Bob Mattila’s letters of Nov. 11 (“God blessed Israel”) and Nov. 24 (“Becoming ungodly causes problems”) quote the Bible, and indicate a transactional morality. If the Bible is read as a political document in the context of when it was written, its moral poverty is often striking.
In antiquity few people were literate. Clergy and scribes thus had inordinate political power, and throughout the Bible we find numerous instances of self-dealing by these classes, even justifying genocide. This extends to the present day, with the idea one will “get something from God” if one does X, Y and Z. To be fair, the Bible contains a version of the Golden Rule, which is something I rarely see mentioned by fundamentalists.
The Golden Rule can be thought of not arising from a particular religious adherence, but from reality: No matter what, we will suffer; we will die. No matter what, nobody is really any different fundamentally than a thief or a murderer, as we are all human. No matter what, everyone is due compassion, mercy and dignity because all wish to be treated that way. And there is no reason to expect anything in return for whatever good one does.