This Friday’s Aphorism

I explain what aphorisms are in the introduction to the post just below this one on my “Post Index.” To see that post, click “My Previously-Posted Aphorisms” at the bottom of this one under “Related.”

Each Friday, when I upload a new aphorism, I move the previous Friday’s to the end of the aphorisms in that other post. This will keep them in chronological order, and at times they might even seem to grow out of the ones above.

At other times, however, I will simply be adding a thought that occurred to me during the week. And those thoughts might well repeat or even contradict previous thoughts.

But to reiterate what I say at the top of “My Previously-Posted Aphorisms,” When I work on these aphorisms each morning, I am simply thinking out loud with a 3B pencil and a Moleskine notebook to try to understand what I think about various topics.

I’m toying with that ubiquitous question, “How do I know what I think until I read what I’ve written?”

Please note, though, that these are my thoughts and are meant mainly for me.

I most certainly do not offer them as some kind of generalizable truth.

And finally, a suggestion. Some of the ideas in these Friday aphorisms might make more sense if you read the previously-posted ones first, starting with “Our Unconscious Self,” 2019 August 09.

More recent aphorisms often build on concepts that were discussed earlier.

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Christians

2020 September 25

Some would argue that there are two kinds of Christians, religious Christians and spiritual Christians, with myriad variations of each. 

Religious Christians, they would say, are members of an organization. And the organization tells them what to think. These organizational Christians are usually required to accept the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, and usually more, much, much more. 

As well, these organizations often add that the only way to salvation is by adhering to their particular version of Christianity.

Spiritual Christians, on the other hand, are not necessarily members of an organization, and they think for themselves. They are seekers. And they are seeking to understand the Ineffable and the Unknowable Oneness, which many call God. 

What makes these spiritual Christians Christian is that, for starters, they accept Jesus as Jesus, but they don’t necessarily accept Jesus as the Christ. 

This Jesus-Jesus Christ distinction starts to get into some fairly sophisticated theology, the Arianism-Docetism controversy that gave rise to the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. 

But if you’re interested in this debate, Wikipedia would be a good place to start. 

The spiritual Christians tend to believe, in part, at least, that Jesus didn’t come to give us answers. He came to teach the few who chose to be chosen how to seek the answers for themselves and how to seek salvation for themselves.

That being-responsible-to-decide-for-yourself-what-to-believe is certainly much more demanding than simply agreeing to believe whatever the heads of the individual organizations tell you to believe. 

But spiritual Christians tend (that word again) to assume that accepting this responsibility is far more meaningful-filled and has far more integrity than simply saying Yes to certain organizational demands. 

And the spiritual Christians are far more apt to be interested in such things as the Nag Hammadi scriptures, which the Catholic Church, for obvious reasons, has tried to suppress, strongly, even violently, from the outset. 

This suppression by the Catholic Church began in the first two centuries CE, and continued through the various crusades, and the inquisitions, and the burnings, right up to the present day, which has surely helped to make them the richest organization on the planet. Their wealth is so vast, apparently, that it can’t even be calculated.

If you do decide, out of curiosity, to read some of the Nag Hammadi scriptures, be careful about the translator you choose. You might consider Marvin Meyer and his Nag Hammadi Scriptures, as well as the commentaries on these scriptures by Elaine Pagels.

But that’s only a suggestion. 

And starting with “The Gospel of Thomas” in Meyer’s Nag Hammadi Scriptures, and Pagels’s Beyond Belief, in which she compares “The Gospel of John” with “The Gospel of Thomas,” is also only a suggestion.

 

A note of clarification, though: – In her book, Pagels isn’t saying that we should have no beliefs at all. She is suggesting that we should move beyond being told by some organization what we should believe, and that we should search for our own answers.

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(© 2020 Glenn Christianson. All rights reserved.)

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