Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Forces of Light and Darkness

This is part of a series on the roots of Christian Violence. You can find the other parts here. Reading the previous part (A House Divided) should be enough to put this post in context.
The Folly of Appraising Christianity
The Unpayable Debt of Salvation
and following on from this piece Protecting the Weak

The Forces of Light and Darkness

“Now this is the message that we have heard from his Son and announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness at all in him. If then we say that we are in fellowship with him, yet at the same time live in the darkness, we are lying both in our words and in our actions. But if we live in the light – just as he is in the light – then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son makes us clean from every sin.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and there is no truth in us. But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and make us clean from all our wrongdoing. If we say that we have not sinned, we make a liar out of God, and his word is not in us.”
-Today’s English Version, 1 John 1: 5-10

“Children these are the last days: You were told that an Antichrist must come and now several antichrists have already appeared; We know from this that these are the last days.
Those rivals of Christ came out from our own number, but they had never really belonged. If they had belonged, they would have stayed with us.”
 -New Jerusalem Bible 1 John 2:18-20

Consider the usefulness of the above verses to an inquisitor. Take note that there is no grey. You are either with the light or the dark. Take note as well that Johns anti-christs “claim fellowship with Christ” and are “from our own number.” These are the classic reds under the bed, not a clearly separate enemy.

John, the author of the above letters also wrote the Revelation of St. John. This final book in the Christian canon expands these themes of light and dark to illustrate a final conflict between an army of darkness led by an anti-christ and Christ’s true and persecuted church. God’s intervention routs the forces of the anti-christ and through the unleashing of terrors over the earth (plagues and more) makes a final testament to their power before humanity.

Although there are specific messages to historical churches in The Revelation Christians tend to see this book as prophecy yet to be fulfilled. The ambiguity of who Revelations addresses means Christians have regularly understood their immediate situation and their doctrinal conflicts in the light of this prophecy. There is an army of darkness full of false promises and a few who stand in the light of God’s truth.

Now 1 John and Revelations can be interpreted in all manner of ways. The light can even mean the light of compassion. However for the inquisition (as it would for the later reformers) being in the light meant sharing the doctrines of the true church without doubt. The same dichotomy was also celebrated by the other side as well who saw themselves as the forces of light. The effect has been to exaggerate difference and attribute a sinister agenda to ones opponents. They are not part of the work of the true church like us but serve Satan (wittingly or unwittingly). John supports this interpretation in referring to the earliest Christian heresy of Gnosticism;

“There are many deceivers about in the world, refusing to admit that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. They are the Deceiver, they are the Antichrist.”
        New Jerusalem Bible 2 John 2: 7

The first crusade refers to an intra-Christian war with the losers remembered by the name Cathars. The Cathars (they just called themselves good Christians) took some biblical passages literally and treated other passages as metaphorical but not the same ones as the Roman Catholic Church. Chiefly they felt that no-one should be called Father but God and they considered the transubstantiation of the Catholic eucharist into Gods actual body and blood as blasphemous. The Cathars also had extreme renunciative practices – they fasted and avoided most meats. They held that our souls belonged to God but that our flesh had been crafted by the devil and they rejected the authority of the Old Testament. None of these views made them anything other than model members of their towns and villages according to the French nobles with Cathars on their lands.

What the Catholic Church said about them was something quite different. The Cathars were accused of worshipping a black cat and kissing its bottom as well as that of the devil in human form. They were accused of participating in sexual orgies and keeping several wives. Most bizarrely they were accused of suicide. This was an odd charge given that they were hunted down and put to the death for it. One very early case collapsed when a witness was to say they had seen a noble riding to an orgy on a giant crab. The noble refuted it and the witness recanted leading to the inquisitor being driven out of town.

This was nothing new. The Cathars were related ideologically to the Bogomils. Of them we have an eleventh century description of incestuous orgies, the offspring of which were supposedly drained and burnt and their ashes turned into a drink.

