a related experience with our three children. Concerned that they might have the impression that only Catholic souls might be saved, I asked them to attend the Baptist church until they felt they were educated enough to make a choice. Preparing them to attend a Baptist Lord’s supper, I instructed them, according to my understanding, to participate if they felt inspired to do so. They did. After learning about transubstantiation and wanting to check my opinion,[xliii] I read that a person should be baptized by emersion in order to participate in the Baptist Lord’s Supper. Not wanting my children to offend anyone, I reported back to them. Soon, they called me to a conference, and my son, Stephen spoke for all three: “Dad, we have decided we are Catholic.” I think they were surprised when I quietly said, “OK. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
My Baptist heresy made plain
            However, with experiences such as those, a person may be conditioned to recognize an inquisition when it comes and ward off accusation of “heresy” respecting heartfelt thoughts. Obviously, I am slow, or I prefer, deliberate. I was in my late-forties but attended a Sunday school class with men in retirement. The lesson was about Christian favor to Christians.[xliv] The teacher, advocating that Christians should favor Christians, for example, buy life insurance from a member of their church, observed that I was introspective and asked me to share. I responded that I think I should motivate a neighbor to ask why I exemplified such good behavior, prompting the answer that I follow Jesus. In all other respects, my relationships with neighbors should be the same—I should be blind to religion. The teacher asked, “Does anyone have any comments about this tidbit of heresy?” No one responded, and I did not press the question.
            I felt wounded, yet in the company of Thomas Jefferson.[xlv] I brooded for about four weeks, then decided to return to Sunday school to register my disagreement. In private, I reviewed the conversation and asked the teacher for an explanation about heresy. He responded, “Phil, I disagree with you and want to leave it at that.” Without resolution, I felt frustrated but not discouraged. Not long afterwards, my church created a new class for “open-minded” men in their forties.
            There were four in the class, and the teacher wanted to establish a few basic beliefs. In the regimen, he would make a statement, and we three would respond with “Yes.” He stated, “Jesus died on the cross to redeem me of my sins.” I responded, “The god I seek could handle the chief priests and Pontus Pilate allowing Jesus to live rather than Barabbas.” I was exercising the priesthood of the believer.[xlvi] The teacher said, “I’m not certain I can continue to be the teacher,” I suppose, expressing opposition. There was no further dialogue with me, but indeed, someone else took that teaching role.
            This was my second encounter with inquisition and heresy, and I dropped out and later decided to resign from the Baptist brotherhood. It’s an interesting experience, because there is no hierarchy. I had become a Baptist in the 1950s Calvary Baptist Church, Knoxville Tennessee, which no longer exists, and was attending University Baptist Church, Baton Rouge Louisiana. I addressed my letter of resignation to the Baptist Message,[xlvii] and eventually re-wrote to ask them to take my name off the roll of “backsliders.” I did not realize it then, but I had withdrawn from Christianity.
The tyranny of the majority
            These experiences inform me that the tyranny of the majority exists in every group or association. No matter what group it may be—an investment club, a church, a book club, a sports club, a professional association, a political party—the group is managed by the majority, and minority voices are ignored, even under the rule of law. I want to change that, but establishing a culture for Security.
            Jeremy Waldron[xlviii] asserts “. . . the Rule of Law is one of the ideals of our political morality [and] others include democracy, human rights, social justice, and economic freedom.” The people in their states authorized a nation with a republican form of government featuring three branches[xlix] with balanced powers. However, the people are divided by ideological groups with the tyranny of the majority in each group. Thus, respecting “human rights” there is a despotic majority. Recognizing this point empowers each person to belong to the various factions he or she prefers, yet to influence a super-majority of the faction to collaborate for ACP and for Security.
