I am coming in quite early with posting my sixth letter which I wrote whilst in hospital. Sometimes I feel anxious to pursue my proselytizing (Oh dear, I hope not!!) of Christian Anarchism. Therefore I want to get the full seven letters out of the way for people to read. I thank everyone again for the interest you are showing, but I would like to enjoy some responses, especially from anyone interested in (and committed to) Christian Anarchism.
A Sixth Letter From Hospital.
In my last letter I suggested that true Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, a triune God. I argued that Christian Anarchy rejects established Churches, which may be successful or struggling and trying to succeed in this materialistic and corrupt world, but these Churches themselves are vulnerable to the sinful behaviors of individual members, claiming to be truly Christian but only supporting the status quo. Christian Anarchists call them statists. I pray again to God to help me find a way to fulfill your wishes for me in this life and bring others closer to you and away from their sins.
The Internet, another of God's gifts to man, may be a step towards the Second Coming of Christ. Teilhard de Chardin wrote extensively about the noosphere in his theological approach to evolution, and I now find myself browsing the Internet searching for Christian fellowship. I am not finding it because today I found this. On the Jehovah's Witnesses website some of their articles of faith appeared to be quite close to my views from Christian Anarchism. They are non-tithe paying, financing themselves through voluntary contributions. They do not pay their leaders. They are conscientious objectors when it comes to military service. We know they are wealthy, their wealth is earned in our materialistic and capitalist world, it would be good if they claimed that they are in this world but not part of it, but I doubt that is true. I do not think they could be a platform on which I could discuss my anarchism in a Christian way. At home my wife and myself welcome the Jehovah's Witnesses when they call and have had interesting discussions with one of them who visited on his own quite frequently. However he proselytized, referring to their own version of the Bible, an english translation. To reach out to God's Word we must pursue all versions of the Bible through prayer and perhaps scholarship, the written words in any Bible are all open to interpretation. How open are the Jehovah's Witnesses to discussing their own arcticles of faith? Apparently not, having now read their critics writing on the Internet. They are autocratic, the Board casts out dissenting members and refuses to acknowledge any open discussion. Members are practically brain-washed into accepting their non-Christian doctrines.
So now we have it, with God's help through the Internet I am again disinclined to associate myself with any established Church. Christian Anarchism must be open to criticism, and individuals claiming to be Christian Anarchists need to be true Christians in every sense of the word, reading and studying the Bible in every version and translation, seeking God's help in bringing us closer to The Word, a spiritual relationship with Him. To bring forward His Second Coming, the Internet may be the tool by which we can encourage this. Fellowshipping with other Christians, enjoying the discussions in real life or on the Internet, is what true Christians should be doing, with no proselytizing, as they develop their spiritual life. So far my experience on the Internet with Christian Anarchists has not been entirely wholesome. Many show great aggression in their posts towards the establishment and I ask them to turn the other cheek. We need to be very humble. For instance we should pay our taxes, or live below the tax threshold of the country in which we live. I repeat, we need to be in this world but not part of it, and most Jehovah's Witnesses who apparently voluntarily support their Church are very wealthy. I am wary of anyone who succeeds to that extent in this world.
Every denomination and every established Church has something good to offer, however being independent and free-thinking allows us to pick and choose, but we must always remain faithful to God. Many of the posts on Christian Anarchy websites do not display true Christianity, I could therefore never call myself a Christian Anarchist, even though their articles of faith, never to be written down in stone (I think the Moses story is just a story, anyway) should be in line with the universal church of Christ as described in the SDA Quarterly "Oneness in Christ". I feel that this has been communicated to me here in hospital by God, and is the Word of God. A recent post on a Christian Anarchy website asked, quite simply, for a definition of anarchy. Dictionary definitions were offered and a discussion ensued. However, I saw no mention of Christianity and this is what I wrote in my post there.
"Before we can get anywhere close to understanding anarchism we must first become a Christian. We must be reading the Bible, and recognise that the early Christians as described in Acts were very anarchical. They shared their resources, there was no authoritarian leadership. There was authority because the apostles had greater knowledge of the Scriptures and the life and teachings of Jesus, of his death and resurrection and then the workings of the Holy Spirit, but their authority was not institutionalized. That would have been the workings of the devil". I finished my post as a follow up to this, that before we can become a Christian we have to believe in the supernatural. I wonder that many of the posters on this website are not true Christians in that their spirituality is very undeveloped. C. S. Lewis brilliantly described this journey in his book 'A Pilgrim's Regress', and few of us are very far along it. We need not spend inordinate amounts of time discussing whether or not we should vote, whether or not we should pay our taxes, whether or not we should attend an established Church or attend a party political meeting. As true Christians we should be loving our neighburs as ourselves, loving our enemies and engaging in worldly works which contribute to the welfare of all and our future generations. We will never establish a perfect world, and throughout our efforts in this world we will be hoping and praying for the Second Coming of Christ. I think the Internet will help us as we try to spread the Good News.
