Sunday, July 2, 2017

Hal's Sunday Rant

Someone declared in the late nineteenth century that Christians “are dying of complacency and insipidity, of vulgarized and minimized truths, of a religion reduced to our standards.”  This declaration still rings true.  In fact, the decay has become more pronounced, particularly with the rise of what some erroneously label as Protestant Evangelical Christians.   Some call it Fundamentalism—“a group that upholds belief in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture.” 

These alleged Christians have no interest in searching for truth because they believe they have already gotten hold of it. They ignore science, seeing it as an enemy of the faith.  They have chosen to make the Bible (biblioidolatry) their god without any serious study of its contents.  “If it is written in the book, it is so,” they say, but they only subscribe to parts of the book that fit their standards.  The earth is not flat!  Facts, embedded in stone, tell us the world was inhabited millions of years ago.  This evidence is rejected out-of-hand.  Instead, alleged Christians cling to Bishop Ussher’s (1650) calculation that creation occurred on  October 22, 4004 BC.  Ussher’s calculation is not in the Bible—it is not scriptural—but Fundamentalists adhere to it as absolute truth anyway, in spite of evidence to the contrary.  They don’t want to know why they believe what they do, or feel the way they do, or think the way they do.  They don’t want to deal with introspection—“the examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings.” They want it in black and white—and they want it according to their own standards (which they never examine).

This same “decay” is happening in our beloved nation—we, too, “are dying of complacency and insipidity, of vulgarized and minimized truths, of a [democracy] reduced to our standards.  

Aristotle said that the true nature of any being is what it can become, not what it once was or what it is now, but what it can be.  The only way we can know and live out the Christian faith is by being aware of our own inner workings (introspection).  “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The same is true of our democracy.  It is not what we have been, or what we are now as a nation, it is what we can become.  Without introspection, without thinking, without knowledge, we remain mere “runts” in the faith.  Without these same qualities at work in every citizen, democracy cannot become what democracy is meant to be.

The Road is Long--but we must travel it wherever it goes to find  Truth.

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