Thich Nhat Hanh (I’ll just use TNH) suggests that we Christian folk remain within the Christian tradition. He encourages us to look deeply into the traditions of our ancestors. Sounds great, but what are the traditions of our ancestors?
I had this conversation with a friend recently. He was discussing how he felt awkward while exploring his Nordic spiritual roots. He felt annoyed that it is often assumed that his ancestral tradition is Christianity. And, if he were to share his interest in his heritage, he would most likely be labeled a white supremacist.
So, I will agree with TNH, we should explore our ancestral spiritual traditions– yet, I will disagree with TNH, very often, our ancestral spiritual traditions are not Christian.
What is a few hundred years in the grand scheme of things? What is a thousand years? “Whiteness”, in America, is an American construct. “White people” are a strange conglomeration of various European peoples, all joined together with some kind of wild cultural amnesia. We are “white people”. And, for most of us, that is all we know of our ancestors.
Christianity has so successfully dominated our ancestral spiritual traditions that we cannot even remember what they were! I hate to say it, because I hate being ‘rude’, but as far as I can tell, Christianity is just a heap of attractive delusions. It folds to human desire at every turn, saying:
“Yes, you will live forever in pleasure. Your body is evil, this earth is evil, woman is evil, just hurry up and die so you can be with Jesus in heaven.
God is a real mean guy, but he impregnated a human, then demanded the blood of the child as atonement for the sins of humanity– sins which are really just transgressions from the arbitrary list of restrictions on behavior that were given to various psychopaths throughout history– so, now that he killed his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, he is a real nice God, a loving God. But you better accept the delusion that Jesus died for your sins or your gonna roast in God’s enemy’s domain (hell, with the fallen angel, who was once a simple adversary, that is now somehow equal in strength to the omnipotent lord of all) .”
Christian theology is a heap of garbage.
I can say all this and still love my Christian brothers and sisters. Some people are good (compassionate, generous, mindful, diligent, etc..) in spite of their Christianity. They are not good because of their tradition– they are good in spite of it! If anyone actually followed the bible’s commandments, they would be labeled a lunatic and locked up for stoning their adulteress wives.
I love the people. I don’t trust the tradition. I look around, at the world it has created, and I see a very pressing dilemma. We have to engage in a transvaluation of all morals. Yep. I said it.
Still, they might say,
“You have your Buddhism. You have the same problem. Faith.”
And, I will say,
“No. The faith you’re talking about is of a totally different nature. My faith is the thing that gives me strength to push on into the unknown. Your faith is foolish belief in someone’s lie. I take nothing on ‘faith’. I practice and see for myself. Faith is the thing that pushes me forward when I’m falling back, lost in the backwaters of ridiculous nihilism.”
Raise the rare mind! The hordes will always celebrate the common, petty, foolish mind– simply because it is easier to fall into foolishness than it is to climb out of the various cultural shit holes.