MySpace deabte with a former SFX pupil (cont.)..

Thanks for the message, Last Man... have tried to work out who you are. Found a "Phil" in one of the comments on your page, but that doesn't get me much further. Anyway, thoughtful comment of yours. I'll do my best to answer briefly from my point of view some of your points. Further reflexions I'll put on my blog.

Briefly then...
1) God did not kill Jesus. Human beings given the gift of free will chose to kill him to suit their ends... out of fear, fear of the truth about themselves that he exposed.
2) He died for our sins...? Yes, but only when interpreting his death after the event. And his death should not be separated from the "unbelievable" event of his resurrection. If it is then it is pointless. An unnecessary self-sacrifice. As were the lives of many of his immediate followers who put their lives on the line (and in many cases were killed) because they felt what Jesus stood for was worth risking one's life for. That's some sacrifice for a myth! But it's what I have also done in becoming a Brother.

And what did he stand for?

...... Well, go to my blog (well, I can see you have done, so here I go!! ;-)

For love. God's infinite love for us, his children. A love that God invites all of us to share in because he knows we cannot survive without love... and even then, only if we are prepared to accept it. Not as easy as you might think. Means becoming vulnerable, allowing another to truly touch us. I am fortunate to be able to say that I have felt such love and continue to feel it:

through my prayer life both with my community and in my personal prayer, through encounters with other people, through long-standing friendships, through the joys of making and listening to music and through the beauty of God's creation, etc....

A love that I now feel in my whole being every second of every day, though it's been a real learning process for me to open up to it. I wake up each day and hand over that day to God ("Do with me as you will.") Not easy. Can take you into places you don't want to go to, but you always end up being given what you need to cope with the given situation (including in the last 2 weeks my nephew's suicide in New Orleans... went there for the funeral and to be with my sister and her family for a week... out of love).

Looking back over my life (as someone who has a great interest in science and the questions of freewill and determinism) I can enumerate countless occasions where not only have I felt such divine love, but where I can see God guiding me, prompting me along a particular path... too many to mention. Sometimes I would choose not to follow a particular inner prompting, and have to face the consequences.

God only wants our happiness, wants what is best for us. I know with my whole being that if I (as St. Ignatius of Loyola and our Brothers' founder, Jean-Marie De La Mennais both say) act as if everything depends on God, but at the same time as if everything depends on myself, conforming my will to his, I can but follow the path to the greatest happiness, for myself and for those I meet.

3) Death is simply part of the evolutionary, universal life and death cycle that we humans are part of whether we like it or not. The Catholic Church is no longer against evolution (and natural selection) as a means of explaining how the universe has reached its current state, as recent documents from the Vatican have shown (I can find the reference(s) if you wish). To accept this you have to realise that the Church (thank God!) no longer teaches that the creation stories at the start of Genesis (Gen 2-3 was written before Gen 1 which comes from a separate literary tradition) are to be taken as historically literal. What therefore is their meaning? Too much to summarise briefly here. Suffice it to say (for now) that the death Jesus says Adam and Eve will undergo if they eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil should be interpreted as a spiritual death, ie. voluntary separation from God, that humans have the freewill to choose if they so wish. Original sin can therefore be seen as the capacity to choose separation from God through disobedience of his will, which as I have said is simply that we find true, deep happiness in love (love with each other, love with God).

Only a free-thinking being can sin. And we were not always free-thinking beings. The A+E story has always been seen in such a negative light. But in a way, it tries to put into words the dawn of humanity. That moment when homo sapiens became self-aware, aware of the capacity to choose an action not simply out of unthinking reflex. This, I believe (following the ideas of the great French Jesuit and scientist/paleontologue, Pierre Teilhard De Chardin who was leader of the team that discovered "Peking" Man) was a necessary step in the process of spiritual evolution. Only free-thinking beings can freely love. But, the birth of humanity into free-thinkers brought with it the capacity for choosing evil (and I'm not referring to the apple... actually the text doesn't mention apple... 'twas a "fruit").

So maybe our "fall" was a necessary part of our journey. I suppose in that we may actually agree.

Hmmm...

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