The Judeo-Christian Bible is among the oldest human documents of significant length and is still in publication. Offhand, that seems unique enough in itself. But there is more; the Bible is a sort of instruction manual for the keeping of human beings, rather like a book for those interested in raising say, mice. It goes beyond that of course, with history, genealogy, advice, analysis and threats for readers unwilling to accept its advice. It’s certainly comprehensive!
Probably the most impressive of its attributes is the simple fact that, after all these thousands of years of being preached by prophets and religious folk, it remains the most disregarded collection of human wisdom extent, without losing any of its sales. Its decalogue, the basic rules for human behavior that we call the Ten Commandments, has to be the most ignored rule set in human affairs, while being also at least in the West, the best known. Regarding those rules, one familiar with current Leftish doctrine, might be excused for thinking that it is based upon those Commandments, just reversing each of them 180 degrees. Upon some thought, that is in itself, a form of unintended reverence. The American Boy Scout oath ends with: “… brave, clean and reverent.” The Left we might expect, should it establish a boy’s group, would have an oath ending in: “… cautious, grimy and blase’.” If there are any of he Ten that the Left has not bothered to reverse, we cannot easily identify it.
We are reminded of a cliche’ common among Christians: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it is still wanting to be tried.” Jews have similar thoughts, rather more wryly expressed as is their wont. See, both these folk are well aware of the nature of their reality when compared to their Bible. It is generally (among believers) accorded excellent advice while none actually expect to follow it themselves. The Leftish version is much more influential and has ever been, even before our present Left was around to push it at us. The current Left isn’t very creative or original, actually. In fairness, neither is the current Right.
What is most notable by the inquiring mind though, is that over the aeons since initial publication, those folk who have come closest to living by the recommended order of that Book, have tended to prosper far beyond all others. The Jews were early in this; the Christian West was recent. And it is notable that the post-Christian West is headed down the historical tubes under its own inability to govern itself or maintain rational finances. At this moment, Western leadership seems anxious to replace the “obsolete” and “irrelevant” Biblical advice with teachings from the Koran. That makes excellent sense for those admiring of mass poverty, ignorance and mayhem that appear to be the calling cards of that tome’s most active adherents. One might see it as the current “Anti-Bible.” Barring that, nihilism of various sorts seems popular, we note that physics tells us that for nothing, one should expect nothing. Of course, the Bible gives us nothing too; it is only a challenge and one at which we haven’t proven very apt.
In fairness, we note that the Bible records the Israelites murdering every living human in a conquered city (well, with one minor exception) but that was history, not recommended human behavior. That always returns to the Ten Commandments. As of course, our species prefers to avoid. Are we really such slow learners?
We doubt it; it seems to us that even in prehistory, we well understood that our standard of behavior is not ideal for our species; it is too closely bound with what we see at any particular time, as good for us individually. Nor has that changed one whit since we acquired cell phones. So it is somehow a normal element of our design. Or for believers, a result of Original Sin. Call it what you will; the result is the same so far as our behavior goes.
Nevertheless, we still see the Bible as the only proven owner’s manual for Homo Sapiens, proven in all of human history as the most successful guide to productive human behavior. And of course, the most reliably ignored. We recall an apt remark from the Roaring Twenties, the time of lush and licentious living that preceded the last Great Depression; it was typically addressed by a middle-aged man to a young flapper, as the young women enjoying night life were then called: “I love my wife,” the man would say, “but oh, you kid!”
Admitting familiarity with Biblical advice now guarantees exclusion from the best circles and largely from politics. It marks you as one of them. Unfortunately, its absence seems likely to deliver our newly modern society impoverishment and thuggery, using history as our guide. Nothing new though; we seem to have been cycling through like this since the damned Bible was foisted somehow upon us. You’d think that by now, we would have either abandoned it or learned to live by it. But that doesn’t seem to be in our design …