Monday, October 11, 2010

Personal Reflections

Does the truth about a two thousand year old religion really matter any more? I understand that for many people 'faith' is just something they were born with. They pray a certain way and to a certain person because it is something they inherited from their parents.

This perspective is as alien to me as what it is like to be a popular movie star.

I have to admit my interest in the Christian religion began with an inherited dislike for the big European religion. I don't know when my perspective started to change. I am sure my wife had something do with that. I also think that at some point I had to decide whether I want to be a scholar or just some guy with an opinion.

The bottom line is that at some point the study of Christian origins became an important part of my life. In fact, I would say that after being a father, it is the only thing I do that gives my existence any meaning.

It really is a strange thing this religious scholarship business. Most of it comes down to philology. I think that the good scholars learn to love the texts the study the way they used to fantasize loving women. I am one of the few scholars who has actually had the experience of loving a number of women and I can say with all honesty - texts are better lovers.

The first thing is that the beauty of literary works never fade. No matter how beautiful a woman is half of her beauty comes from being narcissistic. In human beings and women in particular beauty is a state of mind. It means doing, and ultimately not doing, a number of things in order to appear beautiful. After a while beautiful women don't seem as beautiful once you get to know them well (and that in turn is why they have an almost ritual interest in shallowness - it has the effect of making them appear mysterious, if only because we spend the first years of our relationship with them wondering what the f. is going on in their heads).

There has to be a reason why the Hebrews developed such a love for the Torah. One could argue that it began with the love that Jewish mothers show their boys. This guarantees all Jewish males to ultimately give up on women and ultimately devote themselves to the eternal female embodied in the Law of Moses.

This of course is an ideal relationship. Not all Jewish men end up shacking up with the Torah. Most end up learning to play golf and cheating on their wives with their secretaries. Nevertheless, I do think that there was from the beginning a Jewish system in place for having men sublimate all the love that was shown them by their mothers into the devotion to religious texts. Just read the Song of Songs when you have a moment again and you'll be reminded of what I mean.

I am always asked by atheists and agnostics whether I am frightened by the possibility that all this study will be for nothing. Yet I don't think that these people ever get it. I don't think they understand that the original Jewish system isn't necessarily about the literal words that appear on the page but instead a means of directing men's attention away from things of this world to things that can only be envisioned in the minds eye.

Now for those who wonder why I have a far greater interest in early Christianity than Judaism the answer comes down to something quite simple. I have an adventurous spirit. I think there is a wholly undiscovered continent in the New Testament which can only be understood by someone with my background or at least someone with an appreciation for the Jewish way of thinking.

I really don't think that outsiders will ever understand the weight of the love of Jewish mother. In all my travels the closest I ever came to it was a black woman's love but that's a whole other story. There are differences between the cultures. It may be politically incorrect to say so but the truth is that there has to be a reason that it was the Hebrews became 'the people of the book.' I just so happen to think that it has something to do with the towering influence of the love of a Jewish mother. Perhaps someone else can come up with a better answer. But if they strongly disagree with my premise I doubt very much that they are in a position to know what I am talking about.

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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