Saturday, September 4, 2010

On The Deceptive Semantics of the Christian Usage of "God"

Quoting from Sweet & Viola's "Jesus Manifesto":

But the 'Good News' is that Jesus doesn't want us to be 'like' Him. He wants to share His resurrection life with us. He doesn't want us to imitate Him; instead, Christ wants to live in and through us. The gospel is not the imitation of Christ; it is the implantation and impartation of Christ. We are called to do more than mediate truth. We are called to manifest Jesus' presence.

This may be a fine Christian expression of piety -- but is it Holy?

I don't think so.

The Christian semantics revolving around their use of the terms "God" and "Jesus" and "Christ" demand the closest scrutiny, and a healthy dose of skepticism.

By my lights, a lot can be learned about the Christian point of view through a simple semantics exercise, substituting one word of theirs with another -- which they will _claim_ they regard as the same thing.

So substitute "God" where you see "Jesus", and with a little cleanup, what do we have?

But the 'Good News' is that God doesn't want us to be 'like' Him. He wants to share His eternal life with us. He doesn't want us to imitate Him; instead, God wants to live in and through us. The gospel is not the imitation of God; it is the implantation and impartation of God. We are called to do more than mediate truth. We are called to manifest God's presence.

This is Truth. I would have no problem expressing this very same redacted paragraph anywhere appropriate. But the sort of (so-called) "Orthodox Christians" that I hang out with will complain that this is a Gospel that excludes Jesus's particular experiences and sacrifices, and thus isn't Truth.

But that very reaction proves the lie that they bandy about as one of their "mysteries". To them, they mean "Jesus" as "God-the-Scapegoat", someone of a separate mind and experience that "God the Father".

(And for the nonce, I will set aside the matter of "God the Holy Spirit" -- but He is present in this article, just as surely as it is written with letters and punctuated.)

Getting back to the matter: when a Christian talks to a non-Christian, he will use the word "God" to mean -- in secret -- a very complex idea about the nature of God, what they call the "Holy Trinity". And since I am a fierce advocate of understanding, transparently, the precise semantics being used in such discussions, I think it is quite fair and just to ask Christians employing this device to define what they mean by "God", and examine what they say to that.

What you will find is the rationality of the discussion quickly degrades into a nonsense state, where a non-Christian will have to -- if only out of politeness -- allow the Christian his religious beliefs, as irrational as they may be. Because to them, the "Holy Trinity" is a "Mystery", meaning nobody understands it -- and any Christian who says they do is either lying or heterodox.

Some questions that arise:

...How many minds does God have?
...How many personalities does God have?

and if you wanted to get silly about it...

...Is God one being with multiple personality disorder?
...Did God sire Himself?

Though I do live in the United States -- where the evangelical "Christians"
continue to make quite a nuisance of themselves -- I see the kind of
poisonous crap these self-identified "Christians" are up to throughout the world. And in attempts to have rational discussions with Christians who consider themselves more "moderate" or "orthodox" than the wacko evangelicals: I find that they, too, seem thoroughly indoctrinated in their particular beliefs, to the point that rational discussion continues to fade from the venues where they have encysted.

That all would be fine and good, if these "evangelical" or "orthodox" "Christians" would stop being such nuisances in politics, the public square, and in complicated theological discourses about the nature of God, and evidence for His existence.

This latter matter is a big-ticket item for me at the moment. It seems to me that any evidence for the existence of God the Eternal ends up getting hijacked to oar the slave galleys of their own twisted world view. Because Christians are happy to glom-on to such arguments in favor of the existence of God the Eternal -- but won't stop there, but try to jam these more advanced theological and philosophical matters into their peculiar three-headed mold.

And when they try to make this square peg of "God the Eternal" fit into their "Mystery of the Holy Trinity", rational discussion ceases.

Christians even have a name for when they take a perfectly rational idea, and try to fit it into their irrational framework.

They call it "apologetics."

God the Eternal is, and always shall be: with us and in us. And through us, God makes manifest the woven tapestry we call "reality".

Thank you for your time.


1 comment:

  1. Scott, I'm not a bible scholar and wish to find answers as well.

    From what I've been brought up thinking is that the holy trinity is made up of 3 individual entities. God "The Father", who created everything; the person referred to as Jesus (in the old testament referred to as "The Angel of the Lord"); and the holy spirit (no idea, like I said I'm not a scholar.)

    These separate entities have the same goal - Salvation of man and to be in our lives, at the very least to acknowledge that they exist!

    Jesus - is just name put to this entity when he was born a man, to be closer to his people and to show them that they care. He died on the cross to that very point. Jesus is our go-through-guy to get to the God, the guy we interact with. Kind of like a public relations guy for a CEO, hahaha. As in the bible it says "no one comes Father except through me."

    Supposedly the Holy Spirit is the entity who interacts with our soul. The entity who touches our lives, and lives within us.

    Many people don't think that they exist, or believe only partially what they hear or read. I guess that is up to the individual, and pray that when the last breath comes out of us... that they are right.