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“Doubting” Thomases: the Apostle, Jefferson, and me

March 20, 2011 By: John Kindley Category: Admission & Discipline of Attorneys, Bryan Brown, Leo Tolstoy, Norm Pattis, Religion, Thomas Jefferson

Recently I described myself as a “Christian Deist” in a comment on this interesting blog, written by a lawyer who was denied admission to the Indiana bar by the Indiana Supreme Court apparently because of a legal philosophy similar to my own and his purported resistance to and criticism of the psychological evaluation of his sanity required by the Board of Bar Examiners because of the fact that years before his application for admission he had been arrested several times for protesting at abortion clinics and had refused to pay an unconstitutional civil judgment for attorney fees against him related to such protests. (Norm Pattis writes today regarding the disbarment of F. Lee Bailey and the fact that judges rather than juries decide such questions: “Deciding whether an aggressive, and often controversial, lawyer should remain at the bar is not a decision I would trust to a judge, ever.”)

What I mean by describing myself as a Christian Deist is illuminated by the following two articles, my discovery of which online was prompted by my discovery in a bookstore yesterday of Tolstoy’s The Gospel in Brief:

Thomas Jefferson’s Bible and the Gospel of Thomas

On Leo Tolstoy’s Gospel in Brief

I happen to “believe,” based on my own fallible reasoning, that Jesus, inter alia, was born of the Virgin Mary and rose from the dead, but I don’t pretend to believe those things beyond a reasonable doubt, and to the contrary am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that “salvation” doesn’t depend on such things, but rather on realizing the divinity within and without. When at around age eighteen I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church a couple weeks after being baptized, I chose Thomas, who is described in the Gospel of John as doubting that Jesus rose from the dead until seeing the risen Christ for himself, as my confirmation name. Nowadays, more than two decades later, I no longer believe in the authority of the Church, and am inclined to believe that the most “authoritative” of the gospels is the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas, according to which Jesus said, among other things:

If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.

. . .

Don’t lie, and don’t do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed.

. . .

Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is. Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.

. . .

Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye.

. . .

I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity, because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty. But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, then they will change their ways.

. . .

If the flesh came into being because of spirit, that is a marvel, but if spirit came into being because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels. Yet I marvel at how this great wealth has come to dwell in this poverty.

. . .

Be passersby.

. . .

Whoever has come to know the world has discovered a carcass, and whoever has discovered a carcass, of that person the world is not worthy.

. . .

Look to the living one as long as you live, otherwise you might die and then try to see the living one, and you will be unable to see.

. . .

Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking.

. . .

If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you.

. . .

I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.

. . .

Images are visible to people, but the light within them is hidden in the image of the Father’s light. He will be disclosed, but his image is hidden by his light.

. . .

When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will have to bear!

. . .

How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two.

. . .

Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Don’t you understand that the one who made the inside is also the one who made the outside?

. . .

Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.

. . .

The heavens and the earth will roll up in your presence, and whoever is living from the living one will not see death.

. . .

[The kingdom] will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Rather, the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don’t see it.

1 Comments to ““Doubting” Thomases: the Apostle, Jefferson, and me”


  1. Norm Pattis says:

    Add me to your list. You and are oddly moving in the same direction.

    1

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