Monthly Archives: December 2015

Merry Christmas!

2,000 years ago or thereabouts, truth was born of wisdom and our hopes for change in the world through change in each of us was established and continues to be renewed.

In Jewish tradition and symbolism, Mary is the wisdom of a person who participates with God and Jesus is the truth born from it.

Salvation is the tension between our ignorance and the light of “Christ” illuminating “God with us” as “Christ in us”.

Salvation is not exclusive or dependent; it is participation with the good.

Christ, light of the world.

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On Choice

For that certain Christian out there …

There are certain facts and features in Philosophy and Psychology about knowledge and beliefs.

Unless a Christian chooses to “believe in Christ”, then there is no choice about it. The only instance in which a person can genuinely choose to believe anything is when the truth is unknown or unknowable. All other beliefs cannot be choices; we are determined to believe whatever makes the most sense of our experiences and we can no more choose what to believe about what appears to be the case than we have in controlling how we’re experiencing at all.

The only apologetic about belief as it concerns Jesus is that either there is a choice, moral in nature, and what we think may be the case with Christ is entirely dubious, or, we have no choice in believing anything about Jesus. So either one would argue to “benefit of the doubt” and the response of belief or doubt is necessarily a moral issue, or one must argue that salvation must be more efficacious than Adam’s fall (a pagan concept) and then Jesus’ atonement requires something other than beliefs about himself; for they are not sufficient if they must be chosen, and impossible to save every man damned by Adam if those beliefs themselves are contingent on our experiences and salvation contingent to anything at all.

The resolution is in rethinking old pagan, gnostic ideas of salvation from Augustine, or crafting a brand new, novel conception of theories of knowledge and belief; but there, you have all of your work ahead of you.

Just a thought.

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The Walking Tree

You have to wonder about the Jew and the Samaritan and what it means to “accept” Christ. If you think it means “I have to believe Jesus was the Son of God who died to take away my sin and believing this keeps me from Hell”, then it’s simplistic and literally meaningless; no more than empty tribalism.

Why would God care what you think of Jesus’ ontology? Properly too, belief is not a choice in the sense that we can make ourselves think something is the case. Either things appear to be what they and we already accept that reality from experience, or when something is truly unknown, we actually do have a choice and it is an ethical one, ie benefit of the doubt for example.

In Mark 8, the entire chapter is about absolutely no one knowing who Jesus is including Peter. And right in the middle of that, Jesus heals a blind man.

This is Christianity: that Jesus came to the world to ask who we think we are. At the onset, we’re blind when he asks. Then Jesus says “Look again, let me show you”. He asks again, “Who do you say you are?” and we mutter, “I see men walking around like trees.”

“Look again, I’ll show you.” He needn’t ask a third time because it has been revealed. John explains Jesus is logos, hodos, alethea, zoe. Jesus is the way God intended humanity to be. Jesus is the existential way to be in the world. Jesus is the reality of what it means to be human. Jesus is how we’re to be in the world.

“Accepting Christ” is no more than accepting we are more than we think and becoming what we were meant to be. This has nothing to do with religious, tribal systems or holding certain creedal beliefs, which are not proper beliefs in any meaningful sense. It certainly isn’t anything like Augustine’s pagan Manichean musings such as having a totally depraved nature or election or imputation and cosmic penalty payments. That’s all literally anti Christ.

The Jew and Samaritan and every other human being need not confess Christ nor “believe in him” as if that is efficacious for anything at all, save binding communities at the exclusion of others; that belief is also a work!

Through our nature, we begin to see. Being drawn to the good and participating in it, we see. We are not saved because we have done some good thing. We are transformed in participating in the good because the good is what God is. We lose our shame having already been forgiven in the garden when we felt insufficient to be one with God, naked, ie just as we are. This is “accepting Christ”, and “Christian” is then participation in humanity, in the solidarity of human well being, undivided and bound by love rather than tribal systems and power; which chiefly is the only language Christians largely seem capable of, and is far too small for any concept of God the ineffable.

Just a thought.

Oh, and neither the Jew nor Samaritan need worry about their lot in eternity.

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The Gospel is the good news that everyone seeking the good is forgiven when they fail to find some cosmic, reified perfection in themselves. No one is good and neither Jesus nor countless reiteration of a life repeated in innumerable circumstances will help you find it. It doesn’t exist. What does is becoming.

Salvation, atonement, is merely the human experience of seeking God, which is by faith “the good”, and participating in it. It is what happens as we do. What we find there is humanity; the thing we can understand, and in as much as our likeness to whatever gods there may be, incomprehensible as they are, we apprehend something with theological significance which is quite insignificant to any real point. Meaning, if Theology is to mean or do anything, it is only that it points us towards beliefs inviting us into participation and any idea that it informs us about the gods is meaningless; we cannot act on what we comprehend of God, the incomprehensible. What we can do, all we can do, is act on what we believe we ought to become. In fact, that image can only be a human one. For the Christian, this should be immediately agreeable.

Humanity is the great becoming. It is salvation when we hold to the good in ourselves. It is never attained as the measure is infinite, God. The good news is we are not judged by attainment, which is what imputation mistakenly presumes, be that Adam’s “sin” nature or Jesus’ “sinless” nature or provision. We could only be judged in the sense Luke suggests; that there was something we were to work toward, however well or poorly, but didn’t.

The Gospel would then be about no other belief than forgiveness in doing the good. Not saved by works but saved from who we were because we literally have experienced the good, experienced “God” in the only way the idea could possibly matter. Transformation. Not condemned for not being God or good but saved by becoming human more and more, finding the likeness to the God we are icons of and resonating with it, in tune, atoned; or rather, atoning constantly.

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On Dogma

Formal, religious Christianity, the knave, and Jesus, the man:

“If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools … then you’ll be a man” — from “If”, by Rudyard Kipling.

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