thread: 2006-08-31 : I think my expectations are screwed

On 2006-09-07, wundergeek wrote:

Vincent said: Personally, I don't find "so precious that God was willing to die" or "destined for eternal life" compelling, but "profoundly holy" and "of infinite worth" and "worthy of forgiveness" totally work for me.

Vincent, I think you'd be interested in Eastern Christianity - which is of a much more mystical bent than Western Christianity. Western Christianity (Roman Catholics especially) were corrupted by Roman ideas of legalism as well as Teutonic Feudalistic ideas. Eastern Christianity, mostly due to it's lack of proximity to Rome, almost completely escaped this influence.

The idea that Christ had to die to save us from sin is based on feudalistic notions that the severity of a crime is based on the dignity of the person offended. Killing a noble is much worse than killing a peasant. So if you extrapolate that to God, whose dignity is infinite, then there's no way humans as finite beings can expiate the crime of sin. Hence, it becomes neccessary for Christ to step in to save mankind. So the Western idea of "Christ died for our sins" is basically a holdover from the Feudal era!

Eastern Christianity sees Christ's death completely differently. They see Christ's death as the ultimate witness to the life of love. His only mission on earth was to live the ultimate life of love here on earth, and his death on the cross was the culmination of that. Christ's death, therefore, becomes part of an educative model of salvation - making it possible for humans to achieve divinity in the fullness of time.

So it's not that Christianity is inherently cynical. It's just that Western society's ideals tend to choke out idealism. But I'd venture that the Eastern model of "Christian salvation" is pretty damn idealistic.


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