Maybe those Christians aren’t as nutty as some think?

Warning!: SERIOUSLY heavy thinking needed. Proceed at your own risk!

Let those who say that the teaching of Christ is hurtful to the State produce such armies as the maxims of Jesus have enjoined soldiers to bring into being; such governors of provinces; such husbands and wives; such parents and children; such masters and servants; such kings; such judges, and such payers and collectors of tribute, as the Christian teaching instructs them to become, and then let them dare to say that such teaching is hurtful to the State. Nay, rather will they hesitate to own that this discipline, if duly acted up to, is the very mainstay of the commonwealth. (St Augustine of Hippo. Epist. 138 ad Marcellinum).

( IF duly acted UP to – there’s the rub!)

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Hence, lest concord be broken by rash charges, let this be understood by all, that the integrity of Catholic faith cannot be reconciled with opinions verging on naturalism or rationalism, the essence of which is utterly to do away with Christian institutions and to install in society the supremacy of man to the exclusion of God. Further, it is unlawful to follow one line of conduct in private life and another in public, respecting privately the authority of the Church, but publicly rejecting it; for this would amount to joining together good and evil, and to putting man in conflict with himself; whereas he ought always to be consistent, and never in the least point nor in any condition of life to swerve from Christian virtue.

But in matters merely political, as, for instance, the best form of government, and this or that system of administration, a difference of opinion is lawful. Those, therefore, whose piety is in other respects known, and whose minds are ready to accept in all obedience the decrees of the apostolic see, cannot in justice be accounted as bad men because they disagree as to subjects We have mentioned; and still graver wrong will be done them, if — as We have more than once perceived with regret — they are accused of violating, or of wavering in, the Catholic faith.

Let this be well borne in mind by all who are in the habit of publishing their opinions, and above all by journalists. In the endeavor to secure interests of the highest order there is no room for intestine strife or party rivalries; since all should aim with one mind and purpose to make safe that which is the common object of all — the maintenance of religion and of the State. If, therefore, they have hitherto been dissensions, let them henceforth be gladly buried in oblivion. If rash or injurious acts have been committed, whoever may have been at fault, let mutual charity make amends, and let the past be redeemed by a special submission of all to the apostolic see. In this way Catholics will attain two most excellent results: they will become helpers to the Church in preserving and propagating Christian wisdom, and they will confer the greatest benefit on civil society, the safety of which is exceedingly imperiled by evil teachings and bad passions. (From:IMMORTALE DEI Encyclical by Pope Leo XIII1885)

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But then, lest we get carried away and think Leo X111 might have been a most excellent intellectual and True Man of God – the most perfect (infalliable) Catholic on the planet in His days as Pope… he also gave this Gem in the same Edict.

“To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.”

Two Big problems there:

1. “…most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice.” Crap! Simply because MAN is imperfect and finite and therefore incapable of perfectly following God’s understanding and so forms countless variations of His Will (which, as i see it, is simply to unite with us as individuals in symbiosis and harmony) which man calls ‘a religion’ with various laws that are at variance with other humans who believe differently ( have a different religion/Faith) to the other groups, does not ultimately lead to the conclusion that man MUST reject all Religion in both theory and practice.

Simply because – God is Perfect and infinite (to our limited ability to understand ) and so can perform His Will over any failing of individual or ‘religion’s making.

it’s like saying that because ten different witnesses all have varying accounts of a crime that there was no crime committed because we cannot determine from each witness statement what actually happened.

All religions work towards the same goal ( prety much!?) 😉 union of us as individuals with a greater power than ourselves. Because NONE of us are exactly the same – neither can our religions be.

We do need however to select ONE WAY, one Faith, to hold dear to our Heart and do what it intends – without misunderstanding – and there is the difficulty that has bedeviled us all so far.

Our own understanding, and those of the humans who have usurped what a ‘Church’ truly is and made it into our own image, is ‘the Devil in us all.

2. Right at the very end – Leo XIII’s brain apparently gave out and ego cut in… ” and equally acceptable to God.”  Only God can tell each one of us perfectly what IS and IS not acceptable to Him. We cannot fully KNOW the Mind of God. But Leo has a whole systematic religion (Catholicism) dedicated to declaring that Leo (all Popes) are infallible and apparently are able to issue edicts on all that is acceptable to the One God.

Makes for a bit of an ego ‘trip’ at times! Hopefully this was just one of few.

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4 thoughts on “Maybe those Christians aren’t as nutty as some think?

  1. “All religions work towards the same goal ( prety much!?) union of us as individuals with a greater power than ourselves. Because NONE of us are exactly the same – neither can our religions be.”

    Great insight Love. I never thought of the differences between religions as being a product of the fact that as individuals we are all different.

    I also want “us”, mankind, to see ourselves as more than just individuals. We are collectively the human race. We do need to put aside our own individual interest when it is in the best interest of mankind. I do see that people of religious faith are better able to do this, focus on others, then I am.

    “We do need however to select ONE WAY, one Faith, to hold dear to our Heart and do what it intends – without misunderstanding – and there is the difficulty that has bedeviled us all so far.”

    I don’t believe there is any higher power (entity) than mankind.

    The one faith that I believe we need is faith in mankind, faith in our neighbors, in ourselves. Since I don’t believe in any higher power we (the human race) are all we have. I can understand that when we read our history books, or look at the news headlines, we can come to believe that mankind is not capable of working together to overcome problems like war and poverty. Problems that will lead to our extinction. I see enough evidence that we are building a better world, however slowly, to not give up on the human race.

