Chapter Five: The Gospel of Evil
Notes, Questions, and Reflections
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
In preparation for this week’s discussion, please think about the Basic Homework Questions as you read it. Mark in your copy of the book or in your notebook which paragraphs pertain to these questions for you. Include your thoughts as to how they pertain to it. You’ll be ready to engage in discussion with the Group.
Then come back to this page and check out the additional questions and thoughts from past courses that St. John’s MCC people have had about the chapter that are listed below....
On page 107, Pearson says:
God did not create us to judge one another. That is not our role. We are not here to force our own values of good and evil on others. Our role as people living in Christ Consciousness is simply to announce that sin is no longer the issue. It has been made irrelevant by the work of Christ. We should turn our attention to the development of our own minds and our own righteous actions. When we do, the world will be a far better, more tolerant, and understanding place.
How will the world change if we don’t show people where they are going wrong? (Be careful! That is a trick question!)
“Christian moralism has become the battle cry of the so-called religious right in America, especially in recent years.” (p. 95) What does Pearson believe “moralism” is?
He gives us examples of opposites: “right and wrong,” “black and white,” “rich and poor,” “educated and uneducated.” Pearson correlates these opposites with what James calls “double-mindedness” in James 1:8. What other conflicts (opposites) seem to plague us?
How does Pearson suggest that we deal with them?
On page 97, Pearson says, “Paul does not denounce other gods … he chooses to recognize other beliefs as what they are: alternative manifestations of a God who is capable of appearing to any people as any type of godhead that will resonate with them.” What are the implications of that statement for us as followers and disciples of Christ?
Pearson says that the “devil many of us were taught to believe in is a man-made invention.” (p. 98) Upon what does he base that statement? How true is it for you?
On page 101, Pearson says, “The belief that something about us needs to be exterminated leads to repression and then depression, and then often to the truly violent, terrible acts some humans commit as a way of fulfilling the belief that they are inherently evil.” Why would we not want to do away with our evil thoughts? What purpose do they serve for us? How can we deal with them then?
Pearson paraphrases Paul’s words in Romans 7:24 to say, “How can I stop harboring this sin consciousness about the beast inside me?” (p. 102) He says, “Religion always seeks to put the beast in a zoo, detaining and caging it for the public to gawk at….” Do you agree with Pearson’s thinking?
Pearson takes off the gloves (again) by calling out the Moral Majority on page 106. He says, “You cannot impose your own form of morality upon others. Doing so does nothing but create division within the culture, creating armed camps where believers complete to see which is more self-righteous. It clothes religious people in judges’ robes woven of their prejudiced, limited, fearful human consciousnesses. This is why religion as a basis for political power has always led to horrific abuse in any culture.” Is that true? If so, what should we do about it?
Can you think of ways that we, as God’s Rainbow Nation, are guilty of the same kind of tactics – perhaps in reverse? What might they be? What part do we as individuals play in those tactics?