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(Church of SQRLS, FDA-Worshipping Diocese)
“Jesus Validated” Sub-Page
Last Updated 7 April 2021
By the High SQRLSy Priest / Priestess (AKA The SQRLSy One)
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Jesus (Beatitudes Especially) is Validated by Modern Psychology, Game Theory Simulations, Sociobiology. Etc.
Jesus was right! Modern psychology, game theory, computerized game theory simulations, ethology (the study of animal behavior), anthropology, and sociobiology may not be the “hardest” (or totally dispassionately data-driven) sciences, like mathematics, physics, and chemistry, but they are still sciences. And they confirm much of what Jesus said! (Along with other ancient philosophers and theologians, who were the “psychologists” of their day, or simply, observers of human behaviors). This web page is organized around the “beatitudes” of the “Sermon on the Mount”.
I don’t want to repeat too terribly much of what I have written on my other web pages, but the below bears being repeated (and modified):
Jonathan Haidt, “The Righteous Mind”, https://www.amazon.com/Righteous-Mind-Divided-Politics-Religion/dp/0307455777 . Haidt self-IDs openly as a liberal atheist, but (in a data-driven, tolerant, even-handed, and broad-minded manner) examines different (liberal v/s conservative) ways of thinking. He repeatedly cites Jesus, the Buddha, Confucius, and other ancient philosophers and-or theologians, showing their prescience, or agreement with modern science or semi-science-confirmed findings. That’s why I once again recommend this book, here.
They say that “The Google Knows All”, so there’s plenty more out there to be found. I just grabbed one right off of the top of the list. Derived from https://www.htae.net/checklist/the-eight-beatitudes/409/ :
‘1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘2) Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
‘3) Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
‘4) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
‘5) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
‘6) Blessed are pure in heart, for they shall see God.
‘7) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
‘8) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Now below I will show how the above 8 ideas have been validated by more recent history, science, and culture. I will admittedly have to do a bit of “shoe-horning” (force-fitting), mostly by carefully picking or crafting definitions of some of Jesus’s word choices. He spoke a bit poetically or vaguely, of necessity. Just to pick one word for example, what does “righteousness” mean? I’ll just do the best I can, below, to demonstrate that generally, Jesus was correct, and that much of what he said, has been (to an amazing degree) validated by later science, etc..
How does anyone teach anything to a know-it-all? How does anyone coach another person, on how to become a better person, when he or she already holds himself or herself to be perfect? What stands in the way? Narcissism, arrogance, self-righteousness, and so forth. You cannot add anything to a vessel that is already full, or full of itself. What more needs to be added to this? Not much that I can see right now…
In modern parlance, “echo chambers” are also an impediment to open minds, and learning. So is “projection”, a psychological term meaning that we assume that everyone else is (and thinks like, and is motivated the same as) just like us. If we can’t be earnest, honest, or benevolent, we assume that other can’t be those things, either. Last but not least, there is “confirmation bias”, or hearing only what we want to hear! THAT most certainly does NOT help us to learn new things, or un-learn old, wrong things!
So be ye “poor in spirit”, and ye can learn new things! And probably just as important, you can un-learn wrong, old things!
OK, let the shoe-horning begin! Who does NOT mourn the sufferings or deaths of others? People lacking the ability or desire to sympathize with others… Psychopaths! If you LACK the ability (or desire) to sympathize (empathize) with others, you are going to SUFFER in this world! Not always, in greatly visible ways, but you WILL suffer! On average, you will suffer more than those who are BLESSED with the ability to mourn, to fellow-feel the pain, the sufferings, and the deaths of others.
Treat others as you would like to be treated, and they will (generally) respond in kind. Poop on them, and they will ALSO, on average, figure out who you are, and what you are about, and NOT treat you very well in turn! Karma, what comes around, goes around, and, as you sow, so shall you reap!
Modern ethology (the study of animal behavior) bears this out. Many species have an innate sense of justice; even such a small (and small-brained) primate species as a marmoset. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inequity_aversion_in_animals and https://www.unomaha.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/callitrichid/publications/2016/Mustoe%20et%20al,%20Anim%20Behav%202016.pdf and more. Don’t EVEN think that your “inferiors” are too stupid to figure out that you’re ripping them off!
Even animals far simpler and less intelligent than humans engage in “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” (but not if you don’t). Research animal reciprocity and animal altruism, kin altruism, etc. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocal_altruism#:~:text=In%20evolutionary%20biology%2C%20reciprocal%20altruism,manner%20at%20a%20later%20time , see this excerpt: “Numerous species of bacteria engage in reciprocal altruistic behaviors with other species.” If even bacteria can see the benefits of cooperation, then surely humans should be able to do the same!
