Our father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come to be. Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread over other subtrances. Forgive us of our debts, as we forgive our debters. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Let all this come to be so.
My own Frankenstein translation, fragments from a variety of sources. The "Lord's Prayer" seems to be the essence of Christianity, more so than the Bible (which is so large that it is easily re-interpreted however one may wish).
- The usage of the word "evil" in the Sermon on the Mount seems to consider it to mean "seeing with two eyes, not one", or a sort of confused outlook. It also says "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof", the usage seemingly implying "don't worry about tommorrow, getting today right is more than enough to worry about"... so "deliver us from evil" is about being of clear mind, being without excess worry. [i may be talking from my posterior on this point... will have to read some more NT]
- "Your kingdom come to be" ... this does not seem to me to mean us just to wait around until God pops by, but something that must be brought into being by our own efforts.
- "bread over other subtrances" ... desire for pleasures of the flesh such as fine food to be kept under control, see also "lead us not into temptation".
- "forgive those who trespass against us" ... of course being the neatest hack of all time. Have you forgiven Osama bin Laden yet? Also "forgive our debters"... debt having a subtly different meaning to trespass, i decided to include both versions. Both appear in the sermon on the mount.
- "on earth as it is in heaven" ... we can make our world into an ideal world.
Now the current form of Christianity has deviated from this somewhat, yet still holds these things as an ideal. This seems to me to be an opportunity. We can potentially convert all those evangelical fundamentalist Christians who are doing so much damage to the world today... to Christianity.
A random thought: how exactly is a soul created? That it should be the moment of conception, or the moment of birth, seems unlikely. Wouldn't it make more sense to say that the means whereby God creates souls is this universe, and that it is a gradual process. To say otherwise leads to two mistakes: getting uptight over abortion, and creating little monsters by refusing to properly teach children. Better to consider ourselves the instrument whereby God forms and perfects souls, a newly born child being a blank slate from which a good soul may be gradually constructed / constructs itself.
I have a feeling that Christianity has some important though metaphorical correctness, and therefore both that there are things worth salviaging from it and that it can not be discarded without having a replacement to serve the same purposes.