Saturday, 11 October 2014

Ephesians 6:12

When I was a kid I used to have terrifying night terrors about the end of the world. I hated going to church, and my leeriness of attending church persists today. I doubt I'll willingly ever set foot in a church again. As a believer in Christ I really do not see a contradiction: I'm a Christian, psychological anatheist ('anatheism' is defined by Richard Kearney as 'seeking a rebirth of faith after the loss of faith' and it is this and this alone on which I base my self label as anatheist).

After many, many years away from church and *simplistic folk religion I think I finally heard the 'still, small voice'. I think my many years of Asperger's-like obsession with the mathematico-physical sciences played a role in my anatheism. When I read the first few verses of Psalm 19 during the period of dark fear that recently dominated my life my decision to 'seek the rebirth of faith' was set.

*'simplistic' here does not mean the saintly people of simple faith that have always been drawn to Christ but the black-and-white, militantly antagonistic, demonic corporatism of right-wing ideology.

The vulcanization of corporatism in the so-called "christian right" and "islamic fundamentalism" (ie, using G*d's name in vain) is part of the culmination of sectarian violence that currently threatens world peace.

St Paul is clear and could not be clearer: this religiously -driven and -defined unrest is utter evil not because it is a fight of 'good against evil' (all parties to this culmination all seem willing to justify the means to their nefarious ends), but because of unsustainable, historic developments of institutionalized evil (violence, greed, hubris, envy, ignorance, willfulness, etc.): For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

This evil does not start in far-off lands, away from the geographical and ideological divides that delineate 'us from them'. It is a reactionary bomb whose fire is currently consuming all of us. One side is reacting against what they perceive to be historic wrongs; the other side is reacting against what they perceive as threats to long-standing but crumbling power structures.

The rise of people like Harper, Rove and the Koch brothers is mirrored by the rise of a decidedly millennial Islamic fundamentalism. This being the case, the devil we know is not very assuring.

The apocalypse is often portrayed as ultimate fight of good against evil, but that is rather wrong-headed in my view: it is G*d and the Messiah judging human society as violent and evil and intervening to protect the 'remnant'in every instance of G*d intervening in Jewish (and human) history since the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt has always been to protect a remnant, seemingly irrespective of whether the individuals are morally and religiously worthy of salvation, at least to worldly expectations. In the book of Nehemiah, the remnant, after many years of exile, has become ignorant of the Jewish religion and need to be retaught the Book of the Law of Moses during the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

In fact, the remnant in St John's Book of Revelation seems to have little or no active role in the ultimate war. War is already happening when the Christ comes down with His heavenly army to protect His remnant. This makes sense because the Christ and the prophets before Him have always claimed that G*d is not interested in religiosity (and neither in our status within a religious community) but how we treat each other as human beings.

Jay

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