Orthodoxy Concern – Get The Facts Straight Man!

Comment taken from Mystical Seeker’s Blog “The Scylla of Orthopraxy and the Charybdis of Orthodoxy

The Christian God is personal, and persons have gender.” (Harry) 

So by your rationale here Harry – is God a male? Plus the logic is rather – suggestive and not very deep. Being personal – well both man and woman can do that…and God is a Spirit – I am guessing God has this aspect also. 

Fortunately, my opinions really are the right opinions. They really are Orthodox. So I’ll answer any questions you might have.” (Harry) 

Orthodox = right opinions – according to Harry. Now that is facetious. Even if orthodoxy were right – how can one be sure they hold to it correctly? Also orthodoxy is quite a movement away from what we find Jesus teaching anyways – in my personal and studied opinion – since orthodoxy seems to think ‘what you believe concerning the character/make-up of God is more important than your actions from believing in that God’. 

Find me one place Jesus even so much as does this concerning God – where is his 11 articles of faith concerning what God looks like, the bible, and what atonement means. He never lays one down – unless we count the beatitudes? And the beatitudes are not like articles of faith I have seen in any orthodox church – they actually ask something of the reader (ie: a behavior – like mercy or peace). 

The articles of faith – and the orthodox creeds – are beliefs in the sense – we can choose to believe these things about the character of God. But they are not beliefs – in the more gospelic sense – in that they ask not a single thing of you (as in an action). 

EX: God is 3 in 1, born of a virgin, and was resurrected after 3 days. 

Those beliefs are fine – but they are not beliefs – they are facts or are not facts. These are things that either happened or did not happen. The gospel is not so much concerned with these type of things – as it is with actual beliefs that produce something (ie: a behavior). 

EX: God is love, blessed are the merciful, and repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand 

These are beliefs that require an action. There are the kinds of ideas we find in the gospels all the time. The beatitudes being a prime example. 

So for ‘as right’ as you think you are Frank – because you are orthodox – well it doesn’t mean much in some senses – since orthodoxy is overly concerned with facts and not beliefs.

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21 thoughts on “Orthodoxy Concern – Get The Facts Straight Man!

  1. Orthodoxy is convinced of its inherent and self-evidence rightness, but it is funny that its self-evident truth is so vulnerable that it has to expend massive amounts of energy guarding itself against the threats posed by so-called heresies. The “truthiness” of orthodoxy ought to stand or fall on its own merits, and yet somehow the very foundation of orthodoxy is under constant assault from all sides.

    The author of the comment that “The Christian God is personal, and persons have gender” sees everything in terms of black and white and often makes ridiculous but otherwise definitive pronouncements like that. The idea that persons have gender so God must have one is ridiculous on so many levels it is hard to believe that anyone would say it with a straight face, but there you have it.

    Maybe all of of this points to what orthodoxy is really characterized by–definitive, absolutist pronouncements that covers over a deep vulnerability from threats by free thinkers. Rigid thinking and dogmatism goes hand in hand with a need to guard against threats to the dogma, because dogmas are built around a carefully constructed edifice. Orthodoxy is ultimately just a house of cards.

  2. “The idea that persons have gender so God must have one is ridiculous on so many levels it is hard to believe that anyone would say it with a straight face, but there you have it.” (Mystical)

    I wonder how Harry reconciles the idea God is a Spirit with God being a Male? To me – nowhere in scripture as far as I know – does God ever say He is a Male (like humans). Plus the logic of God is personal – therefore – God is a (human) person – is rather elementary in thinking. It’s like saying God is loving – and people are loving – so God must be a human being. That logic is not sensible when describing a Spirit we have never seen – nor would resemble a human.

    “Rigid thinking and dogmatism goes hand in hand with a need to guard against threats to the dogma, because dogmas are built around a carefully constructed edifice” (Mystical)

    I do not think all dogma is wrong – mind you – but all dogma needs to be able to ‘stand the heat if it wants to be in the kitchen’ (so to speak). I think some dogma – namely a few tenets of orthodoxy – need challenges for their own sake. What good is it believing someting we are not sure is true? That’s the question I pose to orthodoxy.

    Also orthodoxy can become a rigid system that actually does not benefit greater learning – unless it is the learning the system requires. I run into this quite a bit actually. I pose an idea to someone in an orthodox camp that isn’t so orthodox in nature (ie: question the atonement theories) and they go about critiquing which and what author I read to get this or my stance is not accurate because it is not biblical. Yet I can offer proof and point for my argument from a biblical stance and even which viewpoint I am coming from (mostly from my own base reading of the texts or some Jewish authors). Still, it’s never enough to be considered as ‘possibly true’.

    I just think orthodoxy is a weak premise – because it functions like a self fulfilling prophecy…’if I believe it is true – then that makes it so’. It also self defends itself without considering all sides of the issue at hand – when this is a honest/just measurement.

