What got me thinking about this is that I stumbled across a supposed quote from Karl Marx, who is reputed to have said that he was not a Marxist … I really do not care enough about Karl Marx or Marxism … or even anti-Marxism … to waste any time bothering to find out why Marx might have said that … I guess it would be funnier if Groucho Marx or one of the Marx brothers said something like that—but then again, almost any response that Groucho Marx had to something that someone else was actually taking seriously was bound to be funny ... if being a Marxist means that I support the humor and general irreverence of Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx, then I, too, am a Marxist … perhaps it would be safer to say that I am a GrouchoIST.
I do spend a lot of time thinking about what Christ was thinking; what was going through his head; what sort of thoughts does a perfect human have? In particular, I wonder if Christ would have considered himself a Christian; is my Christian behavior good enough for me to congratulate myself on being a good Christian? Do Christians like me really spend enough time thinking about Jesus Christ and His example? If I am not perfect, I should be trying to think the thoughts of Someone who would think constantly about doing whatever was necessary in order to perfect my behavior.
My Frisian ancestors lived, fought and died according the motto, “Lever doot as slaav!” It is better to be dead than to be a slave. Independent people are know that they must collaborate with others, inspire others. They are also necessarily courageous; courage is a like a muscle that is strengthened through exercise, repetition and will. A truly independent and courageous person realizes the importance of NEVER, EVER, EVER starting to think like a slave.
This motto has historical significance; especially for people who believe in what the United States represents. The Frisian republic is the first known republic of independent citizens founded over 1100 years ago in late ninth century … Friesland is first of several independent Dutch republics … which Madison and Hamilton wrote about in the 20th of the Federalist papers ... which are the intellectual basis for the Constitution of the United States.
If the history of the fundamentalist Salem witch hunts were not enough, perhaps we need look no further than the way that the fundamentalist Pharisees decided to murder Jesus Christ.
So I am DEEPLY skeptical of organized religion, but I love Christ and what he did for us. I understand the appeal of religious organizations but I am deeply worried about Phariseeism (i.e. worship of the physical accoutrements and people of the church rather than Christ; a belief that religious organizations and current leaders are the incarnation of God’s will).
I am also trying to understand and appreciate various longings to find a relationship with God. That means that I am one of those Christians who is still trying to make sense of things like the Gospel of Thomas and other early Christian writings … it is not part of the New Testament canon because … early christian were human, fallible. Accepting a certain printing of the Bible comes perilously close to Phariseeism, i.e. worshipping a book rather than genuinely being open to what is God’s will.
The key factor is love of Christ … I am the little brother who genuinely wants to become like Christ … not necessarily like Paul or any other religous leader, not like someone who believes in a printed copy of the Bible as the only word of Christ. So since tolerance starts where agreement ends, I must remain tolerant and non-judgemental of fundamentalist beliefs, but I ain’t buyin’ their argument … not yet anyway.
The same thing goes for the agnostics or atheists … or the people who believe in the scientific method … or the humanists … or the muslims … I will remain tolerant and non-judgemental; I am not going to argue with fundamentalist zealots of any stripe who insist on narrow arguments derived from comfortable assumptions that form a very narrow logical basis—but I am not going to agree with ANY of them … I love Christ, what Christ represents; I want to have sufficient faith and courage to die like Christ [knowing that he was about to descend into hell…].