It seems to me that there is an essence, a core, a 'Primary' Christianity; which is utterly clear and simple, and comprehensible by a young child.
Indeed, something that might spontaneously explode into life, in the mind of a child, a simple-minded person - or even a Western intellectual!
Spontaneously - yes; but only when wanted and willed! Part of this Primary Christianity is that it is something we first know, then choose.
Christianity is not, is not meant to be and cannot be something that over-powers a person, nor something that is passively and unconsciously accepted, like a habit.
On the contrary, we need to know it, love it, choose it...
Also - we should not expect to capture Primary Christianity in words, as a formula or creed; because it 'needs to be' (i.e. it IS) something knowable and choose-able by those who lack conceptual language.
Of course we can discuss it in words, concepts etc; but all the words, concepts etc. we might use will then themselves requires further definition and elucidation... So matters will rapidly get complex and unclear - and then we are off track. We are not dealing-with that core essence that is 'instantly' comprehensible.
"Spontaneously explode into life"... Yes!
But how could it be - it may be asked - that such a thing was possible? Would not people need to be told? How could someone just-know - how could an inexperienced, unintelligent and innocent child know?
...That is the assumptions of mainstream atheist-materialism speaking.
But - we know much that we have ot been 'told', have not experienced...
For example: we know because we are divine beings (children of God); and also because we are capable of communicating with the divine (the Holy Ghost). Furthermore, we have a kind-of-memory of our earlier, pre-mortal life as a spirit - which structures our assumptions even though it is (by design) seldom explicitly available.
For example; We knew-about and 'met' Jesus Christ before we were born, and had a kind of spirit-dream-like knowledge of God's plan of creation. We may already have loved Jesus, and wish to follow him.
This is seldom explicit - and does not need to be: the point is that such knowledge is brought into this world from our previous world.
Thus we arrive in the world with a structure of assumptions and expectations, and the capability of gaining further true knowledge.
I find this a very hopeful and exciting thought!
All over the world, Men are being-corrupted by evil, while at the same time evil is becoming clearer and more sharply defined...
(Things have come to a point...)
At any moment, any-person may make an act of internal rebellion and may seek the opposite: seek God and the Good.
And at that moment, each person has the capacity and knowledge to know core, essential and Primary Christianity: awareness may potentially explode into his consciousness.
And he may make the choice to embrace it!
Note: My point is not that this will begin to happen - because what will happen depends on the free choice of individual Men, multiplied - therefore not knowable in advance; but that it could happen.
This Primary Christianity is possible because Jesus is a person. You don't need to have a great metaphysical understanding or a strong grasp of deep theological principles. You just need to focus on Jesus as a person and through that so much else is revealed to you because he is like a window into the truth of heaven.
@William - " Primary Christianity is possible because Jesus is a person"
If we consider it this way; then I thnk it is clearer that anyone who can appreciate the reality and identity of a person, in the same kind-of-way that a child knows a close family member, can become a Christian (i.e. not exactly the same way, but qualitatively the same kind-of way).
This has the further implication that those who are incapable-of, or who have decisively-rejected, love - *cannot* become a Christian.
Primary Christianity certainly can explode into the minds of people who haven´t been told about it by somebody else. I have met a small handful of people like this.
I myself am not one of them, since I reached this point by reading a lot of theology, even though, naturally, we know that doing this by itself would be far from enough.
It seems that each and every individual has a differing degree of connection to the divine - the "veil" is thinner in some than in others, as it were. Such people are those more likely to spontaneously understand Primary Christianity.
However, to comprehend Primary Christianity it is ALSO important that they must be well-motivated, otherwise their "connection to the Divine" can quickly turn sour and devolve into serious deception of self and others, which unfortunately seems to be much more common.
I think ultimately Direct Christianity can explode into the minds of many - there is no metaphysical impossibility.
However, in practice I think it does require that those who have a thinner veil and/or have already "seen", minister lovingly to those who don´t or haven´t. This "ministering" can even be by writing blog posts, having a simple dinner, sincere prayers, uplifting messages on commonly used social media, dressing properly and speaking properly even if everybody else dresses and speaks in a careless manner, etc. As long as it is guided by the Holy Ghost, the options are practically infinite.
I think that ministering is a divine commandment, albeit a very difficult one to do properly, for psychological reasons (its very easy to become irritated, or impatient, or to feel mocked, or mistreated, or whatever). He expects those of us who have "seen" to do this - even when it seems nobody cares or are actively hostile to the Truth.
