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Saturday, May 28, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

I Chose Deism

As someone who gave up "big C" Christianity forty years ago, I recognize some of the anger inherent in the transition, and applaud this site for giving Xs a place to unload their pent-up anguish.

What puzzles me, however, is that many of the folks here have replaced one form of negativity and absolutism with another, and thus seem to be intellectually in a not very different trap from the one they've recently escaped.

I read comments, for instance, about Mary...rather than being a virgin...having been raped by a priest - or being the daughter of Tiberius, of all things. There is no more evidence (or logic) behind statements like that then there is behind the original lie. How about this...Mary was a young Jewish girl who married a nice Jewish guy and had five or six kids; one of who was named Jesus. The birth myths only began appearing a generation or so after Jesus' execution... we needn't slander either Jesus or Mary for them.

The truth is that over a period of a half millenium or so, the life, meaning, and teachings of Jesus became grossly distorted, and as much for political reasons as theological. The point I have come to in my spiritual journey is to use schlolarship and reason to mine the gems of Jesus' life and teaching (and those in the greater bible as well) from the utter quagmire that orthodox theists, and trinitarians specifically, have created.

If I had to pigeon-hole myself today I'd probably define myself as a Deist with a strong interest in, and admiration for, the spiritual wisdom of the historical Jesus...with secular humanist leanings. Or vice-versa.

The point I'm trying to make here is this: No amount of anger, nor cussing, nor unreasoned attachment to new, negative myths is going to help anyone get beyond the damage orthodox Christianity (or Islam or Judism, etc) has done to them. The only way out is to begin a new path, a new search, toward a new fulfillment.

I chose Deism because of its emphasis on Reason and the laws of Nature that we can all observe. But there is no right nor wrong path (short of a few really weird things like human sacrifice or something equally damaging to mankind). It is the journey, no matter where it takes you, that can make you whole.

John Shuey
jshuey at shueyfamily dot org