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Jesus is admirable/other ruminations

Posted by Eddie Sylvano on September 19, 2002, at 15:15:59

When it comes to religions, I always get stuck at the supernatural stage. The main purpose for religions is usually (eventually), to explain the unexplainable, and in doing so they typically resort to supernatural forces. To me, then, religiousity boils down to whether or not you accept the idea of a reality not governed by physics. I don't see it.
That aside, I have to admit that I have great respect for the principles and methods espoused by Jesus. Most of the New Testament is accessible to athiests, owing to the fact that it's mainly stories (parables) conveying how one should and shouldn't behave and think. Jesus strikes me one of the most compassionate, sensible, and self-consistant figures in religion (and there are others who qualify). If everyone behaved remotely like him, the world would be much less brutish and nasty. Say what you will about him, he was a unique guy, particularly for his times. I've often wondered if he was compelled by a mental "illness" of his own. One of the aspects of my own mental issues are sudden, intense emotional states, some of which make me feel like *I* am Jesus (intense empathy and painful concern for all around me). The thought of pain and suffering in others deeply aggrieves me.
Does this make me a Christian? I don't believe that he was the son of god, or that there is an afterlife, so I'm not "saved." I just respect his ideas.
When I was married, my wife would take me to her "charismatic" church, where I'd watch a lot of people dance and sing, and later gossip. It seemed to me like few of them truly appreciated what they were espousing. It was more like an ornament to them. The focus was always narrowly on salvation and increasing membership, and rarely on humility or compassion.
On another note, I've always thought it was interesting that one of the symptoms of certain mental illnesses is "hyper-religiousity." Could there be a biological gradient to it?




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