  3. I get confused when you get off on this subject. If you don’t have the right facts, how can you have belief that produces the correct actions? It seems to me that what one believes is as important as the actions that follow that belief. They are hand-in-hand and can’t be separate. If we act against what we believe then it is sin and if we actually believe it, we will acknowledge it as sin. If action contrary to belief is not sin in our own estimation, then we are liars and don’t really believe in what we say we do.

  4. Regarding “the idea God is a Spirit with God being a Male” in general, I think that trying to reconcile contradictory views like this boils down to rote acceptance of dogma. The argument goes along the lines of this: the Bible uses male language (for the most part, as long as you ignore the Sophia stuff) to describe God, so therefore God is male. End of story. The way you reconcile that with the idea that God is a spirit is that you don’t–you just try not to think to hard about it and just repeat the dogmatic mantra so that it drowns out any conflicting arguments.

    God obviously isn’t a human being, and gender arose during biological evolution on earth as a means of reproduction. God doesn’t engage in sexual reproduction, gender is a biological construct, on planet earth God doesn’t have genitals–the list goes on as to just how absurd this notion is that God has to have a gender because persons of the species homo sapiens–on one little planet in a remote backwater galaxy in the midsts of a mind-bogglingly huge universe–happen to have genders. There is obviously no philosophical basis whatsoever why a “person” in the natural world necessarily has a gender in the first place, and applying this to the supernatural realm is anthropomorphizing in the extreme. But you knew that already.

    Again, logic doesn’t matter in this case. What matters is the dogma.

  5. The gospel is concerned with beliefs that produce a behavior?

    No wonder the world is so screwed up.

    When I read the gospels, I see a story about a people who are so terrorized by religion that they need to be saved from it. Along comes a savior with a remedy for their plight… “repent” (change your mind about God). The kingdom of heaven is near (so near, in fact, it is right inside of you… if you will only stop looking at yourself long enough to actually see it). Let the kingdom envelope you, and set you free from your warped views of God. Know that he loves you immeasureably, and includes you in everything he is. Take comfort in knowing that he is your Father, who you can trust… completely, and find the Peace that he planted in your heart at the moment of your conception. See how goodness will flow from you when you when you abandon your own selfish agendas and begin to see others for who they really are… children of God, just like you!

    Repent from thinking God is angry with you, and thinking religion is the only way to appease him. Nothing could be further from the truth, and nothing could more detrimental to your life! Stop worrying about your place in God’s life. Stop tormenting yourself over things you have no control over. Let go of everything you think you know about God. Wipe the slate clean, and let him fill your heart with the most amazing, most wonderful, most peaceful Life you can imagine!

    Nah, that is all quite too hard to believe. Religion is much easier… much safer.

  6. “I get confused when you get off on this subject. If you don’t have the right facts, how can you have belief that produces the correct actions?” (Pam)

    It is a strange subject no doubt – and almost seems as if I am being irrational – since belief is the actual pre-cursor to action. I think I may have delved deeper into the truth on this one.

    Certain Christian ideas that are called ‘beliefs’ are actually not ‘beliefs’ but ‘facts or not facts’. They are not beliefs as the term is used in the gospels or by Paul – or in the whole Bible for that matter. The terms like ‘God is 3 in 1’ or ‘Jesus resurrected in 3 days after death’ are not beliefs…they either did or didn’t happen – now since we are so far removed form the actual incidents – we call them ‘beliefs’ (but basically what we really mean is acceptance of the facts).

    The Bible itself is concerned with actual ‘beliefs’ – like ‘believe in God, believe in me’ as a terminology from Jesus’ mouth…is the type of belief that is ethical in nature. One needs to remember when we talk about biblical ‘belief’ – we are talking about people that are choosing to live a certain ‘just’ way (likely moral based on the teachings from Torah and Prophets). If one is in ‘unbelief’ – then we are discussing someone that chooses to live a life that is not moral (unjust) – they are choosing willingly to do something that is against the teachings (ie: like adultery or murder).

    Belief, as it is used biblically, is concerned with one’s behavior – not their proving of some facts about the Christ or God. The bible is concerned with one’s morals/ethics and the way they live their life – this is no more clearer in any place than in the gospels.

    EX1: Jesus talks to the rich man who lives all the commandments except for one small thing…he is greedy (not charitable). Jesus asks the man to ‘sell all he owns and follow him’…the man leaves sorrowed. The teaching in and after this situation is not about if the man believed the facts about God correctly – but with his love for money.

    EX2: In the arguements Jesus has with the Pharisee’s concerning anything and everything they do wrong – he not once addresses what they think about God (ie: like the Trinity). No. He is overly concerned with what they do and how they use their beliefs concerning ethical treatment of others – nothing more and nothing less.

    EX3: If I tell you I am a First Nations person with a Bachelor of Theology – then I ask ‘do you believe me’? Is this really a belief? No. They are either facts or are lies about myself. No belief is actually required in some senses.

