1 EAGLETON NOTES: Abou Ben Adhem

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Monday, 13 March 2017

Abou Ben Adhem

A short while ago Rhymeswithplague wrote a post entitled On approaching the end of one's time on this planet, plus Davy Crockett which, amongst other things, asked the question as to how one should approach life at that time. Bob is a person with strong religious beliefs so some of the comments inevitably revolved around achieving salvation.
My comment was that my motto is simple: carpe diem. As I am atheist I don't try and please a deity but to live as I have always done trying to be considerate to those other humans (at one time I would have said 'my fellow men' but I understand that is frowned upon nowadays) with whom I share this planet. I don't expect or seek salvation. I'd just like others to show me the same consideration. 

To which Bob recommended the short poem "Abou Ben Adhem" by Leigh Hunt for my reading pleasure. As for the not seeking and not expecting, his hope was that I will be pleasantly surprised.

I was astonished because I had not thought about that poem for many years but I responded that some of my Mother's teaching obviously rubbed off on me because it was one of both my Mother's and her Mother's oft quoted works. Not that either of them were atheist.
So, for those of you who are not familiar with the work here it is:

Abou Ben Adhem

By Leigh Hunt

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

27 comments:

  1. Well, it's a long time since I heard that, oh, Lover of your Fellow Man!

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  2. If there were a God - which of course there isn't - he would be a dumbass if he only rewarded those who claimed they believed in him and not those who have sought to live good, humanist lives - helping others and always trying to do what is right and good.

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    1. You seem to have hit the nail on the head Mr Pudding

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    2. YP I can't (and wouldn't want to) argue with that.

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  3. How lovely when beautiful words and solid truth combine, eh? I do my best to love all my fellow beings, but it's hard when they've allowed a complete buffoon to take the helm of our country... let's rather say that I love select fellow beings passing well, and try to help any being that needs my assistance or has no one to speak for them. The poor, the ill, the child, the discarded animal - they are welcome to my kindness and my help. Fellow beings that are asshats can go dangle their bits in ice water.

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    1. Mrs S only you could pen such a wonderfully pithy, insightful and amusing response.

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  4. I don't think I ever heard that poem before, but the essence of it is still what went through my head even before I got to that part...

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    1. Monica that's an interesting response and a point of view I think I would have expected from you.

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  5. I didn't know the poem, either.

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    1. That doesn't surprise me Meike. I don't think I ever heard of that at school either.

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  6. This poem was always on the middle school literature curriculum. Of course , the lesson was to help our fellow man. I'd never thought of a further idea it contained.

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    1. Red that's interesting because I don't recall it at school at all.

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  7. I have known this poem since childhood, and it was one of my mother's favorites as well. I don't think I told you that earlier.

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  8. My education must be sadly lacking...I've never heard of or read that poem before now.

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    1. Well, Lee, now you have so your education is no longer sadly lacking.

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  9. I hope you won't mind me leaving one of my favorite quotes:
    I love mankind, it's people I can't stand.

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  10. Amen to that; from a fellow atheist.

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  11. "whatever you have done for these least of mine, you have done for me"

    I dont see any conflict between Christianity and humanism

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    1. Kylie my view is simple. I believe what I believe and everyone else is free to believe what they believe. I have one proviso: no proselytizing.

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  12. I had never heard of this poem before.....and I like its simplicity.

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    1. Virginia I think it's hard not to enjoy the message and the simplicity with which it is conveyed.

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