[quote=“bereal, post:69, topic:426”]I think the biggest problem I have with Christianity lies with the concepts of “the creator” and “the creation”, “God” and “his kingdom”, “God” and “man”. To me all these represent a basic fallacy, because believing in a creator necessarily implies a separation between the creator and his creation. Maybe a connection exists in the sense of a carpenter and the furniture he crafts with his own hands (to give one example), but the creator and the creation still exist as two separate things.
These beliefs seem to completely contradict the animating worldview that everything has spirit, and that the creator of all life IS nature (sorry :-[, but it just expressed my idea so well ;)). As soon as people separate “god” from the natural world, through the concept of the creator and creation, ruler and kingdom, they begin to lose the perception of spirit (“god”) existing IN nature.
How else could we have traveled from perceiving the world as a complex web of relationships between humans, other animals, plants, the wind and mountains, etc, to seeing the world as an inanimate collection of objects for us to use and destroy as we see fit (the civilized worldview, shared by almost everyone in our modern society whether they admit it or not)?
This also paves the way for seeing humans as separate from the natural world as well, through such beliefs as god creating man in his image, and god creating a hierarchy of his creations, with humans at the top. We only lost our relationships with non-human beings once we stopped seeing ourselves as part of the natural world, subject to the same natural laws and forces, the same as any other plant or animal.
I see this perceived duality in the concept of “stewardship”/“caretaker” as well. I see a distinct difference between a caretaker charged with the sole responsibility of “taking care of” the land (as the caretaker sees fit, of course), and a human living in total partnership and equality with all the myriad non-human beings who call the same place home (all collectively working together to take care of their home, with just as much input, participation, and responsibility from the non-humans as from the human, since no difference exists between them).
And I also see this difference in perspectives in indigenous and Christian beliefs about what happens to us after death. Of course countless different indigenous beliefs exist, but many of them share a belief that our (human) ancestors came from animals or at one time were able to shapeshift into animals, and that they exist today in the wind, in other animals, etc (IOWs, in other places and beings in the natural world). Christianity, on the other hand, believes that the spirit departs the natural world after death, to reside in a purely spirit world for the rest of eternity.
Now, individual Christians can choose to believe whatever they wish, and to interpret the Bible and Jesus’ teachings however they wish. Christianity (like any religion) means different things to different people, on an individual basis. But I don’t believe that that changes the religion’s underlying nature, which includes a duality between God and nature/ humans and nature, and a fundamental separation between the two.
I, like Bill, don’t have any particular quarrel with the problem of a creator separate from the rest of the world. However, I don’t see that Christianity falls intractibly into that category. In fact, that was specifically the fundamental issue that I wanted to address in my post above. Like, Bill, I see the creator (“God”, whatever) as the underlying animating force of nature, wholly enmeshed in nature.
I consistently see a base set of assumptions about Christian beliefs: that Christian beliefs only refer to modern mainstream beliefs and no other interpretations, historical or otherwise; that “to be Christian” means to willingly choose those beliefs; that “God” must be separate and that there is a world of spirit and a world of flesh and they are separate (not interconnected); that Christianity has “one underlying nature”. I understand where these assumptions come from, I simply don’t agree with them. Granted, I’ve had the “luxury” of dealing with this for far longer than I’ve known the word “rewilding”, so that likely has something to do with my disagreement.
[quote=“Brian, post:73, topic:426”]Yeah, and given Christianity’s history of creating dualities, and what little it seems to teach people of living a quality life on their landbase, I would encourage most people to avoid that spell if there are more life-friendly stories available.
Bill, I respect your views, and I believe you are on a path that will allow you to see many truths. But in your words I still sense a constriction to the belief of god as an unknowable, but literate and human-like intelligence who dropped us some clues for a while, became human a couple thousand years ago, and has stood by quietly ever since. I think synthesis between rewilding and christianity happens on some levels. But someday you might ask yourself the question that I now try to ask myself: “Why am I trying to fit everything I know and experience into a framework that doesn’t seem to be able to contain it?” In other words, why identify yourself or your way of living as “Christian?”[/quote]
And herein lies what I see as the real fundamental disagreement displayed in this thread. Perhaps we could see this clearer if we dismiss the recurrent word “Christian”. Perhaps we should, instead, talk about this in terms of “those with a relationship with Christ”. That simple change has a big damn impact on the discussion. I have a relationship w/ Christ. That relationship has changed a lot over the years: faithful Southern Baptist; doubter; angry rebel; rewilder. You see, even when I tried pushing “it all” away, it never did change the fact that I had a relationship w/ Christ. At some point I realized that and intead of continuing to push, tried to find a workable way forward. Imo, I act far more honestly and rewildingly by acknowledging my relationship and working to rewild it instead of simply trying to “run away”.