A Mystical Atheist Looks at Jesus

As most of you know, i come from a devout evangelical holiness background (for those of you who dont know, that means i was raised about halfway between Jerry Farwell and David Koresh)

My path to liberty and freedom of thinking was partially inspired by my parents, both still good Nazarenes, partly in an inverse way by various evangelicals, including my uncles and a couple of holiness preachers who severely misguided me on my path to faith. but as much grief as the screwy pastors caused me, i thank them today, because one i got past the silliness, i went on a quest for the “true way” including catholocism, buddisn, native american religions and anywhere else i thought there might be hope. eventually, i realized it was a classic case of the blind leading the blind. there might or might not be a god, a creator, and one of the many religions of the world may have the facts either partially or wholly correct, but if they do, its the case of an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters, because no human knows.

pretty much no human knows anything at all, though the dear poor scientists keep slogging away to try to find a bit of truth here and there. i am not sure they are much closer than the fantasy tales of old, but at least they are willing, with a little encouragement, to throw over dumb ideas when new information arises, and as hard as it is, will eventually throw over the new assumption when the new information is superseded.

anyway, there is a discussion group on a literary social site i enjoy, Shelfari. It is called the Alexander Forum, in honor of the great library and intelligentsia of a bygone era in that Egyptian city. Today, as i was trying to take a break from the horror of watching people i care about embrace and defend the creep with a duck call and tv show a bread and very small mind, Phil Robertson, While it is becoming clearer to me that Mr. Robertson probably has more of an infatuation with the sexual organs of animals, he is getting to be less and less interesting for me to discuss or think about.

i browsed over to the Alex Forum and found some interesting reading. I wonder if I had been in association with like minded thinkers like these folks, if i would have held onto some sort of faith? its hard to say. as it is, i am happy to be in my mystical state of non belief. I havent read either book, and i dont completely agree with the points made on the threads at Alex, but I feel they are worthwhile to share and invite discussion here.

I especially find the thoughts on the pastoral letters of interest, maybe St Paul wasnt the bad guy i have made him out to be. Maybe the worst of his stuff isnt his stuff at all? maybe there was an imposter? easy enough for me to believe, but if i were a true believer, i am sure i would have issuses with cutting out chunks of the new testament as not written by this saint or that saint. I have often wondered how much of the stuff Jesus said, he actually said….

But then, there is that “slippery slope” and too, if somebody was brazen enough to go back and rewrite the “red letters” seems like that woulda added more Pauline crap. As always, any thoughts?






About anthonyuplandpoetwatkins

https://www.goodreads.com/AnthonyUplandpoetWatkins born in Jackson, The United States August 04, 1959 gender male website http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorI... genre Poetry, Historical Fiction influences James M. Lancaster, Brenda Black White, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Al Filreis member since March 2011 About this author edit data As one of the most public lives ever lived by a private citizen, there is little about me that isn't already available at Facebook or Shelfari and countless other places. Poet, writer, construction worker, salesman, truck driver, climber into the attics of total strangers, father and husband, and all around one of the luckiest men on the planet. My luck continued with a win in the June Goodreads Newsletter Contest! What an honor! http://anthonyuplandpoetwatkins.wordp... Additional Influences: Bob Dylan, William Faulkner, Barbara Kingsolver, Gloria Naylor, Eudora Welty
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5 Responses to A Mystical Atheist Looks at Jesus

  1. Doug says:

    Wow.. two long comments in a day. I probably should give it a rest. 😉

  2. Doug says:

    Again, I share your disillusionment — went through many of those steps. I remember the day, time, and place that I said out loud: “That’s it. From this point on I know nothing, I assume nothing. I’m going to look for truth that stands on it’s own and everything is up for grabs.” That decision more than anything got me eventually into philosophy. I read everyone. But, eventually, I discovered that if you are looking for the sun, you aren’t going to find it paging through moldy books in the cellar. You’ve got to get out of books altogether, get outside and lift your eyes. I don’t disregard writing, but the value is only to clarify or define my own experience. So, yes, I’m pretty mystical, maybe even existential. If you wanted to put me in a cage or a system, you would probably find me somewhere close to the Kierkegaard, Barth, or Tillich area. But even their ideas don’t contain me. I believe in God, because 1) I can’t make sense of the world, it’s order, it’s design, etc.. apart from the idea of intelligence, good and evil, etc.. and these are personal qualities, 2) I use the term God, because I’m comfortable with it. If I were born in the Middle East I would probably use Allah or something else, 3) I’m not confined by ideas. I simply try to understand what I “see” and experience, and try to conform my life to that — this allows me to be in harmony with what I best understand to be most likely true. Does that mean I’m right and everyone else is wrong? Absolutely not! I don’t claim to be right or to have the corner on truth, I just know that for me personally I hold on to what correlates most closely to the data of experience, until something else comes along to disprove it or provide a better explanation. That’s the best any of us can do. So like C.S. Lewis, for me the teachings of Jesus make sense of the human experience, both what our role and response should be, what the future of human race should be as we move toward unity, love, compassion, forgiveness, etc.., and how the idea of God provides the role model or standard of goodness which we set before us as our ideal standard as we move forward. But for me it’s all about experience. As soon as I try to describe my experience and ideas in a book and call it “theology”, now I have a man-made system that has very little correlation with whatever realities exist in the universe. One man-made system is no better or worse than the other. For me, it’s all and only about a real emotional, existential, connection or relationship to the living breathing personality of the universe (goodness, intelligence, etc), which I define or identify as God. The fact that we’ve taken different paths or found meaning in our existence and our lives in different ways — or at least define them differently — doesn’t make one of us inferior or superior to the other.

  3. So sorry to hear you became jaded as far as pursuing Jesus is concerned. As a holiness preacher myself, I would be interested to know in what way you were misguided on your path to faith. Nothing irritates me more than to hear how folks on the right path of righteousness are turn off. In the end, when we strip away all the extremism and spiritual ignorance, we still have to do something with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everyone else who claimed to be God is dead…except Jesus. I hope you can become untangled of your mistrust and find peace through the Lord Jesus.

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