Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Jesus and God

I listened to a great Fresh Air, one of many, where two smart women talked about the gospel of Judas and how it and other Gnostic gospels show a broader view of early Christianity. One point that I wish was made is that despite all sorts of new writings and discoveries, Christianity for many will never change.

In my view 20% of Christians will gladly view any new information has an enriching addition to their faith. On the other end there is another 20% of Christians who will openly and soberly look at this stuff as satanic and designed by the devil to confuse the children of God. They will argue that all the details about the Word was worked out by God and his prophetic writers long ago. There is NO way for this 20% to ever get along with the others. They will never allow, in their own minds, the idea that each person can have their own authentic faith. To this 20% of conservative Christianity any allowance for differing views is an open door to hell.

They have their counterparts in Islam too. To many conservative Muslims, a Koran that is translated into English is blasphemous since the Koran was dictated verbatim by God in Arabic.

The 20% on the edge is, in my opinion, necessary to any faith tradition. Without it the faith will disolve. However if the 20% becomes too ascendant in a religion then it becomes a danger to the faiths existence. The rigidity leads to fractures in faith. The rigidity of the Church has led to a multitude of Christian traditions. The flexibility of Christianity has led to its subliminal and overt alteration of the entire world. Even Islam has been influenced and molded, to some degree, by Christianity as well as Judaism.

The 20% are also dangerous for they are the warriors. They are the ones who will strap a bomb on themselves, or hijack a plane, or argue about dropping a bombs on Iran, or want the Jews back in Jerusalem so that that the Jews can all convert to Christianity at the end of the world, which the 20% would like to help get started.

The 20% will always have uses in each faith, but it must be restrained by grander and more thoughtful segments of each faith tradition.

Now onto other things. It seems to me that we seldom question what we worship. Church services are held, songs sung, sacraments given and taken. I was reading "Places Inbetween" about a walk through Afghanistan and many devout Muslims, who could recite the entire Koran, could not read or write their own langauge. They also could not understand one word they had memorized. At first I thought this was pretty sad, but then I think of how like those peasants we are. Even when our services are said in a language we understand, do we comprehend much?

Our medieval view of a King God, with crown, or halo, angles waiting on him, the Queen Mary, the prince of peace Jesus. I hate to say that this view is silly but it is. If God needs angles and other such "servants" then that would mean God is not all powerful. Since an all powerful being would not need anything to accomplish His will. I think most of us worship a being assembled by visions of what we wish we were. A being capable of destroying the wicked, and at the same time being merciful on those who stray. A savior, a punisher, a guide, a lover, and friend and all totally perfect; never mind that what we look for could be mutually exclusive.

I have felt the connection to God. That connection, when viewed, is obvious. Even though I have this connection to this being, I cannot fathom the totality of what that being is. Nor can I know what the full implications of this connection are. Somehow the light and fluffy stories of old, may not be too helpful when this being reveals more of itself to me. Or then again may God will be an old man with a crown. Either way I am on the ride and will have to accept whatever is the reality behind the enigma.

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