Saturday, June 19, 2010

getting the whole truth?

Spirituality favors a holistic view of the individual, seeing the self not as a series of compartments but as a whole entity. The tendency of religion, meanwhile, is to divide the body and spirit, emphasizing the spirit's superiority over the body.
Burke and Taylor, A Heretic's Guide to Eternity, p 59

In his book 'A Christianity Worth Believing', Doug Pagitt says a bit about babies and our responses to them. For most people, a newborn is a good thing, something to be valued and whose arrival is to be celebrated. It would seem very incongruous if someone where to talk about a newborn child as a horrible sinner.

We the massed unwashed who are outside of the great enlightened Postmodern ones are at times accused of not being nuanced. In this, Pagitt showed himself to lack that 'virtue'.

There is no contradiction in saying the a chld, or any person of any age, is both precious and sinful, both a valuable being and a sinner in need of redeeming. In fact, one sees it in the Bible, "God has commended his love to us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us".

And here, we have to deal with a similar type of thing that some people seem to think of as contradictory--the body is valuable and good, the material world is a creation of God and good, and the physical body even has an important role in the resurrection, but it is not more important than the soul.

Consider marriage. The Bible says much concerning the importance of marriage, and it is a good thing, something set up by God. But then, Jesus tells us that in the age to come we will not marry, but will be as the angels. If I may put it so, Jesus tells us that marriage is only a temporary thing, something for this world only--if one of the couple in a marriage should die, the other is free to marry another.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell" Matther 10:28. The idea of some sort of difference between body and soul is not new. As this passage shows, Jesus taught it.

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