And I think that those of us not affiliated with a specific Church have a special role in this, because every Church has baggage (Deservedly or not) and in the minds of many, when a self-identified member of a specific Church ministers, people suspect they are trying to be brought to that specific Church, which raises their resistance significantly.
So whilst God can, and does, make himself known directly, with no apparent futher sources of spiritual guidance, in practice I believe He does prefer that this happen with at least some degree of ministry from other brothers, and therefore has created things so that, without ministry, the tendency for this sort of realization to happen is much smaller.
@Gary - The model of Alcoholics Anonymous is worth considering. (My wife is a doctor who has treated several once-'terminal' ex-addicts saved by this group in ways that are medically 'miraculous').
AA recognises the fact that some people often need to be brought very low, psychologically to rock-bottom, before they can save themselves; but this is always a choice, and requires a personal resolution.
Now, of course the evil Establishment has made AA meetings illegal, along with almost everything else tending towards good. So the challenge is for individuals who have been reduced to rock bottom by their choices to do For Themselves the same kind of things that AA once did.
It seems impossible but is not. We can be sure that each sincere individual who seeks God will be given the necessary means.
(Note: I am using the physical condition of alcohol/drug addiction as a spiritual analogue - albeit the success of AA was built on the conviction that addiction is primarily spiritual.)
I like the term Primary Christianity very much. It perfectly encapsulates the simple yet essential kind of revolution in religious consciousness that is required now. I have been thinking a great deal about 'things coming to a point' serving as a turning point in this regard, and I firmly believe some individuals have already experienced a turning point in their lives.
So, yes, it could happen. Conditions are certainly ripe for it. But even if it doesn't happen now, it must happen at some point because it is the only viable way forward.
On a side note, the concept of Primary Christianity also aligns well with Berdyaev's concept of the third religious epoch, described as a period of intense religious creativeness in which people fully grasp that "in God there is hidden the mystery of man and in man the mystery of God. God is born in man and man is born in God." According to Berdyaev, this shift in religious consciousness would come from within rather than from without; from down low rather than from up high; and from creativity rather than from sacred texts."
>Conditions are certainly ripe for it.
Yes, even mask-wearing helps us to spot snake eyes!
> For example; We knew-about and 'met' Jesus Christ before we were born, and had a kind of spirit-dream-like knowledge of God's plan of creation. We may already have loved Jesus, and wish to follow him.
Am I alone in feeling like this "new normal" is all familiar? Or is this a common phenomenon?
Instead of being in constant shock with what the world has become, I find I just accept it as if I done this before or I knew it was going to happen. Kind of like a crazy dream you go along with but never question the premise. Am I experiencing Stockholm syndrome?
I feel like I've adapted too quickly to this new reality that I'm now having to navigate through. There is a weird familiarity to it all despite 2020 being drastically different than previous years and my own worldview being fundamentally different (since becoming a Christian).
@Isl - You are not alone - but I do not share your sense of familiar acceptance!
I feel rather as I used to working weekend shifts on the psychotic wards at an asylum.
I´m going to be honest, I was unsure what my comment had to do with AA when I first read your response. But I decided to read more about it (AA), and was extremely surprised at what I found.
A massive success story operating along very similar lines with the sort of thing we talk about on this blog, starting from the very remarkable stories of the first founders and members.
As you said, no surprise it has been shut down!
Also no surprise it seems to have entered into a lull in the past 20 years - I remember AA was a very high profile organization everybody knew about when I was a child, but haven´t really seen or heard much of it in a long time. A real shame, but a sign of the times indeed.
This post made me think of Alyosha's speech to the boys at the end of The Brothers Karamazov:
"People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one's heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us. Perhaps we may even grow wicked later on, may be unable to refrain from a bad action, may laugh at men's tears and at those people who say as Kolya did just now, ‘I want to suffer for all men,’ and may even jeer spitefully at such people. But however bad we may become—which God forbid—yet, when we recall how we buried Ilusha, how we loved him in his last days, and how we have been talking like friends all together, at this stone, the cruelest and most mocking of us—if we do become so—will not dare to laugh inwardly at having been kind and good at this moment! What's more, perhaps, that one memory may keep him from great evil and he will reflect and say, ‘Yes, I was good and brave and honest then!’ Let him laugh to himself, that's no matter, a man often laughs at what's good and kind. That's only from thoughtlessness. But I assure you, boys, that as he laughs he will say at once in his heart, ‘No, I do wrong to laugh, for that's not a thing to laugh at.’ ”
Post a Comment