Ultimately if no actual heresy existed then it was possible to create one. Historians now believe that the Heresy of the Free Spirit was an invention of the inquisition. This groups chief doctrine was that having been saved we could do whatever we wanted to sexually. Such rampancy of sexual licentiousness in the churches enemies is no mistake. While the celibacy of the Inquisitors may have contributed to their fantasies of sexual depravity this is also a reflection of a vision in Revelations, a woman drunk on the blood of God’s people, titled “the Great Babylon, mother of all prostitutes and perverts of the world.” (Revelations 17)

Although this vision is strongly indicated as referring to a city other meanings come to mind when we read “Every one of her shows and orgies are to be matched by a torture or grief” (Rev.18:7) She is to be “burned right up” and the kings who fornicated with her will watch “the smoke of her burning”.

Johns’ was the language that enabled men who had devoted their lives to God to burn hundreds of Cathars at a time - approximately four hundred Cathars died in 1211 in the largest mass burning. One Abbot who later was to become an arch-bishop destroyed a whole walled city of at least seven thousand people in order to get to about two hundred Cathars. He famously proclaimed “Kill them all, the Lord knows those who are his own.”

Believing that our side is completely in the light and our opponents are completely of the dark is not something we have left in the past. The similarity between the Salem Witch Trials and the 1950's House of Unamerican Activities is the point made by The Crucible. The suspension of basic rights for suspected terrorists in The United States, and the permission of torture shows this kind of thinking is still alive and well. There’s also no way that Christianity began this type of thinking. It was used against them before they gained power.

However this thinking also springs from the last book of the Christian Bible, The Revelation of St. John and his other writings. This author continues to speak to modern Christians. For two thousand years he urges them to watch out for a great and evil worldwide conspiracy in service to the devil. John writes beautifully on the importance of love in Christian communities but he suspends that love when it comes to those “bearing different doctrines.”

“If anyone comes to you bringing a different doctrine, you must not receive him in your house or even give him a greeting. To greet him would make him a partner in your work.”
- New Jerusalem Bible 2 John 2: 9-11

They are in league with the forces of darkness after all.

My partner in her wisdom pointed out that I should acknowledge my debt to one source in particular "The Grand Inquisitors Manual, A History of Terror in the Name of God" by Jonathon Kirsch. In fairness to him I should also say Kirsh doesn't come to the same conclusions as I do (nor involve Johns' writings), not necessarily because we disagree but because we are asking different questions.

Why are Christians such a bloodthirsty lot? Part Two

A House Divided

The last post in this series discussed Christian violence against non-Christians particularly Pagans and Jews. One possible explanation was given for it; the Unpayable debt of salvation. Certainly that explanation needs to be considered as one among many.

I deliberately chose to outline a motivation that explained the particularly Christian nature of Christian violence against non-Christians. As I make a similar choice with this post it needs to be said that there are plenty of economic and capricious explanations for violence committed by Christians. I have good reasons for not making those reasons a larger basis of this series.

This series is about how Christians have rationalized and inspired violence from their tradition because only a rationalized and inspired violence explains the systemic place of violence in the history of Christianity. The deliberate targets of Christian violence, the wide participation in violence and the resilience of official violent Christian institutions force us to accept that violence in Jesus’ name is not just a few bad apples.

There’s also a problem with treating any systemic violence as just motivated by self-interest. This is one other way in which Christian violence is dismissed as being not particularly Christian, merely human. Yet violent acts are usually at great cost to the perpetrator. It is servants of violence (rather than those who are served by it) who are crucial therefore to its sustainability. If the rich had to fight their own wars we would probably not have any. If only the self-interested believed in Christian violence it would have been a short lived affair for the same reason. We can see this in how Crusading knights bankrupted themselves in order to participate. It is also evident in how Dominicans and Franciscans made up the ranks of the Inquisition. They were deeply pious, forsook fame and were under a vow of poverty. They tortured without hope for personal, earthly gain with exactly the same zeal that they preached.  Violence in Christian history has been promoted and accepted as a Christian moral imperative.

That isn’t to say that such violence is “true” to Christianity. Perhaps certain Christian motivations to violence only work because a Christian doctrine is taken out of context or misunderstood or treated in isolation. Perhaps all these violent “Christianities” are in error. That’s not inside the purview of this series. It still remains that a Christian theology has had to rationalize and motivate violence whether “rightly” or “wrongly”.

