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Old 05-10-2001, 08:52 AM   #1
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Post Jesus, Elvis, Buddha and Tupac

My working assumption is that the gospel accounts are not empirical history, but lie in a stream of tradition that--when followed backwards--does not lead to the conclusion that the Christian religion was founded on miraculous events, but can be traced back to a person's words and deeds that profoundly moved and influenced people.

The resurrection and subsequent appearances were simply the way these particular first-century Jews formulated their belief that the same person who taught them and influenced them before his death continued to be at work in their lives after his death. They grabbed and adapted all the mythic metaphors floating around in their culture to bolster that belief.

We have all heard of the hysterical outpouring of shock and grief at the death of Elvis Presley. We have heard of the many post-mortem sightings of him after his death. We have seen the mass candelight vigils to Graceland on the various anniversaries of his birth and death. Now comes an April 16th article in Time Magazine documenting the many sightings of the late rapper Tupac Shakur since his violent death in 1996. He has been seen in and out of recording studios and glimpsed dancing in night clubs.

When Buddhists contemplate Guatama, perhaps a similiar--though inward--phenomena occurs: the Buddha is somehow "present" with followers in meditation and/or in ordinary life.

Then we have the Yugoslavian teens who have seen a vision of Mary from time to time.

The Time article finishes up with an old Nigerian proverb which not only speaks a truth to Nigerians, but becomes applicable to all religions and speaks to the theory that spirituality seems to be "hard-wired" into the human brain:

"You're not dead until you're forgotten"

The concept of resurrection is not such a mystery when studied in the context of history. It is when Christians start literalizing the sacred and thus accepting the manipulation of the space/time universe--subverting, if you will, the "divine consistency" of how reality works--that scares me.

The fundamentalist/evangelical propensity for "woo-woo" fantasy and capricious "God wrought" truths (such as giving birth with an intact hymen, the right side of a giant throne up in the sky where a sort of mythical giant "god man" is supposed to sit and judge the rest of us, tales of a human being who could walk on the surface of a lake, a violent upheaval of the planet caused by an angry god's divine ethnic cleansing plans, etc.) have a real potential for legitimizing violence and abuse toward anyone who does not see things their way.

And that is frightening.

More than a century ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend and said "the church's meddlings have caused good men to reject the whole in disgust."

Those who have managed to put away childish things have to realize there are still a lot of ignorant, fearful and childish people left behind in the sandbox. How these spiritual pygmies will react to the dislocating change sweeping through the world is going to be everybody's problem.

[This message has been edited by aikido7 (edited May 10, 2001).]

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