Over the last couple of weeks we have published some poetry created by a rather unique bunch of people who have written a book entitled: "God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk" The poetry (which is not contained in their book) is called 'Argumentative Poetry.' We thank the authors for their contribution to Magic City.
Prelude to an Indifferent Creator
An Exercise in Argumentative Poetry
In matters of spirituality, the flow of information tends to run from top to bottom. Parties in the know impose their convictions upon the less well informed. But since the dawn of religions, uncertainties were shared in alternative formats that invited reflection and individual deliberation. Hindu scriptures, for instance, are laden with unanswered questions about the specifics of creation. But it was left to ancient philosophers, among them the Greek Epicurus, to device and refine argumentation in a poetic frame that fosters reflection toward the resolution of issues.
A significant aspect of such framing is the compactification of text. Poetic argumentation eliminates squabbling about irrelevant details and focuses on the essentials. It occurred to us that such message conveyance should hold great appeal to the electronically savvy generations who find no time for lengthy elaborations of issues of secondary concern. Hence we turned to a poetic format to relate, in six brief vignettes, the essential features of religiosity.
Essentials of Divine Morality
On the premise that humans are capable of doing detestable things,
Rules had to be laid for what's good and right versus bad and wrong.
Moral conventions emerged and were enforced by authorities in power.
In promoting peaceful coexistence, wrongdoers faced retribution.
Religious innovators elaborated this code of right, good, and evil.
They set up that all must answer a higher court, an almighty god.
A god that would watch and judge the actions of each and everyone.
Deeds deemed good and right called for reward in great fortunes.
Whereas doings tagged bad and wrong mandated harsh punishment.
No doubt, innovators did well in establishing god as supervisor.
Who else but an almighty agent could keep unruly humans in line?
No earthbound ruler or reining conglomerate can match up.
It takes an overseer from whom nobody can hide and run away.
All this is not a question of true or false, it's believing that matters.
Those who believe in god's custodianship know what to expect.
Namely kindness for laudatory deeds and reproach for evil ones.
Doing right is to be amassed, doing wrong held to a minimum.
Believers can estimate where they stand in the eyes of their god.
But who is to tell which sum of good-over-bad deeds it will take,
To earn one's way to the great promise of eternal life in a heaven?
Or how much badness is ineradicable and demands hellish torment?
Notwithstanding some interpretational ambiguity in scorekeeping,
Believers in a god of reward and punishment follow a directive.
They are bound to stay within the commandments of their creed.
To the extent that the creed promotes social harmony on earth,
Who could question the volunteered benefits for humankind?
Then again, it all hinges on the promise of a glorious afterlife.
Does this uncertain prospect hold believers within their moral code?
Or is god seen as kind and forgiving, tolerant of transgressions?
If so, why not seek wily pleasures and join the Me-Generation?
"Yemant and Friends" is a group of retired professors who thought the time had come to examine matters of religiosity more carefully. They opted for anonymity due to the sensitive subject matter discussed in the book.
Most of us have never bothered to find out why we believe what we believe. That's especially true for our thoughts and convictions about religion. Perhaps we were otherwise too engaged. Perhaps we simply adopted what our elders and peers appeared to believe. Whatever the case, isn't it time for us all to examine matters of religiosity more carefully? At least we--a bunch of retired professors, no longer absorbed by professional duties--thought the time had come to ponder why we had taken so much for granted. (Read More at Archway Publishing)
"God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk"
By Yemant and Friends
ISBN: 978-1-48081-124- 9