Whilst in hospital I have had a discussion on a teachers' website on the meaning of life, and another one on salvation, as approached in Religious Education lessons. I write now about the meaning of life. To begin I distinguish between meaning and purpose, and there was little difference between them, with these teachers on the website. Most of them are atheists, even the R.E. teachers, and even the religious ones were not interested. Posters on this website may not even be teachers at all but generally presumed to be interested in schools and education. I think the purpose of life is to enjoy it, avoid excessive hedonism, do good works in this life for ourselves and for future generations. When settling to discuss the meaning of life, the atheists unequivocally declared that life had no meaning. They said we are here today, gone tomorrow, and the question was not worthy of consideration. I suggested that this could lead to unfettered hedonism, resulting in harm to others even if not deliberately intended. The world is experiencing an ever-enlarging divide between the rich and the poor, and the poor will suffer more and more. Some, thinking we are no further developed than a stone, might prefer to end it all, suicide rates are on the increase amongst teenagers. Violent civil unrest and revolution is likely, or governments will go to war to solve their national economic problems, as occurred, along with the conflict of political ideologies, in the 1930's causing WW2.
My latest post in the teachers' website affirmed that we are the most developed life-form on the planet, and are able to ask not just how that has come about, but more importantly to ask why? As we were all agreed in the thread, there is no answer to this, therefore atheists can focus solely on the purpose of life. But if we believe in the supernatural, and as Christians a Creator, then the question of meaning is addressed. Amongst leading atheists, Feuerbach suggested a projection theory to explain religion, Marx said it was the opium of the masses, and Freud it was an infantile illusion. None of these famous thinkers gave us a definitive answer to the meaning of life. I believe God is telling me to spread an understanding of His Word by thinking, by reading the Bible, writing and talking (using the Internet is the same as writing and talking, and provides further reading). I must write something now about what I think is meant by the Word of God. I write it with an upper case "W" as in the King James English version of the Bible. (Apparently upper case letters were not in existence in the original Hebrew and Greek, this information has been added during my typing of this letter).
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us (and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
Jesus was God and He is with us now, and He made the world. The writer of Genesis eventually came to say, "And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness .." (Genesis 1:26). Why would the writer be inspired to bring in the plural of the definite article "I"? It has to be God's inspiration to make clear that He and Jesus are one, and Jesus was in the beginning , and will be in the end - Alpha and Omega. Therefore the Word of God has little or nothing to do with the written words of the Bible, now available in many versions and many different languages. They cannot be taken literally but can only be seen as inspired writing to help us reach out to God and begin to get closer to His Word, which is Jesus. As Christians we believe the only way to God is through Jesus. Christianity is rational, it makes the best sense of our belief in the supernatural, and in a quite simple way.
What has happened to my supreme optimism for life? Not my life, that I was going to live to a healthy and happy and ripe old age, but my optimism for generations to come in this world? As a young teacher at 24 years old I was fit (a little over-weight which I worked upon) and healthy. I played rugby, tennis and squash, enjoyed walking and swimming, and played snooker and darts. My optimism for the world was that through school teaching I could make a difference. This lasted for about ten years (1966 to 1976) when the pessimism set in. As a science teacher this realisation was prompted by my despair at the abusive management of the world's resources. Fossil fuels are limited therefore our wealth created by coal, gas and oil could not be sustained. I know now that alternative energy sources are being developed successfully but this does not alleviate my pessimism. War and rumors of war proliferate, and man's inhumanity to man remains unabated. Is this why I have turned to religion, and have found that Christianity makes the most sense to me? It does, with no disrespect to other faiths, nor even to atheism. Good works will continue on all fronts, but I say again this does not alleviate my pessimism. I live by the day, one day at a time, doing what I can do to help others, which is very little now that I am old and disabled. I will continue to thank God for the good moments in my life, keep going for my dear wife's sake, and as a Christian look forward to the Second Coming of Christ. My pessimism for the future of mankind remains but I put that aside by praying to God for the deliverance of us all from the wiles of the devil.
As fas as I understand atheists keep themselves going with their good works and contributions to this life and their hope for the future of humanity. This is all very commendable, I wish I could share their optimism. Or are there many atheists who are pessimistic about the future, and they see the wickedness and ills of our present societies? They live for the moment, doing whatever good they can do here and now for themselves and others, but they could not care less about themselves when they die. This could be supreme altruism, but does it relieve their pessimism because they acknowledge the futility of it all in the long run? I guess some atheists will say yes, they are pessimists, they see no hope for the fututre of mankind. Many have hinted that all they live for is the present, and try to do some good. They simply say the future will take care of itself.
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