Sunday, October 25, 2009

Of Judaism and reawakening Greeks

But if one calls this experience of the infinitely other Judaism (which is only a hypothesis for us), one must reflect upon the necessity in which this experience finds itself, the injunction by which it is ordered to occur as logos, and to reawaken the Greek in the autistic syntax of his own dream.

Derrida   "Violence and Metaphysics"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Three Readings

Recently I have been thinking about how we interpret the bible, often unconsciously,  through our culture, traditions,  and belief systems.  Below, I have tried to reveal those interpretations for three, very different people.

Reader #1

For God [big guy on the throne] so loved the world [except for homosexuals, Muslims, liberal Democrats, and the ACLU of course] that He [male, authority figure] gave his only Son, [male, empathy figurethat whoever[yes, anyone] believes [affirms the Apostle’s Creed, accepts Jesus as their personal savior, believed that God raised him from the dead, confesses that they are a sinner and commits to an ongoing reduction of sinning—including not smoking, drinking, fornicating, and going to R rated movies, is pro-life and holds that the Scriptures are the inerrant word of God] in Him [male empathy figure] should not perish [spiritual death, not physical death] but have eternal life [in heaven while all the non-believers are tortured eternally in the fires of hell] 

Reader #2

For God [destructive invention of man] so loved [Ha, some kind of love that torments forever those that don't bow down to you]  the world [full of deluded people that insist there is a God] that He gave [beware, this gift has some serious strings attached!]  his only Son, [Where's Mom? Couldn't the two of you managed more than one kid, with all that omnipotence?] that whoever believes [...and shuts down their frontal lobes] in Him [that raving prophet in the 1st Century with delusions of grandeur and an apparent suicidal streak] should not perish [it seems that lots of believers have perished--jokes on them] but have eternal life. [What a convenient fiction!  Keep the masses quiet with unverifiable promises.  Suck it up now and keep those tithes coming--but heaven will be great, singing songs and all that, plus throw in a few virgins to attract the young men ] 

Reader #3

For God[Consuming fire and love that fills the universe] so loved the world [What manner of love is this?  Apparently not the unconditional acceptance sort of love, or the I Cor 13 "Love does not insist on its own way" sort of love. The love of offering choices.]  that He [Can we get over the He/She thing and recognize that God transcends gender? Two thousand years ago I can see that people weren't ready for this, but now?  Come on! We don't require "The Force" in Star Wars to be a he or a she] gave [Well, more like offers.  The "gift" has strings--just your life is required.  God offers a great gift, but for a gift to be a gift there must be a willing recipient-even something wonderful, if forced upon us it ceases to be a gift.] his only son, [Another tired metaphor?  Christ is a son only in the most abstract sense.  There is no mother, no possibility of other siblings to add significance to his "only-ness"   There is no sequence  to the Father and the Son -- they both precede time] that whoever believes [So the only requirement is belief.  What manner of belief is this?  And how long must it be maintained?  Continuously until we die?  Or is there a five second rule on belief sufficient for collecting the prize? Jesus gives us some clues:  Moses in the desert raises sin (a serpent) on a piece of wood and only asks that the dying look at the serpent, a look was enough] in Him should not perish [ as was his custom, Jesus is muddying the waters with respect to death.  Of course he means spiritual, not physical death.]  but have eternal life.[It seems that the damned have eternal life too--at least in some passages, but we can reasonably assume eternal life is a good thing.  Pretty mysterious place, we will still have bodies, a physical reality, no marriages, but nice places to stay.]