[T]he safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the
gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden
turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
I've grown accustomed over the years to reactions ranging from skepticism
to hostility at my assertion that I am a Christian. Folks greet this
avowal with the rejoinder that since I was never baptized, don't attend
church, and do swear, drink, etc., and so on and so forth, I somehow can't
be a Christian. But all of these objections focus on outer manifestations
of piety, and I have never claimed to be pious. When I say that I
am a Christian, I mean simply that my world view is informed by a belief
in the allegories of God, the Creation, Man's Fall and the Christ.
These are the stories that shape my understanding of the world around us
and our purpose in it.
I understand the Bible as follows:
God--God is an aspirational figure for mankind. He is omniscient
(he contains all knowledge), omnipresent (infinitely long lived) and, therefore,
omnipotent (God's power is simply a function of having infinite knowledge
and eternal life).
The Creation--At some point, the Universe was created by the conscious
act of a Supreme Being. Alone among the creations, Man is made in God's image, which grants each of us a unique dignity and enables us to aspire to but never to attain Godhood ourselves.
Man's Fall--God, however, did not want his creation to challenge him,
and so he set Adam and Eve down in the Garden of Eden. Their every
need was taken care of and in exchange they were to remain docile.
But when Man ate from the Tree of Knowledge he began the approach towards
Godhood; he had gained the capacity for knowledge. Had Man also eaten
from the Tree of Life and gained infinite life, he would have become Godlike--though morally unprepared for the power he would have wielded.
Therefore, God banished Man before this could happen. This created
the central dilemma confronting Man, the capacity for knowledge is restrained
by a finite lifetime in which to develop that knowledge. The task
facing Man is to accumulate and pool knowledge and to develop as a moral being capable of using such knowledge wisely.
Christ--The God of the Old Testament is a vengeful petty being, very
nearly unworthy of Man's admiration or Worship. In order to better
understand his creation it was necessary for him to come among us in human
form. As Christ he preached a Gospel of universal love and obedience
to God. But lo and behold, when He was tested upon the cross, even
He cried out, "Oh Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?" Even Christ/God
experienced despair. In this moment, Christ/God finally achieved
a full understanding of his creation and he "died" admonishing, "Forgive
them Lord, they know not what they do." He had realized that Man's
existence is such that despair is inevitable and understandable; despair
of reaching the standards that God expects. It is sufficient that
Man strive for godliness and Godhood.
Conclusion: Upon these understandings, I base my beliefs, understanding
that they are, in fact, beliefs: (1.) The Universe was created by
an Intelligence (God); (2.) Man is uniquely, among His creations,
capable of aspiring to become a Creator (God); (3.) This would require the development
of infinite knowledge and the internal restraints not to use it arbitrarily--something that is likely beyond our capacity as mortals; (4.) Man in the Garden was not capable of the reason
(the scienter) to even recognize that he was made in God's image, but freely chose this capacity, rejecting
the secure but beastlike existence offered by God; (5.) The life and crucifixion
of Christ provide us with an important lesson, that even God was not capable
of being perfectly Godlike when he assumed human form, so it suffices for
us to make the effort, even though we will fail. It is incumbent
upon us to try to conform our lives to the laws of God and the teachings
of Christ, but it is not expected, nor is it possible, that we will attain
perfection.; (6.) But, the Law and the Gospel are absolutes against which
we must measure ourselves and when we do not measure up, we have
failed. Morality is not malleable or relative; it is absolute.
Now I harbor no illusions about my creed. I understand that C.
S. Lewis would have been repelled by it. He believed that one could
not craft a Christianity of one's own, but must instead follow the teachings
of the Bible and the Church. Moreover, the afterlife is central to
his vision of Christianity, whereas I view Christianity as more of a political
(i.e., governing relations amongst living men) than a spiritual matter.
Nonetheless, I enjoy his writings immensely and have been reading The Chronicles
of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters since I was a kid.
The Screwtape Letters, originally published in The Guardian in 1941,
is an epistolary novel in the form of Letters from the demon Screwtape
to his nephew, the apprentice demon Wormwood. Each Letter is a beautifully
crafted description of how the forces of evil seek to subvert good men
and turn them away from Christianity. Take the following example:
My dear Wormwood,
So you "have great hopes that the patient's religious phase is dying
away," have you? I always thought the Training College had gone to
pieces since they put old Slubgob at the head of it, and now I am sure.
Has no one ever told you about the law of Undulation?