    EX4: If I ask you to ‘give to the poor because God loves them’ – that’s a belief. I cannot prove that idea – but if you try it – and find it is a good thing (moral and makes you feel good inside) – then I am asking of you a certain behavior. The belief, when tried, becomes the fruit of the belief.

    Does it make sense…i tend to lose myself in these long talks (lol).

  7. “The gospel is concerned with beliefs that produce a behavior?” (Bruce)

    Words or sound bytes Bruce used in his following comment:

    “repent” (change your mind about God)
    The kingdom of heaven is near (so near, in fact, it is right inside of you)
    Let the kingdom envelope you
    Know that he loves you immeasureably
    Take comfort in knowing that he is your Father, who you can trust
    See how goodness will flow from you when you when you abandon your own selfish agendas
    Repent from thinking God is angry with you
    Stop worrying about your place in God’s life
    Stop tormenting yourself over things you have no control over.
    let him fill your heart with the most amazing, most wonderful, most peaceful Life you can imagine!

    Those are all beliefs that require…action! Or they are beliefs that have attached to them certain behaviors. I am not sure if you agree with me or not – but if you don’t – then none of what you are pointing to makes any sense – since they are all beliefs with certain actions associated with them (behaviors). These are all found in the gospel (as we both know) – like repent and do not worry – these are beliefs that are asking for action on our part. It seems to me we agree – am I wrong?

  8. An action is not a behavior.

    And I don’t see being set free from burdensome religion as a behavior either.

    I see the end-game of the gospel of Christ as an revelation, or an awakening. Whatever “behavior” might result from this awakening is not a change, so much. But, a releasing of our true nature. It is a stripping away of all the influences that are trying to change our behavior to suit their need.

    The Gospel, as I see it, is a means of freeing us from the agenda-driven manipulators who work to hold us captive to their whims. It is about discovering a liberty that will change our minds about the world and our place in it.

    So, in a way, I agree that the Gospel will create a behavior. But, not in the way that a set of rules and requirements draw on a persons fears to bring about certain behaviors. It doesn’t force someone into a mindset through threat of punishment, but instead, draws a person into a profound peace through the promise of complete, unfailing Love.

  9. “An action is not a behavior” (Bruce)

    Maybe I am using the wrong word here – behavior – but I am aware the the teachings of Jesus ask things of the person reading…now they seem like actions to take in certain situations – which ultimately will produce certain behaviors (ie: patience or trust).

    “But, not in the way that a set of rules and requirements draw on a persons fears to bring about certain behaviors” (Bruce)

    I agree, I abhor fear driven agendas myself – since they only work for the sake of producing obedience and cannot actively produce in the person a sense of love (or complete trust) for God (due to the drawback of fears).

    “draws a person into a profound peace through the promise of complete, unfailing Love.” (Bruce)

    I agree – the gospel is about making peace and love (sounds hippie-ish but it isn’t). I think the drive behind the teachings are to make peace with one another and to seek to love everything about our world – and God. This includes the very simple statement – love God and love neighbor as you love yourself – three dimensional system of coming to terms with reality.

  10. BruceD

    “Whatever “behavior” might result from this awakening is not a change, so much. But, a releasing of our true nature”

    The thing is your actions for the most part show what your “true nature” is, it may be wrong to assume everyones true nature is that of love, afterall we do live in a world of Duality. Also how loving are you internally if you treat yourself and others like shit? By the way the last statement was a general one. 🙂

  11. SVS, it always seems to me that we think much alike. Not that it is necessary for friendship, but it does make for interesting conversation.

    John, that is precisely the problem. Most people are so loaded down with the baggage they have accepted all their lives, they don’t have a clue what their true nature is. That is the point of it all… to come closer and closer to experiencing life free from all the shit that has influenced us over the years. That shit has become the guiding factor for our actions and behaviors. We are full of shit. We have become shit! Everyone one of us!

    The gospel of grace and peace offers an opportunity to save ourselves from ourselves (and all our shit). It has the power to place us into a liberty that, possibly for the first time, lets us see our shit. The more we see of it, the more we desire to leave it in the dung pile. We all carry bags and bags of shit, and what’s worse is that some of us think we NEED it! They say, “it’s a part of who we are”. No it’s not, it’s SHIT!

    How do we rid ourselves of it? Who knows? But without the freedom to at least SEE it, we don’t have a chance!

  12. We are full of shit. We have become shit! Everyone one of us!

    Speak for yourself, Bruce. I wouldn’t describe myself, my kids, nor any of my friends this way. Perhaps you should hang out with different people?

  13. No offense. I’m a good person, my kids are good people and my friends are good people. I would never describe them as shit, even when I’m mad at them. Most people are good. I see no value in going around telling people they’re shit. I’m not missing your point, I rejected your point many years ago.

  14. Society,

    Yes, it makes a lot of sense. Thank you for clarifying.

    You write very well and I don’t get lost in your long posts!:0)

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