My father and I talk about the nature of man, in conversations that seem both polled and opposite. I go with the flawed – that inside people are creepy things that bump in the night – things that strain for inappropriate release as their way of shouting to the world, “This is wrong, This is wrong, This is wrong!”
I believe that everyone makes mistakes, and that everyone lies – and that acceptance of this is the key to understanding. I think of it as a harm reduction strategy for interpersonal relationships – a, “let’s work with what we have,” sort of approach. Everyone’s flawed with at least a touch of the original sin, and that this sin can’t be removed by an outside force. The sin is the sin of being human, and that's no sin at all -- it just is.
All is based on fears: that we will lose what we have, or not get what we need, and so we distract ourselves with crappy things and situations to take away the pain of being human. We surround with ourselves with noise to silence the need to both see our death and to make sense of it.
I think that my father goes to faith on this; he marginally accepts what I say at face value, but sees a greater thing in man -- that man can strive to be better by finding something bigger than they are to help – a sort of crutch, or bionic arm. He sees the guiding hand in all things, and conceptualizes life as a series of lessons as taught by a firm, but gentle master.
I think of Monty Pythons, “He was a cruel man, but fair.”
Great religious art promotes the stick Jesus and not the he-has risen version. Something in man needs the pain and sacrifice, and I don’t think it’s just Mel Gibson. No pain, no save. The miracle is in the rising; the understanding comes from the pain.
I’m coming around a bit. I’m starting to see that if we don’t rise to the occasions when tough choices force us to take a position, there’s no point to anything. If we are slugs to cause and affect, and bound only to our senses, why bother? We don’t always know the right choice, or even the best choice. To be a man comes in the choosing, as well as the living with the consequences. I see that there is a patterning order to the universe, and that there is a self-organizing principal weaved in all life that seeks progressive improvement, or good, for all things. Because of this, I think the best in us drives us to good. I don't see this in a human made god that tells small kids the wine actually changes to blood, and the bread to flesh.
God’s will is what’s put in front of you, what you do about it is your will. No one can die for your sins and no one rises from the dead. No amount of faith can make it real. To be a good man is to accept responsibility for your own sins, and then to raise yourself with the power that comes from within you. God shows his work through the direction of actions. Faith without works is a death, and all the else is just the distractions of a comic book.