May 5, 2008
The practical goal of Jesus and Paul, how to get people to believe Jesus enough to be willing to try again. They had to believe that this goal was attainable. For example they had to believe that a means would be made for their sins to be paid for so that they could at least start clean, and they had to believe that the goal was worth the cost, namely that they would succeed in becoming like Jesus, their older brother.
What is the gain of the Christian? It is a dynamic. In the beginning it is the fear of missing out on some benefit, thus very selfish, and at the end (perhaps even beyond death) giving out of love on the first impulse (instead of the present second). It is called a transformation, and indicates that a new driver is in control of the human being and the benefit is already possessed, at least by serious intention and striving, namely the disposition of love first and only then personal gain. Paul attests to this fact in himself, by virtue of his own transformation.
Experience suggests (but cannot prove) that people come to be more giving in time, i.e., that this oftentimes happens. This is consistent with the thesis of Paul, i.e., that Christ is working on us in our condition to make us more like him, i.e., that we are becoming more sensitive to the call of universal love.
So how do you go about getting people to change their ways? How do you get them started? In the very first place you have to show them that they are on the wrong way. A lot of prophets are calling out about this and there is diversity of opinion. So how do you show them the correct way, if any, among the many choices? Well, letâ€™s ask reason itself.
It is reasonable to assert that the necessary consequence of the moral law (which cannot be denied while remaining a human) is virtue and commensurate happiness. That is all that could possibly make the moral law to be meaningful to a human. This requires a longer life span and a God to set things right. Otherwise there can be no moral law, but only an illness to be so affected by an arbitrary idea. Then the moral law becomes the illusion and laughed about like the Orchs did in The Ring.
And so then there is a signal provided for any recognition of any sign of this divinity that we can ever expect (by virtue of the fact that it is only in this way, this moral way, that God can be postulated, for he cannot be proven), namely it will be moral, at least in the core of the communication.
And so even a 6.5 atheist will have to admit the necessity of God and postulate him, or else publicly renounce the moral law as inane and stupid, and ascribe it all to a romantic bent of the human. And something only the stupid would do.
But they can also quickly note that the basis of every â€œtrue religionâ€ is the moral alone, and nothing else. Bowing down is demeaning to God as though he could be pleased by inane signs of submission.
The Christian has a strong claim to being such an â€œidealâ€ for that church is the American Episcopalian Church which is a reclaim of the New Testament church, the one filled with the gentiles. They provide a vehicle for a common imagery for a joint effort toward providing the sort of world that Jesus himself would be comfortable with, and that would be one with lots of the poor who are beginning comforted. Here creed and history become imagery to encompass the doubting but kindred spirit, and to join them in a common expression with saints of the past.
And so then ideally we would search for the â€œtrue churchâ€ in and amongst the existing denominations, and expect to find it most closely is some over others, but to some extent also in all.
In a word (and I almost forgot), the Christian is born out of self interest, but comes to have that self interest converted into a common interest (where the individual is an equal to all). He starts off selfishly but ends up (via projection) as selfless and sharing, giving without counting. Therefore he enters in pursuit of gain and ends up giving up that gain and in so doing gaining all in return, i.e., a loving make up. Thus he does good for the sake of the common good and not for personal gain.
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