Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Witness to Jesus Becomes Morality

Jesus freed us human beings from religion. He freed us from the six false gods of power, from the Olympian worldview based on them, and from the sacred world expressing it. The writers of the New Testament all witness to this.

Gradually, however, their faithful witness to Jesus was subverted and became Christianity.

Not only that. Jesus freed us human beings from morality. Gradually, however, faithful witness to Jesus was subverted and became Christian morality.
We may summarize the Gospel by saying that Jesus Christ is the truth who sets us free to love and leads us into fullness of life.
With this understanding, we may say that the Bible is a set of books that speak of the history of God’s relationship to us and of our relationship—as creatures, humans, and sinners—to God. Each day, Jesus frees us to know him—the truth—better through these books of the Bible. Each day, Jesus frees us to witness more clearly to him and the truth of his words by sharing his love more insightfully, persistently, and unconditionally with others. Each day, Jesus frees us to know the truth and share the love we need to strengthen our own vitality and that of others and all creation.
This whole way of living as his faithful witnesses differs from living in conformity to any moral code. This is true even if that morality is based on this very same Bible.
All biblically-based Christian moral codes share certain characteristics. Such codes are developed by reading the Bible, interpreting it a certain way, deducing principles from it through that method of interpretation, then applying those principles in practical ways to our daily lives. Such a code is then taught, interpreted in its turn, and enforced by the proper authorities.
All moral codes—biblical, Christian, or otherwise—also suffer from the same disadvantages. To begin with, the very human authorities who teach, interpret, and enforce the code take the place of Jesus. The meaning of freedom for Jesus is subverted and interpreted as absolute obedience to those moral authorities. Freedom comes to mean its complete opposite: abject conformity to a fixed set of rules made possible only through a constant exercise of power.
Conformity to a moral code rules out love. Love means voluntarily committing oneself to nurture and protect others in ways, discerned each day, that seem most meaningful. It means treating others as true friends, close companions, and kindred spirits. It carries no sense of a duty, obligation, burden, or requirement that must be done to gain rewards or to avoid punishment.
Conformity to a moral code rules out life. Life is complex and dynamic. Moral codes are simplistic and static. Conformity to them substitutes boredom and sterility for creativity and vitality. In the end, anyone with the slightest spark of life gets punished for it.
For these reasons, faithful witness to Jesus can never be defined as or based on conformity to a moral code. Ways of living based on conformity to a moral code simply rule out the freedom, spontaneity, and improvisation needed to respond meaningfully to the always surprising words spoken by Jesus Christ.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved.