The arrogance of hope

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5 Responses

  1. Philip says:

    James, after reading your article, while I agree with you when you said “We need to snap out of this progress-obsessed trance that we’re caught in, and realize that at this point it’s all looking downhill from here.”, I must disagree with how you have presented the idea that Christianity is to blame for humanity’s complacency. I fail to see how any one religion, even the biggest ones, are in any way to blame for the entire human race’s problems. If an evolutionary atheist, with the means to plunder the earth’s natural resources thereby decimating the ground at the peril of a less advanced people, chooses to do such a thing, how is that Christianity’s fault? True Christians will use the Bible as their guide, and no where does it say that Christianity is to be the world’s moral police. All Christians are called to help the poor and less fortunate, and to use the now limited resources of earth in a responsible manner, but Jesus Christ never told the Christian church to enter the political ring to legislate it’s beliefs. While speaking on that subject, you quoted Chris Hedges as saying “the “myth of human progress, is heavily propagated through the religion.” After reading that article for myself, I found that nowhere does he directly mention Christianity. He spoke about “crisis cults”, but did not did not elaborate any further. In fact he said something that was interesting: “The long struggle between the human species and the Earth will conclude with the remnants of the human species learning a painful lesson about unrestrained greed and self-worship.” Unrestrained greed and self-worship are some of the evils that Jesus himself condemned. Is the earth being polluted and destroyed beyond repair? Yes, absolutely. Is arrogant Christianity to blame? Absolutely not. True Christianity will never be arrogant, and the Bible says that there will come a time when Jesus will “destroy them that destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18). Which brings me to the second half of your article. Your main thought about Jesus having started the process of setting up Heaven here on earth seems to be born out of a RELEVANT article that talks about heaven, one in which their opinion of what Jesus was saying when He spoke about Heaven is contrary to what Jesus actually said. Jeff Cook’s article “Reimagining Heaven” is aptly titled because it in no way bears any resemblance to the traditional concept of Heaven as described in the Bible. Jeff Cook speaks about heaven as being a concept of a new age or kingdom that was to come on this earth. I quote: “Jesus and the rest of the New Testament writers consistently speak in a way that suggests both that heaven—the sphere of God’s reign, presence and repairing power—is already here in a new way and that it is not yet fully here in another… As such, we should think of heaven and the age to come chasing us, meeting us, enlivening us and beginning to grow right here in our midst. It’s as though the renewal of all things has begun, and you and I are being transformed now into what we will always be.” He quoted a few verses to try and support his idea, but he seemed to miss a very important one. In John 18:11 Jesus himself said “My kingdom is not of this world”. Jesus never spoke of Heaven as being a new age concept that was to grow on earth, as the RELEVANT writer tries to advocate. It is their own concept, and not an idea that is supported by the Bible or believed by all Christians. So in the second half of your article where you say “The theory goes that this Christ fellow arrived a few thousand years ago, told and showed us how to love, and just happened to inject some sort of magic mustard seed that would redeem this broken world. No strings attached, really. Some 2 billion people have bought into the myth; of course, it’s more complicated than this, but there’s no time to dissect eschatology and end-of-the-world theories”, do you not err by trying to pass off one individuals belief as being embraced by an entire religion? Anyway, these are just some of my observations to the thoughts expressed in your article and if you are not too busy I would not mind hearing back from you.

  2. James says:

    Alright, I honestly don’t have time to respond to all your points, but here are two that stand out.

    1. I quoted that Chris Hedges write about the “myth of human progress,” not the bit about it being heavily propagated through religion. And I’m not sure where you’re looking, because he wrote an entire book called “American Fascists” which is all about fundamentalist Christians.

    2. Can you please make an argument without referencing the Bible? It’s circular reasoning and doesn’t lead to anything outside of your concept of truth. Also, I’d advice that you don’t say “Jesus himself said,” as the Gospels were written some 60 years after his apparent death. It’s not verbatim, ok?

  3. Philip says:

    In response to your reply, I would say this:

    1. I have not read his book, I only googled “Chris Hedges myth of human progress” and it led me to a short article that he wroth on 13 January 2013 for the web site

    2. In your article, you were making statements that dealt with the topic of Christian beliefs. Christianity derives it beliefs from what is said in the Bible, therefore I felt it was reasonable to quote from the Bible since you had brought that topic up in the first place. If a person does not want to have the Bible quoted, then it would be wise for them to not start a discussion on religious groups and their beliefs which they get from the Bible. The writers of the gospels were eye witnesses to the events they wrote about, and since it is a first hand account I choose to believe that it is verbatim. Yes, they were written around 60-65 AD but Jesus died on the cross in 31 AD so they were written about 30 years after the events. Which is not as big a deal as you make it sound. Socrates is one of the founders of western philosophy, and everything we know about his teachings come first hand from his students, Plato being the principal source.

    The whole reason I commented on your article was to point out that your portrayal of Christianity, its beliefs, and the idea that “some 2 billion people have bought into the myth” was presented in a way that was inaccurate and biased. A good writer should be impartial when writing about the beliefs of others.

  4. WriterWriter says:

    Ok. First of all, “jesus” is a character, not a real person. That character never actually existed and the character as proposed by the christian bible is a logical impossibility.

    Secondly, how presumptuous of this magazine to suggest they know what “jesus” thought! “Jesus thought heaven had just now begun to grow here, had just now begun to reclaim all the places that had been neglected.” Wow. That is a huge, huge stretch.

    The main problem, however, with this article is the inappropriate blend of science, which is verifiable and testable, with mythology and frankly-impossible characters and events.

    Good journalism relies on facts, and where it concerns statements, journalism also relies on eye-witnesses, not oral histories that were written down anywhere from 60 to 350 years after the fact, and which are based on outright fabrications.

  5. WriterWriter says:

    There is absolutely NO evidence whatsoever “christ” existed, and none at all that person “died on the cross in 31 AD.
    The gospels were written from 60 – 350 years later; NONE of the writers were, or could have been eye-witnessses.

    The bible has a SERIOUS and demonstrable LACK of verifiable history. MANY of the events and people contained therein did not happen/exist; most, in actual fact.

    There IS, however, substantial evidence and support for the fact that the participants at the Counsel of Nicea created various characters and stories and began the work of cobbling those things together. That counsel had three goals: eradicate any power women held, which was substantial before; establish an overriding political control, via co-opting the many disparate “pagan” religions of the time; eradicate the Jewish people by creating a character, creating a spectacular (stolen from some 20 other earlier characters) story about that character and then fomenting the lie that he was killed by his own people.

    Without any evidence this person or any of the events told in the bible actually happened, it is irresponsible and dishonest to make those stories the bases for anything else.

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