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[This is a page with religious content, only for those who are interested..]

What are criteria for distinguishing good from bad religion... or else for distinguishing healthy from unhealthy doctrine?
The sage is always a genuine democrat.

Confucius said he did not quite dare claim that he was a sage.

I notice that in the Chinese New Testament used by the official Chinese Protestant Church, Luke 14:25-26 is paraphrased; modified (though in parenthesis it is mentioned that the original, the Greek text it would be, uses the word hate).

“ If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own soul, he cannot be my disciple. “

To state as Jesus does in this one verse that one must hate one’s mother… or else one cannot in fact be a disciple of Jesus–this will seem extreme to most people, but especially to anyone in traditional, or else Confucian societies which claim to put a high value upon honor to parents/ancestors. What does this one verse mean? Though it is not so easy to say… paraphrase will not help. It is the difficult sayings which can teach the most just because we are predisposed in a different direction. If Confucian societies are already predisposed to place too high a value upon one virtue, upon honor to parents as a sort of natural religion… then this one verse at least would provide some necessary corrective.

But an even more important meaning to be found in this one verse, and a meaning which I belive is regularly missed by Western Christianity (and which will probably be denied as essential meaning by most theologically educated Western believers) would be that this verse demands a very individual (and democratic) kind of religion/discipleship. Not just hate parents, siblings, spouse, children, but hate one’s own soul. What can this mean?

It seems clear–(to me at least)–that one meaning here is that Chrisitanity is an essentially individual and prophetic religion. It is not merely social or institutional. Can anyone deny, after all, that religion ultimately and essentially will be individual, will depend upon individual responsibility, else it is not genuine religion.

That is, and according to Luke, Jesus never directly advises anyone to join any social-group, nor does he seem to provide any organizational framework to his own loose group of regular followers. And thus on this one day, with large crowds following along, he turns to the crowd and give an existential and essential definition: his religion goes beyond all of one’s closest social relations. Beyond parents, siblings, children. Anyone who wishes to be a follower must first be an individual as distinct from these basic and healthy social relations. And then in addition to this notion that one must first be an individual distinct from family realtions, the next and last step is that one must also give up this self-subsisting if also fundamentally healthy individualism. The final requirement is to hate one’s own soul.

My interpretation would be that this verse means that individualism (of a prophetic kind) is essential and healthy in reliigion, but is ultimately also given up…

Here in Luke Jesus will not ask anyone specifically to deny one’s own soul or self. Nor does he ask that higher allegiance be given up to any external religious entity, that is, church or creed. Allegiance to Jesus and to Christianity will have some costs and requirements as described by other verses in this same chapter, but it is a mistake (and a case of false advertising) to say that Christianity is about group-allegiance, is about joining this or that version of organized-religion. It rather must be quite essentially individual…

Pk 2018/November


True/False Question:
By it's theological self-definition, the Roman Catholic Church limits the prophetic gift to the Papacy...

Christmas 2014

My musical setting of a portion of a George Herbert poem: All After Pleasures As I Rid One Day

 The shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?
    My God, no hymne for thee?
My soul’s a shepherd too: a flock it feeds
    Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is thy word; the streams, thy grace
    Enriching all the place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
    Out-sing the day-light houres.
Then we will chide the sunne for letting night
    Take up his place and right:
We sing one common Lord; wherefore he should
    Himself the candle hold.

Christmas 2013

My musical setting for voices, of a Thomas Hardy poem:

 The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

What is the difference between Christianity and Churchianity? How do you describe the difference? (Ask your local religious official to explain..)

Is Christianity at large (i.e. its major groupings..) like a dysfunctional family, whose members would each rather not, officially/unofficially, recognize the existence/importance of other members..?

A five page pdf on the subject of Anathema in the Septuagint
A six page pdf on the subject of Anathema in the New Testament
A three page pdf on the word Cheirographon in Colossians