Comments: Where Jesus is shown forth

I have to say, what a load of rubbish. Darwin tells us nothing about Jesus other than he is as accidental as the rest of us. It's odd to me to even have to say this. A devotional and a matter of science do not equate. Our meanings are what we as conscious and self-conscious humans generate, and in this we are all the same. In what way is a single human being the epitome of all that is? The universe is vast, strange, unknown, found simple and beautiful, and the one thing Darwin shows is that we are not the centre, not a microcosm, but just happened to be.

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 7 January 2009 at 3:33am GMT

Dear Pluralist,

I read usually your comments with some interest, knowing that you have problems with the issue of Christ being present in the Eucharist. I had not thought that you were so very far from the understanding of most of us Anglicans on the subject of myth and mystery. To state that 'Jesus is as accidental as the rest of us' does not seem to be the utterance of a person nurtured in the Christian Faith.

I'm sorry you find it necessary to disagree so violently on what really is one person's take on the meaning of Epiphany.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 7 January 2009 at 9:58am GMT

"... but just happened to be."

Of course, this is just the opposite of the Christian message on the subject.

Pluralist, whatever your own (non)beliefs, you really do have to reconcile yourself to the fact that they do not not reflect what Christianity teaches.

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 7 January 2009 at 11:12am GMT

There is another significant commemoration this year - that of Lincoln. It seems this event might relate more to "manifestations of Jesus" than an hypothesis that has no scientific proof.

Jesus can be known, perhaps more through his quoted words and sayings than the stories about him. They leave a clear record of instructions for us to live by. His life was an example for us. And his sacrifice made possible what we could not achieve on our own.

Posted by Jean at Wednesday, 7 January 2009 at 1:14pm GMT

"Our meanings are what we as conscious and self-conscious humans generate, and in this we are all the same."

Well, yes. We humans perceive and identify patterns in the world. Genesis tells us that God made everything, but then He brought all the animals before Adam, who gave them names. It is us humans that perceive patterns in God's Creation, and name those things. We can look at anything in the world and see the way it was formed, naturally, no need of a God that we can't prove. That's science. It's objective, it observes and conceptualizes what the evidence proves. To look beyond that and see the actions of God, that's faith. The conservatives are likely to get all over me for implying that God is just something we dream up, but that's not what I'm saying. To say Jesus was just another human being is a matter of observation, assuming you accept that He ever lived in the first place. To say that He is the Second Person of the Trinity, and all the rest we say about Him are matters of faith, not empirically provable. That's why it's called faith. You don't have to accept that, but then if you need to practice a spiritual path at all, you're far better suited to Buddhism than to Christianity, since Buddhism doesn't require a deity. Didn't the Buddha say to trust nothing you can't verify, or something to that effect? To put it another way, Darwinism says we just happen to be, we evolved. Faith says that God made all that is and evolution is the way He did it. No-one can prove that to you, you either accept it on faith or you don't. Of course our meanings are what we as conscious and self-conscious humans generate, that's part of what it is to be human, and it's why we humans have religion. If we couldn't generate meanings for what we see around us, we couldn't conceive of a God. If a God isn't necessary for you to understand what you see around you, fine, but again, that seems to me to rather like saying you have no need of poetry or art. Put another way, visions can be scientifically shown to be nothing more than the electrical activity of our brains. To say that they are revelations of a deeper reality is a matter of faith. People get all fussed up over claims of a "God gene". Why? If we are genetically programmed, some of us at least, to perceive a God behind the workings of the world, that is surely a part of what it is to be human, at least for some of us.

Posted by Ford ELms at Wednesday, 7 January 2009 at 1:46pm GMT

My reaction, which was harsh (and I have stopped taking the sacrament, either for a time or for good - I don't know yet), is because Darwin is about something observed and falsifiable and theorised, and does not show anything other than an accidental humanity. My Christianity, such as it is, is in the area of mythology and is a different 'language game' from Darwin's findings and all that has followed on.

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 7 January 2009 at 3:20pm GMT

Pluralist (whom I esteem) is obviously going through a mega-crisis. No shame in that: we all are - or - periodically - do. The issues raised by evolution are huge. Obviously - oh, quite obviously - they problematise (sorry, prissy academic term) the whole Christian 'sin' narrative. Obviously, also, they problematise the
whole notion of divine 'creation'. Obviously, also, they problematise the whole 'God-is-good' syndrome. I still think/hope/sort-of believe that intelligent Christianity (or intelligent religion generally) can cope.

On 'Thinking Anglicans' above all sites, we should avoid cheap put-downs of anybody, 'liberal', in-between, Evangelical, agnostic, atheist, etc.

Posted by john at Wednesday, 7 January 2009 at 6:54pm GMT

"On 'Thinking Anglicans' above all sites, we should avoid cheap put-downs of anybody, 'liberal', in-between, Evangelical, agnostic, atheist, etc." - John -

I am in complete agreement with you, and the only reason I challenged Pluralist's comment here was because he used the term 'complete rubbish' in criticising the said article. Whatever he may think about the statements made, he, too, might avoid the 'cheap put-down' you mentioned.

I believe that we all ought to try to be less pejorative. I, too, am a sinner in this (and other) area/s and am only too aware of the distress that can be caused by infelicitous comment. I guess we are all only too human - one of the reasons we need the concept of a Saviour - like Jesus, who took the part of the poor and defenceless - cautioning, but not rejecting, the arrogant among us! Mea culpa!

Happy New Year Pluralist, Robert, and Everyone!


Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 7 January 2009 at 10:42pm GMT

"If we are genetically programmed, some of us at least, to perceive a God behind the workings of the world, that is surely a part of what it is to be human, at least for some of us."

And, further, if you believe in a God who made you, then you must believe that it is He who instigated that genetic programming for you to believe in him.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 8 January 2009 at 12:36am GMT

"The universe is vast, strange, unknown, found simple and beautiful, and the one thing Darwin shows is that we are not the centre..."

Absolutely.

That doesn't stop God "tweaking". Taking Jews out of slavery and leaving them wandering within the cloud of divine presence for 40 years whilst their thinking was brought into alignment. Sending forth Jesus as an example that God can and does punch through into this existence.

That said, the lesson of evolution is a lesson in humility. God existed before us and will exist after us, nor is God confined to us and our constructs.

Christians who worship Jesus and aspire for the rapture and to be taken to a newly created and separate heaven and new earth are guilty of adultery. Jesus was annointed to be the Lord of this earth, not another one. To desire to extinguish life on this planet and take select souls to take to another is the equivalent to marrying one woman, planning to steal her resources and friends and then running off to a supposedly better partner.

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Thursday, 8 January 2009 at 7:54am GMT

"Obviously - oh, quite obviously - they problematise (sorry, prissy academic term) the whole Christian 'sin' narrative."

No it doesn't. Of course, if you understand sin as crime, then you would have a problem, especially as it comes to Original Sin. If you think OS is some 'first ever crime, one so severe it brought about the condemnation of all humanity', then you are hard pressed to find that crime in the long history of evolution. So you have a problem. But, Original Sin is not some long ago crime for which God punishes anyone who does not obey Him, and there is no reason that it cannot be accomodated within an evolutionary framework.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 8 January 2009 at 4:25pm GMT
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