Monday, September 26, 2005

Christianity is an ultimately pessimistic world view.

All living hope in Christian doctrine leads to the hard stop of apocalypse, and the foundational understanding that humanity will increasingly degrade as it approaches this dark horizon. Under this cognitive shadow the visceral value of living pales, and becomes survival and preparation for what is "real": cataclysm and judgment. The hope of Christianity is not in this world but the next.

Once the predicted hard stop has been reached, judgments are made without regard to love or forgiveness; these are temporary virtues not eternal. The early Christian leader, Peter, encouraged Christians to care no more for this world than a dead person does, advocating complete abandonment of faith in any positive value in human life for faith in a positive value for death. In this light the, "Gift of Life", is a gift only in that man may prepare for judgment, using love and forgiveness to keep himself clean.

This leaves modern Christians in an awkward mental position; the better living life becomes the less it reinforces their world view, with loss, disaster and tragedy actually strengthening their position. This provides some understanding of the oft observed lens which this world view is shown through. It is natural for us to see more of those things in the environment that we wish to see, meaning we will always wish to reinforce our understanding of the world, our world view.

Christianity also relies upon a belief that each human being is born bad, infected with a sickness of failure and wrong action. Through no individual fault or action every human is automatically doomed and deserves never ending pain. This is just one of the seeds of pessimism. There are many. No amount of positive spin can fully escape the pessimistic foundation of this world view. Theologians of the modern age have worked to match the positivism of humanism, to make Christianity a positive set of beliefs but with limited effect. The main reason for this inability to progress is an unwillingness to reassess the core seeds of pessimism deeply entangled in doctrines.

Protestant fire-insurance and Catholic purgatory may be out of fashion, but their roots are still in Christian doctrine, and they still craft the lens of our world view. Yes, Christians seek the truth, the light but through what lens do they find it? We may yet have a generation of Christians who are brave enough to weed out the seeds of this negativity that corrupts their pursuit of truth. We have not yet, but we may yet. It takes individuals who care enough to find their own ford in the river, to question what they hold dear, and to risk the ugly stares of those who do not try to understand.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sick Drive of a Fevered Mind

In a world where you are expected to be constant it’s hard to revel in your change. Wishing for permanence yields sorrow, and given time, an increasing burden that everything is depreciating and slipping away. It’s a sad change in man when he begins to hold on, instead of reaching forward. John wrote a dynamic gospel, filled with love, but later in his life he wrote down his sad revelation, revealing a heart grown bitter and vengeful at a world that continued to change long after he had begun living in the past. Once you hold on, you are dragged behind. Your lungs fill with dust and your eyes cloud over. Constancy is a sick drive of a fevered mind, and leads to the wish for death, and a world view that is so dark and deadened to life that the mind makes a paradise of oblivion and a hell of every living day.

You must continually change to remain my friend.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I'll be out walking the fence line

I’m a new man; again. I’m waking up, working to understand how my predecessor lived. I ache and feel weak from birth. I could sleep for a month, if I wasn’t so anxious to get out and stretch my legs. I’m hopeful and a little hungry. I feel fresh, like a snake must feel after it sheds skin; sun warming guts through newly dried skin, crisp, tight and fresh. I wonder if an old giant of a bear remembers his summers or if he just comes out of the cave from his slumber with the whole world feeling warmly familiar and coolly new at the same time. I imagine his first deep lung filling breaths as he scans the trees and sloping ground outside his cave. His ears prick up at the sound of water and his mouth waters as he can almost taste the twisting flesh of a big fish pulled from the rushing water, ice cold. Is he the same bear as the year before or has he changed somehow during all the stillness and solitude of his winter cave? Does he remember the year before or does he just begin again, starting over with vigor, running down the slope he knows so well and cares not how. I’m still stiff with sleep, lingering in joints as a need to stretch, and in the connection of my thoughts as a need to walk the edge of my map; tasting big ideas again.