Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Imagine...It Isn't Hard to Do.

I guess it all boils down to this:  I would like to remain a Christian, but without believing (or disbelieving) in an unverifiable and, hence, irrelevant God.  Certainly not in any god as defined (and confined) by the dogmas, mythologies and creeds of established, institutionalized churches.  Out with dogma!  Fie on't! It's all made up stuff, like Fox "News."  No one can know, yea or nay, about the veracity of  90% of the gobbledygook in official catechisms.  So why don't we just junk it?

Remember the old saw attributed to Einstein:  "education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school"?  Couldn't we say something similar about Christianity?  That it is what remains after we have dumped all the exclusiveness and divisiveness of the catechism?

Well, what remains?  Celebration, sacraments (stripped of silly definitions and exclusive claims), connection with other people and with other life, love of all that is--ritual (but real) support for a journey beyond the self and selfishness.

God--because of his rules, his anger, his arbitrariness, his transcendence-- is clearly an impediment to this journey.  But "Christ"--at least the mystery hero probably invented (or borrowed) by the early church--might be very useful, provided we ditch the dogma that has grown up around him.  Divine? Part of the godhead?  Pre-existing?  Oh, it's just tiresome and needless twaddle.  But Jesus as an ideal man:  the model of what it means to be fully and worthily and joyfully HUMAN?  Yes.

That, to my mind, is Christianity without God.  Agnostic Christianity.

Perhaps this thinking is what accounts for the distaste, indeed the repugnance I feel for priests, imams and holy men/women who are so fond of "explaining" that which cannot be explained.  And who simultaneously assert the superiority of THEIR inexplicable dogmas over those of neighboring religions.

Such dogmatism inevitably leads to (or results from) tribalism.  And tribalism is institutionalized hatred.  You cannot love the sinner and hate the sin:  rather, you must simply écraser hate altogether.  Hate is truly the infamous thing!

Dang, wouldn't it be nice if ALL religions could simply dump their silly GODS and dogmas and retain only the ritual/ceremonial support systems they have developed--the practices that help individuals grow in love and acceptance of themselves and others.  We could have all kinds of worthy "agnostic" religions.

Had he lived, John Lennon would have been 70 this month.  As I conclude this rather odd blog advocating godless religions, I hear the lyrics to  ''Imagine" running plaintively through my mind:  no, it isn't hard to imagine a world without heaven, without hell.

What IS hard, for a rational, aspiring-to-be human being, is to imagine a world WITH heaven or hell. It's Heironymos Bosch, stuff.  Fox News stuff.  So let's just throw out these nightmares and start working toward realizing Lennon's dream of "sharing all the world."

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