Monday, 1 November 2010

95 Theses

The following theses are not a statement of the House of Every. They were written as a reformation challenge to the protestant church and in a humble action were blue-tacked to the door of the West End Uniting Church on Reformation Day, 31st October, 2010. There was some engagement with the Church after that which was very well received by individuals, acutely aware their congregation is dying of irrelevance, but it was also clear that there was no will to take on the institution of the Uniting Church even in a small way.

The document is included here in archive as an illustration that the basic theological system behind the House of Every does have a reformist application to any House of God, and the vision of Every is not merely to build a new religious institution, but to challenge all modern religion to examine itself with a view to modernising reform.

[Reposted here from Facebook]

The 95 Theses

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at West End Uniting Church from 6.30pm, under the presidency of the teacher Hamish Alcorn, free philosopher and theologian. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so on Facebook.
By the grace of the One Ineffable God. Amen.
1. The House of God throughout history has been on the forefront of the search for meaning and truth, the search for God. The Church no longer occupies this place.
2. The Church has been forced to accept a Galilean view of the visible universe, and to adapt to a Darwinian view of creation, yet neither Galileo nor Darwin, both Christians, are admitted as prophets, saints or holy men.
3. There was no celebration in discovering these truths about the universe; these truths about God, but there should have been great celebration.
4. The Church has not, in response to these major challenges from science, had any major review of its assumptions, nor proclaimed mea culpa. The Church has given ground to science reluctantly, only as much as it has been forced.
5. If Christianity is to survive as an important force against superstition and fundamentalism in the community, then a thorough review of theology is required.
6. If Christianity is to not be reduced to fundamentalism as the moderate and intelligent church dies with this generation, a thorough review of theology is required.
7. If Christianity is to continue the Christ Ministry of the churches, by which we mean helping the helpless, then a thorough review of theology is required.
8. If the Church is to attract the Christians from the community it is going to have to thoroughly review its theology.
9. If the Church is not going to leave all the talent of God's people for the universities, businesses and political parties, it is going to have to thoroughly review its theology.
10. For there is much in our theology that, without indoctrination and suspension of some faculties, is indefensible. The Church must immediately abandon all trenches that can no longer be defended.
11. Of all of these absurdities, the most dangerous and offensive to God is scriptural canon.
12. The mystery of Logos has been solved, and the solution is the heart of the New Reformation.
13. Logos = God's Word=Language, language meaning the universal syntactic structures that have been found by linguists to underlie all human language.
14.Logos is not made by humans, but is an extraordinary natural phenomena, God's creation. Logos, like life itself, was implicit from the beginning.
15. Language has its own logic which gravitates, despite our great resistance, and over great stretches of time, toward knowing.
16. We and our books and computers are merely the hosts of Logos, which is alive in us.
17. The logic of Logos jumps ahead of the host sometimes, and this is called prophesy. Today no one can have a new independent thought without another seven thousand having the same. Having a new thought - constructing a new sentence - is sure indication that the thought, insightful or deluded, is being had throughout the World, for we are but hosts of the thoughts, and harbingers of Logos.
18. Studying is seeking God, and participating in the great project of knowing, which God has constructed.
19. Spreading the Word is the Church's duty. Spreading the Word means firstly spreading literacy, then education in all its forms. Education need not be about God, for all education is about God.
20. Seeking truth; seeking knowing, is the Church's duty.
21. The Church must vocally demand that theoretical physics and theoretical mathematics be reinstalled in universities, because we seek God.
22.If the universities won't do it, the Church should investigate funding to research, for theoretical science is seeking God. Here is opportunity for God's House to once again lead the search for God.
23.Do not fear the battle of ideas, feet shot with the gospel of empathy. All ideas can win the day with clever rhetoric, but over many contests worthy ideas dominate, and unworthy ideas are relegated. If we despise the conflict in the name of despising conflict itself, there is never victory for the truth.
24. Rich with history, insight and wisdom that it surely is, The Bible is such a small part of God's word that the Church should be ashamed of its narrow vision of God. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10 is as inspired as Matthew 5-7. The Church is studying a minute part of Logos.
