George Washington in my heart.

It has been awhile since I believed in Jesus as anything more than a man. At worst, a manic-depressive end times fanatic preaching the world was about to end. (Jesus, speaking in reference to the end of the world: "Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Matt 24:34 or Mark 13:30 or Luke 21:32 or many others) At best a man inspired by something divine with a message that could help heal the world. But most of the time I think of him as some guy with a mostly good message, who after his death, through a serious of unusual circumstances became revered as a God.

Even when I was an active Latter-Day Saint I lost my belief in Jesus as being any sort of World Saving Sacrifice. This change happened on my mission when attempting to convert a Muslim man.
For him to understand the context of Joseph Smith, we first tried to explain the Lds perspective of Jesus. He kept asking why God could not forgive sins on his own. Why, if he was all powerful and all knowing, was he unable to forgive sins? (the non-lds perspective is even stranger, since Jesus actually is God the Father as well. 'I can forgive sins, but only while being killed on a cross'). The traditional Lds answers of Jesus being a ransom to pay a debt to God, the just judge, ran through my mind as responses, but before saying them aloud I predicted his responses and realized I had nothing adequate to say. The more I thought of how to answer him, the more convinced I became that he was correct.

Taking into mind this perspective I have of Jesus, it is often somewhat humorous for me to hear people speak of their personal relationship with Jesus, or how he is in their hearts etc. It is comparable to hearing someone say they have a personal relationship with the ghost of Aristotle and that he resides in their hearts encouraging them to do good and use the Socratic method at all times.


Vincent said...

Chris, thanks for saying this. In the various blogs I frequent I have not found such clarity, even in my own comments (especially in those).

It has puzzled me all my life how people know that it's Jesus that gives them that glow of a personal relationship with the top power in the universe. All they have really is a feeling inside. the rest is reinforcement propaganda which they get by going to the church, reading devotional books and so on: till the seed of a vague feeling grows into a tree and leaves no space for doubt.

I think it is almost the same phenomenon as infatuation, that temporary phenomenon of "being in love". It can last a lot longer when the object of your affections is imaginary.

Chris Almond said...

thank you for much vincent. just curious, how did you come across my blog in the first place?

Vincent said...

Interesting question, Chris. I see that your first entry refers to Diaryland. I wonder if it was through that? I had encountered someone called Petrichor there, simply because i was interested in the word and its meaning.

There are other possibilities.

Kyle said...

do you remember how we used to talk about how humerous it was that people could pinpoint the exact second that jesus entered their hearts and saved them? i.e. "I was at the bowling alley eating tater tots and i dipped one in ketchup and right before i put it in my mouth...i was saved."

this post reminded me of mission experience i had (i believe with you, but maybe not) in which we met a man who we dubbed korihor, after the anti-christ in the BofM. this man was doubting the need of an atonement/christ and even the existence of god so we read him the story of korihor. after we read it to him i remember really struggling because korihor (the BofM character) seemed to make more sense and actually win the debate he was having with alma (until he was conveniently struck dumb that is). do you remember this?

Anonymous said...

"It is comparable to hearing someone say they have a personal relationship with the ghost of Aristotle and that he resides in their hearts encouraging them to do good and use the Socratic method at all times."
Chris, its funny that you would poll your Aristotle/Socrates analogy out of the air like that...because I really do have a personal relationship with Aristotle, he knows me personally, and knows my struggle. And my relationship with him started (I was saved) when I took him as my personal philosopher.


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