Monday 8th April 2013
I am a Christian, albeit of a slightly unorthodox sort, and I get rather impatient when I read in the public prints and hear on radio or tv assumptions about what Christians believe. So here, for what it’s worth, is a list – by no means exhaustive – of some of the things that I think, and don’t think. I should add that I can only speak for myself. What others understand and believe is up to them entirely.
i) I don’t think that God created the world in six periods of twenty four hours. In fact, all of the Genesis creation story I take to be a myth: that is to say, a story that contains spiritual truth in a form that is itself easy to understand, even though the reality behind it may be very complex. I don’t think it’s useful or helpful to read the Bible as though it were all literally true. Yet I believe that it contains truth.
ii) I don’t believe that the rules found in Leviticus and elsewhere are appropriate to people in the 21st century. For instance, I don’t believe that you go to Hell if you’re gay, and so on. What I think about Hell is for another time and place, but suffice to say for now that I don’t believe in most ideas of Heaven and Hell.
iii) I don’t expect God to prevent wars, natural disasters, people being horrible to each other, and so forth, and don’t hold Him (Her/Them) to account when such things happen.
iv) I don’t believe that you have to be religious in order to have a strong moral compass. In fact, a great many active humanitarians are atheists who do what they do because they think it’s right.
v) I don’t care for the sentimentalisation of Christmas. Pictures of the Madonna and Child I take to be representative of the Human soul (the Mother) and the spiritual possibility that can be born within the soul (the Child). This is something that I do believe is worth celebrating, though how we celebrate it has become a ritual that needs revising.
vi) I do believe in the power of prayer, though I think we could do with agonizing reappraisals of how to pray, and what to pray for.
vii) I do believe in the Resurrection, though I don’t believe that it was the physical body of Jesus of Nazareth that was resurrected. Mind you, I don’t believe that it was a figurative or metaphorical thing that happened then, either.
viii) I believe in science as the best way we have of constructing models by which to understand the workings of the world, though I believe that Materialism is a faith like any other, based on tenets as shaky as any in religion.
ix) I don’t believe that a church is necessary to mediate God to me, or me to God. That’s not to say that churches – i.e. the different confessions – aren’t good things, at least, in theory.
x) I believe in God, Gods and Goddesses. I also believe in Gnomes, Salamanders, Undines and Sylphs. I don’t believe that they can be shown truly in two-dimensional or three-dimensional representations. In other words, they don’t look like their pictures.
There are other things that I believe, for instance, that ‘believe’ isn’t the right word for what goes on when such things come under discussion. But this isn’t the time or place to go into all that. Nevertheless, for what it’s worth, that’s what I believe.