Photo by nappy from Pexels
184. Page 150
Until a man is ready to die through the sure meaninglessness of it all - by finding Christ, does his life then become invaluable.
These are the words of Soren himself. He claimed that becoming a Christian aside from seeking redemption through the consciousness of sin is complete lunacy. I am beginning to see what he meant by this.
Regardless how awesome the Christian faith seems, there is so much a child and young adult should experience without the threat of eternal death. Perhaps then, Christianity in its essence should be a religion for adults who already made childish mistakes and must, through sheer will, choose to become better people through self-discipline.
Children who never grow up - need redemption, for they know not what they do - yet their actions burn bridges, maim & slaughter other living creatures, and cause abuse & dissatisfaction among the populace. An adult who takes responsibility for his actions will realize the importance of following at most - a small, tight-knit church; they will be held accountable for their actions.
A word on big churches.
Big churches is where sinful people go to hide from within a crowd. Small churches, or even the home groups of large churches allow people to connect on a personal level - thereby once one falls, they can more easily be called out.
No poet or speaker - no artist correctly assumes the illustration of Christianity, yet this is why we love these artists, for their [over-saturated] works.
For at a distance, Christianity is a lovable thing. Only a dialectician can represent it...[they] eliminate all delusions...for at close range Christianity is hateful and shocking.
Dialectic: Discussion and reasoning by dialogue as a method of intellectual investigation specifically the Socratic techniques of exposing false beliefs and eliciting truth.
186. Page 151
Soren makes the case that the commandments are too strict.
I can offer some advice: Rules are made but adherence to those rules depend on the human condition to become aligned with them. Doing (following) this well means a person might consider becoming a monk - dead to the world. But no - that is not reasonable. We must live amongst others and lead by example.
Expecting men to become perfectly Christ-like in every decision might be a good expectation to set. While failing this standard is what men do daily, it should not deter them from retrying the next. Hell & death to sinners is the ultimate, but Christ will not continue walking with those who value the selfish validation through sinful means.
Christianity being hateful & shocking seems like the ultimate; most of us I think live okay lives and this hateful & shocking aspect of Christianity is the reminder of where sin (ultimately) leads; to hateful & shocking places. It's a reminder that turning from sin & repenting from continuing the path of the unrighteous.
It's then reasonable that men who perform any number of malevolent deeds who do not repent and who walk & make decisions without God and with no aims to become Christ-like - will lead their self by selfishness, ultimately leading to death of spirit.
I wonder if the story of Jesus' crucifixion was a complex analogy to how a spirit could be resurrected through the process of dying to selfishness; the resurrection meaning something along the lines of being resuscitated or de fibrillated from the halted state of heart & mind.
Even my own Pastor does not preach to those who do are not asking about God's grace, unless I suppose, he is on a planned trip to preach the word. I don't know what it's like preaching the Word of the Lord as the Ultimate & Absolute.
So in some fashion, I agree with Soren in 186, that the commandments are too strict. But they *are* commandments; they're not suggestions. They're "demands upon man" as Soren put it.
The Jewish piety. Soren writes is more Christ-like than some Christians he has met.
Mainstream destroys things - the ideas of things, over time. I'm willing to bet that Christianity became the laughing stock of religioun through it's utter publicity. It has been a way for publicly-godly, privately-ungodly people to get a pass through life in a way that makes living comparatively easy. As Soren put it, Christianity has become a *consolation* to weak men.
Soren states that sacrifice is akin to being abandoned by God. How accurate could this be? How did God view the sacrifice of Jesus? Did Jesus actually die the way the Scripture reads? What to God, does it mean to be sacrificed for the faith one has in God?
Soren posits that Christianity is superhuman. Stating that the New Testament "bids Christians take up imitation of Christ" and that he is not able to do that as a "sane" mortal (I used emphasis on sane).
He goes on, writing that he can only use the "model" (his emphasis) for humiliation, not for imitation and again for humiliation, because he cannot use the "model" any other way.
What is the "model" of Christianity? What does he mean when he writes, "and again for humiliation, because I cannot use the "model" any other way?"
188. Page 152
Tells, informs only the absolutely desperate would be driven to follow Christ.
This is true - the few who are in my church are desperate for an answer to their struggle. The struggle is real and there are serious implications to what happens when these people fall away from the Lord. There are serious implications for most of us, but we must be willing to recognize our flaws & desire a new way (a way to salvation).
They who truly, deep down have no true direction, no true guidance, no true self-discipline. They who have no concept of morality which they may otherwise function from. We are lost & destructive. We turn (convert) to the thing we recognize as truly greater than our self; Jesus Christ through the Christian faith.
Christianity's trifecta of semblance to organization: The self (soul), the community (church), and the Scripture (guidance); these three things are which most lost souls are missing a balance of. This may be the reason therapy & medication don't work - it's not personal enough.
The kind of community that the Christian church brings is obviously more powerful than the kinds of communities that exist outside of Scripture which are not focused on the soul through spiritual development. There are undoubtedly various forms of false idols & wrong paths to enlightenment as Leviticus 26:1 states:
You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God. - Leviticus 26:1, ESV (biblegateway.com)
Some of us need balance between all three; from self (introspection, soul), community (church), and Scripture (guidance).
