Special & General Theories of Faith and Mystery

I have been told by some Christian friends that they are not interested in learning things about Christian tradition and that writers like Dr. Robert Price author of "Blaming Jesus for Jehovah" intend to "rip the faith right out of their hearts."

We know so much more about this photo than the ancients knew about the night sky.

We know so much more about this photo than the ancients knew about the night sky.

I suppose some Christians haven’t the courage to face the real mysteries of life. Perhaps they fear their fragile narrative would fall apart if they learned something about their tradition.

For some, ignorance is truly bliss. Simple, faithful Christians can subscribe to whatever nebulous fantasy their group imagines and revel in the belief that anthropologists, historians, scientists, and other “curious types” are incapable of experiencing their special state of ecstasy.

It must be truly wonderful to belong to such an exclusive club, or to float on the bandwagon of the masses.

I’ve heard many Christian friends in Hong Kong say things like: "I am not curious and people who are, are sad, soulless creatures." "Our world is magic, yours is mundane." “I don’t need an explanation because I feel it.” “My Jesus is indefinable.” "The Bible is a magic book."

Jesus said: "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.
Jesus said: "Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking."
From the heretical gnostic Gospel of Thomas. 

(Agape becomes Christian kōan.)

Whatever “it” is, of course, remains undefined— a vague wisp of righteousness, a warm fuzzy feeling, a steady sense of perpetual comfort. In a Christian mystic’s rarified state of being these vague feelings equal meaning, I suppose. As if calling oneself a Christian bestowed a kind of monopoly on goodness. Those magic words: Jesus; Christian; Christ; Bible are sufficient ends in themselves. Just say the words. Eat, pray, love. 

 Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō

(It should be obvious that anyone regardless of their background or tradition can do good works.)

There’s no need to know anything about Byzantium or the Holy Roman Empire. History is forbidden fruit. Any form of knowledge is a fall from grace. Those who seek to understand are committing the original sin all over again. Any triumph of understanding is a betrayal of our divine ignorance.


Grace requires pure faith in ignorance— a childish state of perpetual innocence.

Just take that fateful leap into the bosom of the mono-father out there in heaven somewhere and everything will make sense. Just submit to the lawmaker. Just surrender your will, your freedom, and your mind and you will have everlasting life.

(I think of the displays of emotion North Koreans bestow upon their leader and the polemic of Christopher Hitchens.)

It takes courage to learn about one's tradition.

It takes courage to learn about one's tradition.

The kind of Christian who would read this book would be courageous and have faith in himself. The kind of Christian who would read this book would already have a glimmer of understanding of the real mysteries of the universe. The kind of Christian who would read this book would know that knowledge of oneself and the world is a good and beautiful thing.

Faith without curiosity and understanding is shallow. Every child knows this.

"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it's comprehensible." Albert Einstein

Now he's my kind of mystic.

A true curious mystic. 

A true curious mystic. 


Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.