The question of
who is or is not a “real Christian” has come up in this blog. It’s my own fault, for I’ve tried to
distinguish between Christianity and the devil worship that masquerades under
its name in the religious right.
Since people calling themselves Christians have been fighting, and on
many occasions, killing one another for almost 2000 years, why get involved?
Partly it is
from frustration. Every time I
pointed out something bad done in the name of Christianity, other Christians
have refused to rake responsibility, saying it was not done by “real”
Christians. Sort of like Marxists
saying Lenin and Stalin were not “real” Marxists. On the other hand, very good things have been done by
Christians. Is it simply the case
that good and bad people are everywhere, which I believe to be true, or is
something else going on as well?
Partly also it’s
from my having had real spiritual experiences with a Christian flavor. (I wrote about it in Pagans and
Christians.) How do I, as a Pagan, make sense of that/
As a Pagan, I
focus my spiritual practice on Spirit as immanent, not transcendent, and my
answer will reflect that starting pont.
I take as probably true that where the world’s religions tend to agree
they will be more reliable about spiritual basics than where they
disagree. This is because we are
prone to error and are all afflicted with myopia. Among fallible beings with thousands of years to work it out, areas of agreement on these matters will probably be among the most reliable. Especially when it does not reinforce secular power relations.
Spirit loves variety, and I am not giving another version of the “we are all on
the same path from different sides of the mountain” argument. But I doubt contradicting widespread
insights is a part of that variety. It is simple error. The Aztecs were wrong to tear out
hearts and the Catholics and Protestants were wrong to burn witches.
Many of Jesus’
teachings gain additional weight because they harmonize with what I regard as
core insights in teachings from a great many of the world’s religions. Valuing kindness and generosity, seeing
our personal concerns in a larger light than me-not-thee, respect and
veneration of the Sacred, and humility in the face of mystery are all but
universal. That part of Jesus’
message it seems to me is spiritually true and valuable.
lawyers love to tease apart shades of meaning, and even reverse their seeming
sense. One gets tenure and one
gets money for doing so. But for
practitioners these insights are pretty obvious for most practical purposes. And I suspect it s an almost
universal human judgment that anyone evidencing these qualities will be regarded
as a good person. One we are glad
So for me, the
dividing line between “real Christians” and the Sauronic frauds masquerading as
such is whether Jesus’ teachings are primary, with his reported death and
resurrection underlining them, whatever else they might do, or whether
his life is largely ignored, and attention is mostly on his reported death and
resurrection. One focuses on life,
the other is a death cult.
It seems the
more the latter view holds the more war, killing, violence, hatred,
self-righteousness, and hypocrisy become features not flaws in what
emerges. Fighting ‘Satan’ becomes
more important than attending to Jesus’ message, or his message is
reinterpreted so as to downplay most of what he said. And as we should know, in war it is all too easy for any
measure against the ‘enemy’ can be rationalized. Especially if that enemy is “Satanic.” In the process they become more and
more like those they once opposed, as we see in our own country regarding
the religious right’s stance towards torture, aggressive war, and indefinite incarceration without trial – all
features that as a child I was taught held for totalitarian regimes but not
us. All of which are endorsed by
Sauronic devil worship.