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

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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.

re: Religion

Me: Christianity is not a set of doctrines from some denomination. Christianity is the suggestion that religion changes, and changes according to the divine impulse which dwells in the part of us that is eternal and immortal, the part that is subject to constant change.

You: Can you point out this divine impulse? Your theism is just as irrational as Heidegger's atheism, and full of just as many holes!

Me Again (New Thoughts): I will gladly point out this divine impulse. It is within you, in your own consciousness and being (to be ubermystical). It is that part of you which automatically accepts that it is good and necessary to pursue the equality of the exploited, laboring classes. Your divine spark finds expression in the need to right the wrongs perpetrated on the helpless by faceless institutions and intrinsically corrupted power structures. This is not as different from the ministry of Jesus as you might think.

For the record, you will generally receive more respect from posters and people if you do not insult them at every turn--my faith may be irrational according to your criteria (which you somehow failed to share) but why point it out in passing? Your compunction to be condescending reflects poorly on your vigor. You also seem compelled to drop the names of every significant philosopher since the Iron Age, and perhaps I would too if I'd read all of them, but the comparisons you make are lost on most of us. There is no upside to being a genius if that results in total isolation in the digital or actual world.

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Me (earlier): I like what you said about situation ethics--and in a sense, you can find the same principle in Pauline epistles.

You: But Paul also condemned homosexuality, and said women should be subservient to their husbands! Would you listen to someone who said that today?

Me Again: You strike me as someone without extreme difficulties in logic.

1) Paul says, "Scriptural application is subject to change."
(Here is the proto-situation ethics I was talking about)

2) Paul also says, "Homosexuality is bad," and "Women are secondary to men." (Though he qualified both of these statements in ways that would only sidetrack our discussion)

3) Centuries later, other Christians made some of Paul's writings into sacred scripture.

How, therefore, do you come to the conclusion that we should dismiss Paul, a writer who is aware both of his own fallibility and aware of scriptural limitations, on the grounds that he is not on politically correct ground on today's hot issues? How would I handle Paul, given that I see him as a human being? I would listen to Paul for the important philosophical and spiritual insight he had regarding the gospel--especially since he was so uniquely historically positioned between the two different cultures which produced earlier Christianity--and if he were a person I could interact with I would challenge him when I felt he was out of line. But because he is dead, I have to treat him like you treat dozens of other writers, taking his finite perspective with a grain of salt and gleaning the good from the bad. This is not so different than what we do today when we apply literary theory to the philosophical writings of the greats.

This is actually what a significant chunk of mysticism is about--discerning between what is reality and what is not, even in the forms and shapes of religion. I will take a look at those essays you referenced--they look quite enjoyable.

Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life;
And these are they which bear witness of me;
And ye will not come to me, that ye may have life. (John 5:39-40)




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