Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Paradox Complex: Good but Bad?

Christianity is full of paradoxes.  Everything that is taught seems to go against what comes natural to us.  We are told to go against the stream and be different, but so many (including myself) fall so short so often.  One of the paradoxes I wanted to touch on today was one of Humans being good, but also being bad (sinful, evil, etc.)

I think there is a common misconception that permeates around Christian culture like a plague.  People feel worthless and vile like they are worst people that have ever existed.  They can often be self-defeating and too self-demanding and I suspect a lot of it stems from what we are taught in churches more often than not nowadays.  I’m sure you’ve all heard it before.

“We are born with no goodness in us!”  “We deserve God’s wrath.” “There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t sinning against God somehow.”

While I won’t argue that these statements are false, I think we forget sometimes that God does not create bad things.  So we find ourselves being beaten over the head with our failures by our own selves and perceive our pastors, and other church members to be doing the same.  But we are so much more than the sum of our faults.

When God created the known universe he looked at it and saw that it was good (see the first two chapters of Genesis).  He saw it, and said it himself, “this is good.”  He created a beautiful masterpiece of art that continues to shift and change and shine to this day.

Because Humanity is good.

People are beautiful, the ability to reason, to create, and to renew is astounding.  Relationships are messy but wonderful, community is inspiring (when it’s done right).  Intimacy is vulnerable but so satisfying. 

Humanity is good, just like the rest of creation.

But then the first sin happened, and the whole world was turned upside down because of it.

Humans didn’t stop being good, but the conditions of their souls became one of death and sin.  We became “bad”.  People started to become jealous of one another, they murdered in cold blood, they proved unfaithful time and time again to their own friends and family and they turned away from the very being who created them.

I think we can all admit that we have problems.  Many people refuse to admit their problems, ignore them, or are unaware of them, but at the end of the day we all know we are a screwed up race.  People will say “I’m a pretty good person,” but really they are just comparing one small aspect of their life to someone else’s and judging subjectively if they do it better.

There is a little evil in all of us, but luckily most people know how to reign it in and keep it in check (for the most part, after all, no one is perfect right?)  But despite all of the flaws and scars and wounds that we cover up, people are still beautiful.  Granted that beauty is only a fraction of what it could be, but beautiful nonetheless.

There are still mothers who care deeply for their children, lovers who give up everything for each other, scholars and poets who reason and create and encourage that of others, and musicians who form emotions and convey a message not only in lyrics but also in the sounds produced from their instruments.  There are moments of just pure good that still exist in this world; creation hasn’t become bad, just because we have tainted it with our fingerprints.

Humanity is good, our souls are in bad shape and need help.

Two cents for the day.

Grace and Peace

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