Friday, July 05, 2013

A Better Monument to Human Wisdom

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. This is the new motto of the American Atheists association that, after failing to get the leaders of Bradford County, FL to remove a six-ton statue of the Ten Commandments, decided to put up there own monument promoting the separation of church and state. And while they have a donor who is willing to fund erecting this monument across the country, the goal of the atheist group isn't to build more monuments but to open the field to every religion having its own monument which will force politicians to outlaw all such monuments.

I am not happy with this goal. While I don't think it is right or constitutional for groups to erect Ten Commandments monuments on public property, I would like to see a giant Ganesha statue next to one. In fact I would like to see every sect of every religion cram a monument onto the public square. A huge statue of L. Ron Hubbard next to equally large statues of Krishna, Buddha, Satan, Mohammed (sans face), Guru Nanak, and the Giant Spaghetti Monster would be great. Sure we Jews would be left out given that graven images aren't our thing, but still I'd vote for it.

But a war of statues, while fun, doesn't promote harmony. So, in the interest of harmony, I would like to design and find funders for a Golden Rule monument featuring the Rule in its many articulations. I'm serious about this idea. This would be a monument that could unite a community and spark conversation that might lead to collaboration rather than competition, and dialogue rather than demonization.

All we need do is design it, and then find people in cities and towns across the US who might promote it in their neighborhoods, raising the funds to take the design and turn it into a real monument.



Erick Reynolds said...

I suggest a large slate pyramid, exposed to the elements, with trays of chalk on each side and four erasers chained on poles in each corner to reach only 50% of the surface.

Mordechai Ben Nathan said...

"We jews would be left out."

perhaps it has evaded your notice that the Ten Commandments is quintessentially Jewish.

Rabbi Rami said...

Mordechai, I was taking about graven images.

Erick, I'm not certain about exactly what you are suggesting, but there was a project I saw and tried to duplicate in Nashville where people erected a huge blackboard with baskets of chalk and invited people to write their deepest wisdom teachings on it. The board was erased daily (I think) to make room for new teachings the next day. I'm thinking about trying this on the town square in Murfreesboro and call it Wisdom on the Square.

Erick Reynolds said...

I think the symbolism of the chalk board monument would be that all graven images or physical monuments of wisdom are transitory either by natural forces or humans supplanting old thoughts with new ones.

Erick Reynolds said...
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