Friday, March 15, 2013

But the Disciples Were Idiots!

Here is yet another in a series of how Christianity, the religion, is far different than its perversion by human hands. 
a dull, stupid person; blockhead.

One of the things that often strikes people when they read the Gospels for the first time is how much the disciples do not get it. It’s a running theme, or a running gag, take your pick.

Here we have Jesus, teaching important things everyone needs to hear. But over here we have his chosen disciples, getting nary a word of it. From time to time, non-disciple foils are brought in briefly who do get it, as if to highlight the disciples’ doltishness even more. I’m thinking here of the Roman centurion who had “faith greater than anyone in Israel,” for example.

In studies that try to determine who the actual, historical Jesus really was, one of the tools used is this: if something that was embarrassing to the Early Church was left in, it must have really happened, because anyone with any sense would have left it out otherwise. In other words, most people won’t embarrass themselves on purpose unless they can’t get around it, so we can probably safely assume that the disciples got that they didn’t get it and couldn’t get around that fact.

So their doltishness is there on the printed page for everyone to see because the disciples couldn’t get around it. The disciples were dolts, and they knew it.

Here’s the problem we have then: the entire New Testament was written by people who didn’t get the subject they were writing about. They wrote in full knowledge of their lack of knowledge, which shows either courage or foolishness, or perhaps both at the same time.

But this is not how we’re taught to read the New Testament, is it? The disciples got it, we’re led to believe. Otherwise, why read their book?

Now, I’m not saying we can do without doctrine altogether, if by doctrine you mean theological teachings of any kind. I’m just saying that as the spiritual descendents of dolts, we should have absolute humility about what doctrine we do have, and have as little of it as we can get away with, and then probably a little less even than that. Because we probably need even less than we think we need.

Jesus largely did without doctrine, and aren’t Christians about trying to follow his lead? Do you think you should have more doctrine than Jesus?

Far better than doctrine is to describe what God is doing in our lives, to tell those stories. That’s what Jesus did, isn’t it? Tell stories? If doing a little theology helps us get there, all the better. But the good news of what God is doing in our lives always come first, the theology always second.

Beware the theological ideologists. They’re selling something, but good news is free.

The full post here.

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