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14 August 2007 @ 03:58 pm
So, I've been thinking lately about how Jesus wasn't an ascetic by any means.. sure he engaged in a certain amount of solitude, prayer, fasting, etc. But he also ate and drank heartily, turning water into wine for his first miracle as he celebrated a wedding with loved ones.

What I'm wondering, then, is what is the deal with his sexuality? We never see Jesus engaging in any kind of romantic relationship in any of the scriptures (though I know of the rumor made popular by Dan Brown that he married Mary Magdalene) and I guess what I'm wondering is, I know it's kind of a weird question, but do you think Jesus masturbated? Or had wet dreams? Even asking these questions feels "heretical" and yet I know deep down that it shouldn't be that way. Our sexuality isn't an ugly thing to be ashamed of and hide away, it's a beautiful and integral part of our created state, whatever our sexual orientation is or our current partner situation.

Or if Jesus didn't engage in sexual acts of any kind, why is this the one area of his life that he did take up an "ascetic" practice in? What would set sexuality apart from other areas of life that he partook of fully? Does our tradition only *tell* us that Jesus was a non-sexual being because of our overall fear and loathing of our sexuality?

This is rough, I know. But I hope it stimulates some discussion!
20 June 2007 @ 07:54 am
I've been thinking a lot about the Trinity and have realized I have more than a few problems with it. Strangely enough, I don't have as much problems trying to figure it out (except when I look at this) but I do wonder why it's consider the cornerstone of Christian belief.

The biblical sources on it seem to be very much up to one's interpretation, Jesus never makes mention to anything like the Trinity and it seems to be something that's just been accepted because it's been a part of Christian belief for so long. And while I really like the idea of one creed that binds together all of Christianity, I'm not sure if I get why the Trinity is that belief.

Any thoughts, insights? Is there something I'm missing here?

x-posted to radicals
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Wash the angels from your head won't need them anymore
24 February 2007 @ 05:57 am
Been passing this link around because it is such an outstanding summary of neurotheology.
Religion and the Brain, reprinted from Newsweek, May 2001

You have probably noticed that atheists (and some religious folks) don't understand what is meant by holy communion. They have never experienced hearing God as "a still small voice in the dark," let alone in a moment of ecstatic religious trance. I think this is because not all faiths encourage the discipline it takes to develop the ability.

When folks who have never experienced it read "God spoke," they attribute the source to either deliberate fraud or misguided self-deception on the part of the speaker. We wind up with the atheists on one side saying: "There is no evidence of God," while the mystics reply: "What are you talking about? I spoke with Him last night." The atheists think naive people mistake their own internal voice for God, and the mystics get frustrated because they are not being understood. No progress is made.

Within the last few years, scientists have proved that profound brain changes go on when a person is in ecstatic trance. Whatever else is going on, it is not so simple as dense people who mistake the everyday voice of conscience for divine contact. I find atheists are interested in this. Not that they believe it was divine contact, but at least they understand folks aren't describing an everyday event.

For my own purposes, I like to note where science and tradition coincide. Every mystic path says that to hear God, we must silence our self. "Humility, selflessness, putting aside of ego, quieting of mind" -- all instructions that come from religious guides to practicing mysticism. And what do the scientists find? When seekers enter a state of ecstatic communion, the part of their brain that registers self as separate from its surroundings shuts down, resulting in an altered state in which the seeker experiences a sense of divine contact. Just as the instructions said, all along. It fascinates me.
22 February 2007 @ 04:01 pm
What is Radical Orthodoxy?

I am so confused.
06 October 2006 @ 03:00 pm
My religion makes no sense
and does not help me
therefore I pursue it.

When we see
how simple it would have been
we will thrash ourselves.

I had a vision
of all the people in the world
whoa re searching for God

massed in a room
on one side
of a partition

that looks
from the other side
(God's side)

but we are blind.
Our gestures are blind.

Our blind gestures continue
for some time until finally
from somewhere

on the other side of the partition there we are
looking back at them
It is far too late.

We see how brokenly
how warily
how ill

our blind gestures
what God really wanted

(some simple thing).
The thought of it
(this simple thing)

is like a creature
let loose in a room
and battering

to get out.
It batters my soul
with its rifle butt.

- Anne Carson.
30 August 2006 @ 07:22 am
This may be off topic but somehow it seemed very pertinent to spirituality, to me. :-)

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." - Psalms 19

29 August 2006 @ 01:56 pm
Joseph Atwill, in his book Caesar's Messiah, and David Icke, among others, believe that Paul was an agent of Imperial Rome in general and of the Roman Emperors in specific. Both state their belief that Paul was used, along with Josephus, to start a peaceful messianic movement to undermine the unrest and rebelliousness of Judea.

This makes so. much. sense.

Isn't Paul the guy who introduced stuff like predestination? And that God chooses our leaders? :tries to remember if it was sophomore (Gospels) or junior (Pauline Epistles) year when we covered that: :fails: (I had the same teacher both years)

But wouldn't that make perfect sense? Paul had been persecuting Christians most of his life. The decision to have a "conversion experience," and then subvert them from the inside by telling them that the rule of the Roman Empire was God's will? Makes perfect sense.

I just wish my mom was alive. She'd've loved this theory.

Of course, wherever she is now, she may well already know the answers. 8-)
07 April 2006 @ 05:33 pm
Startling realization.

Somewhere along the line, somebody determined— probably the early state-organized Churches of both West and East— that the Bible was the single, only valid holy text for Christians. That's pretty obvious, really, but check out other religions, particularly non-Abrahamic ones. In Hinduism there are the Vedas, which are comprised of four separate collections, AND the Brahmanas and Upanishads. The Brahmanas and the Upanishads comment upon the Vedas, but are considered equally sacred. (There are also less highly revered texts like the Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, etc.) In Buddhism there is an assortment of sacred texts depending on the branch of the religion. In Judaism you've got not just the Tanakh (the Old Testament) but also the Talmud, the Midrash, and the Zohar, all of which I believe are assigned varying degrees of holiness. Islam has the Qur'an and the Hadith, plus it considers the Bible to be divine revelation (albeit slightly corrupted).

In Christianity, on the other hand, you have much commentary written upon the Bible by theologians from Roman times up until the present, and the commentary is considered important, and apocryphal gospel texts, etc. are also considered important depending what they contain, but basically, if it's not in the Bible, it's not the Word of God, directly speaking or inspired, and therefore it isn't holy. The other religions I mentioned grant importance and holiness to various texts whether or not they're considered God's word. And the unfortunate consequence of Christianity not having a similar situation is that if you want to quote the Gospel of Thomas to make a point, a biblical literalist or fundamentalist will shoot you down on the grounds that Thomas is inaccurate. Thomas is probably no more inaccurate than the other Gospels or Paul's writings or John's revelations, a decision was simply made to exclude Thomas from the New Testament. But if this were a situation in another religion, Thomas' writings might still be considered holy; they just might have been excluded from the -core- holy text because thematically they didn't fit in or something.

Why is this so? And would anybody call me crazy to eventually embark on a research project to assemble a new collection of Christian holy writings, even if I couldn't complete such a project alone?
Current Mood: surprisedsurprised
Current Music: "Sandstorm," Darude
31 March 2006 @ 05:28 am
I used to take great comfort in the idea of reincarnation. It makes life so fair and just. Read more...Collapse )