(7) (exploration) Belief in the mannequin Christ with reasonable justification through Science.

“It is therefore certain and true that the first person who thought of defending Christianity in Christendom is de facto a Judas No. 2; he too betrays with a kiss, except his treason is that of stupidity. To defend something is to always discredit it.”–(K) Sickness Unto Death (pg 119)

One of the unfortunate consequences of brilliant minds is the desire to merge God with science, especially for reasons related to an idea which hopes to put forth or encourage some sort of developing school of thought or “movement” which wants to bring Christianity into the realm of rationale and reason. I remember reading an article about the controversy surrounding the inclusion of “intelligent design” into the curriculum of public schools. The article argued that the impassioned effort to justify “intelligent design” as a scientifically sound theory is not only bad science, but more importantly, bad theology. By fighting so hard to include an argument which is obviously compromised from the start by the ideological stench, it also has the effect of undermining the essential and more penetrating truth of God. While trying in vain to objectify the “creativity” of God’s design, reigning in the miraculous art which can serve as a unique catalyst to the individual search, and restricting the enigmatic necessity of spirituality to the parameters of what understand (through empirical study) as natural law, it simultaneously requires other pillars of the Christian faith to either be neglected or rationalized. I am using this example merely to flush out a point I am trying to make, one that recognizes, as I see it, the distraction of apologizing for, or defending the Christian faith. The desire to account for the story of Christ through faith as well as reason, the desire to reduce Christianity to something that should make sense on a level that can be applied to a group of people, a congregation, a population, seems to be a distraction and a needless pursuit. While the recreational pursuits of christian apologetics can provide mental stimulation and exercise, it should be pursued as a goal that appeals to only to the intellect, to fascination. What does it matter if God and Christ is seen as foolish in the eyes of the world? Would the sudden acceptance of this faith (more so than it has already been appropriated into the public conscious by way so thorough as to have the ability of making the devotion to christ into a practice so complacent) put at ease the doubt which is dominated by a well understood skepticism.

(I remember hearing stories about fanatics who proceed to destroy Led Zeppelin records in the name of God, and I would think to myself how silly it was. I would try to reconcile Christianity with a degree of reason which, as petty as it is in the face of what Christianity represents, allowed for the easing of my conscious when it concerned by own devotion. A “devotion” which allowed, even desired, for the world to exist under the same priority which God holds as well. It is the devil in Donald Miller. The more I try to understand the path which faith leads one to follow, the more I see the potential of a knowledge which supplants God with good intention, the marriage of God with a modern culture which is “wise” enough to imagine a place for God in the collective conscious. For me, I wish that the popularity of Christ would diminish entirely, I wish for Christ to become a fringed lunatic again.)

Yes, I do focus on the difficulty of faith, rather than the simple approach which sees one doing “the best they can.” My words should never be taken as projection, or as the ideas of someone blessed with personal certainty. Although, my words, indeed, my ideas, are a reaction to what I witness as an ease with which Christianity is presented, and do not for any moment truly believe that the “difficulties” that may be mentioned as part of the spiritual sell are meant to truly bring attention to what I can’t seem to ignore–the thorough displacement which one would experience when becoming aware of themselves in the face of God. Thomas Merton wrote that “our idea of God tell us more about ourselves than about Him,” so, I wonder what my idea of faith reveals about myself. Perhaps, at its worst, it reveals a fear of moving forward in favor of remaining in a place of constant struggle, so that I can find a perverted “comfort” in constant scrutiny. Or perhaps, at best, it reveals an honesty which doesn’t allow for posturing and requires a scrutiny which slows the process, which I can’t imagine I’ll ever acquire in peace unless I hear God’s voice clearly. If God whispers, then I can bet I will find more joy in dissecting such a blessing with pathetic analysis rather than following it. I have very little faith in the progress of something done with a lagging conscious and drunk devotion which reveals itself with a pain much worse than a headache the day after. If, when lying to myself, I also lie to God, then it intensifies the regret and sets one back many miles. I do not wish to make a fool God, and would be much more comfortable with making a fool of myself. I am guilty of all that I loathe, and will promise to always be aware of it.

“For it is written, I will destroy of the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (indeed, for pagan and the believer)

  1. Scott said:

    Greatly enjoyed your post. I identified with “at its worst, it reveals a fear of moving forward in favor of remaining in a place of constant struggle, so that I can find a perverted “comfort” in constant scrutiny. Or perhaps, at best, it reveals an honesty which doesn’t allow for posturing and requires a scrutiny which slows the process, which I can’t imagine I’ll ever acquire in peace unless I hear God’s voice clearly.” Very torn between knowing which side my questioning falls on.

  2. Jon Foreman has said that real truth of this kind is something that takes possession of you, rather than that you take possession of. So then how can you defend something larger and more inescapable than yourself? Still, I feel the need to defend my faith because everyone around me seems to be taught that science is concrete and factual and experiential, and religion is myth and blind faith, that I can’t help but attempt to show how there is a common ground.
    Although faith is much of what religion beckons to,if you are totally left without faith there are numerous mysteries in factual history that can’t be explained away. If Jesus was nothing more than a great teacher, why was he given the execution of a criminal, and why did his followers celebrate that bloody death? These things cannot be explained away, and a critically thinking mind, even if it has no faith to go on, can’t help wondering what happened.
    Not all people will be convinced on factual evidence, but instead require a personal experience, while other people have no intention of even trying personal experience unless they think there is factual evidence to back it up. They know and we know how easy it is for a man to fool himself into thinking he feels the Holy Spirit, or any other supernatural entity, to get himself worked up with sweat and trembling hands and create the perfect mockery of religious intensity. People like this have said that God told them to murder others. People have become this way saying that the spirit of the trees empowered them to scream out against the deforestation of industry.
    That is why, I think, factual evidence is necessary for many to come to Christ.
    Maybe we are like a child trying to prove that “my dad is better” and even if the one father is a better father than the other, that won’t stop the child from being foolish about it.
    All I know is that I can’t keep silent when someone tells me that religion is nothing more than blind faith. I have often said foolish things, like the child, but faith does not lead me to be silent on the small bits of mysterious history that have built up my faith on logical ground.
    I may make a fool of myself, but if this truth is larger than me, I won’t be making a fool of my God anymore than the child will of his good father if, indeed, the father is good.

  3. I think I understand your point Joel, although, it still stops at a bottom line. Evidence meant to support or breakdown the belief in Jesus Chris will certainly influence the direction of one’s thoughts. At that point, where one decides to become a Christian based on ideals, and evidence, I believe those characteristics are still separate from the difficulty of faith. When one is alone, then all there is left is faith. Spiritual discourse and debate is not useless, but it can not be leaned on in such a weighty manner as to put faith as a 2nd priority which is contingent upon certain “evidence”, so that, potentially, when that evidence is challenged, the faith is set back. One’s own relationship with Christ is challenging enough and does not need the help of scientific debate. The nature of a “relationship” supersedes all surrounding facts or theories. For me, God has nothing to do with scientific debate, the internal conflict is persistent enough. Additionally, if the scientific evidence turns out to support the existence of God, the divine influence and spiritual relationship in your life still requires faith.

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