Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Quest and Mark

I never belonged anywhere.  It is not something which necessarily saddens me any longer.  It's just a feeling that I had for most of my life.  When I look back however, I can't imagine that any one thing is more important to helping make me what I am now.  I don't look to 'fit in.'  I feel very uncomfortable when people treat me like 'one of the family.'  I spent a lot of time thinking this was a specifically Jewish trait but I have learned since this isn't so.  It's just a 'being me' trait.

The reason I bring this up is that I have real problems with atheists.  Not in the way that religious people have problems with atheists.  It's because I was raised by two atheists and I see a familiar pattern whenever I encounter similar minded people.

As stupid as the religion that you come into contact with every day appears, you can't hope to understand religion if you start with negative assumptions about it.  This doesn't mean you have to 'believe' in religion or God or the like.  We have to strive for objectivity if we hope our research will amount to anything.

The reason I bring this up is that I really feel that I am one of the rare individuals who has struck that proper balance.  No I am not a 'believer.'  But I am open to anything when it comes to figuring out the origins of Christianity.  Why not figure out Judaism?  This is a very good case in point.  It really comes down to not seeing any reference to Jerusalem in the Pentateuch and coming into contact with Samaritans when I was a young lad.  Do I need to say any more?

Christianity has always fascinated me but not for the usual reasons.  I am utterly indifferent to what claims to be Christian.  I can't stomach the Nicene Creed.  There are a whole host of things that will prevent me from ever becoming a Christian (not the least of which the name).  Yet I feel very comfortable around things Christian because it reinforces feelings of being an outsider.  I feel very comfortable walking around and between Christian people in the same way that I have always been attracted to black women.  Anything or any place where I feel an outsider gives me a profound sense of freedom.

I can in a sense hold up a working model of how I think Christianity developed in my mind's eye and spin it around and around in my mind without any sense of attachment.  Yet I know where the journey will ultimately lead me.  To a world where quite literally no one else has ever visited in a very long time.  This is because most research into the origins of Christianity are done by people with overt and covert agendas ranging from 'God is great'' to 'God is hate.'

I have on several occasions caught a glimpse of St Mark the artist and Christianity as his artistic creation.  It appears as a flower out of the mud for a split second and then all the problems and difficulties with names, places and faces reemerge and the image disappears.

I read book after book dealing with all sorts of things having to do with earliest Christianity.  Some of them are very good.  But they all miss the mark, as it were.  They feel to see the religion for what it really is - a most beautiful artistic creation.  Judiasm was once an attempt to recreate the lost religion of Moses and the Pentateuch was probably written by Ezra.  I find it very difficult to take pseudepigrapha seriously.

And I am the first to admit that the canonical gospels are corrupt.  I am more than willing to concede that the apostolic letters have been compromised.  Nevertheless as I have caught glimpses of a forty something year old Jewish man from the Common Era wrestling with his artistic creation, I find it very difficulty to resist wanting to know more about him and his work.

I am very confident that my books will never be bestsellers.  I don't expect everyone to share my interest in the discovering all I can about St Mark.  Many people might even wonder what my last hundred posts have to do with that aim.  Nevertheless Mark is always in my heart and mind.  It's not that I believe in him.  Perhaps I just want to test the limits of knowledge.  Maybe saving someone is inherently messianic.

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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