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Why the Church?

In which we consider why a right-thinking individual might want to start a church, of all things.

Short answer

To have a different voice; one not beholden to funding, censorship, review, or the fashion of the moment. To provide a reference point of use in discussion on vexed topics. To serve in novel and respectful discussions in a way that is continuous with many traditions. To attempt to be coherent. To chase specific rabbits down specific lanes. To say what needs to be said, without licence.

To represent a singular view with respect to issues relevant to empirical science, anthropology, religious studies, and such. To act as a sounding board. For fun.

There is a Credo, which lays out the basic position of the Church. Elaboration and exegesis is done under Theology.

Longer and better answer

I wish to speak. But as who shall I speak? Whose voice? Whose responsibility? And to whom addressed? To a "you", to a "we"? We are not unified, if by "we" you mean some creature of fiction called humanity. We have not established a "we" at the species border. We know nothing of ourselves, because we have failed to establish ourselves as an entity, as a unity.

Of humans, as bodies and as apes, we can say some things. We know their basic body morphology. We know some of the values that arise because of their bodies: perferred temperature range, caloric intake, and so on. But most of their goings on are not so characterised. They write, dance, sing, and conduct the most horrific battles for gods, for love, for the hell of it.

So I cannot look at humans and say "that's us". I can utter no glib statement starting "We humans are . . . ". We are not.

To speak of "us", there must be some common ground. We speak from a ground, behind and beneath anything we can say. The ground must be unacknowledged. It is invisible to us, because we think we are the centre, the point from which the world is seen. We fail to hear our own accent. Anything we say bears witness to our embedding, to our inextricable entwining with each other, and with all the processes of life.

Any plurality we might recognise may be able to speak collectively, if they are careful. In its purest form, they would speak as one, in unison. I do not know what they could say. To whom would they speak? And as who?

To identify with the processes of life seems like a nice idea, but the very essence of life is to eat and be eaten, to live and to die, with no particular reason to grasp at the continuation of one form or another. Steeped as we are in the bombastic battle between good and evil as Christianity thinks, we are forced to try to identify with the predator and not the prey. We cannot relax into the way.

In an intellectual environment in which fools think that science has gifted them a superior hold on reality to those of people with religious traditions, practices and such, there is a need to push back. Science, as applied to the living, is infested with a Christian worldview. Psychology is the most egregious example of the theological infestation of science.

Science is not the problem, though. The practices of science are wonderful, and they enable many cordial discussions in which a great deal of consensus is reached. The background belief in "belief", in the simplistic application of "reason" to "reality", and a presumption of an "objectivity" that simply exists, these are the problems. The church is an attempt to speak, despite all this.

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