Monday, November 07, 2005

Self-righteousness.

A Buddhist cousin, perhaps; in response to Christianity emerging in his family has put up a weblog on some of the Buddhist ideas he has learnt. Armed with little ability to read in Chinese (thanks to the efforts put in in vain attempts to understand Buddhist teachings better during pre-conversion days), I attempted to make out some of the ideas in place here.

“A doctor in the act of treating his patient requires also an element of fate and such fate is confidence. If the patient has absolute confidence in his restoration to good health, regardless of whether the doctor is skillful, the patient will still recover. Medical attention only assists. While 5% of recovery is contributed to the aid of doctors and medicine, 95% of the way to recovery must be credited to self. One can recover from illnesses by only drinking water, relaxation, and letting go of his worries, without the aid of medical help- as the way to recovery is psychological, rather than physical. It is when we do not grasp this philosophy, and we allow the conditions of the world to take over us, rather than we taking control of them; that we suffer. We must therefore learn to condition the world, rather than allow the world to condition us. Only then, all is possible.”

While this is a simple, allegorical illustration drawn towards Buddhism’s central teachings on achievements through self-righteousness, it nevertheless serves us as a reminder on how a humanistic philosophy serves well only when Man is reaping good fortune, but is destructed easily upon difficult times, as already seen during the Depression and World Wars in the early 20th century.

One who is ignorant of the origin of Righteousness, would nevertheless, attempts his hardest to practice it- if not with stoic diligence, at least; with generally-accepted means of obedience. Everyone knows it is good to be kind towards a blind man, to have mutual respect for his brothers and sisters or even to be gracious to his neighbour; for instance- and how when ‘good’ is benchmarked against breaking promises, not queuing up to buy one’s food, not asking for one’s permission before taking his belongings; are ‘bad’. No one needs to be taught into that. Yet, without the fundamental knowledge on how Conscience to practice righteousness was engraved into Man’s hearts; Conscience became merely a means and ends to practice self-righteousness.

In a post-modernistic society, the idea of owning self-righteousness is indeed appealing as it is deemed to be the ticket- the leap from rationalism to faith, which is mistaken as the synonym for non-rational. Yet, neither rationalism nor faith in this sense was the way for Man, in the first place. I do not appeal to having confidence in myself to bail myself out of God’s wrath by means of self-righteousness because I find myself not in control in keeping righteousness consistently, even in the simplest manners; like not offering my seat to the elderly because I was tired, even if it was righteous to do so. If I were to justify this by saying that “this is excusable because I am tired’, I am excluding the righteousness factor to my actions, which refutes my intention to observe the perfection of obtaining self-righteousness in the first place.

Therefore, I am ‘pushed to the brink’ where the only way to reconcile my handicap to my consciousness and natural desire to wanting to be righteous is that my righteousness is an ‘imputed one’, rather than a self-constructed one. What I fail to do by my own means, I am justified- yet not by my own righteousness because it had failed me in the first place, but rather by God who can claim to be all-righteous because He simply is, and has imparted His righteousness in me through the justification of sins, bore by Christ. I am thus, simultaneously just and sinner, righteous and unrighteous; yet, I cannot credit my righteousness to myself for I have no part with it, but am imparted with it.

Telling myself that I do not need medical attention when I am dying of cancer but reliance upon myself is not only a lie, but a self-destructing one; simply because with all the mental strength that I have, my bodily functions are no longer able to put up with it. My sickness has thus, caused me to be handicapped; rendering myself zero contribution to recovery.

.

7 Comments:

Blogger fooji said...

profound! profound....

In my limited understanding of english - I think I understood your point!

Conscience never appreciated but recognised merely as a mean to do the right thing.

Thank you.

10:41 AM  
Blogger jacksons said...

“One can recover from illnesses by only drinking water, relaxation, and letting go of his worries, without the aid of medical help- as the way to recovery is psychological, rather than physical.”

Excuse me for awhile, while I get angry (not at you, but the person who came up with the silly illustration above.

Modern science has discovered the mental and physical connection in sickness, in some of the following applications. They have found that certain illnesses were actually ‘Psychosomatic Illness’ [1] , that is, they were “the illness may be emotional or mental in origin but have physical symptoms”. For example, I know of a Christian struggling with porn addiction that gets a real fever and flu like symptoms every time he gives in to his addiction.

Then there has been the great mystery of the ‘Placebo Effect’, which new research [2] has shown to be more than an illusion of remedy, but actually triggering the mind to release the resources necessary to remedy the ailment. This can work because the resources are already in the body, be it adrenaline or endorphins. One of the mysteries of Cancer, is the fact that our white blood cells don’t destroy them in the beginning. Thus in the future, with biotech, perhaps we can get them to do so, curing many types of cancer.

When the body has problems that its own resources cannot solve, it needs external help. This is the reality of a broken bone, support and physiotherapy is needed. There are many other examples, where the fantasy of relativism won’t save the sick person. This would explain why modern day healing crusades run by charlatans (notice I am not saying that there can be no healings, I am only talking now about the conmen) can only heal certain ailments (like aches, pains, internal stuff) and not make limbs grow out like Jesus did.

So thus, man can work on his morality with whatever resources he has, but he can never make happen what he does not have. He can say, “Treat others as you want them to treat you” but he would have never come up with “Love your neighbour as yourself”. He can come up with “greater love as no man than he who lays his life down for his friend”, but would never come up with “give you life to win over your enemies”. When you see man doing this while rejecting Christ, they are living on borrowed capital.


Footnotes
-------------------------
[1] http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/aha/umpsysom.htm
[2] http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0831/p14s01-stss.html

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you give examples of the charlatans? Name them!

11:07 PM  
Blogger tehtarik said...

Jacksons left a can of worms behind in bohtea. :)

I have to admit that Buddhists are not the only ones getting so hyped into 'healing by faith'. Many of our Christian counterparts are conducting as what he had called, 'healing crusades ala instant-healing-999-ministries' in our own backyards.

While I believe that God can work miracles through men-even cause men to perform miracles under dire times, I am skeptical towards Christians claiming to have supernatural healing powers by the touch of a person's forehead, for example; and going around the world under the banner of a miraculous healing ministry.

The apostles' gifts in Acts were indeed remarkable but there was a specific purpose why these gifts were dynamic- along with their powers,ie power to heal; the Gospel was preached and multitudes came to know Christ. Healing, perhaps therefore; brings upon faith to unbelievers.

But, preaching the Gospel has been a part of a Christian's duty ever since; yet we don't render ourselves 'apostolic authority' nor see ourselves gaining X-Men healing powers to do so. Also,most of these healing ministries I know of, render their services to churches, not to the streets where the lame, deaf, blind or mute were.

My question is (in a most sincere and unoffensive manner), can healing crusades be reconciled biblically?

3:08 PM  
Blogger discordant_dude said...

The healing crusaders always have the winning side. If u are healed, God is real, if you don't, your faith is weak. Either way, they win. These miraculous signs have been used as crutches of faith, without which faith will eventually crumble.

In the NT, Jesus performed miracles of healing to reveal signs of the kingdom of God and to point deeper to the person that he is. The object of faith is the person of Christ, not the miraculous external signs. What validates faith is the object that can be verified, not some kind of subjective experience.Compare that with those "charlatans" today. I guess it's easier if you name some who ain't charlatans. Name them?

5:56 PM  
Blogger SWL said...

"in response to Christianity emerging in his family" ... good statement but not true :)

7:27 PM  
Blogger tehtarik said...

Hey swl,
Glad you came by. Feel free to share with us your thoughts on this and more.

=)

8:52 AM  

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