Monday, 24 March 2014

The Revisionist Struggle with Christianity

My reply is (also) below to Colin Coward's struggle with ordinary Christianity...

I agree with: “For example, ideas about the perfection of Jesus and the idealized lives of the saints can produce feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and guilt in some people.” and also “Based on Scripture the Church of England is imposing very unhealthy teaching and practice in relation to sexuality and gender. True of false?” [less so your more interpretive view]. But there is the problem. Presumably the Platonist Trinity involves the perfection of God and Jesus Christ, and that it is revisionist to the religion to argue against the perfection of Jesus as I certainly do. Francis William Newman (brother of JH) stuck his neck out against even Unitarians at the time to argue against the perfection of Jesus, and he was seen as a pure theist. Secondly, many Christians argue that the Bible contains all that is required for salvation. There are many doctrines in it, but also many prejudices and inequalities – like slavery. But whilst many dump the biblical approval of slavery, as if it is not there, or other views of marriage, they continue to point to the biblical distaste for homosexual sex. This can only be rejected, and you do so by saying science trumps biblical revelation. So it does. But the difference is in agreeing with you I don’t claim to be Christian and you do. On the other hand, you seem to think that the universe is God driven and wonderful, something based on the love of Jesus (perfection?) and I think it is quite cruel and religion is to stand against the universe and to organise where we can. Perhaps that is the difference between you as Christian and me as not, but yours is still a highly revisionist version.

For me evolution is always local and specific, a chaotic system that only becomes systemic at higher interactive levels. So there is no God element in what happens, what causes the change from below. And there is plenty of evidence for how one part eats another than it is not the product of some loving deity. And elsewhere Colin argues for this loving universe produced by the benign deity, an alternative positive Christianity. But my argument is that all forms of perfectionism are wrong and misleading. We don't have enough information on Jesus, but we can assume he made many mistakes and indeed there are clues to his mistakes, and nor is he as universally concerned as is the Paul who spread the post-death religion to more than the Jews. Jesus the messianic builder is not a source of perfectionism but Platonist Greek philosophy established long before is a source of perfectionism. That's where Christianity became muddled and it is what it is.

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