bible christianity ethics theology

both-and, again…

This photo (found on Facebook) reflects a false, either/or view of Christian spirituality.

It assumes that a) respecting, serving, growing and happiness of ‘you’ and b) respecting, serving, growing and happiness of ‘God’ are in direct and total contradiction.  To quote Hannah Moore from the film ‘Amazing Grace’, “we humbly suggest you can do both.”

I suspect that the person making these ‘corrections’ to the original photo probably meant well, and I agree that a ‘humanism’ that defines itself as being over-and-against (or otherwise independent of) God is counter to Scripture and the Gospel.  But I deny that loving yourself is in tension with loving God or others.  Indeed, based on Christ’s epitomisation of the entire Law (i.e. Mark 12:29-31), I’m inclined to believe that Love of God, others and self are inseparable.

6 replies on “both-and, again…”

I always find it interesting that what serves a person’s god, grows them (in said god, with said god) or makes that person’s god happy — is what already served the person, grew them or made them happy personally, prior to their ‘discovery’ of or belief in a god or following of a certain religion’s doctrines..

It’s almost like they want what they know is essentially their own selfish ambition/s to not appear selfish but instead to sit them behind an authoritative ‘I’m actually selflessly serving what my god (idol?) wants’ facade..

It’s no wonder there are so many different religions and denominations/sects within those religions. All it takes is a person with enough social influence to disagree with another person on something and boom – new god, new religion. This new god of that new religion/denomination thinks the same way that influential person thinks (and in some cases speaks to the religion’s followers only through that person).

Smells fishy..

It’s good to know that at least one person reads my blog – thanks Ryan :) But I think that’s a bit of a negative way to look at it? For example, it does make sense that religions that conflict at the level of basic worldview and basic conceptions of deity (i.e. abrahamic monotheisms and, say, Hindu poly/henotheisms or Buddhist nontheism) should indeed be different/distinct; where as within one (broad) religion one would expect to find different understandings/views (i.e. Catholic/Protestant/Orthodox in Christianity – Chasidic & Reformed strands of Judaism – etc.). It’s not fair or reasonable to speak as though every single minor difference necessitates a different god.

Hahaha, giving you some hits bro :D

I don’t mean a different god in that sense (like Amon Ra vs. Yahweh. I mean “new god” as in the one that thinks exactly like the Catholics/Protestants/Orthodox etc. the Yahweh that says baptism is a must for leadership vs. the Yahweh that doesn’t. You can call them minor differences but it’s all these minor differences and quibbles that make it all appear man-made.

That’s my point. Both believe in Yahweh. As we’d expect, the more foundational/fundamental the point of difference, the more foundationally/fundamentally different the views of God are.

And this is what I’d expect – unless there is a prior expectation that God must reveal him/herGodself to humanity in a more aggressive, all-at-once, no-thinking-needed-from-you, kind of way?

My point is – both claim to be accurately portraying Yahweh – his thoughts, his desires, etc.

If they are only portraying their own individual human opinions – it all makes sense.

However if they claim they are portraying the same divine being’s opinions – it stops making sense. Contradictions and cognitive dissonance ensues.

Yeah, as far as Christianity is concerned, anyone who claims to “be accurately portraying Yahweh” is offered a warm cup of “…who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?” Biblical Epistemic humility FTW. Balance that with the Christian conviction that Jesus nonetheless ‘made Him [God] known’, and you’ve got yet another both/and: Christians both ‘don’t know’ God, and yet ‘know’ God.

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