In higher (and social, intelligent) animals, we see more of the same, and even more complexities. Study “Dunbar’s Number” as a related topic. We keep track of each other, and how each of us treat others, and act accordingly! Politically, even! See https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/22/science/22angi.html Political Animals (Yes, Animals) Natalie Angier “Researchers who study highly gregarious and relatively brainy species like rhesus monkeys, baboons, dolphins, sperm whales, elephants and wolves have lately uncovered evidence that the creatures engage in extraordinarily sophisticated forms of politicking, often across large and far-flung social networks.”
If the social (and political!) behavior of intelligent, social animals backs up the idea of “tread carefully, because as you sow, so shall you reap”, then SURELY we as happiness-seeking humans should pay heed to that! So then… Mourn the pains, sufferings, and deaths of others, exercise your “mirror neurons”, practice some fellow-feeling, and you will be blessed with more genuine and long-term happiness!
Almost as a footnote, let me add, lack of mirror neurons can yield autism, apparently (according to many psychologists at the very least), but that does NOT equate to malice or evil! Autists don’t understand many forms of suffering (social or “feelings” sufferings of others), often. Psychopaths understand, but don’t care! That latter VASTLY overwhelm the former, in terms of damages done! I’ll leave it to the reader to research that some more, as desired. Don’t forget… The Google Knows All Things!
Well then, the first and most obvious questions are, who are the meek? And what does it mean to be meek? Perhaps we can start out with, who are the NOT-meek! They are: Loud, obnoxious, aggressive, greedy, wild, and NOT submissive to ANYTHING (or anyone), unless they are forced to be so! Wild = NOT tamed, not subordinated to anything. They don’t have much fellow-feeling, but they fake it when they have to. For a discussion on fellow-feeling, see #2 right above here. (These kinds of things all smear together).
“Meek” doesn’t have to mean always quiet, shy, and un-assertive. It certainly doesn’t mean “weak”! The meek can and do assert themselves when a higher cause is at stake! But they understand that they are on MUCH firmer grounds when they defend OTHERS, instead of just purely themselves! And they understand that mere “pride” (false pride, vain pride, stuck-up, full-of-yourself pride) is NOT a legitimate cause for the forceful defense of others, and MOST certainly, NOT purely for oneself!
To tie this into “the science”, search for yourself for more, of course, but here’s one: https://www.lifehack.org/403757/study-finds-people-with-ambitious-goals-are-happier-and-more-satisfied … Study Finds People With Ambitious Goals Are Happier And More Satisfied, by Tara Massan . Source links = A study conducted in 2003 at the University of Rochester and then https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0092656608001360 … Summarized, this article (and some others) say that setting realistic, attainable goals for yourself can lead to more happiness. Goals of money-power-fame (“hard” goals), however, do NOT lead to as much happiness as do “soft” goals (personal growth and learning, and helping other people). “Work is love made visible”, and working for the good of others leads to good things for oneself as well. See “enlightened self-interest”! “Meek” can also mean highly productive! In the old farming days, a big strong (but very tame) plow-horse was “meek”, but not “weak”, AND was highly productive!
Compare and contrast that with the “unquenchable thirst” for always more, more, and then yet some more, money-fame-power!
Those who worship the money-power-status variety of “success” would be well served by listening to the words of “The Boss”, AKA Bruce Springsteen… From the song “Badlands”, which is an anthem to the pursuit of TRUE happiness:
Poor man wanna be rich,
Rich man wanna be king,
And a king ain’t satisfied,
Till he rules everything!
Rule EVERYTHING? Really?!? Nah! Not gonna happen! So this mentality is a sure-fire guarantee for dissatisfaction, for unhappiness. By ye then meek instead of wild, untamed, aggressive, and greedy!
OK, then, of course, we need to define, what is “righteousness”? Being a “mensch”, a salt of the Earth, a dependably reliable source of wisdom and benevolence. If we can be allowed the use of a 4-letter word, to be “righteous” is to be full of “love”! Balanced love, balancing love for oneself, for one’s friends and family, and, yes, even for one’s enemies! And for the Earth and the trees, and grass and bunny-rabbits and the long-term future for all. All balanced together.
See items 1-2-&-3 above to justify this one further. They all smear together anyway. I have no more ethology or psychology articles or findings to shoe-horn in on “#4” here, at this time.