25. Take a wisdom from the Taoists: The Logos that can be written is not the eternal Logos. God will not be etched into paper any more than God will be carved into stone.
26. For God is infinite and ineffable, nameless.
27. God = Everything. Everything = God.
28. This is the only conception of God of which it can be said, "The theologian seeks the same God as the scientist."
29. This is the only conception of God which answers the question, "What is it that creates, ordains and destroys?"
30. This is the conception of God which nullifies the impossible difficulty of first causes, because the creator and the created are one.
31. There is an Everything, and it is not a matter of faith.
32.There is only one Everything.
33.Everything is unambiguously omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient.
34. Everything is the One God, and the Second and Third Commandment recommend that we cannot name, describe, replicate, represent, articulate, carve or paint the One God.
35. God has no gender, race or age. God has every possible gender, race and age.
36. To the Hebrew people calling a man 'God' was unambiguously idolatrous and heretical.
37. To many early Christians calling a man 'God' was unambiguously heretical.
38. To Islam, the idea of a man-God is still unambiguously heretical.
39. If any other religion had a man-God, Christian theologians rightly declared them heretical for that reason.
40. Jesus himself, a good Jewish man and the inspired founder and prophet of Christianity, would be appalled at the idea that his followers might call him God.
41.We need no text to tell us that Jesus is not God. We need believe no text that says that he is. It is not merely idolatry, but transparently ridiculous.
42. All people are God's people, just as all possums are God's possums.
43. "These are God's people; not those" is also idolatry.
44. God has built the Temple of Earth, and all of God's people worship therein, and seek God. Mind the Temple for it is holy.
45. Logos is God awakening in the Temple of the Earth. God is arriving and we are God's host. This is the mystery of Logos, and of History.
46. People may say that taking the divine authority of the Bible and the divinity of Jesus out of Christianity would leave nothing left, and at that Jesus weeps the most.
47. For what is left of our religion when we humbly shrug off our idolatrous past is the milk and honey.
48. The message of Jesus happened not when he was killed, but when he was alive; when he taught.
49. Jesus' keynote speech is the Sermon on the Mount.
50. Jesus' message is love, be righteous by the Ten Commandments, confess directly to the one wronged, forgive ourselves and others for our humanity, and think of others when we act toward them.
51. Jesus' message is, in a word, empathy.
52. Jesus' ministry, then and now through his Church, is helping, and especially helping the helpless and forgotten.
53. The Ten Commandments are Humanity's Bill of Responsibilities, a sketch-guide to righteousness.
54. They are to be a guide to children and the spiritually young, and a guide when the state fails, just as a Bill of Rights when the state is too much. They ensure, if they are taught, the survival of a society through any circumstance.
55. It is the Church's role to maintain the Bill of Responsibilities, but to be adequate they require amendment.
56. The Tenth Commandment, against envy, merely does for stealing and adultery what Jesus did for the commandment not to kill. With Jesus' help it is dispensable.
57. The Tenth Commandment must become, "Thou shalt not impose thyself upon another," which from the pulpit should be taken to mean an edict against rape (including statutory rape), kidnapping and slavery in all its forms. This completes the Commandments as the Bill of Responsibilities, separate from the Laws of the Land, which are the business of the State.
58. This example must be heeded! A 2000 year old text is inadequate, unflattering to God. We have had no good scriptural guidance against slavery or rape for these millennia and it shows.
59. It is the Church's duty to keep seeking perfection, never to carve its wisdom in stone and rest.
60. “If The Bible is not the Logos”, it shall be asked, “why should we privilege the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount?”
61. They have stood the test of time and have uniquely attracted interest from other religions.
62. They are defensible and they have important spiritual and social utility.
63. Between the two documents they provide the narrative for our religion of empathy and love. The answer then is tradition, spiritual utility and defensibility. The religion is strong with these two documents.
64. Jesus ended his famous speech, which directly reference the Commandments, with a stern exaltation to make these ideas the foundation of our lives and of our religion (our 'House').
65. Jesus' doctrine had nothing to do with substitutionary atonement.
66. Substitutionary atonement is indefensible, anachronistic nonsense. It is also barbaric. If God ever says, "sacrifice your son to me," seek medical help immediately.
67. We are saved, liberated from guilt, fear and anxiety, through our forgiveness of others and love for others, and this is the best spiritual news the world has ever heard. (Matt 5:22,44-45;6:12,14-15;7:1) This is the Good News. If this most simple and elegant of doctrines is taught as Christ's one message of salvation, it is compelling, contagious and genuinely liberating. It works.