Humans are amphibians--half spirit and half animal. (The Enemy's
determination to produce such a revolting hybrid was one of the things
that determined Our Father to withdraw his support from Him.) As
spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit
This means that while their spirits can be directed to an eternal object,
their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to
be in time means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy,
therefore, is undulation--the repeated return to a level from which they
repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.
If you had watched your patient carefully, you would have seen this
undulation in every department of his life--his interest in his work, his
affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down.
long as he lives on earth, periods of emotional and bodily richness and
liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The
dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not,
as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural
phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of
To decide what the best use of it is, you must ask what use the Enemy
wants to make of it, and then do the opposite.... in His efforts to get
permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more
than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through
longer and deeper troughs than anyone else.
The reason is this. To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the
absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of
selfhood at its expense.
But the obedience the Enemy demands of men is quite a different
thing.... He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome
little replicas of Himself--creatures whose life, on its miniature scale,
will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them
but because their wills freely conform to His.
We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who
can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out.
We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war
aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings
into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but
And that is where the troughs come in.... Merely to override a human
will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated
degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot
ravish. He can only woo....
Now obviously I like that because it jibes with my view of the Human
Dilemma. Even better is this, from Lewis's Introduction:
I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin."
The greatest evil is not now done in those
sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint.
It is not done even in concentration camps and
labour camps. In those we see its final result.
But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded,
carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed,
and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white
collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks
who do not need to raise their voice. Hence
naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something
like the bureaucracy of a police state or the
offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.
This metaphor, of course, proved to be more prescient than even Lewis
could have forseen. For as the Letters were being published, bureaucrats
in Berlin and Moscow were exterminating humans by the millions and the
Depression and the War would give rise to increasing huge and intrusive
Welfare State bureaucracies, bent on destroying Religion, Family, Community,
any institution which could rival the power of the State. All the
while, and ever so gradually, citizens were willingly ceding more and more
of their autonomy (their hard won Free Will), as we slid into the modern
Liberal godless Hell.
To read Lewis now is to realize that things could have been different;
that a few voices, crying in the wilderness, warned of the authoritarian
netherworld that Western man exiled himself to for much of this Century
as he abandoned God and Christianity in favor of the State and statism.
We are now in the midst of a twilight struggle that will decide whether
we retain sufficient confidence in our ultimate god-given dignity to reclaim our
freedom from the grasp of the State, or whether Western man's crisis of
confidence will lead us back to the Garden of Eden, with our needs taken
care of and our souls extinguished.
There is no better way to gird yourself for the battle than to read
I dissagree with many of your philosophies - Christ was fully God. It says so in the Bible. You said he was less Godlike when He was man, but that is definately not true, except for those things he gave up willingly and knowingly - i.e. omnipresence(humans can only be in one place at a time, though the others of the Godhead were still omnipresent) His glory, but not his authority. He was omniscient - he knew people's thoughts and intentions, he knew people's pasts and futures and he knew their hearts better then they did. Obviously, he was still full-God.
I think you're all wrong, being a christian is not what know, it's what you put your faith in. there is a verse in the bible that says "even the demons believe in God, ans shudder at his name" (i'm not sure what the verse or book is) putting your faith in Christ makes you a new creation. all good works are is something to praise him with, not yourself. satan is not a christian. he is the enemy. God is all knowing. cussing doesn't make you a non-christian. "for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. not by works, so noone can boast." John 3:16. it's the verse that you learn when you're a small child. this is what i believe, and always have. it doesn't say "don't drink, do this, do that, and God will let you into heaven." no he sent his SON to DIE. that's real love.
In reguards to your beliefs: While my first reaction as someone raised in a gospel saturated enviroment is to be shocked and appauled I must admit that I found your beliefs on the utter ignorance or man in the garden to be quite thought provocing.
I must agree with those below me, by your very own descriptions, Satan himself would also be a Christian.
Christ came to die on the cross for the very reason you say He failed... because we cannot be perfect. He took the punishment for us. He also rose again, conquering death.
Also, I must ask you how you can beleive that God is all knowing and at the same time choose to beleive that He still needed to better understand the very thing He created. It seems to me you're conradicting yourself.
I'll be praying for you and thanks for sharing your opinion.
Well, I'm sorry you feel that you can be a Christian and drink, swear and not go to church. It's not enough to believe in God to be a Christian. You have actually got to do his work. If you swear, drink, and don't go to church, how can you expect to be a force of God. YOU CAN'T! I suggest getting in a church and seeing what the Bible has to say about your beliefs and not your own sense of self knowledge.