Well OK then, just ONE item, but it is a whole book! Evil is a strong opposite of righteousness! Don’t be evil! To understand evil better (and to see that it SURE doesn’t lead to blessedness or happiness), read M. Scott Peck, “People of the Lie, the Hope for Healing Human Evil”, https://www.amazon.com/People-Lie-Hope-Healing-Human/dp/0684848597
The merciful are NOT fond of punishing others! "Beware of all those in whom the urge to punish is strong." - Friedrich Nietzsche “Mistrust all those in whom the desire to punish is imperative.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The merciful forgive others for their shortcomings! If you as a business-owner or boss, never forgive any transgressions or shortcomings of your workers, you will always fire them all! See how much success and happiness THAT brings you! The same goes for “firing” (dumping) all of your imperfect friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc.
For the science here, search for game theory, game theory computer simulations, “tit for tat”, and forgiveness. If the computer simulation makes ANY serious attempt to REALLY accurately simulate the real world, it will note the “noise in the system”. You accidentally step on my toes, so I will retaliate! (“Noise” meaning random accidents and misunderstandings). Then we are stuck in “tit for tat” forever, if we have no forgiveness provisions in the system! There is an “endless cycle of violence”, which can only be broken is someone, somewhere, absorbs a blow, and does NOT strike back!
“The Google” knows plenty about all of this! See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_tat for starters. Also http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201607/the-prisoner-s-dilemma-and-the-virtues-tit-tat and then also https://plus.maths.org/content/mathematical-mysteries-survival-nicest Mathematical mysteries: Survival of the nicest? This latter-most one cuts to the chase the fastest, as far as goes, the vital necessity of adding some forgiveness to the system, for optimal results.
Oh, boy! WHO are the pure in heart? Well, let my just “wing it”, and take a stab at it! Their hearts aren’t polluted with excessive tribalism… “My tribe GOOD, your tribe BAD, my violence GOOD, your violence BAD”… Or short-sightedness, arrogance, or any other in a long list of various evils. The “pure in heart” are those who regularly “weed their spiritual gardens”, as some have put it. They maintain their sanity by questioning their own sanity on a regular basis! Those of us who NEVER doubt Our Own, Most Certainly PERFECT Sanity? THOSE ones of us are in danger of falling into the very worst kinds of insanity!
I haven’t any “science” to shoe-horn in on this one! Let me just add Mahatma Gandhi’s “7 Sins that Lead to Violence” as items that one needs to “weed one’s garden” for, that we may be “pure in heart”: From https://www.scribd.com/document/136921501/7-Sins-Gandhi ,
‘1) Wealth without work,
‘2) Pleasure without conscience,
‘3) Knowledge without character,
‘4) Commerce without morality,
‘5) Science without humanity,
‘6) Worship without sacrifice, and
‘7) Politics without principle.
I have no proof of this, but I suspect that the more “pure of heart” that we are, the more than we will be free of fear and paranoia! I am doing the right things, for the right motives! What can “they” do to me, then, to “MAKE” me feel guilt or paranoia, if I don’t want to? Nothing! “They can take my body, but not my soul!” (Can’t take away my self-respect if you want to make it more secular or less mystical).
On the other hand, here is an utterly ancient, but short and sweet, and apt, description of paranoia (fear) and its opposite: https://biblia.com/bible/esv/proverbs/28/1 “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion”.
Getting back to Gandhi’s “7 Sins”, the SCRIBD link above is less than totally accessible (you have to sign in). Is there a better link for more details? http://joesdining.com/uncategorized/worship-without-sacrifice/#:~:text=For%20instance%20Mahatma%20Gandhi%20developed,(7)Worship%20Without%20Sacrifice for one. I am sure that you can find more! I skimmed this last one that I just posted. Maybe it could be summarized along the following lines, which is something that I have thought for a long time: Don’t bother so much with sacrificing to God, by giving your religious organization more money to build more sacred buildings with. Don’t bother so much with giving up your favorite food. Sacrifice (give up) to your God (or your ethics or your conscience or whatever you want to call it) your hate, self-righteousness, chauvinistic tribalism, incoherent anger, your fear, and your other net negativities. Please! Sacrificing THESE things will make a MUCH bigger, positive difference, in all likelihood!
