Fleshing out Natural Christianity …

28 Feb

The Jefferson Bible:  Fleshing out Natural Christianity from the Confusion of Christian Metaphysics

The idea for a natural Christianity is intriguing.  The only trouble is, it stands against two thousand years worth of theistic ideology and praxis in history … a history filled with superstition, religious bigotry, proselytization, and war committed both against believers and non-believers alike by so-called ‘Christian soldiers.’ Christianity, in this case, would do well to re-brand  and remake itself after the manner of Buddhist philosophy and practice (i.e., the Buddhist ‘way of life’) …  and to do this over and above any commitment to religious dogmas it might hold as a faith.

Orthodox Christianity, of course, implicitly understands this fact which is why it emphasizes the centrality of Theosis in its approach to Christian living.  The important thing in life is not adherence to a dogmatic system or to a particular set of religious doctrines or precepts, but in conforming one’s interior life to the divine order of things in the world.  In other words, then, Christianity in the Orthodox view is more about self-transformation and soul-shaping than it is about outright religion or the following of religious rituals. … Ergo, it’s a worthy goal to follow in life minus the divinity part. .. It should be about living-to-reality and to the natural order of the world, and in the process making one’s life a better, more compassionate and moral one. … But is it and can it ever be?  That’s the question we should be asking ourselves as students of religious philosophy …

The point is, theism or god-belief is so engrained in Christianity that it would be an entirely different religion were it to be separated from its current moorings in biblical supernaturalism and the cult of Jehovah.  It would in fact cease to be the faith of christos (the “anointed one”) were it to be de-theologized and its metaphysics removed.

Nevertheless, there’s cause for re-assessing Christianity on such terms. Christianity, at its core, is its moral message and a way of life to follow.  Therefore, there’s justification for pursuing a course of natural Christianity devoid of supernatural metaphysics, without having to sacrifice the foundation of the Christian message.  It can be done.  One exemplar for this is the path set out in the Jefferson Bible. Redacted in 1820 by Thomas Jefferson himself, the Jefferson Bible stands as the penultimate starting point in the development of a natural Christianity.  And, as such, it could be built upon and enhanced as a base for natural religion, to be further modeled and shaped along the lines of Buddhist practice.

In any case, it serves as a beginning … Thank you to Mike Mei at Inspirational Freethought for highlighting the Jefferson Bible vis-a-vis these conversations about secularism and religion.  It really is the essential platform from which any further discussions of natural religion or secular Christianity can be embarked upon. … The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth:  a key piece in the puzzle for developing a true, viable natural religion and secularized form of Christianity.

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http://inspirationalfreethought.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/the-life-and-morals-of-jesus-of-nazareth/

The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth

Feb 20 – Posted by Mike

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The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, assembled in 1820, is the title of the Thomas Jefferson’s edited compilation of the stories in the New Testament. Jefferson literally took a razor and cut out all the supernatural, nonsensical aspects of the Gospels and kept all the stories that had moral value.

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