Hopefully I will get back to finish up my post on zealotry by Monday. In the meantime, I thought I would just add a couple thoughts that have been bouncing around after seeing the Mel Gibson movie. Most of these comments don’t come directly from the movie, instead they are more from my personal ruminations.
For some time know I have been leaning towards viewing God as a rather hands off type person. In many ways, I see most of what he does as setting up a good initial set of conditions and rules. For instance, we may say that God hears every prayer and is aware of the smallest creature, but in reality, that would certainly be a hard thing for a someone to accomplish, or want to accomplish. Normally we say that God’s capabilities are beyond our imagination. What is possible for him is impossible for us to conceive. I don’t think I buy this in the regular sense. Why have all this hassle if you can just organize things to take care of themselves. For instance, is prayer more about trying to get God to respond, or more about getting us to change our reality through the power we naturally have (or are given).
In terms of the pre-existence, I find it plausible to believe that we never had one on one interaction with God the Father. Instead it could be that Christ has always revealed the Father to us. Everything that has been done can be viewed as a way to get us to the Father. This would certainly make following Christ here, and in the pre-existence much more of an act of faith. If this was the case, I can certainly see why there was a battle in heaven. Although I should note, scriptures like Abr 3:27 still require God to choose between the two plans, and thus still be in the picture. Although I think many people assume that we were all privy to that discussion, it could certainly be that we had to try and determine for ourselves which plan it was that God was choosing.
This leads back into some thoughts I had while watching the movie. In trying to get something out of the film, I starting thinking about Satan’s plan. It seemed like his plan, and actions could be based on some of the following assumptions
1. Humans like to get rid of rule breakers. Christ and his followers would have to be at odds with natural law and natural society. Hence people would always oppose them.
2. Humans like to think they have many answers, but tend to get upset when someone proclaims that in fact have it all. Usually these people get attacked until they are proven wrong or recant.
3. Humans like to enforce their rules and not allow exceptions to flourish.
4. Humans are animalistic and will make the worst of excessive freedoms.
5. The above conditions will make it impossible for Christ, his followers, or his institutions to survive.
6. In terms of eternal progression, it is better to be realistic and get what we can rather than risk it all.
7. Who even knows what level of progression is possible. For instance, maybe God is only ever to meant to influence us from afar.
Of course all this is very speculative, and doesn’t mean much. I did find it interesting to see how much pressure there may have been to get Christ to “conform”. We don’t mind prophets telling us what to do as long as they follow expected patterns. We don’t mind being told what to do so long as it is based on what we already accept. What we hate are leaders not incorporating what we think or believe.