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AMCrenshaw
05-30-2008, 10:34 PM
What I will propose here is how it is possible to be "Christian" without believing in God; or that, being in tune with who you really are is equivalent to being Christian, whether or not Christians would agree with me.

http://www.practicespot.com/images/photos/bullseye.gif
1.

I will start here.

The black ring here I will refer to as the external ideology of any religion or school of thought, or of any person for that matter. Around the black ring are an infinite number of points; each point is a person.

Person A is an Atheist. Person B is a Buddhist. Person C, a Christian. In your mind put each person (or as many as you'd like) on different places around the ring. Group Christians together if that's your thing. Keep them far from Atheists. Anyway.

On the exterior, on the surface, the black ring, people's dogmas and doctrines appear different. They are disparate and rely on the function of words to convey meaning. It is as simple as: God, No God, Who Cares, and Who Knows. Or maybe it isn't so simple. The point is: on the surface, they are different.

Let's refer back to the bull's eye. From the points around the ring, draw a line toward the center of the bull's eye from each of the People. Notice that the more we go beneath the surface, the closer to one another we become. That is, Atheists who possess a deeper knowledge of themselves are inherently closer to Christians than they thought.

Same goes for Christians.

The implication is that the more we know of ourselves, the more we know of others. And we know what the ethical consequences of inter-connection are, don't we?

Draw another line, and another, until the lines reach the center. What is that center? This is the highest attainable knowledge of the self. To Christians, this is where they meet God. To Atheists, their truest self. To Buddhists, Enlightenment. And once here, notice, not one person's "beliefs" seem to matter anymore. They are the same; and I would further argue, that the beliefs are all together absent. Why is this?

Some would say that our selves are microcosms of the universe, or that we were made in the likeness of God, or that there are scientific elements that make us who we are- and that we share something.

Regardless. The language dictating our experience is null and void and a spiritual (or ethical, depending on where you stand) relationship outside the constraints of language has been opened. This means it is beyond doctrine, beyond belief, beyond the difference between God, No God, Who Cares, and Who Knows.

The ethical consequences of seeing ourselves as inter-connected (but not the exactly same) are indeed Christian; they are indeed Buddhist.

And what exactly the Atheist ethic is, I cannot say. But I bet it cognates with: Love Thy Neighbor, Be Compassionate, Do Not Kill, Do Not Steal, etc. Their reasons will be purely human-centered or earthly reasons, to be certain.

However, as I have shown- albeit briefly and hastily- the human center is a fine place to find ethics, and a place that is irrelevant to the existence of God.

2.

It is easy to say that Christian ethics require God to exist. Or, that a master narrator must impart upon its people the Grand Ethic (through Jesus Christ, no doubt) because we have messed things up so badly.

There is a lot to be discussed about the construction of meaning and ideology in our society, but here is not the place. Suffice it to say that meaning is undoubtedly a human construction, for it revolves around discourse and language - and I can't think of another animal that tells stories about their lives, attributing meaning to their experiences. If you can, tell me about it, ok?

In short, only humans are 'aware' of their instincts and their experience in that they construct meaning.

Now, what about ethics without God. Assuming there is no benefit whatsoever in an After Life, why the hell should I possess any ethics at all? Why not fall into complete nihilism? The answer is probably pretty simple, but I will give an example anyhow.

Imagine you are on a train without fifteen other people for eternity*. Everyone is different than you are. Some, admittedly, get on your nerves, while you get along with some pretty well. How would you deal with the situation?

I could tell you how we as people have dealt with the situation, but you already know how. Separate seats out, go to war over the best view, stake a claim near the smoking section. Whatever. But remember you have eternity. Would you kill everyone else and spend eternity alone? I doubt that this would be the ultimate conclusion. Instead, I am suggesting that our happiness and our suffering absolutely depend on the happiness and suffering of others.

If a person on the train was angry, how would you deal with them? You could injure them, couldn't you? But wouldn't that build resentment? Do not hateful acts only breed hateful acts? No. You might make this mistake once, but I think that, given eternity, you would eventually help the person through their anger, and not directly worry about yourself.

Though it might have been obvious, this is a parable for our existence. There was nothing at all mentioned about God, or about Hell. Just our existence.

I can't wait to see what people say. :)

* Eternity, though we do not know it exists, stands in this parable as the duration of our own lives.

Higgins
05-30-2008, 11:12 PM
What I will propose here is how it is possible to be "Christian" without believing in God;...

I'd say it is possible...but to be polite, one should say that one is
"Christian in Name Only(CINO)"

or just "CINO".

Yours........in CINO

AMCrenshaw
05-30-2008, 11:19 PM
But if I said CINO, then I missed my own point, didn't I?

Higgins
05-30-2008, 11:37 PM
But if I said CINO, then I missed my own point, didn't I?

Perhaps the highest attainable knowledge of the self is a matter of
missing one's own point.

AMCrenshaw
05-31-2008, 03:14 AM
"Perhaps the highest attainable knowledge of the self is a matter of
missing one's own point."

It hasn't been said better than that!

But of course in that post I was referring to the construction of language (certainly, "Christian" is merely a word, right? I wasn't moving to argue the definition of Christian in a theologic sense; thus the quotes rather than CINO).

Also, I am thankful for you to come along and exemplify just what I saying by deconstructing a deconstruction - and then you deepened my understanding of the words I used. [btw, I haven't reached Enlightenment yet :) ]

Fantastic.

AMC