Has humanity lost its sense of values? Are we heading off the high cliff of “Relativism”? That, as some of you surely know, is a dirty among among Absolutionists. And the world these days does indeed seem to have divided it into two camps: Absolutionists and Relativists.

Yet that is only the way it seems. In actuality there is a third camp, the Dichotomists. These are people who embrace the notion that two apparently opposing “truths” can exist simultaneously in the same space. They call this a “Divine Dichotomy.”

Dichotomists do not see things in Black and White, but in shades of both. They do not see polar opposites, but a continuum. Where others see a straight line with each end representing This or That, they see a circle where This and That is “neither here nor there.”

I bring all of this up now because we are engaged here in the Carol Bass Dialogues. This is a series of interactions with a wonderful lady who contributed to the Comment Section in this space a while ago, offering an observation that was marvelously authentic and totally transparent — and that I thought offered a wonderful window onto how many, many people around the world are thinking today. I knew that I wanted to respond to it immediately, and it is from that impulse that the Carol Bass Dialogues have ensued.

In her note posted here, Carol said, among other things…

“It seems that so many have turned their back on what is right and what is wrong. The ten commandments according to the bible have become just another thing to cast off as just someone’s religious beliefs but not necessarily truth.”

In my last entry here I responded: “Well, Carol, as you may know, Conversations with God says there is no such thing as ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ It also says there’s no such thing as the Ten Commandments. Wow. What do you think of that? What if that were true? How can that be true? What implication does that have for society?”

And then I asked: Is Carol right? Is it this kind of tossing away of our fundamental beliefs that is adding to the problem—if not causing it? Today, my answer: No. Indeed, I believe we must “toss away” our fundamental beliefs if they have been discovered to be simply inaccurate, and thus, no longer serve us.

The classic example of this is the refusal of doctors to wash their hands with an antiseptic solution before delivering babies. They believed that such an idea was nonsense — and they were absolutely sure about that.

It was in the 1847 that Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, working at the Vienna General Hospital’s maternity clinic on a 3-year contract from 1846-1849, made a remarkable observation: At least one way that medicine was being practiced was actually killing people.

In Vienna, as elsewhere in European and North American hospitals, puerperal fever (or childbed fever) was rampant, sometimes climbing to 40 percent of admitted patients. Dr. Semmelweis was disturbed by these mortality rates, and eventually developed a theory of infection, in which he suggested that decaying matter on the hands of doctors, who had recently conducted autopsies, was brought into contact with the genitals of birth-giving women during the medical examinations at the maternity clinic. He proposed a radical hand washing theory using chlorinated lime, now a known disinfectant.

Having the courage to explore his idea—which was radical in that moment—Dr. Semmelweis found that its application reduced the incidence of fatal childbed fever tenfold in maternity institutions.

It didn’t matter.

That’s right. That’s what I said. All the evidence didn’t matter. Dr. Semmelweis’ thoughts ran contrary to key beliefs and practices of his time (the germ theory of infection had not yet been developed), and so his ideas were rejected and ridiculed.

Worse, in what was very unusual, his contract at the hospital was not renewed, effectively expelling him from the medical community in Vienna. He died an outcast in a mental institution in 1865.

It was not until the 20th Century that his ideas were accepted, with untold numbers of babies’ lives having died for no reason in the interim, because doctors — who, of all people, should have known better, looking at the evidence — simply and stubbornly refused to accept this “new idea.”

This article is Part IV of an ongoing series:

Dr. Semmelweis was what I call an Idea Hero — and we need more Idea Heroes right now, at this present moment in human history. For we have reached ChoicePoint in our evolutionary process once again. Do we stick with the ideas and beliefs of the past (for no reason other than that we have always believed them), or dare we embrace the new ideas and the new constructs and the new thoughts of the future (for the reason that they are clearly and obviously more beneficial)?

When I was told in Conversations with God that there were no such things as the Ten Commandments, I was shocked. How could that be? I wondered. Had God himself not given us these laws and ordinances? And where would humanity be without a set of sacred rules upon which to base all other human laws by which it governs itself?

Of course, I asked God these questions, and the answers I received made it apparent that God had no problem with the content of the Ten Commandments either. It was the concept that was faulty.

It had already been made clear to me that God and we are One. This was the very first announcement in the CWG dialogue, appearing on pg. 5 of 3,000 pages of interaction. So I had already been given the groundwork for what God had to say about those ten statements he gave to Moses, and I suppose I should have guessed exactly what that might be.

“Who would I command? Myself?”, God asked. “And why would such commandments be required? Whatever I want, is. N’est ce pas? How is it therefore necessary to command anyone?

“And, if I did issue commandments, would they not be automatically kept? How could I wish something to be ‘so’ so badly that I would command it—and then sit by and watch it not be so? What kind of a king would do that? What kind of a ruler?”
God explained that he was neither a king nor a ruler, but The Creator.

“I have created you—blessed you—in the image and likeness of Me,” she said. “And I have made certain promises and commitments to you.”

It was explained that Moses went to the mountaintop with an urgent plea. He begged God to give him something he could tell his people that would assure them they were on the right path.

God must have felt, “Fair enough. Good question,” because he essentially said to Moses, “I will tell you, in plain language, how it will be with you when you become as one with Me.” Here are, God explained, some Divine Covenants: “You shall know that you have taken the path to God, and you shall know that you have found God, for there will be these signs, these indications, these changes in you.” And then he listed them.

(This entire exchange may be found on pg. 37 of CWG-Book 1.)

You shall know that you’re on a good path, God said, because when you are walking a path to God there are things that you shall and shall not do automatically. But this list, God said in CWG, were never meant to be commandments.

“For who shall I command? And who shall I punish should My commandments not be kept? There is only Me.”

I understood the logic of this completely, but I have to say that I felt that the bulk of humanity might feel little lost without those guidelines—call them commandments, call them commitments, call them whatever you wish.

I wondered if the new theology of Conversations with God would give us anything to replace them, any kind of touchstones or guidelines, criteria or even suggestions that might help us find our way through the thicket of Life on Earth.

It did. And we will look at all of this in the weeks ahead, beginning with our exploration of one of the most important messages of CWG: “There is no such thing as Right and Wrong.”

How can such a thing be “true”? And what is “truth,” anyway?

More to come as The Conversation of the Century continues here.

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