(epistemic status: trying it out. reserve the right to change my mind. but recent experiences have given this idea a foothold in my brain, and I want to help it grow.)
“Grace.” There we go.
I envy the Christians! The idea of grace, that “you’re already good enough”, that “you’re inherently worthy to be here”, totally rules. It’s not perfect, mostly because they pile on a couple of stories about it:
- You’re born with original sin because you’re descended from Adam and Eve who sinned first
- But Jesus was able to magically take on all the world’s sins and wipe us clean
I assume these stories are either a historical accident, or they actually help some people believe, but they drove me away. Neither of those stories make any sense. (They also pile on some carrots and sticks, heavens and hells, but those are dumb.)
But! I think I threw out the bathwater of salvation with the baby Jesus. The argument I’d make for grace is this:
- It’s no worse than any other razor
- Grace -> good works, not vice versa
- It’s the only sane way to live
In my previous post, I started the post about 16 months ago. If I started it today, I think I’d leave off the first line: “having kids is a claim that your net effect on the world is positive (so theirs probably will be too).”
It doesn’t matter what your net effect on the world is. Or rather, your net effect is immeasurable; you’re a color, not a number. So you can look at all the colors and say: which of these are Good? And some rules of thumb might be “they’re all Good” or “none of them are Good” or “the bluish ones are Good” and those are all equally nonsense. You might as well say “they’re all good.”
Ok, it’s not quite that simple. We maintain some kind of ethical ladder: maybe it’s better to be a more bluish color. There are serial killers out there, and they’re worse than Mr. Rogers. But the serial killers, look at all the trauma they started with. Or, look at really solid, wonderful people, and how they describe their motivations. They started from a secure place of being Saved. It makes it easy to do good.
In fact, I’d take it farther: feeling that you’re Saved makes it possible to do good. It makes it possible to live in this world without being a constantly insecure wreck. Something about Secure Attachment here? It might be the only sane way to live.
“I’m valuable, I’m important, I matter. I’m worthy of taking up the space that I do.” I think I’m beginning to alieve that, instead of just believing it.
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