I have finished Orwell’s 1984. Having grown up in the 60’s, I can see a lot of what he wrote reflected in the mentality of that era. We were neck deep in a cold war with the USSR. Vietnam was exploding on our televisions and rock-n-roll was my language of choice. We saw in the so-called ‘establishment’ an attempt to control our thought and way of life. Ok, so maybe we were a tad paranoid about that. But, that era prepared me, and countless others, to accept the new orthodoxy of Christianity. I was a Jesus Freak. I grabbed onto the tenets of that movement with both hands. Over the years I became convinced that we were right and everyone else had missed the mark. The biggest proof that we had was communicated in our own language. We had ‘chosen’ to be ‘born again’ through ‘faith’ in the ‘gospel,’ whatever that was. We had our own music and culture. If something wasn’t “Christian” it was suspect. That leads me to this quote from Orwell’s work.
The character O’Brien speaking to Winston:
You are here because you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believer that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. you also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. Bit I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes; only in the mind of the Church, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Church holds to be truth is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking thought the eyes of the Church. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.”
Ok, I took some liberty with that quote. I substituted “Church” for “Party.” In the evangelical, neo-reformed church there is an understood command to not question the party line. We are told what to believe and how to express that belief. When someone, (me for instance), begins to question things, we are told to hold to the ‘orthodox’ faith or face some kind of retribution. Mostly, this involves being ‘shamed.’
I’m sorry if anyone is offended. But, I simply DO NOT adhere to any teaching that is exclusivist or patriarchal. I don’t buy into the fundagelical literal belief that requires anyone to believe exactly as the ‘party’ does. I must live in a world where questions are welcome and faith is allowed to grow in ‘real time’…for real people.