"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

One Lump or Two?

This post is, in the main, for my friends back home. I listened to an excellent chapel speaker yesterday, Dr. Peter Jones, a Christian author and lecturer. His topic was "Are We Loosing Our Christian Voice and Mind?" and there was a sub-topic which I didn't write fast enough to get down.
His primary thesis was that the greatest danger facing rising college students (the next generation that will be engaging in the adult world, as it were) is not a shift toward secularism, but "neo-paganism," or monism. Dr. Jones spent the majority of his time defining neo-paganism, but gave several examples of its popularization, including yoga, which claims that God and nature are one, and a recent bill passed in California legislating the re-write of all (all) of California's school textbooks to reflect positively on transexuality, thereby "outlawing the wrong of traditional marriage," as a congressman put it. Dr. Jones shared a quote by mid-to-late 19th century British Prime Minister William Gladstone.
"The result of the rejection of Christianity is not secularism, but paganism."
Mr. Jones outlined five basic points of neo-paganism, adding a piece to an illustration with each one.
1) All is one and one is all. Dr. Jones drew a circle.
2) All humanity is one. A number of dots appeared. Dr. Jones explained that when men believe they are all, they begin to attribute to themselves, to their souls especially, god-like attributes of eternality and omnispresence. Devotees to monisms have claimed to be god.
3) All religions are just a slice of the pie. Dr. Jones divided the circle into slices.
Note: At this point I almost lost all composure, jumped up, and screamed "monism says we're all a giant pepperoni pizza!!!!" I suppose I know what I would be if I weren't held captive by God's free grace.
Regardless of this, Dr. Jones pointed out that, just like a pizza, the neo-pagan model depicts religions as having seperate, hard, exterior crusts, but as also meeting in the middle in a gooey, squishy, yummy combination of everyone's ideas.
4) Unfortunately, mourns the monist, we have forgotten our oneness (somehow, somewhy) and therefore we have all these problems. Dr. Jones drew a jagged line through the pie. This is why we believe that we are mortal individuals, and that the physical world exists, and that there is a God seperate from the world.
These differences must be eliminated. A slight chill should get you right about now.
5) The one solution lies within. There are plenty of methods, "sacred technologies," ways to get within. Dr. Jones drew an arrow toward the center of the pie where all the pieces meet.

Well, how do we respond? We, as Christians, do not fit in the pie. Mr. Jones here made a very simple statement. "All is not one. All is two." Of course, our model does not stop with a simple numerical judgement, as monism does, or would like to. We have Creator and Creature. The Creator and His Creation are not the same thing. Upon this very basic concept are built all the truths of Christianity. Dr. Jones pointed out that being nothing more than a nice person is useless in combating neo-pagansim. Christ is our friend, yes. He is also God, Lord of the Cosmos. We must be witnesses to the truth, even if it costs us everything, as it did Christ. And, while on the subject, who is the only One to ever span the gap between Creator and Creature? The God-man, of course.

I have met neo-pagans, one in particular, who clearly stated each of these five points. At the time I was not familiar with his religion (he thought is was his own personal spirituality) and had difficulty responding. After all, his worldview did its best to swallow up mine and make it pointless what I believed. This lecture was of great benefit to me, and I hope will be useful to me, and you'all at home, in combating the idea of monism.

6 comments:

  1. I like this. I like how you have summarized an entire lecture on your blog, I like the pepperoni pizza analogy, and I like the fact that you used the word 'cosmos'. Almost makes me look forward to Dr. T's lectures, which begin next week...

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  2. I like pizza too. Does that mean that I'm a monist? I beleive that pizza is one, and that we should be at one with pizza. Can I be a pantheistic monist?

    In all seriousness, that's a really good lecture. Very helpful.

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  3. I like it too. It's a very good summary. The idea of you struggling to keep yourself from leaping up and yelling that monists think we're pizza made me laugh really, really hard. I've been needing that since you've been gone :)

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  4. Well-put, and you gave me something to ponder over (like I don't have enough already...).

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  5. Yeah right, Einstein. As if your expansive mind had a capacity, much less one that could actually be reached.

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.