The Christian message made sense to the Early Pagans because they were conversant in Aristotle. (Either that, or they were Jews, but that’s another show.) It was considered cultured to know Aristotle, but Uncultured to believe the evidence of the senses. Those who had difficulty– the Athenians, if you look at Paul’s writings– were sophists and relativists, because it is in sophistry and relativism where you can truly live the unexamined life.
It is this unexamined life which is what “Momentary Living” is all about. How is it you can go unexamined? Because all it takes to push away all constructive critique– or all comparisons or thoughts you don’t like– is to be nastier and more clever than anyone else. And folks, humans excel at that. Just look at any gutter trough com box on the blogosphere.
If people don’t understand *why* we try to improve ourselves as an expression of LOVE, then our arguments just don’t make sense. Often times, what they believe is *love* is just some fuzzy feelgood nonsense that is based on a feeling, and not real sacrifice. If you don’t know that humans are flawed creatures from the get go, it can be hard to wrap your head around the need for redemption– or even sin.
If you believe that ideas are just things that live in your head and don’t affect anyone else, then why choose any other path than what immediately occurs to you is really outside your ability to explain. If you don’t know why truth exists, or that it must exist for the world to make sense, for science to work, and for ideas to have consequences, well… then we’ve lost any stakes in being present for the discussion.
I say these things because I have had a friend who want me to remove all crucifixes in a sleep area because said friend thinks I worship torture. I guess this is a common thought, considering the cross without the corpus is called “The Christian Cross”, and the Crucifix is… something else?! Tell me this, people. What wisdom or symbology does the cross have without Jesus?! The softer the edges get on Christianity, the faster people flee. Why? Because it’s human nature, that’s why. We want things to be real and true. This has some serious consequences.God’s sacrifice was as terrible and visceral as it was, because of our nature, not His. We simply wouldn’t believe that He loved us until he went to the Cross for us, then we refused to believe he could be God until his Resurrection. If you’ve ever wondered why us Catholics are big on our Crucifixes, that’s it. A cross without Jesus is just empty suffering. The irony being the World’s perception is %100 contrary to the Truth. That, my friends isn’t merely falsehood but error.
I am the last person to tell you that Love is not important. But we have all focused on the things we want to feel, the loving comforting sensations we want to partake in. I learn this from myself. I know I did not want to give God my health. I wanted to be in control my life and death– because god knows I don’t want to be a Victim Soul or one of those Sorry but Blessed saints who scares the crap out of me. I feel pain a lot and I don’t want to feel more of it.
But I have to quote Peter and ask, “But where else can I go?” The Christians are the only ones left who will take me. I’m damaged goods. I’m married and aim to stay that way. I have changed so drastically that most of my friends say that– “Well, she’s always been a bit crazy.”
They might remember that I always believed in a moral sense– that changing theories about divinity or it’s nature was rather like changing underwear. I got rid of whatever didn’t fit my perceptions, what had holes, and discovered I was about to be condemned to atheism just because nothing fit, nothing didn’t have holes, and every message I received wound up contradicting itself about six months later.
My crisis was ultimately… WHAT IS TRUTH?! Don’t be snide, Pontius Pilate. You conversed with Truth Himself and didn’t even know it. You couldn’t even believe your own wife when she told you what was what out of Love. I like to think he repented before he died, but I think the Church might have not listed him in the Credo if he had. Or perhaps, as a Christian, he could bear it easily.
But the actual answer to my crisis was the Catholic faith– all because it does fit neatly together in one big tapestry that makes up the whole of Classical Western Thought and the the teachings of the Roman Catholic Faith. Only something this comprihensive– dating back to the God of the Hebrews– fits with my notion of what the Creator would try to do for us. How He would never stop trying to love us and communicate with us, and reveal to us His Love. And it would be real, and actual, and he would go through anything to prove to us His sencerity and mercy.
So, there we are. That “Momentary Living” was a big pile of words meant to have you ask yourself– and me– so what is GOOD? What is Truth? The sad Irony is that Pilate was in the perfect position for conversion. What every believer should have the honesty to ask himself is that. Because from there on out, you can start covering the contexts of Christian Teaching– rather than the “pillars of the earth” that Aristotelian thought gives us.
It is from here that we derive both authentic orthodoxy, productive philosophy, science and the concept of universal morality. Indeed, for thousands of years people have believed that the Christian morality was the universal morality. Funny how, instead of trying to define a new morality, they are trying to define– no morality at all. Makes you think, doesn’t it?