“Post-Christian” is a thing.

I had a friend in another forum summarise my journey as becoming “post-Christian”. We both thought it was a nice term, rich with meaning for our community. As applies to an individual, it would mean someone who sees their reaction to the church’s teachings as moving on rather than rejection. This is because rejection usually means moving back and picking a different course.

Of course, this term is too obvious to have not already been taken! Wikipedia tells about the concept from a social point of view. It refers to peoples and societies that have grown up without or with a minimal influence from traditional Christian concepts.

I actually know someone like that. In a lot of ways, she is entirely a product of our times. Obsesses over good looking actors. Drinks a fair bit. You know the sort of thing. But she doesn’t know Bible stories. This makes it difficult for her to truly appreciate the book Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, for instance. She likes it, but she doesn’t understand a lot of it.

This is post-Christian in the same sense of post-Modern.

My post-Christian is a bit different. It’s more personal.

I no longer believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. I think God can still speak through it, but a lot of what we have is the product of several (if not many) efforts of agenda-driven editing and redaction. The Torah were not written by Moses. Most of the OT written history and law date only as far back as Josiah. And Judaism did not exist until the Return under Ezra and friends. The exiled Jews reshaped their religion and history after encountering Zoroastrianism for all sorts of reasons. This is why they were edited so. The purpose of the writing was driven by the agenda of a subset of Jews who wanted their nation to stay true to one god, Yahweh.

The NT also has its problems. The four gospels were not the earliest record of Jesus’ life and each definitely have an agenda and a target audience. And I’ve posted about Paul already.

But what about the basics? What about the “we are all sinners” message? This is one of the basic tenets of church-going Christianity, along with “Jesus died for your sins”. Well, I’m trying out life without that taint. I’m not under that church-based rule anymore. It’s “over there” for now and I’m out of its reach. Many people live long, happy and successful lives without it. And many people live unhappy, repressed lived because of it. Of course, the opposites also happen, which is one more reason to put it aside.

I’d much rather try to treat all fellow human beings as equals, never mind their religious hangups. This is difficult, true. But at least I own my own reactions, now. There is no hiding behind convenient doctrine. Equally, there is no doctrine in the way of my own honest responses.

 

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