Monday, 24 March 2014

Embodied Divinity

Non-Incarnational Traditions
In Jewish, Muslim and Sikh traditions, there is only one god who is never incarnated.
In Peter's Pentecost sermon and in Paul's Mars Hill sermon and Epistles, Jesus is a man raised up by God, not God.
Petrine Christianity was a Jewish sect; Pauline Christianity was transitional to Gentile Christianity.

Incarnational Traditions
In most Hindu traditions, many gods temporarily descend in animal or human form.
In Johannine Christianity, the power that created the universe in Genesis was permanently embodied at the Incarnation. An invisible spirit became a visible person. Divinity created, transcended and was embodied in the universe, then re-transcended it while remaining embodied. The key texts are the First Book of Moses and the Fourth Gospel.
In the Christian-influenced Krishna Consciousness tradition, the supreme god is permanently embodied as a blue man.
In a work of Christian fiction, the creative power was embodied as a talking lion in the beginning but returned to the human form at the end.

I discuss acknowledged fiction alongside scriptures in accordance with Alan Moore's dictum that "Religions are higher fictions." Here are four divine-human interactions:

never incarnated;
raised up;
temporarily descending;
permanently embodied.

Christ, Krishna and Aslan are the three permanently embodied divinities.

Addendum, 25 Mar '14: I omitted Gnostics and Docetists who, generally, assert that matter is evil, therefore that God cannot have been incarnated, but who also give an account of the apparent Incarnation as only an appearance. Their views may be akin to those of the Hindus for whom an incarnating deity merely descends, then re-ascends, without remaining permanently embodied.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

He Is Risen?

Everyone dies. In fact, nothing lasts. Inanimate objects are only apparently permanent. Some products of manual and mental labor endure for considerably longer than individual human beings. When it was pointed out to a Northern Irish coal delivery man that he was careless about leaving coal stains in a house, he replied, "There'll be fluers 'n' duers when we're a' deed." (There will be floors and doors when we are all dead.)

Long-lasting mental constructs include religious beliefs ("God"), philosophical concepts ("the Word") and religious-philosophical syntheses ("...the Word was with God and the Word was God"). Long-lasting physical constructions include temples and cathedrals which can even be adapted to express changing beliefs. (One building has been temple, church and mosque.)

Religions usually offer some form of immortality. Buddhism emphasizes mortality while also referring to a timeless Nirvana that is not endless survival but is also mysterious. Some religious post-death states negate or transcend individuality whereas others preserve it.

Spiritualists claim to prove immortality of the soul. Christianity is differentiated from all other religions by the proclamation that "Jesus is risen," not that he was revived two thousand years ago but that he is now and forever alive, having conquered death not as a spirit surviving a body but in a new kind of spiritual body. Quite a claim, if it were true. Christians can access Jesus' immortality but in entirely different ways: Catholics receive Communion; Evangelicals merely believe.

Jesus is also believed to be both Messiah and Savior but the Resurrection is supposed to verify both the Messiahship and the salvation so the Resurrection remains crucial. The belief that he is risen could only have been founded after his death so it was not founded by him. Peter proclaimed the Resurrection and thus founded Christianity. Jesus' teaching, while he was alive, was not Christianity but the same as John the Baptist's, "The Kingdom is at hand." Christians claim that the Kingdom came in the Resurrection but that was not its original meaning.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Two Ways

Two ways that meditation might go:

attention focused entirely on the present - no memories arising;
memories still arising but also a resolution of the identity yet difference between the self that performed past actions and the self that remembers having performed them.

The present self must neither deny responsibility for past actions and their consequences nor remain attached to guilt about them. I performed and remain responsible for discreditable actions even though it was not the present I that performed them. Intuitive understanding of the causes of the past self's actions might help the present self to resolve guilt and continued meditation might generate intuitive understanding.