The Scale of Perfection, Book 2, Part 1 – Chapter 1

dohpeterchina's picture

SECTION I: That a Man is the Image of God after the Soul and not after the Body; and how he is restored and reformed thereto that was misshapen by Sin
SECTION II: That Jews and Pagans and also false Christians are not reformed effectually through the virtue of the Passion through their own Faults

These are chapters 1 to 3 of The Scale of Perfection – Book 2 in Middle English:
This chapitle scheweth that a man is seid the image of God aftir the soule and not aftir the bodi.
Hou it nedide to mankynde that oonli thorugh the passioun of oure Lord it schulde be restorid and reformed that was forsaken bi the first synne.
That Jewes and paynymes and also fals Cristene men are not reformed effectuali thorugh vertu of this passioun for here owen defaute.

willbulow's picture

Diversity of Ideas and Beyond

I think that if we reflect back on the history of Christianity and its relations with other thought systems, we can see that Christianity flourishes best when it's challenged by conflicting beliefs. My admittedly subjective impression is that most Christians in the supposedly Christian nations of the world today are less committed to specifically Christian beliefs and behaviors than their brothers and sisters in lands where confessing Christian beliefs risks a penalty or price. Even heresies and the fragmentation of the church since the Reformation have forced us to formulate a clearer understanding of what we believe and how the Christian life should be led. I especially like the way jnwarren expresses it, " encourage and promote not only toleration but diversity in community, that, furthermore, cultural conformity and homogeneity stifle diversity and arguably hinder society from engaging in pressing issues, eg., redressing the exploitation of labor, organizing the proletarian as a class, critiquing existing power relations, advancing the rights of minority groups, etc."

We should be very respectful of the opinions of those we disagree with. The best articulation of their perspective on things is the best critique of our own not necessarily perfect understanding of things. The classic Christian creeds were forged in response to the perceived heresies of their day. If everyone were in complete agreement on things back then, our thinking in those areas that were contested would continue to be vague.

On the other hand - there's always something on the other hand - it is the nature of mysticism that we arrive at a point beyond which all is mystery anyway, so enjoyable and helpful as philosophy and science are, there comes a point where they just don't scratch where we itch. And to draw closer to God beyond where we can get with philosophy and science, what's needed isn't a better formulation of our beliefs, it's more faith, more love, more humility.

Bill B.