Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Competing worldviews within the Church.

It’s Sunday, and I would rather hang out with my family that edit this blog.  So here it is is first draft glory.

My sister noticed a few blogs ago that I had repented of my vicious anti-Christian stance, but felt that I had not articulated it clearly enough.  She wanted me to expound on the theory a bit.  I’m not going to delete any blogs I’ve already done about Christianity and the church.  There’s two kinds of truth in the world.  Objective truth, and subjective truth.  Objective truth is truth that conforms to tangible, anybody-can-see-it reality.  Subjective truth is truth that conforms to intangible reality.  Emotions are intangible truth.  They are real, but not the same kind of real as the sun or the earth. My emotions about christianity and the church are real.  They are the true statement of how I fell, and conform to the reality of my mind, but they don’t nessisarily conform to objective reality.

So, for her and anyone else who might be interested I clarify my position.  I don’t believe that the Bible is the perfect, inspired, word of God.  I see nothing in the Bible that offers any evidnece that it is anything but collection of myths and stories.   As such, I reject the Bible as a scientific document.  I accept it, however, as a historical document.  Even if nothing the Bible said was true it would still be incredibly important because so many people believe it is true.  What people believe is reality is usually more important than reality itself, but, in fact, a lot of the Bible is true.

There really was a nation of Israel, it really had the Kings described, they died when it says they died.  Much of the moral advice is good too.  The ten commandmants offer sound words to live by.  Not murdering, not stealing, not fantasizing about your neighbors wife, and not fantasizing about having all your neighbors’ stuff are all great ideas.  Jesus’s teachings are almost all centered around the idea of treating people the way you want to be treated, regardless of tradition, which is a fantastic teaching.

The test of a worldview is does it do good to the believer and to those the believer associates with.  A wonderful worldview can be created from the above teachings.  Following those ideals will lead one away from social and legal trouble.  However, to create that worldview, one must believe that certain teaching are more important than others.  If one believes that all teachings are equally important to forming the worldview, then God’s rules for the nation of Israel are still important, even if we are no longer under the impetus (due to Jesus completing the Law) to follow them.

A worldview created with the kind teachings at the expense of the cruel ones makes for a good, long, and happy life for the believer and his fellows.  This worldview  includes no “personal God”.  It is a simple ethical code followed with thoughtful self interest.  But the introducing the aspect of personal God suddenly complicates things. The question of “How should I treat my fellow man?” is replaced with the question of “What must I do to please God?”

Obedience to the rules of “don’t murder” and “don’t steal” is not remotely enough for God.  One must not obey these laws out of self interest, but out of knowledge of thier writer, or one will be just as damned as one who never obeyed them, leading one to another question: What benefit in this life is there to following the rules of God?  The answer: blessings.  At the end of this life, those who know God will go to heaven and those who do not will go to hell.  In this life, there are blessing over and above the mere protection of consequence to following God’s rules out of fear of God rather than because they are ethical rules.

The worst extreme of this worldview is, regardless of what people wish to do (since, of course, they wish to sin), there is corporate blessing available to groups (including nations) who follow God’s commands.  This is the worldview which says that since God doesn’t approve of homosexuality, making it illegal to be a homosexual would be ideal, and making homosesuals second class citizens is a good compromise.  Or, that since God doesn’t approve of abortion, making it illegal would be ideal, and making it complicated, inconvient, and expensive is good compromise.  Ultimately, this is the view that says making it illegal to be anything but a Christain would be ideal, and codifying Christian morality is a good compromise, sure to bring as much blessing as possible.

The trouble with this worldview is the idea God’s actions towards all people are controlled by those people.  The final resting place of that idea is that human beings are responsible to do God’s work.  Teen pregnancy up?  It’s because we are to soft on homosexuals.   That logic leads to murder eventually.  Even if you believe in God, any person who claims to act for him is a danger to himself and others.

So here are two worldviews on opposite ends of the spectrum.  One concerns itself with question “How should I treat others?” and answers it “The way I wish to be treated.”  The other asks “How do I please God?” and answers it “By acting out his heart upon others”.   They can lead to the exact same place if one believes that God’s heart is to treat others the way I want to be treated.  Or murder and misery if the what is on God’s heart is his hatred of sin and desire to punish sinners.

Christianity believes that the goal of man is to obey the heart of God.  Within that spectrum there is every kind of worldview, based on what the person precieves to be the heart of God.  There are Christians who are models of ethics.  There are Christians who are models of hate and extremism.

I no longer hate Christianity because when it is working right, it provides the exact same ethical framework that all ethical people believe in. It certainly provides better answers to life’s questions than nilhism. It’s OK.  Some people want to hate.  The approach Christianity to hate, and find validation.  Some people want to love, and they find in Christianity a validation of love.  Since the God of the Bible is construct of man, we find in Him whatever man needs to validate his point.

Christianity is above all, a world view.  And an OK one.  Not the worst.  Not the best.

December 14, 2008 Posted by | atheism, Politics, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Slice of life, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments