Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

A Christian In Spite Of Himself

I'm not a Christian. I don't believe in the Christian God or the Christian cosmology or anything to do with Jesus but - and it's a big but- I still regard the Sermon on the Mount- bits of it anyway- as the ultimate moral authority. 

I was going to say it's my conditioning- but I was conditioned to accept the whole shebang and I've shucked most of it.

No. The Sermon on the Mount- which I'm using as shorthand to mean the moral teaching of the Gospels- has something about it. 

And it's not that it was handed down from on high. Scholars have demonstrated there's nothing it it that can't be paralleled in earlier Jewish writings. It's not a revelation, it's the distillation of a long maturing Wisdom tradition- the essence  of several centuries worth of Greek philosophy and rabbinical teaching. You want to know how to live the good life? Here are the tried and tested rules. Love your neighbour, despise riches, seek your treasure in "heaven". Impossible demands? Well, maybe- human nature being what it is- but the purest commonsense. If we lived this way we'd be living in paradise.  

When I think about it, I have to admit that nothing has had a larger influence on the way I've lived my life and hone my responses.

Which- seeing how I classify myself  (when pushed) as a Pagan Agnostic- comes as a bit of a shock.  

I don't think Jesus was the Son of God or even The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived  or even that he lived at all- and I don't need to. The Sermon speaks for itself.

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