“I consider religion taints everything it touches. You write ”God Jesus soft hands”n.. a rather pithy epithet for the offspring of a make-beleive genocidal monster, don’t you think?
If you consider kindness number one, great. Can’t fault that I guess. But you don’t need any gods to be kind and certainly not the make beleive smelly little eschatological Jewish rabbi that you seem to have conjured up some fairy tale image of. If you are a Christian … or at least are convinced you are, then why do you struggle to acknowledge the most basic principle of Christianity: That the character, Jesus of Nazareth is claimed to have risen from the dead? Are you embarrassed or ashamed to answer whether you believe this to be true?”
The conversation continues.
You seem to need to label me much more than I ever do. Am I a Christian? I see those who call themselves that who consider me not a Christian. Some consider me to be “teetering on the edge”. I am happy to be called a Christian if you need me to be that. My own preference is not to have a label of others. I find – as here – they get in the way.
It may well be that is why you see my caution as embarrassment or shame. It is simply because you seem stuck in needing me to be in one box or another. My reading of the Old and New Testament is of a character named God Jesus whom the surrounding characters also needed to label. I am not sure how ticking your boxes gives you any understanding of me as more than your label.
Which leads me to your “offspring of a make-believe genocidal maniac“. Has nothing of the many words making up this conversation penetrated yet? You think the bible is not an accurate factual history book. So do I. You think the bible has an agenda? I have already said so do I. You think religion taints everything it touches? I have already said I agree it can and has, but have added that inhumanity is not the exclusive domain of “religion”.
And there are days when, having been born and raised in a Christian country, of Christian parents, with a Christian bible and church, it is hard for me to change the stories and culture given to me as a child. There is a comfort in coming to know this “fictitious character” as a real companion in the one world of physical and spirit. It is an easy attachment – the name, the structure, the framework – to something now grown far beyond that. More and more it is not enough. Yet I see many many “Christians” who need the certainty of those labels. Many “Atheists” need the same certainty. Is your or my current milepost of our life’s journey the final conclusion?
I know mine is not because the journey is not a means to an end, it is my life and living and loving. You are part of that journey. Why should I fear you changing the course of my journey unless … ? I don’t fear. I have no need of fear. I have something stronger. I have love which is kindness. And connections. Connections which may be random or destined. So why should I fear connections if I am kind? Love and kindness and connections. They are stronger than death. And there is much poetry and imagery in that sentence.
“That the character, Jesus of Nazareth is claimed to have risen from the dead? Are you embarrassed or ashamed to answer whether you believe this to be true?”
Certainty and having control is something which crosses faith, religion, country and culture. I have less and less need for that. So there are days that I know my “pithy epithet” rose from the dead. And days I don’t know. Because that “knowing” was initiated by a bible I was taught. But is now a personal and living relationship. And “love that is greater than death” describes it much better for me than a “literal bible”. Much like a match “initiates” a fire but is not the fire, so too the bible as I was taught and my God Soft Hands Jesus as we are today. What is pithy to you is simply intimacy to me.
So when you need the certainty of either or … I don’t. And that is not being dishonest. Nor evasive. Nor embarrassed or ashamed. Because it is not religion either. And you desire only a relationship with religion as far as I can tell. I don’t. Religion is (for me) not a living being. Religion is a creation of man with all the need for certainty and control so frequently read into and taught from.
And when, for me, I stopped at religion … There was neither point nor purpose.
But journey beyond “religion” … accept the bible was of a time, place and agenda of certainty and control, of faith-based-belief and religion … then try and write that journey beyond just “that” in words … read by some who stopped at religion … who never desired to travel beyond … who still need labels …
And that may describe why you seek to drag me back to “religion” each time – even though you and I see “religion” in very much the same way. And may be why those Christians who would have given you a resounding “yes I believe” are not me. And that is why I ask of you kindness. Not because I am a delicate wallflower, but because understanding (if you truly seek it here) comes through kindness.