Without each one, we are not held accountable to the importance of each one of those things. Those things are grounding mechanisms. The tension between those three forces are what's needed to maintain equilibrium. This I think will suffice as an explanation as to why Christianity is a demand upon man. These three things take a lot of work. When man goes out into the world, coming from these three places in solidarity (being without worldly pleasures, operating on God's frequency), I believe is what creates strong men. Resolve.
For a person's mental capacity to maintain its resiliency and function in the worldliness of modern society.
188. Page 152
Soren says Christianity is and must be so terrifying that an absolute *Must* can drive a person to it.
But this initial principle has been abolished, thereupon came the adoption of the second step of Christianity: meek gentleness.
What is meek gentleness? Is it what's leading many social justice movements today and society's acceptance of worshiping false idols? Is it the thing that has led us to become passive to the conviction of sexual impurity?
Soren continues by saying this is a great detriment *to our generation* as a child "wheedles" their parent to become less strict. Are toddlers learning how to twerk? How can parents to be okay with this?
It is because they are led not by the one true God, but unto their own selfishness. The Ultimate & Absolute is death to those who refuse God's demands - who walk so far into their own selfishness that God allows them to walk forth into the darkness of the world.
We speak in Ultimate ends, because there are many steps before eternal death. It takes conscious decisions as offerings to the devil - the self. It takes many choices to deny God.
Soren you'd think, by reading this journal, sounds at first to be basing his argument in that becoming a Christian is lunacy, for you would volunteer to be sacrificed (abandoned by God, according to Soren).
However by reading further into his reasoning, it seems that while he identified the harshness of Christianity, he also exemplified how far away the Christian has fallen as modern men are weak.
He brings it up - the "second step" of Christianity is "meek gentleness," ultimately this is a detriment, because it redefines authority in a way which is does not produce disciplined, humble servants of man. Rather, "meek gentleness" produces doubt that authority should have the skills to organize others around an idea that there is a higher calling.
The higher calling would then seem unimportant if no authority has the courage to take the stand to insist that things are not right, that things must change.
There are many points that need to be explored here. I encourage you to take keywords or phrases and do some more digging.
188. Page 152
Soren says that the world most of all today, needs authority figures who declare commands prefixed by "Thou Shalt!...with conviction," uttered with authority.
That alone can set things going and he who would implore another: "Speak severely to me." might not have a bad sense of his own weal.
Weal: a sound, healthy, or prosperous state
...our contemporaries are appealed to as if *they* constituted a final court of appeal...there is no teacher anywhere and no men being taught...every gathering is the master...every individual must pass examination under that master. 188. Page 153
189. Page 154
Interesting. I always have been seeking forgiveness from those I feel I have wronged. Now I wonder today what people think of themselves - do they think they are God with nothing to be sorry for?
Do people these days believe, even though to us who are aware and concerned, they are right in their ways as to mean they are without sin? Is not pride a sin? Is it not a sin?
Soren writes from 1848 that was 2022 minus 1848 which equals 174 years ago. This man noticed the acts & deeds of the self-righteous even of his own time.
[Sin] concerns one's whole self which is sinful and has a corrupting effect as soon as it gets the least bit of leeway.
Soren says that the forgiveness of man is unlike the forgiveness of a child, where the child goes essentially unchanged. Once a man is forgiven, he becomes spirit-minded. An eternity is added to his age...all spontaneity and attendant selfishness, it's selfish clinging to the world and to the self, are lost.
He writes about how children ask forgiveness for a particular thing, whereas men ask forgiveness for generalities. The child is unaware his actions may be evil.
Soren is saying that forgiveness has more to do with the soul, rather than a specific transgression.
We can re-read Sorens journals like a chapter of a Bible and see his opinions in another respect by drawing meaning through interpretation, but I think Soren writes in a clear way - I think he means what he wrote.
He briefly covers what spiritual maturity is:
[H]e who does not believe his sins are forgiven, means that a man will (or may) not see himself as a spiritual being.
This is interesting, too.
"A man will not see himself as a spiritual being" could mean a few things:
- While in a moment of epiphany: He will not realize another way
- As a gift of introspection: He will not humble himself before the Lord
- Forgiven in the flesh: He will continue making the same mistakes
- Who he is, reflected by others: His peers will not see him in a good light
- In the afterlife: He will not go to heaven
This is the kind of verbiage which Soren writes, seemingly to be interpreted by the reader.
Spiritual maturity is losing all spontaneity; man cannot do anything of himself but can only do harm to himself.
Here lies: the Absurd, The scandal, The paradox, The forgiveness of sin.
Most human beings never become mind-and-spirit. They never experience any spiritual development.
I think the call here is quite clear: we should be seeking higher power & purpose. Let us, regardless of our age, not be too hard on our self. For through we seek truth, it does take time to undo the sins & behavior of the past. Though let us also not give up, for the spiritual warfare has just begun and there is much healing to perform.
Let us set the phone down and pick up a book on philosophy. Let us delve deep into our own thinking and find a home group through a church that we might be held accountable to show up for & be corrected by our peers when it is necessary.
Let us rejoice - for the seriousness of our salvation is at hand. This is not a joke. Are you ready to die?
Until next time.
- Fenix Book Reviews