Thinking Anew – The slow road to enlightenment
Many things only begin to make sense when they are gone. The little stories that pepper the ends of the Gospels tell the tales of people coming to understand what Jesus was about after he died.
In hindsight or on reflection, many of the people who actually knew Jesus only began to know him when he was gone.
The Gospels make it clear that there was nothing instant about their faith.
For the rest of us who never actually met him, and that includes Saint Paul, our recognition of Christ is gradual.
The slow road to enlightenment is not a road that everybody takes. Of those who choose to take it, it is not a road that everybody completes. It is probable that many of Jesus’s disciples abandoned the cause on Calvary and some, though certainly not all of them, came back.
Our education system is proof that lengthy years of exposure to the teachings of faith do not necessarily make a believer. As we wander off into the world we are likely to carry the dogmas of history, the official interpretations of literature and a host of incomprehensible measurements with us.
We also hold good teachers in high esteem but that esteem is more of a personal fondness than a blueprint for how to live life.
Was Jesus a good teacher? Many of his students lost faith in him on Calvary.
Their fascination for something promising collapsed.
They packed up and returned to a banal world where safe information is treated as wisdom and questions are heresy, back to what we still call “normal life”.
Faith, despite the misdemeanours of some who claim to have it, is a deep human passion.
Wherever we have flourished, we have sought a higher purpose and meaning that can launch us beyond the confining straitjackets of normal life.
That is what a higher intelligence has to do. Ordinary intelligence is our ability to recognise the physical world around us; knowing what mushrooms not to eat, being able to link cliffs with danger and the distance to the moon.
Higher intelligence is our bid to understand the rest of reality; happiness, sadness, love, relationships, death.
These are the places where our intelligence, or soul, bends the rules like a black-hole would.
We go beyond the physical to ask questions and seek answers that cannot be answered by examining things we can hold.
The desire to understand “why” goes places “where”, “what”, and “how” get lost. This doesn’t usually start as a quest for God but God, in some form, is usually where the desire ends up.
The ghost of Jesus of Nazareth wanders benignly through the human story still. We might not always be aware of his presence and some people can be hostile to it yet he does not go away. It remains a teachable fact that nobody in the Western World corrects Jesus yet.
Similar to the disciples 2000 years ago we somehow acknowledge his authority in the realm of ethical living even though that authority does not make sense.
Moral philosophers exist to be contradicted so why is Jesus so untouchable? Is it because he was right?