2. (spiritual reflection, arbitrary exercise)

In light of the recent allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, I am led to believe that a belief in any deity at all should provide no discernment of personal character. If I am told that someone is a “good Christian”, I, from now on, will do my best to evict that statement from my memory. Spiritual identity does nothing but provide an abstract base from which ones morality is presumed to be based on. Being that a spiritual identity represents nothing more than a belief in an abstract being which, in some cases, can not be presented cohesively, and furthermore, can not be proven, additionally, as a result of it being abstract, is made vulnerable to circumstance; and being that the morality put forth by such abstract ideal is only enforced by the individual with the aid of subjective influence and a conformed herd of cattle, it becomes a quixotic idea that one can be depended on as a sound moral person based merely on a claim of religiosity and spiritual affiliation. I am of the opinion that Christianity is an inward process, which undermines any formation of hierarchy based on piety and authority.  Here we have a timeless institution which we are to believe is built upon and around the love of Christ, yet has been one of the worst institutions when viewed at through a lens of even the most basic worldly morality, let alone an institution which boasts divine influence. It just adds to my conviction of late, which finds that spiritual conviction is better if focused inward, and compromised if displayed externally. I think that inwardness can provide a comfortable arena in which one can struggle, a humble place which is protected from the vultures of opportunity that poke around the sensitive souls that gather in the spirit of vulnerability. It trains one in honesty. For if one reduces the number of participants involved in the process of reflection, which is most benefited from inward contemplation, then one has no one to lie to but oneself.

  1. Zeke said:

    Life through the christian lens is misleading. It is often overlooked that it is a life that is largely amoral because it is not the pursuit of a moral code. To really dig into this you would have to at least subscribe to calvinism in some form. It is not our “goodness” but Christs perfection. So the idea that morality exists isn’t entirely accurate. For the christian, what would be called morality, is really just the reality of God because he is “good.” The christian life is the process of conforming to, or as your buddy Kierkergaard calls “becoming” the reality of Christ through a life of repentance.

    So still, I can’t subscribe to the idea of morality. There is only Christ and everything else.

  2. Stephen said:

    There’s a popular saying among calvinist circles: to those who complain about Christianity being a muck of hypocrites, we reply, “Yes, and we will always welcome another.”

    David, I’m confused by your notion that Christianity is better when focused inward. How can a saved creature not bring forth fruits of thankfulness, and how can those fruits not be displayed externally as well? Yet when even our best works are tainted, we permeate hypocrisy. You talk of inwardness as a safe haven to practice your faith; I only fear that in contemplating your faith, you slip, and actually do lie to yourself, as you have admitted as possible, and then have no one to stand you back up.

    • To your question, “how can those fruits not be displayed externally as well?”; the translation of those “fruits” would most certainly be a consequence of internal wrestling and faith. The devotion which one approaches in a personal manner, in an “inward” manner, is a devotion which is the most difficult. The contemplation of faith will definitely give rise to problems which tug at the very base of ones own existence in regards to God, although, only ALONE can one truly reconcile one’s issues and hopefully make out a divine transmission. I do not mean to argue against a “community” of support, although, just as we have both mentioned the possibility of one lying to oneself, in the same way, one can find insulation in the arms of a community which serves to “make common” the struggles in a way as to completely overlook them, or to not face them, head on, as one should. And where can one find support? Well, if one is truly in meditation and personal exploration with Christ, then Christ is the very figure who will offer support. The subjective experience in regards to Christ is the most difficult, and never completed because personal relationships are never “complete.” The intentional externalization of faith, done out of a desire to “witness” immediately because a liability. Although, if one is consumed in exploration and devotion, the tenets of that search will be visible in a way that is untarnished by ambition. While both of these circumstances and make one vulnerable, the latter is void of any arrogance or presumption, and is more genuine. In inwardness, one is challenged in the intimacy with which a relationship becomes truly honest, and truly vulnerable. And just as a 1st year engineering student would not dare open his mouth regarding problems that are meant for professional engineers, perhaps one who is in his/her spiritual infancy should refrain from spouting off platitudes which they have never had direct experience with?

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