How strange, then, is this post’s topic of Christian violence against fellow Christians? At first glance the tendency to fracture and then to fight amongst Christians can’t be the product of Christianity itself. This would seem to contradict the intuitively correct saying of Jesus that a house divided against itself can’t stand. It would also seem to be at odds with the principles of social evolution, contrary to any sensible purpose we can imagine. Surely only something preceding (like the badness of humanity) or external (like the machinations of false Christian rulers) could produce this wasteful propensity to violent self-persecution? In fact I can identify four elements necessary to continually create this conflict. All are imbedded in orthodox Christian world views.

The Fuel for the Fire.

Christianity has always been rift by distinctions. As far back as the Apostle Paul’s letters we see such conflict in the church. In fact Jesus himself has to deal with concerns over the authority to work in his name. (Mark 9:38) There is no period of Christian history without division and difference.

These conflicts continue to this very day. Protestant and Catholic and Orthodox and Calvinist, Armenian, Universalist and so on are just some of the possible stripes of modern Christian that exist. Each one will tell you adamantly that they are the real Christians. Not only that, but each theology claims to be absolutely evident. Only the Gnostics, a recurring heresy (though not to themselves), claim their beliefs are not obvious from a plain reading of scripture or history.

What all these splits over doctrine and authority (usually connected themes) indicate to any outside observer is that Christianity is open to diverse interpretations. It is evident that no one theology is clearly evident. This is a natural consequence of the Christian scriptures. For one thing there are several authors, none of whom were Christianity’s ultimate voice of authority, Jesus. For another there is always uncertainty about how to weight passages that seem to go against each other. Once we include the entire Old Testament as Christian canon as well then confusion is inevitable. Rabbinical schools seldom teach a single final interpretation of even one book in the Jewish Bible, the Christian Old Testament.

If any Christian reader doubts that this underlying uncertainty exists or that a contrary certainty is insisted on throughout Christian history I urge them to look into what has constituted a heresy; some of the Christological distinctions are so fine that their point is lost on us and like most heresies they can base themselves in scripture somehow. (Wikipedia contains a reasonable listing.)

Just as uncertainty forced into certainty plays out across churches it also plays out in the hearts of Christians. This is usually done by personally reciting creeds or articles of faith. Many people accept what they are told about metaphysical matters and just receive the faith as delivered. If it changes, they change. I find this a much maligned but perfectly reasonable position. After all which heresy is worth burning at the stake (and impoverishing your family) for? Seriously, did I mention the burning?

The most pious however want to truly hold the faith. Yet deviations of interpretation don’t cease to be natural in the individual. The problems with the text and with authority are still there. Internally as externally these must be suppressed by sheer bloody will or by claims to have divine inspiration.

Then because we are consistent creatures what we do to ourselves we do to others; self-loathing people become bullies. The Christian who demands commitment to doctrinal precision, given what they have to work with, fights a brutal internal war. They must chastise their internal heretics constantly. Obviously when they encounter that critic outside themselves it won’t always be pleasant. Hence greedy popes may order doctrinal violence, and ordinary people may even enforce it but it is the most devout who make it their lives work.

This is the fuel that drives the Christian persecution of other Christians. It burns hotter than the desire to persecute the Pagan or the Jew precisely because there is a smaller internal Pagan or Jew voice to be suppressed. Consider the bizarre story of the Crusades. Although we often think of them as wars between Christendom and Islam, the first three crusades were between Christians. Not till the fourth crusade did the Western church urge its adherents to go to war against the growing Muslim threat. This was in response to a plea to defend Christian pilgrims and lands in the Holy Land by the Eastern Church. However the Western army diverted its own path to sack the capital of the Eastern church, Constantinople, destroying it’s Christian churches instead. The fourth crusade never even made it to the Holy Land but expressed its violence against its more similar religious rivals.

This makes sense given that whether Rome or Constantinople should be the Pope’s seat is tenuously provable by any means. The tenuously provable must be strenuously insisted upon in order to be maintained and so Western Christians had been fed the worst propaganda against their Eastern cousins for the longest time. Most Christians would have internalized this process if only to fit in with their neighbours and the result is the sacking of Constantinople even when contrary to papal decree. The intra-Christian violence was too self-regulating to be just switched off from above.

