Thursday, August 28, 2008

I give up

Back at the beginning of the year, nobody wanted to talk about my observations on Mark Twain’s observations in Rome.

What my observations were really about is this: The concept of a person being both ‘True God and True Man’ has become more and more forbidding and incomprehensible to me the more I think about what I mean by God.

This is one half of a trap.

The other half of the trap is my well-intentioned but insidious universalism, as detailed in Part Eight of my ‘Spero’ document. This does not necessarily deny a ‘special’ role for Jesus in whatever mysterious mechanism allows contact between God and Man, but it makes that special role seem more and more arbitrary and irrelevant.

What this trap means is that, while I have never found it easy to believe that Jesus is God, it has gotten harder and harder. And I can’t do it anymore.

On Christmas Eve, 2007, I was watching ‘Carols by Candlelight’ on the television, and suddenly felt the monstrous incompatibility between the enormity of the thing we were asserting and the half-hearted, puerile, unworthy way we were asserting it, and I just felt an enormous tide of revulsion against the whole thing. I didn’t want to celebrate Christmas anymore. And I didn’t want to keep straining to try to believe that Jesus is God anymore. So I gave up. I could still probably affirm that Jesus is God, but it would be hard to do. It would be an emotive, rather than a reasonable affirmation. It would also make no difference to my behaviour in any way.

So I have given up. I have fallen over into pure Monotheism, and won’t call myself any kind of Christian in the census anymore, because the custom of the past 1700 years is that you have to believe that Jesus is God to do that.

I affirm and glory in the message that Jesus brought, that we can call God our Father: that He is not only transcendent, but immanent, and can relate with us as a person: and not as a Master, but as a Father. This seems to me now, as it always has, the essence of what Jesus was trying to do. And I have built and will continue to build my life on the words of Jesus as recorded in the synoptic gospels.


winstoninabox said...

Sorry if it's a bit lonely in the blogshpere dr. clam. Your blog is on my RSS feed because you're always literate and thought provoking. I'm so happy to see "Dr Clam's accidental blog" in bold in the side bar that I always leave it till last to read because I know it's going to take me the longest to digest. Your links take me to sites I would have never found on my own, and you use words that require and/or wikipedia to understand.

But as for discussion about the topics, well I just can't muster the energy or the time anymore to debate. Summer last year we had a great time going on about Dawkins. But each post took me so long to write, and it was obviously a discussion that we could spend the rest of our lives on with no resolution. Not a bad thing, but not something that I want to invest in.

What I could take away from it was an interest in pursuing the ideas discussed, but without the time consumption of debating them. Occasionally I'll post something of a religious bent (recently I just occasionally post), but like the idea that we don't need a camera on holidays anymore because somebody's already taken a better picture and posted it on flickr, then probably a little googling can find any ideas we might express already better put forth by others.

Our posts on religion are more about ourselves than anything else. Hell, it's even the same when I write about a mundane topic like a PSP game that I enjoyed, or not. Ultimately the topic is not the game itself, but my thoughts about it, which are by extension about myself. You can probably know a lot about me by what I write about a game, just as I can know about you by your concerns about religion. I more enjoy reveling in that which is clam than debating clam himself. Your linkfoo is mighty, and I also doubt that we are really going to find the face of God lurking in the Internet. Then again, if God exists He is certainly a lurker, so it may be a good place to start.

The more I surf the more I'm amazed at the sheer scope of human interests. Where some see huge life problems, others sail through without a thought. The position you've come to in this blog entry is obviously of great personal importance to yourself, whereas I read Twain's observations in Rome at the same level as D&D fanboys prioritizing creatures from the Monster Manual. But then others may marvel at how I could waste 100+ hours playing "Grand Theft Auto" when the Rapture is obviously close at hand. YMMV.

Dr. Clam said...

Thanks for the long and sympathetic comment, winstoninabox! I would have written in response earlier, but as you will have noticed I have been out of communication for a few days. I do pine for a good debate. I don't suppose you have any means to coax Nato out of hiding to give us his take on gay marriage?

I think any of the topics I post about are more interesting than I am, but as 'objectivity' is a chimaera I can never reach anyway, it is best that you know as much about how I think and the prejudices I bring to my thinking, the better to evaluate my ideas. :)