           In America, the people have the advantage that the preamble to the constitution for the USA states the purpose for which the nation was founded. So far, majority political regimes have kept the people from either discovering the super-majority that could fulfill the preamble, if the super-majoirity exists, or establishing it. Under Chapter XI Machiavellianism,[l] continuously led by priests, the Christian majority has obfuscated the preamble in two key ways: 1) using the Declaration of Independence (1776) to trump the “godless” constitution (1788)[li] and 2) labeling the civic agreement stated in the preamble as non-religious (secular). Secular morality is not civic morality, as secular excludes people's precious, personal, spiritual beliefs. However, now, it is known more than ever before that the peoples’ common interest is Security: ACP may collaborate for private liberty with civic morality. Also, it is known that ACP may establish civic morality using the-objective-truth, rather than religion, a private preference.
           What distinguishes the super-majority is that it involves no arbitrary power or tyranny. Each member is willingly served by collaboration, the goals of the preamble and the-objective-truth. Persons who perceive ways to push the moral envelope are free to do so as long as they do no real harm and take corrective responsibility if they err. Correcting error helps discover the-objective-truth, and ACP acts to prevent repetition of error.
           Thank you for reading about a partially unrelated, personal struggle, and now, to the point: If my personal choices and the failures of a couple of Protestant courtships had not made it possible to fall in love with my wonderfully serene, responsible, and independent bride of forty-seven years, I would not have discovered myself. I would have continued a relatively happy, Protestant Christian, never knowing how different Catholicism is and how precious it is for me for my wife and how precious factional Protestantism is to me for my siblings, yet how essential precious doubt is to my self-discovery. It would not have been as easy for me to appreciate Orthodox Christianity, which predated Bible canonization; Jewish scripture as the foundation; Hindu “Scripture” as even older. I appreciate all real-no-harm believers’ sources of comfort. The reader does not need to experience what I experienced, but can relate to it according to his or her experiences and observations and benefit according to personal preferences. Perhaps the reader’s conclusion will be to collaborate to establish ACP: the idea is that 2/3 of every private association collaborates for Security.
           I now know that my religious education was inadequate, as I have illustrated in the above discourse. I have no idea how institutions design the inculcation of doctrine, but it must be graduated with both chronological age and psychological maturity of the believers. It also seems my story illustrates that the Southern Baptist churches are not as rigorous as the Catholic Church in the instruction. Whether that is good or bad I cannot judge. The idea that each believer is a priest leaves it to parents to see to their children’s instruction in Bible interpretation; the minister is at fault if he or she expresses false ideas as surrogates for the-objective-truth. This does not mean to say I regret my Baptist education. Without it, I might not have recognized my commitment to the-objective-truth. Yet I now realize that the USA was involved in my religious indoctrination, and that I fault.
Believers could think, I was not chosen by the Christian god to believe Christianity,[lii] but I think I came to articulate a quest for the-objective-truth acquired as a boy or existing beforehand. Also, I wonderfully discovered I had fallen in love with a person, and in no way would I want to change thoughts that made her a psychological diamond of a person with whom I am privileged to associate. Her wit never stops. She is comfortable with my beliefs for me (and, of course, hers for her), and we both appreciate our monogamy. She is not comforted by the-objective-truth and needs a little beyond to express her humility. I know many people who believe a religion, so I neither expect nor want real-no-harm Christianity or other real-no-harm religions to end. Everyone must deal with the god-hypothesis in their own way, at least until it is either proven as the-objective-truth or disproven. It seems the god-hypothesis may never be resolved. In the meantime, humankind may collaborate for civic morality, and ACP or better may lead.
If ACP will collaborate, there must be a common ground on which to establish civic morality.  real-no-harm religion--diverse bases for spiritual morality for souls, perhaps afterdeath security--cannot serve persons who ineluctably live in the same space and time and need safety and security for full life. Yet ACP has the-objective-truth it may discover and comprehend for mutual benefit. In collaboration, there is no inquisition and no heresy—there’s only plain talk by willing persons. A theory for collaboration is presented on this website, in the essay, “Theory of ACP.”
Copyright©2016 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 April 2, 2017.