We see the same fuel for violence wherever certainty is painted over uncertainty including other faiths such as Islam. We also see the same self-less prosecution of violence. Persecution becomes an act of faith as it is internally. Personally the persecution of Christian heretics by Christians strikes me as akin to the Cultural Revolution in China or the doctrinal purity of the Bolshevists. These were equally ideologically absolutist movements. They produced absurdist outworkings of their certainty to match the Inquisition. Just as in these communist examples however this fuel alone is not sufficient to start a fire. No body burns without three more key conceptual ingredients;
-          The Weak who need protection
-          The choice of Heresy

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Hipocrisy of Christian calls for Gratitude.

Previously I stuck the boot into the Atheist movement with my piece The Problem with Atheism. Basically my point there is that Atheism assumes the massive importance of whether God exists or not. That’s an importance I don’t agree with.

To put it another way, even Atheists believe that some atheists are prats while others are not. I’m interested in what makes us less of a prat. At least Evangelical Theists try to make a case that I shouldn’t be primarily interested in that question or that actually somehow theism does help a person improve their behavior. Atheists just say “Not believing in God doesn’t make someone a worse person,” which is a double negative dodging my concern. “Okay,” I reply, “It’s not God that improves us but what is it?”

However there is one area in which Atheists have been receiving the stick which is deeply unfair. It is good advice for the Atheist to hear but it is still definitely unfair. So this piece is going to go on the counter attack for the New Atheists in this regard.

The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a mining industry funded, climate change denying and anti-immigration think tank. It also has a long history opposing native title and the national apology. I know because I did a short tenure there for high school work experience and have kept an eye on them since. It is always a source of frustration that this organization gets regular column space in the Age newspaper.

Just recently Chris Berg from the IPA wrote an article essentially arguing that the Atheist movement should recognize its debts to Christianity in the forms of secularism and free speech, amongst other legacies. In The Folly of Appraising Christianity I point out that this is based on a false premise, namely that we wouldn’t have these things without Christianity. We don’t and can’t really know that. We can only guess based on predispositions in Christian language and the limitations of other philosophical languages. When we do this we may sound scholarly but it’s really just extreme speculation because all languages are capable of change. Christianity itself is just a changed Judaism after all, and what historian would have seen that coming?

Furthermore if we are going to (just for fun) make a sweeping appraisal of Christianity we would have to recognize that this Christian legacy also includes the notion of thought crimes, the retardation of mathematics and science for centuries and a far greater tension over multiculturalism (even today) than was held in many places before Christianity. Of course all these problems may have emerged without Christianity too. Maybe we would have jumped straight to Islam which shares some of these problems.

My real objection to Chris Berg’s article and its arguments, however, is something different. It is completely unhumbled by history. You would think if you were going to stand on a Christian platform[i] and make a virtue out of acknowledging one’s past you would want that virtue to be one Christians practiced. If not you might at least make note of your hypocrisy.

If secular atheists owe anything to Christianity then Christians also owe the following to preceding cultures:
  • Writing
  • Sanitation
  • Ship building and Cartography
  • Mathematics
  • Metallurgy
  • Logic
  • Architecture
  • Astronomy
  • Poetry, Dance and Music
Who honestly believes that Christianity pays fair homage to its predecessors for these legacies? Yet each of these aspects of society were not developed without reference to the God or Gods or the whole cosmology of the ancient world. They are all legacies of their world view.

Mathematics had an especially sacred place as a magical language in the pre-Christian world. We have evidence the Egyptians had achieved advanced trigonometry and algebra by 1800BC. Early Christians believed that as Jesus was returning soon, holding on to and respecting that knowledge was less important than cleansing Egypt of any non-Christian culture. To be fair, Muslims were a further wave of destruction at a later date but they only had remnants to destroy. We now have mere scraps for Egyptologists to study.

Of course you could argue that times have changed but see if you can talk for five minutes with an evangelical Christian about numerology without their eyes glazing over. Just think of the dignity they usually afford any knowledge that was before Jesus and not in the Old Testament. There isn’t any more respect from most evangelical Christians for the pre-Christian past than there was in the first few centuries of Christendom. There’s just more Christian past for them to glorify.

The same goes for our own country’s history and beliefs prior to the invasion of Christianity. Personally I know more about the ancient greek pantheon than I do about indigenous beliefs from my own country. That’s embarrassing. I would also be surprised (pleasantly) to be schooled by an evangelical Christian in this regard. Yet I am still told that I should pay even more attention to a Christian heritage that I already know far better. That’s insane.

