HA! As if. No, I think the Catholics are going to have the hardest time with this whole dead-Jesus thing. I said that creed over and over as a kid. It doesn’t hem and haw about the resurrection.
But it seems the protestants, or at least some of them, are being pretty flexible. My husband just came home from work, and guess what? He spoke with about ten Christians from a variety of sects and it seems that at their Wed. night sermons they were all told by their respective preachers about the discovery, and that it’s okay, that they never really believed in a physical resurrection, and they actually used the word “metaphor” (and while they were talking about things, they never said that evolution couldn’t be the process God used to make us), and they were suddenly curious about the difference between “agnostic” and “atheist,” and just what did he believe, anyway? (Just yesterday, in the course of patient management, he discovered from one of the counselors that he and I are known at the national level among televangelists to be “notorious atheists.”) He had really frank discussions, open-hearted, open-minded, and it seems a new day is dawning, at least in this town.
Of course I’m not saying he’s open-minded about theism. At some point you have to make up your mind, and we have. No, just open-minded about their ability to change and the possibility of the existence of a historical Jesus.
And I have to say that I’m really glad to suspect that he did exist (not that I think the events of the gospel are real…those are clearly ripped off from earlier myths…poetic license and all that).
When I was a girl I was in love with the man. My first holy communion was like a wedding. I was going to be a nun (until my hormones kicked in, that is). I wanted to be a saint. I’m not kidding.
And it wasn’t to get to heaven.
And it wasn’t about his alleged sacrifice (which is now being interpreted metaphorically as God having taken on the suffering of a human life, which, if you think about it, is much more painful than a quick crucifixion).
No. It was what he taught.
See, I was one of those kids who rescued bugs out of spider webs (I’m sure none of the spiders starved…I lived in Florida), painstakingly picking off the sticky bits of thread ’til the little thing could fly away. I hated suffering, other peoples’ even more than my own. I really hated injustice (still not fond of either). And I just couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t be nice to each other.
So the words of Jesus made me love him. (I’m lucky enough to have found a man just that kind.) I’m totally open to (and happy about) the possibility of once again honoring his name.
But I still do not believe that mind came before matter. One of his co-workers, when asked why she believes, even now, that there is a god, that mind was the source of matter and not vice-versa, responded that she just doesn’t WANT matter to have come first. But we know what I say about that sort of thing: wanting something does not make it so.
See, here’s the crux of the whole god/no-god thing. If you keep the god concept then you allow for magical thinking (it would be pretty magical for a non-corporeal mind to exist, outside of time, and create matter out of nothing, don’t you think?), like this thing in Jacksonville. Instead of working to erase the underlying problems that lead to crime, the city held a prayer rally.
And this sort of inaction goes on every day, everywhere, but nowhere so much and so often as here in America.
Worse, the god-concept poses the concept of god’s will, and the delusion that one could possibly know what that is. We are so easily misled by the ego or what’s even less conscious than that, our animal urges. How many people have died now at the hand of someone who imagined he was doing the will of god or allah? My husband himself saw a patient (unfortunately she didn’t accept treatment) who thought she was being tested by God (a real Abraham complex) and shot and killed her two grand-daughters.
When I say religion can be toxic, folks, I’m not kidding.
It’s also been very good medicine for some people, especially addicts.
But I don’t take my neighbor’s insulin, and I wouldn’t expect you to take my medicine.
Matter, for all we know, has always been here, expanding and contracting in an endless series of bangs and crunches. For all we know, each time consciousness arises given sufficient complexity. Or maybe this is the first time. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we are here, we are free, and we are all suffering humans struggling to survive and cope and maybe even achieve some small measure of joy.
I know love helps a lot. Jesus taught me that. I forgot it for a while, and then my husband reminded me. (I’m pretty thrilled now that they might be friends again.)
I don’t know how long it’s going to take the rest of the world to achieve the sort of amiable acceptance my husband found at work today. I’m pretty sure most of my town at least will be following suit (they do seem to toe the line, so if this is the official story, well, cool). I’m pretty sure our lives might, in a sense, be getting better. I’ve felt somewhat like a hostage in my own home with the prevailing intolerance.
But my husband’s practice is going to be pretty busy, I think. He’s been trolling the blogosphere, taking the pulse, as it were. There are clearly a large number of fundamentalists who just can’t accept this. The level of hardheadedness and idiocy they’re displaying isn’t very heartening. Maybe they should go to church and hear what their pastors have to say about it.
Of course if they’re Pentecostal, they’ll insist the Devil planted those bones. He’s sure got a big collection, what with the dinosaurs and all.