Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Saltire Cross

I don't know if you have any religious people in your life, but there is absolutely nothing stranger to them than someone 'thinking' about Christianity all the time - my hobby of choice.  They can understand:

  1. believing in Christianity
  2. studying Christianity (i.e. a set of beliefs, traditions, texts etc)
  3. hating Christianity (because it is a familiar caricature of 'non-belief' i.e. the Devil 'hates Christ)

Yet sitting around and trying to make sense of this stubbornly senseless tradition seems - well - utterly senseless to them.  My difficulty has always been that religious people can't decide whether this is a factual narrative or some kind of 'symbolic' (or as they like to say 'spiritual') account of Jesus's crucifixion.  Either way what these imbeciles piece together is so stupid that it falls short of either possibility.

Let's start with the obvious.  If Jesus is God he couldn't have also been born from a woman.  Why?  Because God was pre-existent.  A baby starts life at conception.  If God was already alive for thousands of years it doesn't make sense to speak of him being born.  Instead he was just living in a woman's womb for nine months.  I've already mentioned how implausible it is to celebrate Jesus's conception on March 25th, his birth exactly nine months later on December 25th and then his crucifixion on March 25th again.  So let's suppose that this is all some sort of symbolic veneration of a god who was alive for thousands of years and then decided to take a nine month vacation in a woman's vagina for nine months.

I don't know what to do with this line of reasoning.

It's like your wife tells you she cheated on you - in her imagination.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  Do I really want my wife to have sexual fantasies about me after centuries of marriage?  If she did I would think she needs to have her head examined.  If I don't want to married to someone who lies naked in bed all day thinking about me, do I want the other extreme of a wife who has no sexual feelings whatsoever?  I've never understood the Bedouin or Egyptian culture or any other culture that practices clitoridectomy.  Why not just build yourself a robot or make enough money to hire a maid?

Getting back to the issue at hand, if Jesus coming down into a woman's womb and dying on the cross on the same day is a fable, why is the veneration of Christmas any different?  Clement of Alexandria never heard of a December 25th birthday for Jesus.  So the escape for everyone with any intelligence is to say all the talk about Jesus being a God is 'exaggerated.'  This is the ultimate cop out because it neglects the reality that Jesus began as a god and only gradually and through much editorial manipulation emerged with a mother, family and human characteristics.

If anything is true about Jesus it is the fact that ancient Christians thought he was God.  So what's God doing getting crucified on a cross?  The answer here of course is to fall back to the 'exaggeration' idea even if it is never actually articulated.  He must have been a man who was so great he was taken to be god.  No, no a thousand times no!  This simply doesn't work.  There has to be something else and the answer is to be found in Adoptionism. I say that with some reservation because the natural tendency here is to have people say, Jesus was a man who then became God at his baptism.  This was the ancient cop out.  No there is something else here and the only clue we have left to us is the substitution narrative found in the Islamic apocryphal literature.

Oh yes - and the fact that we've got the Cross all wrong.  It was saltire:

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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