Christians also have a particularly obvious heritage to respect in Judaism. This is so neglected that the fact that Jesus was a Jew was an actual astonishment in my youth. It’s true that Christians have retained the Jewish scriptures, however they have re-read them as often as possible as pointing to the New Testament. In the third century Jews were not permitted to publicly read from their scriptures unless they also stressed a Christian interpretation of them. I still encounter the theology that Jews were so blind to the truth for all four thousand or so years of their walk with God that they didn’t even have a correct interpretation of Genesis until Christianity re-read it.

I’m not even going to touch here the more virulent anti-semitic forms of Christianity. The above theology is generously speaking the orthodox mainstream for Christians. My point in this post is merely to say if Atheists do the same to Christians how can they complain? If Atheists re-write Christian scriptures so that Jesus was only properly understood by a new atheist reading will that be considered sufficient homage? It might give Jews cause to chuckle.

However Jews as a group themselves haven’t been particularly interested in paying homage to the cultures around them or before them either. There’s no Jewish state in ancient or modern history that has expressed the worth of non-Jewish beliefs that I can think of. In the Jewish Bible non-Hebrew beliefs are characterized as evil and completely without worth. The critique of atheists in this IPA article is really a critique we can make of everyone. We think we’re the best and dismiss the rest. That’s how religions work.

This is sadly just the latest way New Atheism is looking like a religion. Under the leadership of Richard Dawkins, Atheists are being encouraged to be mocking of any theistic tradition. Atheists are told to consider themselves as having grasped a truth that dimmer minds can’t deal with. Atheism is treated as the only moral position. If Dawkins was a historian instead of a biologist he might realize his path eventually leads to us having to go to Atheist mass on Sundays or be burnt at the stake. He  and his adherents are creating the monster they aim to fight.

To avoid this future Atheists should heed Chris Berg to some extent. I agree with the article that Atheists are being foolish if they just render all history not approved of for its Atheism as not worth contemplating. Berg goes too far when he encourages more than that. Gratitude for a debt to Christianity depends heavily on fanciful speculation. Respect however would be appropriate. I think it would be wonderful if the New Atheists were the first metaphysical movement after paganism to fairly credit their past and to be willing to learn from their peers.

Evangelical Christians who want to wield the Chris Berg article against New atheism are just being ridiculous however. There was history before 1 AD too. There was a culture in Australia before white Christian settlement. If you want to mention the splinter in Dawkins’ eye stop wearing the plank in your own. Maybe then we could all show each other some respect for a change.

[i] Chris Berg begins his article stating he doesn’t believe in God himself. However his article has been shared by Christians I know across facebook and it echoes the arguments they make.  It may not have begun as a Christian article but it is being used as one. Further the IPA is a historic defender of Christian culture (Berg actually spoke himself at a Christian “Reasons for Faith” conference this week) so I think “Christian platform” is sound despite the atheism of the author.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The real Hurray of Easter.

This Easter you might hear a story. It’s a story that will go something like this;

God is so holy and just that God just can’t abide people who commit sin. These people have broken God’s laws and it would be a contradiction of God’s holiness to be in company with such people. It would be another contradiction of God’s justice not to punish these people. 

Unfortunately we are all so sinful in nature that we can’t help sinning. God therefore has to punish us. The upshot is that every single one of us is righteously due for a burning in hell. Generation after generation of humanity is deservedly hell bound with nothing to stop either God or us from this destructive relationship. This is an important part of the story; all the children in Africa, all the Inuit, your family, the neighbour you never met and everyone else is hell bound. And it’s fair enough too, just a consequence of God being just.

But God is also loving. God loves us but they have to punish us because they are just. It’s a bind. Who’d be God? Heck, who’d be us?

God’s way out is to send their son to be a sacrifice on our behalf. This works just like an old fashioned burnt offering where you kill an unblemished lamb when you do wrong and God is appeased. However those lambs only worked until your next stuff up. God’s son is such a perfect lamb that they work for ever. God’s son is like a super-sacrifice. This is extra handy since the temple where the old sacrifices were meant to occur is destroyed now.

So hurray! The hell bound train has been derailed. God is appeased and all is well. End of story. Well, not quite.

You see the hell bound train idea shows you’re still thinking too small. Everyone is sliding into hell – the whole planet (other planets too if there’s life there perhaps). God still can’t just stop that destruction without being unjust, so it’s more of one single train line out of the fire that’s been created.

