Monday, February 18, 2008

Radically Transformed

Let me start this off by saying I am not trying to force my opinion on anyone, I am not making a frontal attack, I do not have a hidden agenda, and I am not taking sides, well maybe a little skewed towards Rob. I considered long and hard on whether or not I wanted to jump "into the fray" here and post a response especially since I am, for the most part, only a “recreational” blogger. We may disagree on most, if not all, points made based on religion, but I believe we have similar opinions in other matters, probably closer than you would think at first blush. If you want to post a reply please post to either my blog Famulus Deus or Rob’s Rants. Oh, and please keep it clean, these are family friendly blogs. : )

There was a post the other day from Rob’s Blog and there were one or two things
Larry “the Barefoot Bum” Hamelin and Rob “the Rev” Singleton said that have been gnawing at me to respond to. Now to begin with I am no statistician, theologian, or claim to be an expert in any field for that matter. I do come pretty close to being an expert when it comes to computers and cooking though. : ) Anyway, I am a fairly young Christian, when I say “young” I have only been a believer for about 10 years now. I was once a "militant" atheist sometimes agnostic for many years. I have been a student of countless world religions, cults, and belief systems. In fact, and I will probably catch some flack from someone by saying this, by definition Christianity is a cult.

Our culture has put a negative spin or connotation on the word
cult but that is another discussion altogether.

ADD moment over, for now.

Introductions and background aside, back to the post. Larry, commented, "I must say, I’ve never encountered anyone who seems “radically transformed”, but I have met many Christians who were very nice people."

This was in response to one of Rob's earlier replies from the same post stating, "On the other hand, I doubt you’ve encountered someone so radically transformed by the love of Christ that their life just overflows with kindness and an attitude of servant hood, a joy for living, etc. that stuff’s pretty appealing."

I think at this point the discussion was, of course, way off the original topic. It could have become a whole new blog, hey it did, or message series in and of itself. So, question one for Larry and Rob. What would it take for you to believe and/or prove that you have encountered someone who has had what could be defined as a "radical transformation"? Furthermore, perhaps a definition from both of you of “radically transformed” would be in order, please? : ) My attempt at a definition is below.

Without being too presumptuous, as I am sure I have already been; Rob I think you touched on the answer to my question. You talked about someone being “radically transformed by the love of Christ” but perhaps that answer could be expanded on and explained further.

Larry, based on what I have read from your blog and commentaries you are well versed in statistics, probability, and that you consider yourself an amateur philosopher. Do you think that “radical transformations” can occur? (spiritual, natural, metaphysical, etc.) Any and almost all answers from anyone at this point would be either theoretical or simply one’s beliefs of course. ; ) MHO is below.

I do know with 100% certainty that in the physical realm the answer will always be yes because we are all experiencing “radical transformations” right now, and again, hey there is another, and again, and so on and so forth. Every time we take a breath we experience a “radical transformation”, or at least that what biology teaches us. Heck, the big bang was a “radical transformation” that we all are all still witnessing. Is that still a viable theory? Rhetorical of course, unless you want to point me in another direction thus educating me further. ; ) Beyond that quantum mechanics/physics kicks in and "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics." -
Richard P. Feynman

At this point everything is relative or theoretical, but I have severely digressed and for that I apologize to you and your readers Larry. (and Rob’s readers too) I will stop there and let you or anyone for that matter, respond as you see fit. I believe I left some possibly interesting (at least to me) questions for you back there somewhere in one of my ADD moments, I warned you. : )

From my perspective
Larry and Rob’s discussion was more likened to, or rather became, a debate about spiritual matters rather than the topic concerning social matters that sparked the original conversation. I believe the two are linked but I would never presume to tell someone else their lifestyle is wrong or flawed. I am pretty sure that was not Rob’s intention either but again that was the catalyst for the discussion, which ultimately is a good thing. I can say that myself and others close to me, have experienced firsthand several "radical transformations". I categorize them as spiritual and physical life changing events that sometimes seemingly had no meaning to some but to others there was no question that those “events” were not merely chance or coincidence. That of course would make it a matter of one’s perspective or viewpoint.

IMHO in most cases those two words, “radical” and “transformation” barely describe the changes, both positive and negative, that I have gone through and/or witnessed. I have seen things happen, for good and sometimes for bad reasons. I am not deluding myself either, trying to find meaning or purpose in the minutia of day to day life. I did that for long enough over intellectualizing, internalizing, or trying to escape reality. It is not just a feeling I have, a hunch, or a guess, I know in my mind and in my heart that it was in God’s will for the things to happen or unfold as they did. Again this is my belief in an omnipresent, loving, God, and also another topic, freewill, destiny, pre-ordination, etc. The choices made and how things played out, in some cases, were firmly grasped by human hands. I do believe that we all have a purpose for our lives and it is revealed to us daily. Our lives will be our legacy to others regardless of what decisions we make or what we believe. How that changes our environs depends on if we create or destroy, it is as simple as that. Ultimately no matter what we believe, “…
what we do in life echoes in eternity”.

Anyway the topic was “radical transformation”: as
Linda Richmond would say, “Discuss”. Or if you want to take an offensive or defensive Mills Lane like posture then, “Let’s get it on”. ; )

Please post responses either here,
Famulus Deus or Rob’s Rants

1 comment:

The Barefoot Bum said...

Much depends on how one interprets "radical transformation". Yes, people do change, some more dramatically than others. Some alcoholics stop drinking, some criminals become public-spirited, some people change their political beliefs.

I don't see any evidence that Christianity has any profound or dramatic effect on most people's lives. Some people turn to Christianity after they've had a life-changing event. It does happen, but it's rare, for instance, to see someone turn himself in for a crime after he has become a Christian (and even then it's arguable that the guilt inculcated by ordinary societal and cultural means causes the transformation.)

Most Christians (and I was raised a Quaker, and most of my family are Christian) seem like ordinary people, little different from ordinary Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, New-Age woo-woo spiritualists, Pagans, Neo-pagans, and even atheists. We are shaped by our culture and society.

Most people, including Christians are civilized, pleasant and peaceful. Some people, including some Christians, are creeps. A few are criminals.

So, regardless of whether radical transformation is possible, I see absolutely no reason to believe that Christianity per se is a discernible cause of such transformation.