Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Figs Grow in Fig Trees, Silly...

Theology and its real-world application, religion have, for the most part focused on definition.  What is God(s) (with a capital G), what is god(s) (with a lower-case g), and for my atheist friends, what is not-god/not-God.  Theology searches for definition and evidence of the truth of the definition.  The argument that ensues is largely focused on differences of opinion of the definition, or its substantiation.

Not a fig tree.
Climbing into this philosophical discourse is comforting because it doesn't really demand a lot of you.  Thought, sure, sometimes thought so profound that it shakes the core.  But, in the end if your belief drives you to feel obligated to uncomfortable action, you can always change your belief.

But what if religion and theology were to ignore the definition question and move toward the meaning question. Instead of what God is, what is the meaning of God.  In other words, lets take the question of the definition of god and treat it as a priori:  taken for granted.

If God's definition is taken for granted, the only thing left is to decide how we are going to live our lives.  What we do supersedes in importance what we believe.  This turns the notion of theology and religion upside down because instead of belief driving behaviour, behaviour showcases belief.
Not a 1957 Thunderbird

I suspect this is what the Gospel Writer Matthew was trying to say when he quoted Jesus as saying "By their fruits you shall know them".

It also shifts judgement from personal to impersonal, universal and collective.  That's why nobody ever mistakes a fig tree for a 1957 Thunderbird (with two four-barrel Holley carburetors and the two tone, paint, of course).

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