I occasionally review the rules of life we all could obey, and because Africa is one of the most religious continents, I sometimes think more about God here in Africa than anywhere else, their simple lifestyles make good and bad so obvious to see.
K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Stupid
Ho, Ghana West Africa --- Sunday, December 12, 2010
Most Religious Continent to Least Religious
By this, I mean where people openly say or explain their religious beliefs, and you can feel the people are trying to focus on something God.
I have been asked to go to church every week since I arrived in West Africa, I wanted to leave Cinkasse, Togo because I felt like I was living in a Mosque. I attended a Christian Church in Cinkasse, even though I had no desire to go, but knew that it was a question of my faith. I would say Africa I have the least chance of being robbed in Africa. This changes radically if I would associate with any project, Volunteer organization, or associate with Religions, then it become almost the most dangerous.
Asia including India:
There is not a day goes by that you do not see people bowing to something, or put incense on a stand, or doing something as observation of their religion. You have to really work to be robbed in India, or Southeast Asia, you have to associate with obvious scoundrels. In general, the majority of the travelers who go to India are searching for God, you can tell by how much they reject Christianity. I remember leaving South and Central America and going to Asia, they wanted me to leave my shoes outside the room. I was afraid, in Central and South America the place where I had just spend five years, the people of Central and South America would have stolen my shoes, and it took me a long time to accept they would not in Asia.
Gene a German left some money on a table, I said to him,
"Gene, you cannot leave money on a this table in Thailand,"
"Andy, you are not in South America anymore."
The letter of the law, the moral indignation when someone disobeys the law, the people in the USA and Canada expect public officials to be perfect, this is good. While often North Americans seem money hungry, they will openly discuss how people are being bad, the only continent where a President could lose his job for lying. (President Clinton almost.) On most continents, the public officials are obvious never telling the truth. The continent obeys the letter of the law better than almost anywhere, which is in many ways a spin of the 10 commandments.
In every step, in every movement, Islam is prevalent, this can make it an extremely dangerous place to be an atheist, and they can kill you for not believing in something. They do not necessarily want you to be a Muslim, but you had better not be the infidel. People carry prayer beads constantly with them, but more of a pomp and splendor thing, then a moral set of rules. Only place on the planet where an active religious war is always in progress, Israel against everyone around them, and Israel is a "Religious Nation," it is a Jewish State, as Pakistan is an Islamic state.
South America is openly Catholic, which has some fundamental problems in how it functions, more or less saying if you confess, you can do what you want between confessions. but you have to go confess again. The interpretation of the 10 Commandments gets confused, the focus is a too much on the act of worship, and not on the obeying of the rules. A person can be robbed or cheated in South American in a moment’s breath; two people will agree to rob you.
Central America but including Mexico:
This is South America on steroids, and Mexico is one of the sinful nations on the planet. Only in Mexico, but it is possible this exist in Russia, is there such open gangs of people who all in concert agree to rob or kill. The people assume that is acceptable to rob, or kill. In Guatemala, the thieves are so rampant the locals have revolted, and taken up themselves the job of the police, vigilante groups will hang a robber, because they are just so tired of it.
Organize robbery is here in concert, I have never been in Europe when I was not afraid of being robbed. I have been robbed twice in my travels, one in Thailand by an Italian man, and another time in Spain, I was pick pocketed. I remember asking a Sweden girl in Barcelona,
"Do they rob your cell phones here?"
"It is not if they robbed your cell phone, it is who has not had their cell phone robbed."
Europe is the only place where the birth rate is going down to almost one per family; the average is so low because they cannot even believe two people can love, they believe in little, they will not commit.
Australia, Oceania or Russia are out of my league:
I need to refrain from making judgment on Australia or Russia, I would suspect Australia is right below North America, but I cannot be sure, and I am just clueless about Russia.
The 10 Commandments
A person is best to ignore listening to preachers or other people, and just read the text of the 10 commandments. It is simple, this is how it was designed. In my opinion, Preachers sermonize about sins to scare people into believing, they do not keep it simple. Just like all the laws in the USA are subjugated to the Constitution of the USA. All sermons given by Preachers, should be essentially subjugated to the 10 Commandments. Somehow, somewhere, and in some leap of absurdity, there are things like the seven deadly sins, which are extrapolated, but not found in the bible clearly. It is like Islamic Jihad, this is an aberration, and abomination interpretation of the preaching of peace. Fear gets people to believe, and love allows them to believe, and temptation will lead them to kill in the name of God, their own fear of failing, or falling into temptation, which means kill the sinner; because they are sin that has already owned their brain.
2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;
3 Do not have any other gods before me.
4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,
6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
8 Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
9 For six days you shall labour and do all your work.
10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.
12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
13 You shall not kill/murder.
14 You shall not commit adultery.
15 You shall not steal.
16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
To study the 10 commandments, a person needs to read the list over and over and over, until the implications of each become clear, as thou shall not kill, a simple one. If you conspire, think, or plan on killing, mostly for personal reasons, it is a sin.
Covet is the big Problem
I think that word covet is a problem, I see people get confused with this commandment. I went into a super market yesterday here in Ghana with a local girl. I was buying some Tuna and a Fanmilk Vanilla. Well, the girl jumps to the idea that I will pay for what is purchased, she suddenly went into a buying spree, running around and grabbing things on the shelves she did not need or even want. She suddenly wanted, I mean she coveted these things; she wanted to claim my money.
To dream about buying something to me is a sin.
Oh well, I know I lost most of you along the way, there is so much deep seated anger about religions it become impossible to have an adult conversation. I am not sure why, but my feeling and belief is that the average person tries so hard to be clever, they have so many thoughts of how to gain or take, they will openly attack because they are afraid of the fall.
I was in Haiti, the sort of confused managers of the orphanage were telling me,
"Andy, you need to pray."
"I do not have the compulsion to pray."
"It seems easier if I do not do bad, I am lazy, I would rather obey, so I do not have to think about it."
The man rather tried to go on and on talking, and I said,
"I do not believe that we can pray for wants and desire, this to me is to covet."
He asked me how I prayed, I said it is simple.
"I say, God, do what you think is best, thank you."
Generally, I just listen when a person wants to talk to me about God, I know for myself, this list of the 10 commandment are my own fears, they are what I am afraid I will disobey. When a person goes on and on, I know they are afraid, my job is to listen and comfort, to allow them to settle into peace, and to give them safe harbor. This can be quite frightening to them; they would have to give up their evil ways.
Of course, all this is more for me, than for you, the more I think, the more I write, the more I introspect into my own beliefs, the more I am free to listen to yours, I always remember a small saying when I am tempted to talk too much about what another person should do.
A man said to me,
"I know two things."
1. "There is a God."
2. "And I am not him."
The more racially a person believes, the more radically they sin.
It is revealing to me when i write about religion, the door often is slammed shut. People want to believe in something, but are often radically violent against someone who is not the same, good and evil, light and dark...
I think often about the shadow of people, how we as people can hide our thoughts in the shadows, afraid to admit our thoughts.
Radically religious people hold up their beliefs as a shield or protection, but they also will throw down the shield and embrace and love sin in the shadows. To use beliefs as a weapon is strange to me, a lack of introspection. In the New Testament Jesus says something about people need to be intuitive and clever enough to expose their beliefs in obtuse ways.
Although here, the Ten Commandments are almost universally accepted as doctrine by all religions, so no need to talk in parables.
I enjoy writing and thinking about religions, but I do not enjoy the hate mail I receive after a post. I am alway amiss to know in my heart, if it is correct to make a person feel this deeply?