Monday, October 20, 2008

What's a Messiah Gotta Do to Get Some Respect Around Here?

I came across the list below, which details the writer's (not this writer's) opinion of the 10 greatest people of all time. The link also lists his 10 worst people of all time. Interesting concept, I'd like to hear your opinions on this . . . wha? Jesus in 4th Place!? I'm not a religious man, but come on! We're talking about Jesus! One spot ahead of Moses, who gets credit for inventing the weekend? Give the guy a little respect! Sure he didn't win a Nobel Peace Prize like the Dalai Lama at #3, but he did a little more than "preach love." Lousy beatniks.

The Top Ten Good

1. Buddha - Buddhism, far more than Christianity or Islam, has a very strong pacifist element. The orientation toward nonviolence has played a significant role in the political history of Buddhist countries.

2. Baha'u'llah - Baha'is believe that all the founders of the world's great religions have been manifestations of God and agents of a progressive divine plan for the education of the human race. Despite their apparent differences, the world's great religions, according to the Baha'is, teach an identical truth. Baha'is believe that Baha'ullah (d. 1892) was a manifestation of God, who in His essence is unknowable. Baha'ullah's special function was to overcome the disunity of religions and establish a universal faith. Baha'is believe in the oneness of humanity and devote themselves to the abolition of racial, class, and religious prejudices. The great bulk of Baha'i teachings is concerned with social ethics; the faith has no priesthood and does not observe ritual forms in its worship.

3. Dalai Lama - head of the dominant Dge-lugs-pa order of Tibetan Buddhists and, until 1959, both spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet. In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of his nonviolent campaign to end Chinese domination of Tibet.

4. Jesus Christ -- for the preaching of love.

5. Moses - just the idea of "resting on the seventh day" improved the life of countless people.

6. Mother Teresa - Once Mother Teresa was asked how she could continue day after day after day, visiting the terminally ill: feeding them, wiping their brows, giving them comfort as they lay dying. And she said, "It's not hard because in each one, I see the face of Christ in one of His more distressing disguises."

7. Abraham Lincoln - for paving the way to freeing the slaves.

8. Martin Luther King -- American clergyman and Nobel Prize winner, one of the principal leaders of the American civil rights movement and a prominent advocate of nonviolent protest.

9. Mohandas Gandhi -- Indian nationalist leader, who established his country's freedom through a nonviolent revolution.

Who should be number 10? Would you ever consider someone like Carl Djerassi, "father of the birth control pill"? Because millions of unwanted children were not produced, countless suffering has been abolished (including decreases in crime, child abuse, and ecological nightmares). With women gaining more control over their reproductive fate, society has changed. Reliable birth control became as easy as taking a pill, which some call the single greatest factor in helping women achieve equality. Although religious people may debate whether a fertilized egg (zygote) should be accorded the same rights as a child (and therefore the pill is evil), no one debates that the pill has decreased the suffering of fully formed, multicellular humans.

Note that "zygotic personhood" (the idea that a fertilized egg is a person) is a recent concept. For example, before 1869, the Catholic church believed that the embryo was not a person until it was 40 days old. (Aristotle agreed with this 40-day threshold.) Thus, the church did not believe a human had a soul until day 40. Pope Innocent III in 1211 determined that the time of ensoulment was anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks. This means that the Catholic church, for centuries, did not equate abortion with murder. (Pictured at left is a two day old human embryo at four cell stage of development, magnified 260 times.)


Sidecar said...

Where's Obama? hahahaha.

Also, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann from Minnesota is a lock for the ten worst folks.

Jack Knowledge said...

I'd like to nominate Thom Brennaman for the 10 worst list. He. Sucks. The. Joy. Out. Of. Watching. Playoff. Baseball. For. Me.