Scientific-Gnosticism Memetic-Shamanism

The Zen of Christianity

Published by under Uncategorized on June 11, 2008

Many who are not christian can not understand the pull of it. They can understand a social club but cannot conceive of anything else to be gleaned from it.

If anything, there is significant current reasons to despise it with it’s pedophile pastors, faith-healing hucksters, TV evangelizing charlatans and a marked penchant for child abuse. In addition we can point to historically enlightening events such as the crusades, the inquisition, witch trials and other slaughter of innocents on a large scale. Anyone with an understanding of history and lack of blinders can fall off a wagon into a pile of reasons to abhor christianity. At the same time there are so many positive values taught in christianity and many positive things come from non-fundamentalist christians. There are many decent honest and loving christians to be found.

This dichotomy is a great mystery to all non christians. Why is there such a gigantic scope of behavior among them. What do the decent christians get from it? While I could elaborate on how easily the religion can be twisted and catered to fit any agenda, I prefer to elaborate on the mechanism of the positive aspects of the religion.

In particular there are two guiding principles that those familiar with a broad variety of religions and/or a grounding in modern psychology may be able to recognize. There are two components common to a “path to enlightenment” that can be found. Forgiveness and submission to god’s will are what christians call them. To the rest of us it is guiltlessly living in the moment and the freedom of giving up control. Or more concisely: freedom from responsibility of the past and the future.

When as a christian you are told that Jesus forgives and absolves you of all your wrong doing, you are capable of shedding guilt and responsibility and are no longer acting out on your belief in your own worthlessness. Those who are burdened with guilt and negative self beliefs are doomed to repeat them; this is psychology 101. By gaining the forgiveness of Jesus, a person is able to shed the belief that they are as worthless as their parents told them they were. They can stop believing for a moment that they are “bad” and instead blame satan or their “sin nature”. Once freed of these oppressive beliefs, they can finally believe in their ability to change and be considered a new person by others and more importantly different from their own perspective.

The second principle helps in maintaining a focus on the moment by freeing a person from responsibility for the future. When you are repeatedly told that “god is in control”, that it is “god’s will”, and that “all things work together for the good of them that love the lord”, the burden of trying to over plan the future and the feelings of guilt or failure and inadequacy that come from the vagaries of fate, are pushed away. As we age, we are all pulled into the swirling current of “responsibility” wherein we are told that we have control over our world and are required to exercise it. Even when we give our best within the bounds of what we are given we fail. Without a scapegoat for this failure we can become obsessed with planning or believing in our own inadequacy.

It is my hope that with the understanding of the roots of christianity and relief that those roots can provide that we all can incorporate the valuable lessons without the pitfallsthat so many christians suffer. So many christians forget their early lessons of redemption and cannot always feel like a new person so they begin to feel guilt for their continued “failings”. They can fall prey to judging others and therefore judging themselves too harshly. They begin to feel responsible for their future instead of leaving it up to god.

By understanding our own helplessness in the face of the universe and fate we can focus on changing ourselves without guilt slowing us down. We can begin the cycle of improvement while seeing each “failure” as just one of the many steps to success.

By understanding our own helplessness against the universe we can forgive ourselves and therefore others even when they do us wrong or do things in a worse way. We know that the credit for our “betterness” belongs to circumstance, the universe, or even god. And their “worseness” is also just a function of their position and starting conditions. When we see those who are actually better than us we can feel peace that they had unfair advantages over us just as we have unfair advantages over others. And of course we can also see or at least assume the unfair disadvantages of others.

This results in yet another principle of christianity: humility. Not humility that leads us to believe we are somehow bad or less than others but instead a humility that lets us know we are no different than others in a certain way. Though we may actually be more effective as a person and may do more good things which everyone can agree makes a better person, we still know that the ability to do such things are a function of circumstance so a lesser would still be a equal to us if given perfectly equal circumstance. (genetics and experiences) We humbly remember our unfair advantages.

Once we forgive ourselves and others we can focus on changing ourselves. Though even this tiny amount of control may be illusion, at the very least we can see things the way they are and have peace.

Knowledge of self is the only power that we have and the only control that matters. Forgiveness helps us overcome self-delusion which hides our faults and makes us repeat them. Giving up and being satisfied with even failure allows us to keep plodding along at improving ourselves without the guilt that leads to self-delusion.

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