Sunday 7 January 2018

Direct Christianity

I have been struggling to find a term to express what I believe is needed in the modern West, here-and-now, for you and me; and the best I came up with was Spiritual Christianity, which I was never happy with since 'spiritual' is such a vague and multi-meaning kind of word.

(And a word that mostly refers to mostly-bad things, and things which are mostly-bad.)

Perhaps Direct Christianity is a better term?

What I am trying to express is that we need to be Christians (first and foremost) - and/ but we need to be Christians whose faith is based primarily upon what is directly-known.

There are two direct sources of knowledge: inspiration and intuition.

Inspiration is direct knowledge of God-without, of God as a separate Being. It is an old form of knowledge - for example Socrates describes very explicitly his inspiration by The God (his daemon, as it is sometimes called). Inspiration may come from prayer, meditation or simply arrive in the mind - the point being that inspiration is experienced as directly knowing the nature, motivations, wishes of God.

Intuition is direct knowledge of God-within, of God within-us - made possible because we are sons and daughters of God, therefore partly divine. Intuition is, I believe, a recent possibility - only possible since we became self-conscious in the modern way - and only made possible by means of the slow developmental-unfolding of the 'cosmic' work of Jesus Christ.

So, Direct Christianity would be something relatively new (only possible at all for a couple of hundred years, and only becoming widely possible more recently) - something that is active and a choice, something only possible by being able to know (consciously, explicitly) the true, divine self we all have-and-are.

For most people, attaining Direct Christianity can only be a goal, gradually and intermittently attained, and of variable strength and intensity. It provides us with the essential experience from which we can learn reality - this learning being a thing that happens at the level of eternal and universal reality (and not within our mortal brains or bodies).

Anyway, the idea is that Direct Christianity is now the primary form of Christianity, and indeed the only truly honest and viable form of Christianity - something which almost all serious Christians actually-do... but more-or-less unconsciously... And to do it un-consciously is not really to do it at all!

What I mean is that to be a serious Christian as a Westerner in The West and Now cannot be the passive and obedient, unconscious and childlike thing that it used to be some hundreds of years ago - and cannot means cannot. Those who think they can, are fooling themselves.

But anyway, we shouldn't want-to - we should want-to move forwards to something better, because more divine, more Christ-like.

Since it can be done - we ought to choose-to do it: but is must be chosen, cannot be compelled.

Note added: If you wonder why I suppose Direct Christianity is possible; one possible answer is that it is necessary. Here-and-now, with psychology, society and churches as they are, it is necessary that we have access to direct and personal forms of guidance - and preferably at least tow such, in case of errors. And because it is necessary, God has ensured it is available. 

Further note: In a simultaneous post, William Wildblood clarifies that (to use the terms above) Inspiration needs to come before Intuition.


William Wildblood said...

It's nice to read something that says what I feel but articulates it so well that I understand my own thoughts better. I share your reservations about the word 'spiritual' but I still think that if it hadn't been tarnished by association with false approaches to spirituality it would be a good way to describe the new and higher form of Christianity we are now required to move into, one that does not deny but fulfils the law and the prophets.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Yes, that's a much clearer term. "Spiritual" is a debased word and should probably be retired. Its connotations are "amorphous," "vague," "metaphorical" -- a million miles from "direct"!

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - Glad to have your approval for a linguistic change, since I know that you are difficult to satisfy in such matters...

Chiu ChunLing said...

Wait, intuition is a new thing? I accept that valid intuition at what we consider the "human" level is relatively recent in terms of the development of the species, but it was in place several thousand years ago at least.

I can only suppose you mean some highly specific meaning of "intuition", but I can't imagine what it might be.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - Direct inuition *about God* is a new thing, a new possibility.

Chiu ChunLing said...

How is that different from inspiration, unless it is a subset of logical intuition?

Pretty Mahana said...

CCL - New AND everlasting.

Chiu ChunLing said...

That's an interesting phrase.

I interpret it to mean eternally renewing. And I think that intuition does indeed renew us, and will do so eternally if it leads us to gather together and build upon sound inspiration.

But unless I mistake, Dr. Charlton is not using "new" in this sense, nor in any other sense that does not distinguish between the innate mental and spiritual capacities of individuals in the present from any in the past.