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Friday, February 11, 2011

biblical ambivalence

I don't know what to make of the bible.  I mean that in the sense of has it netted out a positive or a negative in terms of how it has helped humanity on its road to enlightenment.  Some of my favourite spiritual passages and meanings come from that book.

The path to the truth:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matt 7:14  KJV)

How ironic.  Any mainstream Christians out there who have found that path?

The prodigal son:
'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' (Luke 15:31-32, NIV)

My dad called me the prodigal son one summer when I returned for a visit.  That has stuck with me; it was apropos.  There's the Sunday school interpretation of this and how it's important to forgive.  It's a lesson not lost.  However there's a deeper profound meaning.  It's about the spirit, our life and light incarnating into matter and suffering the trials and tribulations that it brings.  It's my story.  It's your story.  I was so lost; I've been disgusted with what I've gone through.  I have been spiritually dead acting only on carnal desires and animal instincts.  I'm in the process of fighting through this.  Maybe I'll make it to the other side, the east.  Some call it Jerusalem.  This passage tells me the enormity of this struggle is not lost on the eternal; if I make it, there will be much rejoicing!

I'm also deeply moved by Psalm 23.  Everyone knows this one:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..."  This is my journey and it all started when I overcame death and by that I mean the death of my spirit in matter.  My spiritual coffin was nailed shut and tossed in the river but I have persevered and engendered a new life.

So why then my biblical ambivalence?  I harbour no ill will towards the bible and the concept of the Christ; you might know him as the long haired guy some call Jesus.  It is a message that transcends our existence on earth and I'll emphasize again that I mean our spiritual selves incarnated in matter.  My ambivalence stems from how the bible has been used by those with intentions I call into question.  This great message is manipulated and made into an idea that the only way to salvation and eternal life is through blind acceptance of some guy named Jesus.  It is literalization of eternal truths that then make a mockery of these truths.  What rational person is going to take these stories as literal truths?  The effect of this is to turn people off the spiritual because it's so irrational.  The atheist today is an atheist because of their reaction to our modern literal interpretations of knowledge held sacred and revered by the ancient practitioners of natural philosophy.  The bible in essence is used to turn people against ever contemplating the meaning of life or seeking a path to a higher truth.  Thus my ambivalence.