The Bible, Instincts, and Tribes

The various parts of the New Testament were written for different purposes, and they can and will be used to various ends. And that’s okay. It is what it is.

Whoever they were who compiled the Q Source recorded those events for various reasons, edited them in certain ways for various reasons.

The group that liked what they saw there decided that it could be used for a different, related purpose. So they repurposed what they found and were ultimately successful, amazingly so.

Other NT books were developed by processes that were very different, but similar.

We human primates, with our large brains and furless bodies–many of us love books. Each of the older, larger tribes and herds and clans into which we are born has certain books it esteems above others.

Each of those tribes and herds and clans has the full spectrum of genetic types and families. Each one has the full spectrum of instincts sprinkled in its population, instincts for beauty and order, for aggression and status, for territory and safety, for language and reproduction, for system and justice, for understanding and mimicry. These are all instincts that our ancestors instinctively labeled.

If, as an individual primate, if your strongest instinct is for beauty, then certain NT passages will really resonate for you. If your strongest instinct is for aggression, then a different group of NT passages will resonate. If as an individual primate your strongest instinct is for territory, there are NT verses with your name written on them.

This is one reason we have many of our intractable ideological conflicts.

The primate whose strongest instinct is justice will never get along with a primate whose strongest instinct is status.

Watch out when two human primates with strong instincts for status and territory square off, anywhere, in any tribe or herd or clan. In any board meeting or a council meeting.

Even in a worship space with New Testaments drawn and at the ready.

Love covers a multitude of sins? Also try ‘Wisdom manages a multitude of differences.” Try “Understanding negotiates a multitude of conflicts.” And don’t forget “Failure to step out of the room can lead to arguments and death.”

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
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