[i] The executions are still labeled “trials.” See, for example, Douglas Linder, “The Witchcraft Trials in Salem,” online, . Few Americans realize witch executions was a European, Christian practice. See, for example, Tim Lambert, “A History of the Witch Trials in Europe.”
[ii] Max Ehrmann. “Desiderata.” 1927. Online at . Also see online
[iii] Establishing civic morality is the object of this blog. “Civic” refers to ineluctable human connections in shared space-time. We propose voluntary collaboration for physics-based civic morality (morality based on the facts of reality) rather than competition for opinion-based dominance. “Physics” is energy, mass and space-time from which everything on Earth emerges. What emerges exists, and humankind discovers and understands.
[vii] Perhaps humankind has seven trillion person-years of experience and observations.
[viii] This subtle need is at the heart of the psychological conflict that is common to modern lives. Heretofore, no one has expressed the human need for real-no-harm private-liberty-with-civic-morality. These ideas came from library discussions involving over fifty people to date.

[ix] However, see Bruce Walker, Mass media and private liberty,” . “Private thought, belief, and opinion became evidence of a stubborn unwillingness to submerge into the oblivion of the collective hive. “ Walker overlooks the bedrock of civic morality: physics, which does not respond to opinion.

[x] Jim Callender, Baton Rouge, made this point in conversation in 2016.
[xi]Thefts never enrich; alms never impoverish; murder will speak out of stone walls.” Emerson; see citation below.
[xii] “Physics” as reported by Merriam-Webster online means “a science that deals with matter and energy and the way they act on each other in heat, light, electricity, and sound.”  The study of physics has resulted in the development of laws of physics that are regarded as indisputable as they apply to all of the existing known physical data.  Therefore, we use “physics” to mean the object of study with or without the consequence of study: Physics is energy, mass and space-time, from which everything on earth emerges. Humankind does not know the origin of physics. Perhaps before energy, mass and space-time there was only potential energy. However, Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity became a law in 2016, with the detection of gravitational waves. See . We know from radiation measurements that physics began 13.8 billion years ago. Therefore, we may say with relative confidence that E equals m times C squared is a confirmation of our definition of physics, the object of fallible scientific study. It follows that through physics, the bedrock of reality rather than human scientific study, humankind gradually discovers and understands the indisputable facts of reality (TIFR). Ultimately, TIFR become the laws of reality.

[xiii] The assertion that the facts of reality may be understood through physics came from dialogue with Kate Gladstone in April, 2016. Contacts: The Handwriting Repairwoman, 165 North Allen Street, First Floor, Albany, NY 12206 USA, telephone: 1 518 482 6763, e-mail:, website: http://handwritingrepair. Gordon Hughmark added “indisputable” on June 30, 2016.

[xiv] For example, Bible opinion still represents slavery as an institution of the Christian god, but white Christians waged war with white Christians to end “erroneous religious opinion,” quoting the Declaration of Secession, despite “Scripture.”
[xv] I’m speaking here of a recent tragedy in Orlando. See . The most important part of this story is that the father must forgive himself for a loss that to him falsely plays over and over as avoidable. That father has ruin in his life, yet his life is perfectible.
[xvi] H. A. Overstreet. The Mature Mind. 1949. The infant must discover personal autonomy, collaborative authenticity, and embark on adulthood with the intent to achieve psychological maturity, all of which requires about seven decades if it happens.
[xvii] Ralph Waldo Emerson, in “Divinity School Address,” 1838, contends that perfection of the person is perhaps the meaning of the life. See .
[xxvi] Anthony B. Bradley. Liberating Black Theology. 2010.
[xxvii] James H. Cone. Black Theology and Black Power. 1969. Page 135. “It is a theology which confronts white society as the racist Antichrist, communicating to the oppressor that nothing will be spared in the fight for freedom.” Online at
[xxviii] Online at concerns, as embodied in modern day "Liberation Theology" movements, have their antecedents in the writings of Church Fathers such as St. John Chrysostom, who railed against the exploitation of the poor by the rich. What the Orthodox Church finds unnecessary and unacceptable in "Liberation Theology" is the Marxist theoretical underpinnings of this theological movement.”
[xxix] The Code of Hammurabi, online at .
[xxxviii] Karen Armstrong. A History of God. 1993.
[xxxix] This point is made much better by Stephen Hawking, for example, at . He asserts that the god question seems unessential to the facts of reality. So it seems more a claim that there is no function for a god beyond merely being or not.
[xl] Exodus 20:7. NIV. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord . . .  for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

[xli] Revelation 22:18-19 NIV “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.”

[xlii] Online Shamefully, at the time I was not informed that Baptists require baptism by submersion to qualify for their Lords supper.
[xliii] Hershel H. Hobbs. What Baptists Believe. 1964.
[xlvii] Letter, July 29, 1994 to Baptist newspaper, with copy to the minister at the church. See the newspaper online at

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, personal perfection should be the goal of every person- the want and desire to better ourselves through learning and compassion. However, most people do not have the level of insight reflected in your writings. In an era of moral decline, humans are becoming less responsible for the ramifications of negative behavior and seemingly feel entitled to act as such.

    Carson Coronado @ Old St. Mary's Detroit


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