Friday, 15 March 2013

Christianity ought to be the warmest and most personal of all religions

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But too often it has degenerated, under top-down intellectual leadership, into the demand for submission to an abstract scheme.

The most devout folk Christianity has always pushed against this, and personalized the abstractions: we could see ikons, special relationships with Saints, and the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this light.

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The only thriving Christian denominations of today are those which emphasize the personal - for instance (but not exclusively) evangelical Protestants who (in practice) have a specifically Jesus and Gospels-focused, highly personal faith; and who reinforce this immediacy with pictures, drama, novels, songs, multiple and varied re-tellings and reconceptualizations of the Gospels, and narratives of their own personal relationships with Christ.

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Intellectuals are drawn to the neatness and complex coherence of cool abstraction; and Christian leaders tend to be intellectuals (more or less); but Christianity is intended for everybody (including children and the simple) - and what everybody most needs (including intellectuals, whether they know it or not) is a warm and personal relationship with God - that is the only basis of Love, Trust and Hope in God.

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Any complex abstraction potentially stands in the path of a loving, hence personal, relationship with God - of a kind open-to and understandable-by everyone - such abstractions should be analyzed with a skeptical eye.

The maxim for intellectual Christians ought to be:

                 Is your abstraction really necessary? 



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