The Sunday Mail
Shingai Rukwata Ndoro #ChiselingtheDebris —
Dear reader, with your indulgence, may you take time to reflect on what one of the finest jurists, former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa Retired Justice Dikgang Moseneke, said when he delivered a speech at the 2016 Annual Founders Lecture at Unisa: “Teaching and learning are as old as human beings have lived. Education is primordial and integral to the human condition. The new arrivals into humankind are taught and learn how to live useful and fulfilled lives. So education formative goodness (is) to the body, intellect and soul has been beyond question from antiquity.”
To live a useful and fulfilling life, as Justice Moseneke indicates, one has to discern moral objectivity as compared to moral subjectivity or relativity.
1. Do no harm or injure the well-being of oneself or others;
2. Live honestly by speaking truthfully and acting productively;
3. Reject the false and maliciously motivated;
4. Value nurturing of critical thinking and excellence; and
5. Reward productive effort and “the fruit of meritorious deeds”.
Out of such moral objectivity, “being human” would mean we should affirm and acknowledge:
Firstly, the human being’s natural worth with little or no regard to the circumstances of birth (skin pigmentation, facial features or sex) or human constructs and conditions of upbringing (religious beliefs or lack of them, political views or lack of them, ethnicity, nationality or economic endowment).
Secondly, the human being’s capacity to be the centre and instrument of causation with an “unending questioning of basic assumptions and convictions” by being “ever open to experimental testing, newly discovered facts, and more rigorous reasoning”.
Thirdly, the potentiality and possibility of human power to creatively and innovatively solve any problem, through reliance primarily upon the scientific method applied with compassion, temperance and prudence.
Fourthly, the human being’s capacity to be responsible over the effects, results or consequences of his/her own choices, decisions and actions. Fifthly, “the widest possible development of art and the awareness of beauty, including the appreciation of nature’s loveliness and splendour, so that the aesthetic experience may become a pervasive reality in the lives of all people”.
The humanoid Abrahamic God is not an example of a motive force for moral excellence. His character and actions are a gross perversion of a useful and fulfilling human life.
He commanded, “Thou shalt not kill”, but he: commandeered that babies be drowned (Genesis 7:21-23), sacrificed (Exodus 22:29), cannibalised (Jeremiah 19:9), and dashed against rocks (Psalm 137:9, Isaiah 13:16); ordered Israelites to kill the inhabitants of the land taken from fellow human beings (Deuternomy 7:2); commandeered Israelites to sack a city, steal cattle, enslave those that surrender, rape the women who refuse, and kill all the men (Deuteronomy 20:10); commanded Saul to obliterate the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:3); decreed the punishment of death for anyone guilty of picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36), cursing their parents (Leviticus 20:9), or being raped while betrothed (Deuternomy 22:23-24); and butchered 70 000 men because David took a census (2 Samuel 24:1-15).
Some Islamic Jihadists kill non-Muslems in the most horrible way possible: “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing … but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful.
“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers).” (Quran 2:191-193)
“So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.” (Quran 9:5)
If a heinous act is wrong and bad, does it become right and good because it is approved and commandeered by Abrahamic God? If it becomes right and good because it is only approved and commandeered by Abrahamic God, it means morality is what suits him selfishly and “relative to different situations”.
If you have affinity to the personal Abrahamic God, you may not find it wrong to be like him – narcissistic, hateful, discriminatory (racism, tribalist, sexism, etc), vengefully cruel, bloodthirsty, murderous, genocidal and homicidal against “Others”.
In comparison, the Divine (“Mwari”) in lived experiences of “Indigenous Spirituality,” refers to an impersonal life force requiring neither human reverence, attention nor recognition.
Mwari is a composite nature consisting of breath (“mweya” ie life-bearer), intellect (“njere”) and physical power (“simba”). These aspects are an interiority of every human being in different measures determined by effort.
Steve Wells, “The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible” (1999)
Barbara G Walker, “Man Made God” (2010)
Feedback: [email protected] and Twitter @shingaiRndoro. A gallery of previous articles can be found at www.sundaymail.co.zw/author/shingairukwata