It's only fair to share…

It is interesting to reflect at Easter on how little human beings may have actually changed in 2000 years. On the surface we have, in the developed world, modern accommodation, transport and communication technology beyond what could have been contemplated even in the 1980’s. We regard ourselves as enlightened following a life guided by science and intellectual pursuits. We no longer are guided by mythology and we certainly wouldn’t bay for blood via crucifixion or gather in lynch mobs.

If we scratch slightly beneath the surface the picture is not quite as civilised. It is important to recall that at the time Jesus lived, there was no religion of Christianity. Jesus Christ was crucified for defying the policies and ideas of the rulers of the time – the Romans. Effectively it was crimes against the state not religious ones. Concurrently the mob was baying for his blood for defying the state. Judas Iscariot is unlikely to be the only former “friend” prepared to report Jesus to the authorities. Perhaps he just managed to get in first, or maybe he gets the rap in a situation where many others had also contacted the powers that be.

Fast forward 2000 years and in a secular world how are we faring? What happens to those who have an opinion which contradicts the powers that be whether that is the government or the secular “religion” of woke. Those who do so are classed as heretics (albeit this term is not used). In turn they are subject to the same approach as heretics in the dark ages and opponents of the rulers in ancient Rome.

No they are not crucified or burned at the stake. However, they may lose their jobs and hence livelihood and ability to feed themselves and any dependents. On social media the mob bays for blood.  Recently some speakers have been literally hounded by violent mobs.

But today, even an apology and a promise of repentance for one’s “sins” achieves nothing. Rather than being forgiven by the priest, as in the past, the priest(s) and baying mob doubles down.  It has, however, been interesting to watch over the last month a few instances where demands for apology for defying the current secular religion have been stared down. On all occasions the mob ultimately moved on to the next target having failed to get blood.

It has also been revealing to see how many people over the last few years have been willing and able to “betray” friends and family for sins against the covid orthodoxy. The spirit of Judas is alive and well in the 21st century.

The obvious question is why we are still behaving like this. One view is that the decline in religion has not removed the need for humans to believe in something and also the need in many to defer to a higher authority. If God and religion are not fulfilling this role then government becomes the highest authority and is viewed as infallible rather than some people doing a job (and generally not that well either).

If we look around the world there are many belief systems which function like a religion in terms of having high priests (generally activists) who cannot be questioned and which treat anyone asking a question as a heretic.

Another theory is the decline in sense of purpose. A Wall Street Journal poll of Americans found a significant drop in belief in “faith, family and flag”. A desire to have children and community involvement fell by double digits.  More noteworthy in my opinion was that the once universal value of “tolerance for others” has declined from 80 percent to 58 percent in the last four years. “Love thy neighbour” was being replaced with “Get off my lawn.” Money was the only value that has inflated.

Katherine Boyle writing on The Free Press opined that America has become a “treatment resistant Prozac nation” and that people need purpose.  I suspect that this is not unique to the USA and applies across the Western World.

Says Boyle “You don’t need to build a billion-dollar company. You don’t need to employ hundreds of people. You just need to act, and with that action comes purpose—a reason to get out of bed in the morning…”.

The “… practice of building, of doing and believing in something—anything—gives people the purpose that pulls them out of the malaise that is modern life.

As I wrote some years ago purpose and fun are a pillar of health. This may be more now than ever.