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  2. Thank You Ed, 🙂

    Please sir – do not limit yourself so…

    No ‘Higher Power’?? surely you cannot believe that Humans created themselves or that they must obey laws of natural Demand and making?

    Man simply DIS-covered the Law of Gravity (several of them, in fact, since Newton’s were not ALL there are or that apply to our planet – to us.) Man did not CREATE the Law of Gravity… this is just one simple example – man is subject to far higher Authority on this planet than His Own 🙂

    Man might SEEM to have sovereignty over his own kind – but this is illusion and pride – result of our Ego – man needs something (and it exists – have no doubt) to keep that in ‘check’ 🙂

    Man can make civic laws to curb his excesses, but there is definitely a higher Authority over us we do well to acknowledge and honour, lest it destroy us all.

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  3. Love, you are right of course that we humans are subject to the same dynamic rules/laws that govern the interaction/reactions of all the organisms in the Universe. I don’t think of these laws as coming from a “higher” power. I can’t think a single word to best describe this process, I know people of religious faith call it God, and think of it as an entity. The best description I can think of is “forces of nature”.

    We are but one organism that inhabits the planet earth. If we have a unique feature, something that separates us from all the other organism, it’s that part of our brain called the cerebral cortex. This gives us the capability to understand, and manipulate our environment, to a degree that other organism on earth can. Our ability to conceptualize what we call “morals” is a product this capability our cerebral cortex gives us.

    My cerebral cortex gives me the ability to feel love for every other organism on our plant. I am in awe at the beauty in the dynamics of how the Universe works. I want to understand it better, at least as well as I am able. I use the process called science to do this.

    From my perspective, “those nutty Christian”, to steal from the title of your post 🙂 ,believe it is an entity they call God that controls(?) the Universe. They use religious studies to understand God’s guidance better. They interact with this God through prayer.

    Some people use both the process of science to understand the world better, and God’s guidance of God to know how to act in a moral manner and to prepare themselves for what they believe will be their life after death.

    There have been inspirational leaders among us humans, Buddha and Jesus are two. If we follow their example, their teachings, we can learn how best to work together to make the world a better place, a more moral way of life. I do not believe that Buddha or Jesus are themselves a “higher power”. They were better at understanding the best way to live life. I do aspire to follow their example.

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  4. Well said Ed 🙂

    I’m not sure how well you understand this about me – but i very much feel and think along similar lines to what you wrote in your comment there.

    For me i am uncomfortable with much of what i think ‘other’ people see and ‘understand’ about God – it makes me a little uncomfortable to make God have a ‘personality and to think of Him as this benign or Vindictive ‘jealous’ being as many adherents of religion are taught.

    That was one of the things that turned me off religion in my youth – why i was an adherent of the Scientific method for many years as containing the ‘Truth’ about the Universe and how we were ‘formed’.

    But as i grew older i increasingly saw the flaws inherent in Science as my ‘religion’ and saw the ‘logic’ and reason behind human Faith in – for want of a better word – God.

    Yes – there are ‘forces’ in the Universe, and specific also to this planet, that we humans are subject to and our scientists do their very best to comprehend and try to explain in reasonable and rational terms that do not make the world they depend upon fall apart – and they conveniently ‘gloss over’ their tenets of faith they rely upon to do all this within the confines of (Axiomatic Truths that are unable to be proven; hypotheses that can only ever be disproven but can never be proven to be perfectly true, as some mathematical truths can be, but which have to be taken upon Faith – Just as religion requires of it’s followers.

    To me it is not a big or unreasonable stretch of our individual imaginations and world view to allow for those forces to be, not so much created and controlled by God, as being a part of all that IS ‘God’ – and so be owed some ‘reverence’ from us since we are powerless to work against them or change them to our will.

    It is this form of respect that science often seems to bypass in it’s considerations. I feel that is to our disadvantage.

    You gave two very good examples of mankind as being good examples for us to follow – i chose one of them personally to better help my understanding of my own spiritual nature – which science has never come close to explaining in any true sense – certainly not to my satisfaction. I am not saying Jesus is the only example we can learn from as humans – just that for myself – i know of no better one and have found (like Pontius Pilate) – Nothing but Good in Him.

    Some of His Followers have indeed made errors of judgement – serious ones – but i do not see that as being His Fault any more than i blame Einstein or Rutherford for the disasters of Three-mile Island and Chernobyl Or Alessandro Volta for the Union Carbide disaster at Bhopal.

    Jesus firmly believed in God as his Father/Creator (some scientists today call Galileo Galilei the Father of Modern Science) Since i uphold the many sayings attributed to Him in the Bible i am inclined to give greater weight to what He understood as the role God plays in our own world and lives.

    By adopting a more open mind on the subject it has produced many qualitative benefits to my life and allows me greater intellectual freedom than the incomplete imperfect limits Science imposes on our thought and being.

    if you will excuse me for ending on a slight ‘negative’:

    You said our cerebral cortex separates us from other animals. It may be semantics but it is an important distinction i believe… The Cortex does not separate us from anything (everything, God) – nothing can ever do that (as hard as science attempts to believe otherwise for the purpose of ‘experiment’), it merely distinguishes us in one minor characteristic from other animals and life forms.

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