…The idea that we, as seekers of the Divine, have the “inside scoop” on how to behave morally requires that I call a great number of religious individuals fakers. Martin Luther, for example, was a pretty flamboyant racist. Much of the contemporary Christian body is quite content to spend their money on luxury goods when that money could be donated to an organization that would save a child’s life. Am I supposed to say that these people did not (or do not) know God?¹
To say that calling many of those around me a faker is uncomfortable for me is an understatement. Indeed, it is absurd. It is, at first (and second) glance, epistemically offensive. But why? I understand that I am a faker. I understand that I am an addict. I understand that depending on the day of the week, Love does not live within me. I see that “the way is narrow.” Why is it that I am uncomfortable applying this recognition to the behavior of others?
Perhaps it is because the way I think about the Way and its relationship to others perception of it is changing. I have come to learn that the individual’s perception of the situation is not taken seriously enough by many persons. It turns out, however, that I have learned this a little too well, i.e., I take the perception of others a bit too seriously. If this change in my thinking is a proper one, then perhaps it is right to say that although someone might think that Love lives within them, It doesn’t.
Fine. People can be wrong about how awesome they think they are in relation to the Loving One. But this is beside the point: it seems like genuine and productive dialogue is born out of a willingness to learn and, perhaps even more importantly, a willingness to be wrong. Being a disciple doesn’t seem to permit this. It seems that as a disciple I must dogmatically declare the dictates of the Divine. Socratic dialogue is not found in the gospels, only divine dialectical domination. The timeless conflict between Jerusalem and Athens rears its ugly head again.
Can this conflict be resolved, or must I choose between Jerusalem and Athens? If I must choose, then in which “city” (in this case) does Love reside? I am inclined to say that Athens wins out in this dilemma. If “fruit” is the measure by which we know the goodness of something, then “Athenian” dialogue seems to be much more fruitful, deep, satisfying, productive, etc.
The dogmatic nature of the gospel, however, seems to yield some pretty unsatisfying fruit. Thus, we seem to have a counter-example to the notion that Jesus’ fruit measure can serve us in a categorical manner. Perhaps, at this point, it would be wise to take up a Jerusalem-based epistemological practice (i.e., a practice that seeks revelation)…if my “knocking on the sky” results in the “door being opened” then I will certainly be recording that here.
1. You would figure that these egregious moral errors would “come up in conversation” between these people and the Divine.