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  I accept it, however, as a historical document.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.

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

3 Comments »

  1. Hello,
    I believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible. But I question things too. I am way over 40 years of age, and am still trying to find a church that is NOT controlling.I instead have chosen to watch preachers on tv and glean what good info I can from TD Jakes and others.I don’t trust church leadership anymore. P:From the time I was a tween I have explored churches, and have always been disappointed with the denominational stances (not unlike political rivalries). The most recent exploration was into the Reformed Presbyterian Church for a number of years. I know from experience that church leadership/& the body can hide their true colors. FINALLY, one of the preachers of the aforementioned denomination showed his true colors at Sunday School. He presented a slide show that exaggerated & condemned the practices of a whole bunch of other denominations & preachers.I got so angry I stood up and yelled, “That’s a Lie !” I left the church very angry, and the other pastor tried to stop me from leaving.I left the place and never went back. Weeks later I came across one of the pastor’s wives at a Acme. She asked me about my absence from church.I told her I wasn’t coming back and her response was, “GOOD!” God help you if you don’t agree with church leadership. P: I couldn’t persuade my only daughter to leave this particular church. I discovered that the pastor of this church was trying to get my daughter(she’s in her EARLY 20’s)involved with and married to a man over 10 years older than herself. I was outraged,and discussed the matter with my husband. We both agreed no way.I called the pastor and told him the same.The pastor told me it was none of my business. The rest of us here left the church. My daughter still attends this church and plans to be wedded in it. And a number of these church folks are rude to me and taunt me with my daughter (~”we have her…ha ha…and you don’t!!” type of attitude… and even similar actual words).
    Sorry for the lack of paragraphs as I don’t know how much room I actually have to type in.
    Yes it is true that Christians have some inflexible beliefs (usually personal convictions anyway)…but I find some of the controlling attitudes repulsive. Ok, I will do my best to remember the counsel of the Bible, and a lot of the Bible does help keep people out of hot water…but the monstrous mentalities that interfere with people’s individual callings, their choice of mate, or the liberty of conscience needs to be dealt with. Why should I obey a leader if my conscience tells me that leader is out of line ? I also have the right to disengage or leave a church without further comment or condemnation from the church leadership or the peanut gallery. I am not going to embrace the church mentalities of the dark ages all over again.

    Comment by Rhoda Bryan | December 14, 2008 | Reply

  2. Well,I thank you for reading my site, and I hope you find some good things here. I wish I could tell you what is up with the church. I have friends who love every minute they spend with fellow believers. I’m glad it makes them happy, but it never did for me. Feel free to keep reading, and to comment.

    Comment by truthwalker | December 15, 2008 | Reply

  3. Truthwalker,

    Christianity has a history that supports your claim in this blog that acting out the Christian world view can lead to a life that benefits others or a life that desires to legislate and kill anyone who does not conform to it’s standards. This is very unfortunate, yet it is something that requires some thought. It cannot be ignored because this same behavior is not only a part of history, it is happening today. When I read this my off the cuff thought, (take it simply for that as I may be wrong and repent upon thinking about this some more), is that those who try to legislate Christianity for corporate blessing miss the point. They mean well, often they are the most well intentioned people. Unfortunately that doesn’t keep them from doing stupid things. Christianity is to build community, unity, and love. If it fails to do this, we can conclude two things. It doesn’t work and is untrue or those who try to live it out miss the point. Looking at history much harm has been done in the name of Christianity. Even in my own life I have experiences significant harm from Christianity. This is not acceptable. My personal conclusion is I was taught by some people, who meant well, but didn’t get it.

    I know you don’t agree with this conclusion as your final paragraph explains. I would say that your conclusion may fall short because your initial question of how to evaluate a world view must do is much to narrow.

    I appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts on this subject and clarify your own world view. Very few people give this much thought to their belief system.

    Comment by Josh | December 18, 2008 | Reply


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