Now don’t you want to know what you need to do to get on that train? Aren’t you interested? Of course you are. If you had to give everything you owned and give it to the poor you’d do that. If you had to make a sacrifice of your own life you’d do that too. But you don’t actually (regardless of what some say). You just have to believe that Jesus was that perfect lamb and possibly get baptized and you can get on the train straight away!


Now the problem with this story is that while it’s awfully interesting you might believe it’s Christianity. You’d be right in that it’s “a” Christianity (it’s sometimes called reformed Christianity) but it’s not the only one and there’s lots of ways it blatantly ignores what Christian scriptures record.

Jesus never wrote any scriptures himself and about half the Christian scriptures that we have today are letters from one writer. Because the early church expected Jesus to return within a lifetime this wasn’t a church that believed it had to write down any message for us two thousand years later. Still, studying these scriptures alongside a historical study of the time are the best chance we have of recreating who Jesus was and what he taught.

Here’s what the scriptures tell us:

  1. Jesus portrays God (his father) as our father too. He invites intimacy with God. He encourages us to go to God with our imperfections. He does all this before his death enters the picture. His death is not required for this to happen. The best example of this is the story of the Prodigal Son. (Am I the loudest non-theist advocate for reading this parable or what?)

  1. Jesus demonstrated God to his disciples. That seems to be a fairly early understanding. There was no price to pay first before Jesus sits and eats and visits the most judged “sinners” of his time. No body has to be sacrificed for Jesus to lunch with Zacchaeus. If God is one and Jesus is the son of God then Jesus’ life would be our best indication of what God is like. Jesus isn’t holy, distant and bound to condemn.
Jesus needs to be understood as the radical subversion of temple sacrifice rather than its fulfillment. Temple sacrifices to appease God only worked if the sacrifice was from your own flock. The only way to insert the son of God into the Temple model of sacrifice is if either God is atoning for his sins (which is a fascinating theology right there but also a big stretch) or Jesus is from our flock. The latter would be consistent with Jewish expectations of a human messiah and Jesus’ title of the Son of Man. Even reformed Christians don’t deny Jesus’ humanity, though they deemphasize it a lot.

But there’s still something missing. Basically humanity didn’t lose anything – not in the same way that one tribe lost one unblemished ram when they made one a sacrifice. We didn’t lose anything as individuals or tribes relative to each other. That is the purpose of temple sacrifice; to offset the benefits of sinning by costing our re-inclusion into the community. Jesus makes no sense at all inside this model. Inside this model only his parents would be able to say they had atoned.

Let’s also remember that we (metaphorically) consume the sacrifice instead of God. We are supposed to eat the body and drink the blood of Christ. That’s not a temple sacrifice by any stretch of the meaning. You don’t get to temple sacrifice a lamb and take home lamb chops! If Jesus is a sacrificial lamb it is much more the kind that gets sacrificed to have a welcome home feast for your and mine return.

Salvation from starvation?

What Jesus is actually saying about temple sacrifice with his life and death is that God does not require payment. God is able to hold you and cherish you and be with you in your imperfection. God runs to you in your imperfection. God longs for you to call them Father whenever you want. If any debt needs paying it is your anxiety not God’s rapacious justice that demands it. Letting go off that anxiety allows you to see God clearly.

I think part of the confusion centres on the word “salvation.” I used to think this word meant “saving” as in Jesus saving me from my fate in the big burning world of hell. Maybe reformed Christianity made the same mistake? Certainly many would feel that without a destiny of punishment for all there is no salvation. But salvation doesn’t mean saving.

Salvation actually comes from the greek term for “healing” – it shares the same root as “salve.” Hence salvation makes no sense without a current condition to heal. A divine punishment yet to happen is not something you get healed from. God is not required to be the judge who applies the fire in order for the Son who stays their hand to make sense. Salvation is God healing us from the burns we already have.

What Jesus and the early Christians thought that healing looked like is itself worthy of several blog posts. What did Jesus call sickness and what did he consider health? A very big part of it is to forgive others as we have been forgiven without a requirement for payment or penalty.

If you can do that this Easter you’ll have my hurray, whatever you believe. You will be bringing some salvation into the world, healing yourself and others. Just like Jesus, the great salve not the temple sacrifice.