March 07, 2006

Binarized Christians

Yes, there is such a dichotomy, Virginia, even though I often worry about the over use of binary thought processes because they are simplistic, and because Western societies are so dependent on them. Oppositions like black versus white, male versus female, heterosexual versus homosexual, good versus evil, and young versus old are so embedded in our thinking that we don’t notice. However, a dichotomy may be useful if one explores the relationship between the opposition. Jacques Derrida explored binary oppositions in great detail in deconstruction theory though it is extremely difficult to essentialize deconstruction because he made the greatest effort to fashion it so. I have read some Derrida and I have misgivings about my own use of the dichotomized pair in the title above. Thus, I have carefully avoided labeling any particular branch of the various Christian churches as evil in the statements below and instead, I hope and pray that all Christians would carefully consider the teaching of Jesus Christ and adopt a large and inclusive world-view.

Good Christians are those who know that God wishes to share the universe with us all. Good Christians believe in the sanctity of all men and women as did Jesus Christ, not the institutions our culture creates (including the various churches). Good Christians know that there are many paths to God, and that God accepts any/all of us no matter which path(s) we choose. Good Christians also know that God resides within each of us as well as without.

Good Christians know that the Bible is best able to teach those who approach it with open minds and hearts. Good Christians know that the Bible is the word of God filtered through the hands, hearts and minds of many writers. Good Christians know that the writers of the various books of the Bible were bound to an understanding of God's word based on the time and place in which they lived. Good Christians also know that the leaders of the Church chose only those books they wished to include in the Bible and that their decisions were biased by the Patriarchal culture in which they lived.

Good Christians know it is evil to project a personal or institutionalized belief system (ideology) on God. Good Christians understand that God created a complex and difficult universe because He/She is complex and difficult to comprehend. Thus, good Christians know that there is no such thing as an easy and simplistic knowledge of God. Good Christians also understand the difference between belief and dogmatic certainty.

Good Christians understand that all of us are capable of evil even as God is present within us. Good Christians recognize the evil present in any Christian who preaches hate and division. The single, and only evil that good Christians exhibit in large numbers is temerity, for if good Christians do not speak out against hate and divisiveness, we are actually aiding and abetting malevolence.

To look at a book that dares to go much further than do I, go to Nicholas D. Kristof’s critique of John Shelby Spong’s The Sins of Scripture. In fact, I think I am going to buy it.

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