Quote of the Day – Abraham Lincoln


In honour of Lincoln’s birthday, a quote I misread at first

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.

I thought it said: when I feel good, I do good. When I feel bad, I do bad. That version makes a lot of sense. There is a streak of mean in Western culture born, I think, of too little attention to Jesus’ admonition to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 19:19) and too much reverence for blessing them that curse you (Matthew 5:44). Somewhere along the line the Church embraced the notion we should love everyone better than ourselves. After all, easy wins no brownie points with a fearsome God. To curry favour you have to suffer. Flagellation and hairshirts have gone out of style, but the self-abasing ideology of treating others better than we treat ourselves still has currency.

Which is idiotic. It isn’t just difficult to care about other peoples’ problems when neck-deep in your own, it is literally impossible. You might be able to feign interest, or force yourself to perform your social duties, but there won’t be a hole deep enough to bury your resentment. Anyway, how if you’re hurt, or struggling, how can you soothe pain or offer succor? Two drowners clinging together only sink faster.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s