Rocket Kirchner addresses Steven Fry’s critique of God out at Dandelion Salad. Fry interprets the existence of suffering as proof that the Christian God is a fantasy. My response to one skeptic follows:
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Response to a post on the Archangel Michael by IB:
I have this wisdom from Jakob Boehme taped across the top of my monitor at work:
If you ask why the Spirit of Love cannot be displeased, cannot be disappointed, cannot complain, accuse, resent or murmur, it is because the Spirit of Love desires nothing but itself.
Mi-ke-el translates roughly as “seeker of the godly.” I would guess that in most cases the fear felt by others was fear of self-knowledge – of their distance and isolation from God. Even worse, perhaps that the seeker Michael would penetrate the fortress of personality that guards what little of God remains in us, and thus bring about the loss even of that portion.
The ultimate rebuke of love is for the sinner to become aware of how badly they have hurt themselves. It is to gently show them what they could be if only they surrendered self-love and accepted the gift of love that is tendered from the Divine Source. So when I see someone pointing a finger of condemnation, I always look at their faces and body language. Are they hurting themselves with their rebuke? If so, I tend to question their motives.
I see this as being very much of a piece with your post yesterday. Well done.
Beyond Red and White
Today I finished Sera Beak’s Red Hot and Holy. Up to the last 30 pages, this was the most constructive way that I could deal with it:
I could elucidate the undercurrents of misandry in Sera Beak’s Redvolutionary Theology, but what is essential of my critique of her book is not specific to her dialectic, but instead universal.
Sera has been seduced by spiritual power and comforting logic, but that seduction adheres to a process that has led many people – both men and women – into a similar trap. The trap is the rationalization of personal powerlessness through construction of a historical narrative that liberates the primitive mechanisms of survival. While Sera’s historiography is not overtly incendiary, in contrast to that of a man like Hitler, it carries the same traps: it focuses us on the past rather than liberating us into the realization of a future rooted in trust.
The fundamental cause of Sera’s error (shared by so many others) is to believe that the material circumstances of our existence, currently dominated by the manifestations of human will, are the cause of our suffering. It matters not whether one is Richard Dawkins looking back 7000 years to an era of superstition or Sera Beak looking back 9 million years to the origins of patriarchal dominance. Both critics of the “status quo” fail to recognize that the source of our trouble goes back much further than that, and so they fall into the same trap that many Christian theologians do: laying blame on humanity (or half of humanity) for originating sin.
The wisdom I have to offer is this: it matters not why we are in pain. It matters only whether we can find healing. My experience is that true healing will arise only from a conciliation that melts all dichotomies: man and woman, matter and spirit, science and religion, artifice and nature, animate and inanimate. Why? Because the reason we suffer pain, as Sera recounts, is that we are incomplete. The only way to fill the gaps that distort our personality is to welcome what we are not.
This is what loving is all about. It’s not about healing us individually, because that hope is misplaced. True love, offered unconditionally, heals divisions and creates harmony.
Sera, you need to tell Kali to stop being such a narcissist. It is not about her. It’s about everything.
So then I get to Chapter 20, and Sera turns around and pronounces everything that I’ve written to this point. Her historiography is indeed a projection of a spiritual infection in the Divine Feminine. She recounts accepting and facilitating the destructive suppression of feminine spirituality through a long sequence of lives, much as Saul did to Christians before encountering Christ on the road to Damascus.
The only insights I have to offer at this time, Sera, is this: you are capable of incarnating the Rouge Lady in this place because she sees in this place, at this specific time, the potential to heal her infection through you. Spirit cannot do work on itself, it needs matter to disentangle the twisted threads of personality. It is as Jesus said [NIV Matt. 16:19]:
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
I hope that you realize that it is not in spite of men that this work is possible. The Divine Masculine is also making his presence felt, and doing the best that he can to clean his house. It would be beneficial to compare notes. Solidifying the truth of Their manifestation may be possible only through the mutuality of a response to this, the last of the exhortations Jesus delivered with tender compassion to the rulers of his age, as he looked through the centuries of pain their weakness would cause them:
You! Say I am!
Here we are.
No more doubts. No more partial truths, corrupted by political expediency. No more relying upon wisdom received from the past. We stand or fall on our own.
It is going to hurt. Humanity had at its disposal all of the tools needed to avoid this eventuality, but they were not marshaled and applied to that purpose. Rather, we focused on our material needs, attempting to separate ourselves from the cycles of nature. In the end, though, we are faced with the fact that we are not as powerful as they. They will hold us to account.
What are we to hope for, then? This: we are designed to organize resources other than the material elements made so convenient to us. It is there, in the realm of spirit, that we must accomplish the work of design that will liberate Human Nature from naive and foolish choices.
If we are inmates, then we have control of the asylum. Our only option is to become therapists. What use to hate crazy people? We are them.
Walk through time with us. The patient suffering of the lamb opens gates through which all truths are revealed. The joyous dissolution of masculine and feminine heals the divisions that separate us from understanding. When we surrender ourselves to service, we see each others’ need, and the Love of the Divine flows through us and heals our longing.
Here is the conundrum: If the “fantasy God” made a perfect world in which everything unfolded according to his will, then there would be nothing to love, because his will would be all. Since love requires an object to exist, the creation of such a universe would be a form of self-annihilation.
So we are granted the option to not heed the will of God – we are allowed our own free will. Unfortunately, many of us chose to play at being gods ourselves, and it is in imposing our will upon others that sin occurs.
The Christian proposition is that if we learn to submit ourselves in service to one another, we obtain access to enormous amounts of power. I won’t bother you with how that manifests in the New Testament – you’d simply assert that science disproves the possibility of the events that transpired. But to the person of faith, the healing accomplished by Jesus and the Apostles indicate that many ills that we suffer are not of God’s will. In fact, if we surrendered ourselves to the dictates of love as Jesus did, those ills would be unable to obtain purchase upon us.
So Rocket is right: we are misguided to refuse (or worse, misuse) the gift of love and then decry the consequences of its absence. And it is hypocrisy for Fry to say “God, you didn’t intervene to save the children!” when God created Fry and gave him wealth to so intervene. We were made in God’s image, which can be interpreted as “we are his intervention.”
And, given the huge amount of charitable work and giving provided by people of faith, to challenge faith is also counter-productive. The faithful understand that the world is imperfect. We simply choose to keep on giving, in part because we feel our hope sustained by the endless love that arises in our hearts.