There are two teachings, actually from the old testament, that I wish more Christians took seriously, most don’t even give good lip service to them.
The first is the story of Adam and Eve. Leaving aside for a moment the incestuousness of the next few generations, this is an important story. Because what it means that that all humankind is the same, all born of the same two parents, truly brothers and sisters.
It is also one of the few creation myths in the Bible that actually has scientific support. Modern paleoanthropology now thinks that the human population, which originated in Africa, at one time dropped to about 2,000 people. We are all descended from those 2,000 people. It’s not 2, but it is pretty damn close. There are no “races” of people, there is just the human race and we all share the same grandparents.
Unfortunately, many people ignore this teaching and this reality and focus on the miniscule differences between us, in appearance and belief instead of the commonalities.
The other teaching fits like a hand in a glove, not only are we all truly brothers and sisters, but the Bible goes onto say, that we are created in the image of god.
Not created as slimy, creepy, sinful sops. In the image of god.
Let Shakespeare say it much better than I can (or even the Bible, frankly):
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in
faculties! in form and moving how express and admirable! in
action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the 1400
beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!
Granted, not everyone needs an ego boost, but if humankind is to believe in something, I say, let’s believe in ourselves. We have seen how we can solve many of our problems with our reasoning abilities. We are not in need of saving, we are in need of thinking, feeling and loving.
Unfortunately many religions while having the image of god thing right in front of them, go on to teach what Hamlet has to say next:
And yet to me what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me- no, nor woman
Yes, that is what we often get taught in church, man is lowly, sinful, in need of saving, doomed to hell and so on. None of that sounds like we are in god’s image whatsoever.
Ironically it is Humanists who are much more likely to teach that we are all brothers and sisters and we need to use our obvious talents (intellect, communications, social bonding) to make our lives and our world better.