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To a Christian, everything revolves around Christ's divinity.

To a Catholic, this might very well be true. I saw that while walking the Camino in Spain, at least one church had a statue of the Virgin Mary that was bigger than the statue of Christ. There, perhaps, everything might instead revolve around the Virgin Mary's divinity - but I digress...

Christianity has been called a series of separate religions; each based on the same book. While I am not a Christian, I am a member of a Christian church. It just plain is not true that for a Christian, everything revolves around Christ's divinity.

In the roughly 15 years I have been attending church I can not remember ever hearing any ministry on the divinity of Christ. I do know that there is no unity on such a topic, and that no one feels any need to have unity on such a topic. It just is not considered important - like heaven or hell - two other issues that have gone almost completely unmentioned. I recently attended a national business meeting. One of the purposes was to see just how a Jewish atheist would fit in. No problem. It was very similar to our local church. There were definitely Christ centred people there, but the divinity of Christ was not important to the functioning of the group as a whole. "Converting" people is not considered God's work at this time in Canada - though it was considered God's work in the past. (Well sort of - as conversion has perhaps never been a requirement for membership).

As for what do other Christians think of us - our parent body is a member of the World Council of Churches. (Admittedly we are so small that if we ever left we would be unable to re-join.)

To our church, everything revolves around doing God's work. There may be differences of opinion on what is God - or even the existence of God - let alone the divinity of Christ - but there is little disagreement on what is God's work. From the perspective of my church - are we to quibble over the nature of God and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin while there are people who are hungry, who do not have shelter, or are imprisoned?

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sun Apr 1st, 2007 at 07:52:11 PM EST
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Thank you for your helpful remarks. I am glad that someone has finally mentioned the importance of doing God's work. It is also part of my "Gnostic" interpretation of Christianity that the kingdom of heaven is all around us (or, more accurately in these days, can and should be), so that we should realize God's plan in the here and now, as opposed to waiting for it to be realized in a beyond.

You note that "Christianity has been called a series of separate religions." That rings true to me. For instance, Christian fundamentalism, with its dispensational premillenialism and its emphasizing of the Old Testament over the New, seems like a separate religion to me. I suppose that I showed hubris by in effect speaking for all of Christianity. But doesn't the Pope do the same? And in the Protestant tradition (which I was not raised in; I was raised Russian Orthodox), does not everyone have the role of the Pope?

I understand that I have a particular interpretation of the Bible/Christianity, which is Hegel's. (By the way, I noted in another post that I do not think that Christian fundamentalists think much about Christ's divinity.) I am an atheist, but tradition is important to me. Thus, if in our modern age one can demonstrate that, given all we know, Christianity can be given a rational interpretation, I believe that should be done. I believe that is a better approach for liberals and secular humanists to take than treating religion as ignorance and superstition, thus ceding it to the fundamentalists.

Why Hegel believed that the divinity of Christ is the truth of Christianity is that according to Hegel, the idea of God is just a projection of ourselves, taken as a community with a shared morality. Once you get a religion that claims that God became a man, you are halfway to the complete truth, which is that we are all divine, that is, it is we who are the source of fundamental values and meaning.

The usual approach of agnostics or atheists who wish to belong to a church is to say to themselves that they are non-believers. That is an unsatisfactory solution for me. I believe that it is better to redefine what it is that should be believed. I believe that the interpretation of Christianity I have been presenting is completely consistent with Christ's real teaching, while requiring us to believe nothing that is not recognized by natural science. (It does require believing that people have consciousness, something that was denied by American psychology until recently.)

Christian fundamentalists accuse liberals of "not believing in anything". And indeed, when it comes to religion, liberals do have to say that religion is a personal matter, in other words, there is no objective truth. But fundamentalists do think that there is objective truth, even when it comes to religion. This puts liberals at a severe disadvantage. The religious position I am advocating can claim, with good justification I think, that it is objectively true.

There is popular interest in the line of thought I have been advocating, the best example being perhaps Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine Pagels (2003).

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Mon Apr 2nd, 2007 at 12:15:02 AM EST
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