Peace is most precious! HOW does one make peace? By compromising on the little things, focusing on the big things, and eliminating false pride. There are no ethical dimensions to eating with chopsticks v/s forks and spoons, so put those kinds of things TOTALLY out of your ethical calculus! The same thing is true of religious rituals and dogmas, if they have little or no ethical dimensions. Also do not let the “tyranny of small differences” (use that as a search-string) trip you up, in religion, politics, or anything else! Also give up your “conspicuous consumption” and other quests for flaunted status and power! That, too, will help the cause of peace!
To pick just ONE concrete example (of various ethically-indifferent items or actions being Holy to different people), let’s say, you as a Christian solemnify your belief and practice by “eating the flesh of Jesus” (bread) and “drinking His blood” (wine, which is, OMG, a mind-altering substance!). OK, no problem! Now then, don’t give the members of the Native American Church a hard time for ceremonially eating peyote buttons!
Fire can be fought with fire, yes. See “setting a fire-break” (sometimes with fire) in fighting forest fires. Or “prescribed burns”. The same is true in war, or in a “just war”. Sometimes despots recognize NO other language, other than FORCE! That’s a whole topic to itself. But let me drag in 2 quotes: Isaac Asimov, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”, discussed at https://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-08-20/the-last-refuge-of-the-incompetent/#:~:text=The%20science%20fiction%20author%20Isaac,to%20that%20in%20a%20moment for example. See also http://cup.columbia.edu/book/why-civil-resistance-works/9780231156820 ... About a book that shows that non-violent revolutions succeed more often than violent revolutions, in recent history.
And then see a Dwight D. Eisenhower quote ( https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/dwight_d_eisenhower_165216 ) about “Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”
I’m about all tapped out. No more “science” here for this item, at least for now, sorry…
For this one, I have written an entire (but fairly short) web page, to cover it in detail. Sociobiology vets THIS one EXTREMELY well! See http://www.churchofsqrls.com/Do_Gooders_Bad/ … Done!
I don’t want to repeat too much of what I’ve already written in the above-linked web page. However, lets’ tie ALL of this together. In our evolutionary history, it looks to be EXTREMELY likely that proto-eukaryotes assimilated proto-mitochondria (etc.) to create today’s eukaryotes. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbiogenesis . Then many millions of years later, eukaryotes joined together to create multi-cellular animals. Then through kin altruism and other mechanisms (arguably to perhaps also include “group selection”), groups of animals joined together cooperatively. Global human altruism… The ancient ideal of “all men are brothers”… Is the next step in CULTURAL (as opposed to more-purely biological) evolution, in tying us all together in ever-higher forms of mutually-beneficial, cooperative organization. This latest linking agent isn’t biochemical, so much, any more (oxytocin considerations to the side), it is your free-will CONSCIENCE that is the bonding agent!
Let’s back up and re-state. Our human brains today are evolutionary hodge-podges of layer stacked upon layer. Fish brain, then amphibian brain, reptile brain, monkey brain, ape brain, and hunter-gatherer brain. My-tribe-right, your-tribe-is-lesser (or worse) belongs to hunter-gatherer brain. Prophets and seers, seekers and teachers, throughout the years, have criticized their tribes for this. “This ain’t right”, they say! They have called us forwards into the next stage of evolution! And they (at the extremes) have been killed for it! Now again, see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/Do_Gooders_Bad/ for details, but this “kill-the-prophets” thing is likely programmed (instinctively or emotionally) into the hunter-gatherer brain. A polite phrase for it is the “do-gooder derogation” instinct. A more in-your-face term for it might be to call it the Jesus-killer (Mahatma Gandhi-killer, Martin Luther King Jr.-killer, etc.) instinct. There’s very little good news in there for the INDIVIDUAL prophet or teacher. What little good news in this phenomenon is that AFTER we have killed the prophet, THEN we often at least START to listen to what they had to say!
“Blessed is the individual who XYZ” is often true, yes, and that is detailed above. But the BIGGER picture includes pain and suffering for the individuals who XYZ. A re-statement then is “blessed is the society who has, or has had, many XYZ-type individuals”. Now THAT catches the bigger picture! (I don’t care to get into the metaphysics or supernatural or life-after-death-blessings angle, because I know nothing about it).
If you really “get” the beatitudes, though, it’s not all about you (or about me either!). It’s also or maybe even more-so about the bigger picture. I think that Jesus was very wise to put what he put last, this beatitude #8, which is a bit hard to swallow. “It ain’t right”, justice-wise, it seems! But it is what it is. It drives home the need for thinking of the “bigger picture”.
Return to (thematically not much related) root page at www.ChurchofSQRLS.com
http://www.churchofsqrls.com/Do_Gooders_Bad/ for details on beatitude number eight.