68. The Gospel of Empathy is such good news that it is the Hope of the World. Never let the name of Jesus or any other doctrine get in the way of the Hope of the World. The messenger is not a barrier to the message.
69. The nonsense insults God, and makes fools of Jesus' Church, so there shall be little regret in casting it off.
70. Some branches may fall, but the new growth will exceed the old.
71. Search for truth, for knowing, with all your mind, heart and soul.
72. Cease apologies for no longer being the guardians of truth, and boldly take back the ground.
73. Science and research are fine pursuits for a seeker of God, as is all study and research. Science studies only God, as there is nothing else about which to enquire.
74. Science cannot serve spiritual needs on its own. Science cannot serve community needs on its own. Science cannot tell us of our responsibilities to God. It can neither verify nor affirm the Ten Commandments and without some aid to will it will not conduct Christ's ministry.
75. Be positive with truth, not ashamed, for the Church is a guardian and a warrior of truth, but also be respectful to all of God's people.
76. With a defensible theology the Church can once again be a force against superstition and fundamentalism.
77. With a defensible theology the Church will have credibility in the public realm.
78. But with a defensible theology the Church will also attract renewed criticism, for now the Church is so intellectually backward that criticism is impolite.
79. The Church will be a force in the community, and with Christ at the center will be a good force and an important force in this next great age of History.
80. Sing and make music. Like Logos, music is the breath of God, and is in God from the beginning.
81. Worship with music then with language, the latter emerging from the former. Privilege neither. Excel in both.
82. Practice the Christian practices - baptism of cleansing, communion, and feasts of love in Jesus' name, in remembrance of Jesus, but only in joy. Never frown on laughter.
83. Dance with all of God, for all of God is a dance, sometimes leading, sometimes following. There is a time for all things.
84. Pray to God. The connection of ourselves to God by the concentration of our mind is a feature of all religion. It is our love for God expressed, and it helps our dance with God.
85. Concentrating the mind upon God before sleep is best, because we get the benefit of the meditation of sleep with our mind set at its widest aperture.
86. Pray in the format which Jesus instructed (Matt 6:9-13), meditate upon the prayer, and direct it to the One God, ineffable and marvelous.
87. God will not break God's Laws for you, thus Jesus taught us only to pray for our bread, to keep us from catastrophe, and for forgiveness ("as we forgive"). Prayers to the One God will help us in these things and foster, statistically, serendipity, as will all meditation upon the One. This proposition is falsifiable by scientific investigation. Dare.
88. God hears because your very minds are of God, your environment and all its people and scriptures, and the heavens and the wind, are all God.
89. If you listen God is speaking all the time, but, as the Apostle taught, "Rightly divide the Word of Truth." (ii Tim 2:15)
90. Discernment between the inspired word and the "vain babbling" is our responsibility (ii Tim 3:16-17), just as Luther taught that salvation was our responsibility.
91. If God speaks, by vision or voice, it is not a thing to be ignored, and it may prove important, but scrutinise the voice as any other source. No thing is revealed but by the discerning engagement of mind seeking God.
92. Ignore not the other traditions of God. They host the name Logos of the same God, and are God’s people. All seekers of the one God, the only god we can seek by definition, can swap notes and learn. From the East Christianity has a lot to learn about psychology, sexuality and human nature. On these subjects our tradition has largely failed us. But scutinise everything, as diligent students of all things, and seek the truth in all things.
93. There is one God. There is one God's people worshipping in the Temple of Earth. There is one Logos inhabiting God's people and seeking, through God's people, the truth about God.
94. In a new dispensation, relevant and dynamic, these Eight things God requires of Jesus' House:
a. Seek God
b. Develop a theology which you are willing to robustly defend, making use of all of God's Word
c. Carry out Christ's ministry, helping the helpless wherever possible as well as one another.
d. Teach the Word, beginning with literacy wherever necessary
e. Maintain the Bill of Responsibilities based on the Ten Commandments
f. Teach the Gospel of Empathy
g. Make music
h. With careful respect for all of God's people, oppose heresy, superstition and fundamentalism, particularly and most deliberately when such enters public life.
95. If any person thinks any of these words wise because they are well written or because they believe in some virtue of the author, then they have received no wisdom from the words. These words are wise if they sustain the scrutiny of those who earnestly and integrally seek God, "Rightly dividing the word of truth."
By these creeds or others akin to them I pray that Jesus' Church, his legacy and continued life and ministry on Earth, may be renewed for a new age.
Humbly, and only by the grace of the One Ineffable God. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment