Friday, May 25, 2018
2:30 a.m. A little early, perhaps. But let’s assume not too early. Shall we return to the relationship among the three bullet points you gave us on Tuesday? How and why does evil exist in the world, and how and why we don’t fit, and why is it we can’t see a purpose to life.
Don’t forget, we said that everyone has different answers to the questions, and, indeed, [has] different questions.
I can believe it. Last night I watched “The Case for Christ,” courtesy of my DVD Netflix subscription. A newsman set out to prove to his wife (and thereby save his marriage) that Christianity wasn’t true. The more he pursued the question – in the way an investigative reporter would pursue any question, by grilling the experts and moving from one aspect to the next of the question of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus – the more he found his sure footing in atheism undercut, and finally he had to give up. He was convinced, and several years later gave up journalism and became a pastor. Wrote a best-selling book by the same name as the movie took. Can’t remember his name, but I gather he is famous in his way. But here’s the point for us here. I wasn’t an atheist very long, and it was a temporary segue from my Catholic boyhood, but recovering a sense of connection did not lead me to anything like the conclusions –. No, that doesn’t say it. Perhaps you can say, better than I can about my own life, but it’s probably your life too, come to think of it. BTW, Amazon says the man’s name is Lee Strobel, and of course as soon as I see the name I recognize that yes, that was it.
Well, let’s talk a little about the latter two bullet points in connection to each other. It is obvious, we suppose, that if people in 3D saw things the same way, they would fit, and they would assume (that is, take for granted) a commonly seen purpose to life. But it has not occurred to you, that is why churches exist. It is why TMI participants are very likely to return home, transformed, to find themselves suspected of having joined a cult. It is why any group of like-minded – and perhaps we should add “like-hearted” – people find comfort with each other. It is difficult for the mammals that you are to live alone, even those among you who are by nature lone wolves, or unherdable cats. At the same time, uncomfortably but productively, it is difficult for the non-3D community that each of you also is to associate with other non-3D communities-in-body – that is, your fellow mammals. If you wished to be sardonic, you might look at the situation as a cosmic joke at your expense. If you wished to be hopeful and grateful, you might see it as a great opportunity for personal growth even though through discomfort.
First day at school away from home, say, learning to deal with the products of other families.
Minus the “rules” aspect, yes. Or, not minus the aspect of rules to be learned, but rules as one more aspect of the strangeness in the situation. Whether you are joining a school or entering basic training in the military or beginning a career, the common point we’re bringing out is that the “you” that you bring to it will be transformed by the need and opportunity to experience and interact with so many products of different backgrounds. Obviously – we hope obviously – this does not refer merely to social background, but, more, to the differences in what and who you are.
So, to take a conceptual example, many people find themselves in Lee Strobel’s situation, atheists by belief, perhaps by emotional necessity, channeling into that belief their hard-headed idealistic pursuit of the truth. If they are sincere enough, they get pushed beyond their certainties, but always they are pulled, or pushed, only so far. At some point they realize that belief is always going to be a matter of their free choice. That is, the data may be overwhelming enough to entirely crumble their previous belief (even if it is a belief in unbelief itself as a position), but it is never overwhelming enough to leave no questions, no maddening ambiguities. When they jump (or slide, or ooze), when their previous ground dissolves under them is up to them. Some only get more stubborn. Others come to a conclusion as Strobel did. Others find themselves between the lines, so to speak.
And those who do come to conclusions don’t necessarily come to the same conclusion. Even if they become aggressively Christian, their Christianity may not resemble each other very much. David Wilkerson comes to mind. I’m surprised I remembered his name, The Switchblade and the Cross. Thomas Merton. Very different ideas of what is what.
You might add Hemingway as an example of a man very religious by disposition but not very clubbable (in the sense of one amenable to becoming a member of a comfortable society or club). You might mention TMI experiencers who do not necessarily “find Jesus” but do emerge with a firm sense of the reality and primacy of the non-3D world.
Well, isn’t that the point? Stories like Strobel’s assume that the sincere seeker is going to be led – possibly kicking and screaming – to recognizing Jesus as The Son of God, with all associated dogma of the fall of man and the need to redeem humanity by taking God’s wrath upon Jesus’ head, and all that.
Make your point more concisely.
It is this. I can believe that Jesus exists as an overarching spirit connecting the world. But I can’t believe in the “needing to buy forgiveness” aspect, nor the God that demands human sacrifice – for that’s what it amounts to.
No, that still isn’t pointed enough. you feel what you want to say, but you haven’t yet said it.
Hmm. Let’s put it this way, Christians like Strobel or Merton find something real, something vastly more real (hence, more satisfying) than the materialistic reality they emerge from. To that extent, I’m right with them. But they go on to accept and live by beliefs I can’t share. So, I don’t want to (and why should I have to?) give up the truth they share, but I don’t want to give up the truth I have found, or perhaps I should say, I don’t want to give up what is true for me.
And part of you doubts even your doubt, and says, “But what if they are right?”
Not even that, so much. More like, why are truths not all so consistent that we come to the same end-product? How can sincere seekers after the truth come to such different and often contradictory truths?
Don’t be silly. You know the answer to that.
You’re going to say, because we’re all different and we bring different things to the inquiry. But why should that lead us to contradictory certainties rather than to a widening of the common understanding?
It does both. Remember what this current series of conversations centers in: Your world is not individually created, individually experienced, individually altered. We know it can seem that way. At the same time, you are not stranded in a world created by others, defined and “officially experienced” by others, changed only by others. Both halves are partially true. Neither is true without the other.
As I get up for more coffee, I get a sense of us as battlefields, or as interfaces, rather. Who we are as we exist beyond 3D, and who we are as we exist in 3D. Same person, different aspects.
As in, both divine and human?
But see, that is the very kind of conclusion that Lee Strobel or David Wilkerson would never come to, regardless of their background.
You actually don’t know that.
You don’t. Are you the only soul with private compartments? Are you the only person whose certainties, doubts, perplexities must still coexist in life?
Isn’t it a bit reckless of them to preach certainties, then?
You don’t know that that’s what they preach. Some do, some don’t, just as in every other branch of belief in any belief-system. Certainty is a character trait, as is inability to come to certainty. It does not inhere in the field of inquiry.
I suppose it is that cocksure certainty I see in many Christians that puts me off.
If it were not that, it would be something else. If that were your path, you’d be bound to it by emotional ties that would never allow your allergy to group-think or conformity (or team work!) to get in the way.
But the very idea of different paths is repellent to this form of Christianity we’re talking about.
Again, you don’t actually know that. People rarely – perhaps never – are able to speak their whole minds. What comes out in speech (or in writing, though that may be better considered, better nuanced) is the most superficial – that is, the most upon-the-surface. It may require a lifetime to understand what depths there are, that cannot be easily put into words.
So, our take-away?
Relate all this to the second and third bullet points, and the relevance should surface.
And enough for now. I’d hear that even if we were not 70 minutes in.
And you see, messages from heaven (so to speak) are all the better for input from messages from earth – that is, the things in your outer life. Consciousness involves knitting the two together. And, as you say, enough for now.
Our thanks as always. Till next time.