John Dunn

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To bring a sword

Tuesday, 3 Jul 2018

Jesus and sword on Dr John Dunn. It seemed to me for a time that an answer to the ‘what am I?’ question might be found in religion, more exactly in the Christianity that was my birthright.

After all, was not the revolutionary challenge of Jesus of Nazareth to Judaism a Promethean challenge?

Jesus proclaimed in Matthew that ‘I came not to bring peace, but to bring a sword’. And the Jews he came to confront were described by him in John as the children of the Devil who was ‘a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him’.

Jesus opposed a religion that had fashioned the mind-independent reality intoJehovah, the God of the Old Testament. Apart from not tolerating the company of the subject, this jealous God would not even tolerate the company of other objects.

And the Jews had lost themselves in the doctrine of an Absolute, Infinite God, unknown and forever unknowable, the God of religion.

ForMan lives religiously when he feels his own impotence and God’s absolute omnipotence; when he feels everything is outside of him and nothing is inside of him.

Jesus confronted the Jews who had lost themselves in the object, Jehovah, just as the scientists of the modern age would later lose themselves in their object, nature.

And the Pharisees epitomised that religious life, seeking only to apply the letter of the Law in its outward forms, whilst Jesus was concerned with its true fulfilment. In Jesus, God was brought within the thinking ego and was thus known, loved, willed and created.

The objectivity of Jehovah was overcome, and dogmatic and mystical theology were superseded by love, which is the overcoming of objectivity.

And just as Prometheus had vivified mankind, Jesus of Nazareth also brought the opportunity of new life.

I too thought that through Jesus the subject began to prevail over the object, and that we need no longer be unproductive spectators. The spirit, with all the strength of its inner life, began to lift itself above the realm of realities.

Needless to say, I found no affinity with any Christian church, search as I might.

The fact that Jesus was both acclaimed as the Christ, or Messiah, and condemned for it takes nothing away from the arbitrariness of it. The Passion was not provoked by man’s unwillingness to recognise the universal absolute values that Jesus incarnated, but rather by the claims to a special messianic status originating in Jewish historicist mythology, which has no claims to the acceptance of all men.

I left the believers lost in their object.

© John Dunn.

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