For Christians and Christianity, it all boils down to Jesus. And as to this faith’s founder, it all boils down to a series of “True or False” and “Yes or No” questions. Theoretically, this should make Christianity a basically simple faith to discredit, if that is the agenda a questioner is adopting, as so many have since the 18th Century. And what should make it even easier to discredit this particular candidate for “most probable true story” is that its most basic elements are historically based, or at least purport to be. Just prove its history is false, and voila!
The eruption of this Jesus-character into time-space is a most unwelcome distraction which must be contained within the operant “laws” of proven science and reason. He is tremendously inconvenient. It is actually impossible to overstate how inconvenient he is. He was even then, two thousand years ago. After all, that is why the powers-that-be of that day took so much trouble to remove him.
Without creating a tiresome list, let it be said that the historical facts are ample to verify that this person, Jesus of Nazareth, really lived and died in the early first century CE in the Roman province of Palestine. Contrary to the egregious and facile declarations of too many even quite well-educated people (I’ve even encountered a Ph.D. or two who have said this kind of thing), there are sufficient sources outside the New Testament, the primary Christian documents about Jesus, to verify his life and death in historical time and place. And it must be pointed out that these “extra-Biblical” sources are, almost without exception, hostile to both Jesus and Christians.
Even today, with all the weight of our educational apparatus and cultural propaganda against bowing to “the absolute” and accepting our natural awe of the transcendent, the vast majority of humankind still adhere to what the sages of the ages have told us about the spiritual foundation of reality and the presence within it of mystery and things we are intended to seek, but from which we are estranged.
Why do we spend so much energy and effort and resources on “creative rituals” to “cultivate” this sense of the transcendent aspects of reality? Because we somehow know that we are connected with this transcendent reality, this source of the absolute. Because we know that we were made or have been evolved to be connected to this absolute transcendence that lies within and above and beyond the limitations of what we can know and experience through these limited physical bodies.
“Out of such ideas and a jumble of kindred ones grew the first quasi-religious elements in human life. With every development of speech it became possible to intensify and develop the tradition of tabus and restraints and ceremonies. There is not a savage or barbaric race to-day that is not held in such a netContinue reading “The Third Way, 46: Saviours and Salvation, 2 – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”
The current Climate Apocalypse, or any other immediate global crisis (e.g., Terrorism, drug plagues, AIDS, etc.) crying out for radical resolution aside, we as a species, and as individuals dependent for survival on our Planet’s hospitality, remain in the identical position of all generations since Nimrod (a real historical figure, by the way) promised the world deliverance sometime in the third millennium BCE. Over 5000 years, we have record of many promise-makers and claimants to Divine and semi-divine status offering themselves as the looked for saviours ready to make things right and save their people from their calamitous situations.
Kohelet’s wisdom has never been outdated. It stands as strong and solid today as it did when he first recited it to the cynics and skeptics of his own time. Hear him once more: “Being human starts, and ultimately ends, with knowing we have a Creator. The Creator has made us to live and care for His/Her world according to the “commands, ways, principles, manner of being” the Creator has established. “Being human” can only be achieved within these simple parameters.”
“Your faith tells you that you need not fear any god or God to whom you will give an account for the things you have done, said, and thought during your very short time on this earth. But you really do not know whether you are right or wrong. You are taking a great gamble, like staking everything, absolutely everything, on a single flip of a coin.”
Thing is, the nature of love demands a universe where evil is possible because free creatures made for love must have the freedom to choose not to love but to do evil in its stead. But to avoid blame, guilt, and responsibility we must then blame God, or deny Him/Her altogether, because we don’t want to look ourselves in the face—especially since, as we are told over and over these days, humans are not fundamentally flawed in their nature. Nevertheless, as we have just observed, in all the greatest evils inflicted on the human race throughout its history, it was other humans doing the accusing and condemning, then wielding the swords, guns, and machinery of destruction one upon another, expending incalculable energy and creative imagination to find new and better ways to pile evil upon evil and body upon body in the name of vengeance, justice, or plain old avarice, power-hunger, and blood-lust.