This is the second day in a row that I awoke thinking about the faith! Perhaps I’m starting to suck less. What’s interesting is that I was looking at Christianity from this detatched perspective. I was viewing it as if I was some sort of scholar of religion, which, incidentally, I am.
I think that, increasingly, I am becoming acquainted with talking about Christianity from a third person perspective. It seems likely that the conflicting perspectives of examining religion is a relatively new thing. Indeed, it seems unlikely, for example, that Moses viewed his relationship with Yahweh both in a 1st person and a 3rd person perspective. As a Christian living in a time when “the Christian” is also a subject of study, how do I navigate these perspectives?
Before I get ahead of myself, I suppose I should ask, does it even matter? Is there something lost or gained when I take on these varying perspectives and is there some virtue in taking the detatched view?
My initial feeling is that the 3rd person view is not the view that I should be taking. It is not the view of the one who says, “Our Father, who art in heaven.” Often times I find myself talking about God instead of to God. This seems a bit awkward. Its like talking about someone(?) who’s in the room (assuming that God is omnipresent and “personal”).
In fact, right now, as I type, my view of God is different. I’m more careful to recognize that my “personal” conception of God might not be “accurate.” I think, however, this caution is contributing to the feeling of isolation from God that I’ve been experiencing lately.
The 3rd person pespective is the perspective of academia. It is the scholarly way to study religion. There does seem to be some virtue of the 3rd person perspective in that it allows me to examine my understandings of God in a way that I can ask questions and challenge my faith. This doesn’t seem to be something that is unique to the 3rd person perspective, however.
How weird would it be to eschew the 3rd person perspective of talking about God altogether? This is another one of those things that would feel like dying if I were to implement. Its something to think about.
On second thought, there’s nothing intrinsically directional (pointing more towards God) about using 1st person language. I’ve used first person language for the past couple years, and often times, I still find myself disconnected. Perhaps the attitude behind the language is what’s important.