Hello nihilism, I see you are doing well. Thanks for making me feel miserable again but at least you help me keep properly focused. When I throw love where I am forbidden to love, you remind me that it is only for a moment and not worth worrying over. When I throw time where there is so little to be spared, you remind me that it’s all but a fleeting moment that will be gone within the next few decades. But I guess it’s one hell of a ride while I’m able to ride.
Sometimes when I run, I finish rather sudden. I don’t give myself a cool down. So when is it, I can feel my heart trying to pound through my chest
This time I feel it in my inner being. I feel like I could cry. I feel desperate for air and relief. I feel so sad and yet renewed.
What is wrong with me?
Evangelical theology, as well as most conservative theologies, fails because there is no practical way to maintain its underlying exegesis. The hermeneutical method used is generally called the historical-grammatical method. With this method, the meaning of a biblical passage is interpreted based on the historical context and literary characteristics of the passage.It’s more complex than that, but that is a useful working definition.
The problem with the historical-grammatical method is that the New Testament authors did not use it to interpret the Old Testament. The authors used pesher techniques to understand our Old Testament (as well as additional books that Christians do not how to be inspired). Almost every prophecy mentioned in the New Testament has been reinterpreted. The historical-grammatical method of these same Old Testament passages stands in stark contrast. In fact, that method ends up negating most prophecy about the Messiah. And without a Messiah actually being prophesied about, what of the New Testament’s interpretation of Jesus? He is no longer the Messiah and all of the Pauline, Johanine, Lucan, etc. theologies which proceed from this fall apart. Without a pesher interpretation of the Old Testament, there is no valid case for Jesus being the Messiah.
Thus, there are only a few choices: 1) makes exemptions for the pesher interpretations because those were “inspired by God” or 2) find a new hermeneutic that can encompass all of the biblical passages or 3) admit inconsistencies and fallacies by the biblical authors.
The first choice is the preferred for most evangelicals, but it is inconsistent. It’s simply a blind faith choice that has no logical underpinnings. But if God is not a God of confusion and he is the foundation of all logic, this seems contrary to His supposed nature. The second choice seems difficult to ascertain simply because there have been so many hermenuetical and theological systems that have come and gone. They all (well, most) share the same flaw: the assumption that all of the biblical texts form a logical whole. The third option tastes like filth in the mouth of an evangelical. They cannot consider it without having to rethink their entire worldview.
Overall, the historical-grammatical method is the most logical method and the safest to use. It’s just too bad that the biblical authors didn’t know this.
When we speak to someone or we are spoken to, we assign value. We don’t just assign value to what is said or how it is said, but also who says it. If an elderly stranger smiles kindly and tells a young girl that she is beautiful, the girl will smile and say “thank you.” But she will not take it to heart. She will instead interpret the conversation as the man being kind. She will not take the compliment into herself. But say a boy just a year older than her says the exact same thing in the exact same way. He may not even have interest in her but just wants to honestly lift her spirits by the truth. But the girl will interpret the conversation as “he must like me, at least a little.” She may not be interested in him, but the compliment will make her feel beautiful.
Or suppose the girl’s mother says the exact thing in the exact way. The girl will take it as her mother being motherly. She will not experience it as truth. Another situation may be that the boy she has a crush on tells her the same thing in the same way. She will interpret this as a good omen to pursue a relationship with him. But if she has been with a boy for many months and he has said the same thing over and over, she will not believe it as much. It is something that boyfriends say. Or if she catches him cheating of her, she won’t believe the truth of her beauty at all. If she is beautiful, why did he stray? And so the situations keep changing her perspective.
What is happening here? Why does she not experience the truth of her beauty in each situation? She is getting in the way of the truth. She has already assigned value to other people’s words and actions based on assumptions and/or previous experience.
Don’t we all do this? At one point of our day, a text from a friend lights up our eyes because we are bored and perhaps slightly lonely. The sound of the text makes us hopeful and we seek happiness in having someone to talk to. At another point in the day, when we are frustrated and stressed out, the same ding on our phone will increase our aggregation. We do not wish to speak to anyone. Why does everyone always want just a little more of our time?
When we are ignorant of how we are our biggest hindrances, we suffer. Others suffer as a result of this at times. But if we can be mindful of ourselves, then we can see more clearly the way to approach life.
A few days ago I said that nothing meant anything. But what if that’s not the case? What if, instead, reality is that all things are equally meaningful. Without a distinction, wouldn’t that make them both meaningful and meaningless?
Either way, I’m left with two choices: embrace the normality of life or live as I please. Neither is as appealing as I thought that would be.
I don’t feel like I’ve achieved anything special by stretching my mind, my body, my faith, my doubts. Anyone could do it. Yet, I have done it while others have not. Why have I made this decision? Is it because I’m “special” or “unique” (or perhaps “weird” best fits!)? I don’t think so. It’s just part of my disposition. It’s just “me” and I’m glad I’ve embraced it.
But now I have come to the point where choosing to believe in Jesus is simply a choice like any other and accepting basic Buddhist techniques as beneficial is natural. I am left with the question of “what now?” Can I actually fully integrate the thoughts? I certainly don’t believe so, yet I know that there are aspects that look identical. Perhaps it’s like having two people looking at a piece of artwork. One sees it from his life’s perspective and the other from her’s. Neither has the full truth, but only an understanding of it. This is not to say that truth is relevant. The truth is simply “what is”. But both perspectives can only be understood by knowing the subjects viewing the art.
So for now, I am left with a biblical theology and a Buddhist methodology. I disagree with the former, although I’m expected to accept it. I embrace the later while knowing that it cannot get me any further away from nihilism than I can without it. Here is where I will seek to reconcile the two and then integrate secular philosophy and skepticism. I think this perhaps flows the easiest.