Friday, June 5, 2009

Peter, you're right. This blog has played a valuable role in developing what it is that I actually think and believe. I think that if I allow it, and continue to write regularly, that role will continue. Things that don't continue to grow are dead.

So what exactly is it that I think these days? Well, a few things to be sure.

I'm currently house-sitting for a friend of mine's family while they're away at a church camp for two weeks. This is the greatest job ever! I get a roof over my head, temporary companionship from a dog and a cat (though I'm scared to death that the 14 year old dog, Dixie, will die on my watch), and there's always something more to do. I love to clean and I love this family, so I'm enjoying my days going through the house and dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, cleaning countertops, and really thoroughly enjoying myself. I'm a week in and it's been a greatly relaxing experience.

Aside from that, I'm working and training at the ballet here in Springfield again to try and prepare myself for what comes next in my summer. Two weeks from today, I leave for Carlsburg, PA, to participate in Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet's five week summer intensive. I'll be dancing something like forty hours a week working on my technique. To me, this is a dream. I haven't actually been dancing for too long which is making me incredibly self-conscious and almost scared to go, but I can't really imagine doing anything more incredible this summer, so I'm gearing up! More (and more interesting) things on that soon, I promise.

Did you know my brother is a Navy Seal? Well he is. He got accepted to the program while I was in Greece and he ships out on my birthday, December 15th, for his training. I've got lots of mixed emotions about it. My brother has had a bit of a checkered past and I'm glad he's taking this opportunity to really take care of himself. It's given him a sense of direction in life and he's finally doing something that has really gotten him excited (not to mention how proud of him we all are). That being said, my brother's new profession is that of a killer and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I don't agree with war in general, and I REALLY don't agree with America's recent wars in particular. Regardless, my brother has pledged his oath to serve President Obama (a silver lining) and will be a trained killer in about two years time. Lots of food for thought there.

I've also got some interesting philosophical/religious issues floating around in my head these days. Here are the propositions I've been playing around with:
1. Jesus and his followers claim that he "saves" them (I'm not entirely sure what that means).
2. There's an exclusivity about this claim, thus Jesus and his salvific powers must offer something that no other religion does.
3. If all of this is true, things should be different. The lives of Christian people should be different (dare I say better? More fulfilling? More virtuous?) than those of the people around them.
4. (3) is obviously false, which by logical association means something is wrong with (1) or (2).
So that's where I am with that! I'm not sure why this particularly problem is causing me so much trouble. It'd be easy to just caveat the argument and say something like, "This is in regards to 'orthodox' Christianity or modern, popular Christianity." I don't really know though. I've set up an appointment with my pastor from my church here in Springfield to talk to him about it. We'll see!

So that's me right now. Turns out that I actually do have thoughts to explore. Hopefully this space will continue to provide help for me, and on a more regular basis.


Mozart said...

I don't see why (3) necessarily follows (1) and (2). But at the same time, isn't there something different about Christians? That is, don't they (theoretically, of course) possess knowledge/virtues that others don't? And, even if that weren't the case, wouldn't they and they alone be granted the reward of eternal life as "chosen people?" That's my understanding of being saved, anyway. I'm failing to see a logical fallacy, although that doesn't mean the premises are valid...

Mark said...

I say that (3) follows (1) and (2) for exactly the reasons you gave me. If Christians claim that their relationship with Jesus and their salvation gives them something extra, something the rest of the world lacks, then they should be different from the rest of the world in some substantial way, no? Well, they're not (most of them, anyway). And those that are are certainly not more virtuous, noble, caring, or compassionate than the masters of any of the other world religions, unless of course you count "being a follower of Jesus" as a virtue in itself though that's one of the most circular arguments I've ever heard.

It all just makes me incredibly suspicious.

Anonymous said...

I listened to a radio show where some preacher wrote a book called "Naked and Unashamed". The line most used either for laughs or all seriousness is "Christians have the best sex".

I thought, how are they measuring this? And how exactly are they testing for "pure" distilled Christians?

In an imperfect world with individuals saying whatever about their personal virtues... I doubt such claims can hold any weight. I think the Jewish community, Buddhist, Muslim, and whatever else is doing just fine under the covers.

People get this idea in their head that the only way to spirituality is to follow a very narrow path. Perform very specific deeds or traditions... and WHA LA youre a wise and polished person.

Granted whats stated in a lot of religions or self help books is common sense. You dont need to be a genius to understand what does and does not hurt others or ourselves. What oppresses.

And even if you read something wise at the age of 14, it takes experience and maturity until you can utilize or understand the gravity of those words.

Sorry to be so long winded. Enjoy the ballet workshop! Dont be nervous, dive in with confidence!


Mozart said...

Why can't the "something different" be intangible? Something that we can't physically see or measure....maybe something as simple as eternal life. Can't prove it, but that still sets 'em apart. Or maybe the "virtue" is just being, you know, RIGHT. While everyone else is wrong. I'm not coming across clearly, I'm afraid...

It's a bad God that only allows Believers into heaven, but it's still not a bad argument. That's why I don't accept the premises, while still saying there's nothing inherently wrong with the format.