Friday, June 08, 2007

Christianity

Today, I couldn't think of anything to write about in my usual Dave Barry/Erma Bombeck style, so I'm going to offer some views on (gasp!) Christianity.

I just read where a large Presbyterian church in Pennsylvania has split because they couldn't agree on the role of the Trinity and the inerrancy of the Biblical scriptures.

That's pretty pompous if you ask me.

Having gone to grad school in theology and philosophy for longer than I care to remember, I've got a lot of studies under my belt along these lines. I'm not an expert by any means, but I can at least claim to be educated in this area.

I first attended the University of Dallas, a private Roman Catholic institution that had an extremely conservative slant on their studies. Opus Dei was very influential and they'd have these clandestine Latin Masses quite frequently. As far as the theology faculty at U.D. was concerned, Vatican II was just a vicious rumor.

At the University of Dallas, the Bible was the inspired word of God.

Then I did most of my studies at St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto. Very progressive as all things Canadian tend to be.

At the University of Toronto, the Bible was a record of human inspiration.

I had a Jesuit professor in Toronto who taught New Testament studies. I had him for a course on the Gospel of Matthew. Regarding if what was recorded in the gospels was really what Jesus said, he'd simply say, "When you get to heaven, ask him."

I like that.

Now, having completed all these studies, I no longer adhere to Christianity the way I used to. It's changed. It's deepened in some ways because it's been challenged.

The new Christian right wing, Bush included, has made much of Christianity repugnant to me and that's kind of sad. I don't view them as Christians, but rather, Christianists.

Having studied so much theology and philosophy, I realize that there's so much we don't know about the Creator, the Un-caused Cause, if you will. I think it's pretty arrogant to make such claims as the Trinity or whether the Bible is inerrant. I certainly don't pray to God for this and that. I don't know if God intervenes in our lives; I just don't.

I think that agnosticism is, actually, highly underrated.

I do believe that we humans have a supernatural ability, given from God if you will, to make use of affliction. My favorite philosopher, Simone Weil, says it best:
"The beauty in Christianity lies not in the fact that it provides a supernatural remedy for suffering, but a supernatural use of it."

Now, I'll go along with that.
I guess you could say I'm a Christian Agnostic.

I think a lot of the "Christianists" could certainly benefit by a healthy dose of agnosticism.



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3 Comments:

At 10:22 AM , Blogger Lorraine said...

I was "underground" about being a Christian for a long time thanks to the religious right. Then I realized that their misrepresentations didn't define me and if I had to explain myself, I would. That said, "Christianist" is an excellent word and one that should start being used immediately.

It's one thing to believe. It's another to force it down someone else's laws.

 
At 2:40 PM , Anonymous the neighbor said...

I think the term should be "Christianistas" - Christian terrorists (OK that might be a bit strong) trying by any means to make people think like them.

The sermon at mass this week included a reference to the 4th Lateran council, sometime in the 12th or 13th century, wherein one of the mucky-mucks said something like - we should agree that we know much less about God and his nature than we think we do. I thought that was pretty smart for a mucky-muck.

 
At 11:14 AM , Anonymous Bro said...

There are only two possible explanations to all the ambiguity surrounding God and verity in all the different religions. Either he does not want us to know...or we are not capable of understanding.

 

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