Are you a psychological Christian?

Here is a great quote:

“Once you feel your own personal soul to be distinct from the world out there, and that the conscience and consciousness are lodged in that soul (and not in the world out there) . . . you are, psychologically, Christian. Once you feel sin in connection with your flesh and its impulses, again you are Christian. . . when a hunch comes true, a slip-up is taken as an omen, and you trust in dreams, only to shake off these inklings as “superstition,” you are Christian . . . When you turn from books and learning and instead to your inner feelings for simple answers to complexities, you are Christian. . . If your psychology uses words like ambivalence, weak ego, splitting, breakdown, ill-defined boundaries . . . as negative disorders, you are Christian, for these terms harbor insistence on a unified, empowered central authority. Once you view the apparently aimless facts of history to be going somewhere, evolving somehow, and that hope is a virtue and not a delusion, you are Christian.  . . and you are especially an American Christian when idealizing a clean slate of childlike innocence as close to godliness.We cannot escape two thousand years of history, we are history incarnated.  . .

We may not admit the grip of Christianity on our [psychology]  but the ingrained emotional patterns and unthought thoughts that fills us with the prejudices we prefer to see as choices? We [westerners] are Christian through and through, St. Thomas sits in our distinctions, St. Francis governs our acts of goodness, and thousands of Protestant missionaries . . . join together to give us the innate assurance that we can help [others] see the light.”

I am interested to hear from those of you who don’t think this is a true statement.

Learning from Atheists: Evolution might bring Mormons closer to Christ

Pascal’s thought: “The sages who have said there is only one God . . .  have seen by the light of nature that if there be a true religion on earth, the course of all things must tend to it as to a center. The whole course of things must have for its object the establishment and the greatness of religion. Men must have within them feelings suited to what religion teaches us. And, finally, religion must so be the object and center to which all things tend, that whoever knows the principles of religion can give an explanation both of the whole nature of man in particular, and of the whole course of the world in general.

And on this ground [atheists] take occasion to revile the Christian religion, because they misunderstand it. They imagine that it consists simply in the worship of a God considered as great, powerful, and eternal; which is strictly deism, almost as far removed from the Christian religion as atheism, which is its exact opposite. And thence they conclude that this religion is not true, because they do not see that all things concur to the establishment of this point, that God does not manifest Himself to men with all the evidence which He could show.

But let them conclude what they will against deism, they will conclude nothing against the Christian religion, which properly consists in the mystery of the Redeemer, who, uniting in Himself the two natures, human and divine, has redeemed men from the corruption of sin in order to reconcile them in His divine person to God.

The Christian religion, then, teaches men these two truths; that there is a God whom men can know, and that there is a corruption in their nature which renders them unworthy of Him. It is equally important to men to know both these points; and it is equally dangerous for man to know God without knowing his own wretchedness, and to know his own wretchedness without knowing the Redeemer who can free him from it. The knowledge of only one of these points gives rise either to the pride of philosophers, who have known God, and not their own wretchedness, or to the despair of atheists, who know their own wretchedness, but not the Redeemer.

And, as it is alike necessary to man to know these two points, so is it alike merciful of God to have made us know them. The Christian religion does this; it is in this that it consists.”

My thought: A peculiar aspect of Mormonism and many fundamentalist Christian faiths is the refusal to accept the theory of evolution as a viable explanation of the origin of human nature.  What evolutionary biology tells us about human nature is that it is our nature to be evil, to oppose God, and oppose the Law.  This is a truth that is very Christian, but something that has been denied vehemently since Plato.  Most Mormons are very much with Plato on this point.

If Mormons were able to embrace evolutionary biology more completely I think they might come closer to understanding original sin, and then recognize the reality of the escape from original sin.

 

Got Fruits? (if so, then what?)

In response to my last post an ex-Mormon, Evangelical teenager, Richard, come pretty strong and hard in expressing his reasoning from scripture that Mormons hate God and don’t understand him. He argued specifically that I was blind to the “Real” truth, qouting this scripture:

1 Corinthians 2:14 : But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Kullervo  (in his typical understated manner) responded to Richard and suggested that Richard’s approach was evidence that, according to Christianity, it didn’t seem that his religion was really inspired by The Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”

Now at this point in my spiritual quest it would be hard to classify me as either a Mormon or a traditional Christian by my  partly because of my “lifestyle” and partly because of my eccentric theology but I think the idea that we can find out what is good by examining the fruit.   Love, joy, peace, gentleness are things I that I can sink my teeth into.  It’s experience rather than abstraction. Something that even atheists may understand.  Real proof . . .

QUESTIONS REMAIN

Of course the question is, is this an appropriate way of going about discerning what is of God from either the Mormon or Evangelical (or any other) perspective?

Does lack of these fruits demonstrate a failure to be “fully” Christian?

Do fruits of the Spirit demonstrate a closeness to the Spirit regardless of theology?

If I feel the Spirit and experience its fruits outside of either Mormonism or Evangelical Christianity, maybe even to a greater degree than I have experienced it in those contexts what conclusions can i draw?