Reading another article at SciAm today – The Moral Call of the Wild: A study suggests that spending time in nature changes our values. The basic gist of the article is a new study has “shown” (I’d have to see more about the structure and methodology of the study to remove the quotes) that people who spend more time in the natural world are more other-focused and less self-focused. They suggest that the trend of our society spending less and less time outside with the birds and bees over the last 30 or 40 years is correlated with us becoming more and more self-focused, and that time spent in nature actually changes our values. Interesting concept.
I’ve always loved being outside. For a time in my teens and 20s, I would get distinctly anxious if I couldn’t spend enough time in the outdoors. I still get mildly depressed in the winter when the light level drops and bounce back again in the spring, but the angst I used to experience has gone away since I became a Christian. What I really found interesting about the article, though, was one of the comments by “Babbin” –
Since when is caring about others more important than caring about yourself?
Wow! Like since the whole of recorded history, dude!
When I decided to officially embrace atheism just after high school, I did my own unofficial comparative religion study (I would do this again later, officially, in college which simply confirmed the conclusions I had come to a decade earlier in my unofficial study). As a result of that study, I concluded that all religion was the result of man trying to explain the unexplainable, and the the various rules and regulations that each of them came up with were what gave society its stability and structure, but there was really no absolute moral right or moral wrong. (Of course, that doesn’t explain the GUT WRENCHING when you hear about a man putting his girlfriend’s kids into a pot of boiling water on the stove.) Also as a result of that study, I adopted as my personal “standard” the one “rule” that seemed to show up everywhere I looked – The Golden Rule – don’t do to anyone else what you wouldn’t want them to do to you.
Oh, wait! That’s not it! The way Jesus put it is a little different. He said –
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
There’s actually quite a bit of difference between the passive version, which a lot of religions have codified – don’t do – and the active version found in Christianity – DO – take the first step – don’t wait for someone else to act first – it’s up to you.
Funny that even though I only had one rule I felt obligated to try and keep, I couldn’t even keep that rule. Why? Because I spent way more time caring about myself than I ever did caring about anyone else. In the last 10 years of walkling with Christ, I’ve found out that there’s only one way to keep that one rule – care more about others than you do about yourself. And the only way I can consistently care more about others than I do about myself is when I care about God first. Jesus said that if we kept those 2 rules – Love God, Love People – we would fulfill ALL the rest.
Reminds me of the song we used to sing in Sunday School when I was a kid:
Jesus and Others and You;
What a wonderful way to spell joy . . .
I hope Babbin discovers that bit of truth someday. Now do like your mom said – Go out and play.
A great teacher never strives to explain his vision–he simply invites you to stand beside him and see for yourself.
If that’s true, then Jesus must be the greatest teacher of all. Right off the bat in John chapter 1, he says to two curious men, “Come and see.” He could have just told them what they seemingly wanted to know. Instead, they left his house that day fully convinced that they had found the promised Messiah and went to find their brothers and friends to tell them to “come and see” for themselves. A few chapters later, a woman with some baggage in her past made the same discovery and convinced her entire village to “come and see”. At first, they believed because of her own story of meeting the Messiah. Then they saw for themselves. A great teacher producing great teachers. The Spirit and the Bride say come. . . . come and see.by beakennedy
Any child can tell you that the sole purpose of a middle name is so he can tell when he’s really in trouble.
Dennis Fakesby beakennedy
You’re not famous until your mother knows about it.