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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thoughts on Orthodoxy v. Heterodoxy v. Atheism

After reading the forum discussion on Obama’s Faith Interview, I wrote the following sentiments:

What we have here on this forum is a discussion and clash over absolute v. subjective truth. Christianity (orthodox, but not necessarily fundamentalist) has historically claimed what we see in I Corinthians 15:3-8. Now the implications of what that means theologically have been worked out through various theologians (some authentic believers and others not) for thousands of years. But orthodoxy has traditionally been found in one's belief in the exclusivity of the Gospel. Now, you can make various accusations about events in church history and choose to be skeptical; that is your right as a person.

However, it is absurd that any of you would be angry with someone for absolute beliefs in an age where any belief is permitted. People’s beliefs are based on their social conditioning; therefore it fails logic to be angry with people who have grown up with absolute beliefs. Now, there are no wrong beliefs; we have only begun to explore the dark corridor of what it means to be human; the infusion of power and control we have over our lives and the destinies of others. Nothing is certain; everything is perhaps permissible. You can argue societal ethics all you want, but at the end of the day, society is as fickle as a politician.

Can you blame people for wanting certainty in a world where suddenly no certainty exists? When all is chaos and without meaning, except by the meaning we give it, why then do you begrudge those who have decided to find meaning in absolute truth? Can we say that Muslims who turn to violent jihad are unjustified in their faith in eternal paradise if they endure pain for only a second? Does life not bring enough pain in of itself to make the act worth giving everything for? Who is to say that we should not eliminate a group of us who are lagging behind in the evolutionary cycle; maybe perhaps we need to be rid of the religious people for good...rid the world of their filth? We would have a golden utopia if all of us would just give ourselves over to the wisdom of Eastern Mysticism; harnessing the power of our "spirit" inside of us to attain peace and oneness with the natural universe. If there is no certainty; why could not any path lead to God...but is that a God worth pursuing? Shall we find love for a God who will let anyone and everyone into his presence and in his favor? Is there truly righteousness where there is not justice? Shall we all just be allowed to walk in having done what was only in our biological programming to do? Perhaps it is God who is to blame? Perhaps, we would be better off without him/her/it then...maybe we are alone.

Maybe all that matters is power; history is after all determined by the victors and not the vanquished. Shall I take what is my neighbor’s since it will give me greater dominion over him? What, how can this be wrong? There is no wrong; we have escaped the archaic notions of good and evil; we have determined that we are all there is, and our survival is more important than anything else. But it is not just about survival anymore; it’s about dominance. Love is reserved for those whom I can use to my advantage and even this I can use as a tool to dominate my fellow man. Depravity? What depravity exists, when I have become god and do whatever I please. Oh, society will stop me? Well, then I will raise up another society and my society will crush yours...then who is to tell me what is depraved? Civilization is built by those who are willing to transcend reality; they are the ones who define what is real to everyone else. What is reality but what we make it? If those who believe in absolute truth wish to assert their reality, then the only logical and I will daresay, necessary way to deal with them is extermination. They shall not ruin our chance to make "heavens and the earth" in our image and fulfill our every desire. When are we going to decide to rise up and finally fight these men and women who still live in the world of the 1st century rather than the 21st? Shall we always be under their dominion; under their hate for freedom and tolerance? Everyone is justified to believe what they wish, but at the end of the day the one with bigger weapons wins; might has always and will always define right. So, stop arguing with these fanatics and destroy them once and for all...our world is at stake. I do not blame them for their beliefs; but at the end of the day they stand in the way of our future...and they will be punished for it.

Or maybe that is all wrong; maybe there is something to what these people are saying. Maybe there is a reason they believe that Jesus Christ is the only way; maybe he is the only one who can really save us. Maybe there is something to the belief of this sect of Judaism, that claims Jesus Christ is alive. That the only way to be reunited and reconciled to God is through him; that all other religions point in half truth/half error at something that was lost after the Fall; after we made the choice to pursue freedom without love. Perhaps the Creation is paying a heavy price for the sin of ape-related creatures God decided to place his image upon. Maybe God has been trying to communicate to us throughout the years since that time but all that we have been able to hear is static, because we are broken. God knew this, so he orchestrated everything so that he could come down and tell us himself; in the form of Jesus Christ. Maybe this same Christ lived the sinless; love enraptured existence completely connected to God that our ancestors failed to do. This allowed him, the God-man, to take the responsibility for the freedom he gave us and pay the necessary price to redeem us from our disgusting state. What if God, actually turned his wrath, his gun, upon himself; so that anyone who would believe in him; would be restored both here and when the world is renewed. What if he did rise from the dead; as the martyrs went to their graves testifying, some dying as grizzly a death as being fed to lions for sport? They still die today, all around the blackened, rebellious earth...

You see it really does come down to belief. It comes down to what or rather who you put your trust in. An empiricist will have great difficulty accepting any religious belief whatsoever. A skeptic and an inclusive will always have a hard time finding truth amongst so many viable options. But has that really changed from the 1st century? Were there not options then too? Were they not debating the same things? Have we really progressed as much as our pride would have us to believe? Is orthodoxy absurd? Yes, or course it is! But so is pluralism; so is atheism; so is just about any idea or vision that has ever lighted up the human eyes. At the end of the day it’s not about evidence; because there are valiant apologists on all sides. It isn't really about dominance either because all groups have had their share violence done to them. At the end of the day, what it is really is about is faith and believe; it is a choice based on conviction. It is what one perceives as true. Could I be wrong? Yes, we all could be wrong. Is that any reason to refuse to stand for orthodoxy or heterodoxy if we so choose? Is God happy with our lukewarmness...would he not rather we believe or go home?

Tolerance is wonderful; if we have the humility to listen to the intolerant. Tolerance benefits a society as long as we forgo our judgments about one another; because we are all human and if I am correct, made in the image of God. Tolerance turns ugly when we are allowed to hold nothing tightly from the idea that somehow this keeps us from being absurd. We will always be absurd; we will always have ideas and visions that are not right. Be courageous and be willing to look for truth wherever it is found; continue to talk and continue to disagree. Else our society, the great Enlightenment experiment, will fail and might/the majority will make right.


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