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Paul and Jesus resurrection as after death communication


FireDragon76
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It seems to me, on doing more reading, that the simplest explanation for Jesus resurrection is that it is in fact an after death communication.  An ADC is neither an hallucination nor a fabrication, since they occur in psychologically healthy, normal people. 

The best evidence for this seems to be the apostle Paul himself, the earliest New Testament Christian witness we have.  Paul seems disinterested in what modern day evangelicals think of as a "bodily resurrection".  1 Cornithians 14:45  is evidence enough for this, but there are other passages where Paul makes it clear that Jesus' and believers' existence after this life is qualitatively different from this life. (1 Corinthians 15:50).  The only way evangelicals can explain Paul's words and reconcile them with their own perspective is to twist them beyond the usual meaning (even N.T. Wright engages in this sort of thing). 

I know from my own research, these sorts of stories aren't unique to Christianity, either.  In Tibetan Buddhism, stories of gurus or monks bodies disappearing are known and even said to occur into the present day, and this phenomenon has been studied by the Jesuit priest and Tibetan scholar, Fr. Francis Tiso.

Now that I have reached this currect perspective, I am trying to think about the implications for my own spiritual life.  I am quite alienated from my conservative ELCA parish with its evangelical message- I don't think the message of relentless human brokenness and unworthiness particularly wholesome.   I went to therapy for years to try to heal from emotional pain and to recognize in myself a capacity for self-love, and to have that message eroded seems problematic.

 I've noted some improvements in my life as I distance myself from this kind of spirituality and I resume practicing meditation and adopting a perspective that is more open to humanistic Buddhists and mindfulness teachers (like Thich Nhat Hanh or Tara Brach).  So, I am not sure exactly where I go from here.  I still think believing in God can be helpful for many people, but I'm no longer in agreement with the evangelical emphasis on sin and unworthiness, and the inner passivity and guilt that seems to result from it.

 

Edited by FireDragon76
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3 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

Now that I have reached this currect perspective, I am trying to think about the implications for my own spiritual life.  I am quite alienated from my conservative ELCA parish with its evangelical message- I don't think the message of relentless human brokenness and unworthiness particularly wholesome.   I went to therapy for years to try to heal from emotional pain and to recognize in myself a capacity for self-love, and to have that message eroded seems problematic.

 I've noted some improvements in my life as I distance myself from this kind of spirituality and I resume practicing meditation and adopting a perspective that is more open to humanistic Buddhists and mindfulness teachers (like Thich Nhat Hanh or Tara Brach).  So, I am not sure exactly where I go from here.  I still think believing in God can be helpful for many people, but I'm no longer in agreement with the evangelical emphasis on sin and unworthiness, and the inner passivity and guilt that seems to result from it.

 

I can't say what Paul really meant, or any of the other anonymous/pseudographical authors of the New Testament, and frankly I'm don't even trust a lot of it to have actually been written by the people and/or at the time when they pretend it was written.  Biblical scholarship has for me blown too many holes in the 'reliability' of the NT that I have to take much of it with a pinch of salt as to it's actual accuracy as alleged to be represented by the actual authors.  And this doesn't even begin to touch on what other letters and scriptures there may also have been but which didn't win the war of ultimately being set in concrete as the defined Canon of Holy Scripture.

So for me too, this message of relentless human brokenness and unworthiness is simply not valid and should be disregarded.  We are not broken and to the contrary, every individual is certainly worthy.  We don't need to be 'saved' from anything.  Indeed, words from various biblical authors (or their pseudographical authors) may offer inspiration and in some cases a guide to elements of a well-lived life, but this message of all or nothing that Christianity grew into, simply should be done away with.  I think mostly it is a result of what was initially some thoughts and good intentions developing into what we typically call a 'Religion' and all the dogma and nonsense that goes with that.  I think the 'guilt' part of Christianity developed as a way to construct the religion of Christianity.

I'm starting to learn finally that it's not rocket science - how we live our lives has consequences.  How we behave towards others has consequences.  How we interpret the world has consequences.  Whether these consequences are considered 'good' or 'bad' or one of the zillion shades in between, is all in the eye of the beholder.  

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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

(snip).

I'm starting to learn finally that it's not rocket science - how we live our lives has consequences.  How we behave towards others has consequences.  How we interpret the world has consequences.  Whether these consequences are considered 'good' or 'bad' or one of the zillion shades in between, is all in the eye of the beholder.  

This seems to me well said!

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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

So for me too, this message of relentless human brokenness and unworthiness is simply not valid and should be disregarded.  We are not broken and to the contrary, every individual is certainly worthy.  We don't need to be 'saved' from anything.  

Yet the history of humanity and even a quick look at the local nightly news seems to speak volumes about our brokenness (and sadly, too often, it seems relentless). In moments and lives where men or women have overcome their 'brokenness' or simply chosen for the other over or even at the expense of themselves, such acts and attitudes are recognized and applauded in the world and by others. We know there is a difference, we know when we are not there and we know when we or another is.

It is not a brokenness that is explained by the theistic idea of original sin, rather it is a brokenness that is part and parcel of our struggle to survive (Spong) and to be 'whole' or simply better or at our best. It is easy to see what such wholeness and the overcoming of brokenness looks like: we are drawn to it as a flower is drawn and turns toward the sun.  Humanity is worthy but it is also broken. Leaving God out of it, we don't have to be saved but it is apparent, given our history and our present, that we do need to save ourselves, each other and the world - and this seemingly must be done again and again in individual lives, in each generation and by the whole of humanity.

The biblical authors, like all humans everywhere, had this experience, wrote about it and found their answer and their hope in what they called God. Some did a better job writing and explaining than others.

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Again, this term 'brokenness' suggests that we start out poorly and either get better or worse.  Even watching the nightly news, I don't think that is the case.  Naturally the sensational nature of the news means that the millions of people going about living 'good' lives just doesn't attract attention and we only see the worst (and often stuff that is made to seem a lot worse than it actually is too).

I don't disagree that there are ways of leading one's life that better meets both an individuals values and a community's needs, but to not meet up to these does not mean one is 'broken' but rather that one could be doing something else that may actually be more beneficial to themselves and others.

For me, we are already whole, warts and all.  I think this notion that somehow we can be perfect (i.e. 'whole') comes form a desire to be better.  Nothing wrong with being a 'better' person, which can be addressed in a myriad of ways, but the downside of saying you need to reach this elusive goal of 'wholeness' alternatively means there is something wrong with you now, and Ii simply don't see that for the bulk of humanity.

I like the discussion these people had about 'brokeness':

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessindixie/2016/04/05/is-humanity-fundamentally-broken/

 

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