Is Christianity Ready for Critical Faith Theory?

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Recently, while on Twitter, I had the following exchange with another user.

As you can see, GregJacks3 was responding to an article of mine where I argue that Jesus had a human father and that his identity can be discovered through a careful rereading of the synoptic Gospels.

At this point, I remember being somewhat overwhelmed by the absurdity of the discussion. GregJacks3 is apparently an adult as am I. And yet here he is seriously arguing that God sent his angels to inform Mary and Joseph that the baby was fathered by the Holy Spirit. He is taking the nativity story as literally true.

My own approach is rather different. I consider the nativity story to be a literary memory tableau. It is designed to be both memorable and to also convey details of a hidden story.

That hidden story differs considerably from the surface version, but it is rather more plausible as it at least follows historical precedent.

Here is the point when I decided to research my discussion partner. I checked GregJacks3’s Twitter timeline and saw that he was also fighting against Trump’s Republican white supremacist party. He and I are in agreement on most issues, including Critical Race Theory.

And yet, as a Christian, GregJacks3 calls the version of events I claim to have uncovered a bastardization of The Word of God. And he states that the Bible can be made to say anything if Gnostic authors are given the same weight as the Bible. In other words, no equality for Gnostic authors.

The Gnostic authors were a minority group whose teachings and beliefs were erased from history. Does that mean that their beliefs had less value or contained less truth than those that made it into the Bible?

It could be argued that God allowed those beliefs to be lost because they interfered with His plans. But I would argue that if so, then God must have decided that these beliefs have a role to play in the current age because He has recently allowed them to be discovered.

These are the beliefs that were repressed and then whitewashed out of history. Christians like GregJacks3 have no interest in the propagation of a forgotten minority perspective on Christianity. Even though this alternative vision has been encrypted into the synoptic Gospels, the foundational texts of Christianity.

And yet, as a liberal, he sees the value in a critical reexamination of the history and laws of the US from the perspective of those in the minority. He acknowledges that the history as taught in the mainstream has been racially sanitized.

In the world I grew up in George Washington’s dentures were made from wood and not from the teeth of slaves. The Civil War was fought because of states’ rights and not slavery. The Tulsa race massacre never happened.

Today’s conservatives don’t want to have the veil ripped away and the truth exposed. White Christian society had created a family-friendly version of history that the adults at the time knew was a lie, but their children grew up believing it and in time they told it to their own children, still believing it to be true.

The same can be said for Christianity. The synoptic Gospels provide a family-friendly version of the story around the birth of Jesus, but they also contain clues leading to a very different reading of the event. The outer story is for children, while the hidden, inner reading is very much for adults.

Christians would prefer that the children’s version of Jesus is the only version that exists. Any attempt to draw from texts that were created by Christians with beliefs outside of the mainstream in order to unlock hidden reading contained within the Bible is labeled a bastardization of the Word of God.

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Learn how you can use the texts from the Nag Hammadi library to unlock the Bible’s mysteries. Discover the secrets of Chryptianity!

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Timothy James Lambert

Timothy James Lambert

Author of The Gnostic Notebook series, stand-up comedian, and Gnostic. Known as the Judas Iscariot of Gnosticism for revealing that which is not to be revealed.

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