I was reading over on Elizaphanian a post by Rev Sam.
The post is entitled Muscles, metaphors, mysteries: on the grokking of God
In the post Sam is claiming that
Religious language is always on the boundary, on the cutting edge, always provisional and open to change.
He offers the idea that language that is well defined, with concrete meaning, is insufficient to discuss the topics of faith. The words/phrases will have lost a poetic and/or metaphorical quality and the ideas of faith are beyond the scope of such concrete terms. That may not be exactly Sam’s point. I invite you to visit the article yourself and draw your own conclusions. Now personally, this strikes me a cop out. For any topic I choose I can claim that the words and language to fully describe it, as I understand it, do not exist. What I am really saying is that either I don’t know how to describe what I’m thinking or, more likely I think, I don’t know exactly what it is that I think.
Religious concepts such as the Jesus being both man and God at the same time are just plain old. They are ideas which originate in a time when the average Joe would marvel at this sort of mystery and not really dissect it in the modern, post enlightenment, way.
An entity cannot be divine and human (human being a state of non-divinity) at the same time. It is similar to suggesting that a bacterium was both bacteria and human at the same time. Now you can waffle till you drop about the bacteria having aspects of humanity and bacterium at the same time or it sharing the bacteria and human nature in one form. It still doesn’t make any sense. If a bacterium has any of the defining characteristics of a human it is no longer, in any meaningful sense, a bacterium. I think humans and bacteria have much more in common than a human would with an entity so powerful that it could literally speak the universe into existence. I think this particular inanity was invented because the Christians wanted it both ways. They wanted Jesus to be an average Joe, a guy like you and me, someone you could relate to. He was just a frail ole human who managed to overcome the human condition and be something more. On the other hand, if Jesus was just a man, why should we pay him any mind? Maybe his way was not necessarily the right way. To eliminate any possible authority debate, make him GOD. It may be a wild contradiction but lets face it, they were already on fairly shaky ground with that whole sacrifice for our sins thing.
This has to be the crowning achievement of Christianity. Making you feel indebted to some guy who apparently did you a favor two thousand years before you were born. He got you off the hook for a crime you had no part in. You now won’t be punished by the most merciful and forgiving God for something you didn’t do because his pettiness has been satisfied by the torturous death of his own son.
Sam might suggest, and I can’t say I’d blame him, that I am misrepresenting the events. That may be so, but I would like any such error explained. My fear is that any such explanation would be unintelligible. Flowery language would once again come to the fore to muddy the waters and obfuscate meaning.
Some questions I would love to get a straight answer to from those of the Faith. Now I do mean a straight answer, not waffle or undecipherable gibberish. I’m sure I could have an argument with the leading authority on Quantum Mechanics about the uncertainty principle and never have to admit defeat by simply employing more and more obscure phrasing.
Does God want (demand?) our worship? If so, why? Is it Ego?
Is God schizophrenic? One side of him offers peace and love and forgiveness and mercy. The other, torment and eternal damnation.
Is this a fair summation of the Christian position? God loves you. Love him back or burn forever. If not, what am I misunderstanding?
These might seem like flippant questions but I think they are valid and warranted by the confused incompatibility of the Old Testament with the new.
If you reject or at least interpret the old testament as metaphorical then a whole new set of obvious questions pop up.
Who are you to decide where God is being literal and where he is being metaphorical? The Bible say it is the word of God, so why doubt that particular?
Why would God leave so much room for doubt and misinterpretation?
We have to assume that God knew that his vagueness would cause harm and misunderstanding. God knows everything. So we can only conclude that God did this on purpose. Why would God do such a thing?
What sin was Jesus dying for if original sin is removed from the equation?
On an aside, what was the point in creating dinosaurs if they were all just going to be wiped out anyway?