The Pilgrim's Progress

The Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan Bunyan leaves nothing to the imagination. All the characters that "Christian" meet on his journey to the Celestial Kingdom are named so you know who they are (Mr. Atheist, Piety, Faith,...., and towns are named Destruction, Vanity Faire and so on). It is an easy book to read and follow.

"Man is the measure of all things" is a formulation for humanism. Bunyan strives to take people out of the equation. We must outsource our authentic selves (he says). Truth lies outside ourselves and we can never know who we really are and what we should believe unless we have faith from a set of core principles which came from a book, revelation and tradition (he says).

I love the Enlightenment and this is a perfect book for why I love it so much. We would have never had gotten away from Bunyan's world view of "character" and "sincerity" which are formed from outside of ourselves and into "personality" and "authenticity" which comes from within us by not rejecting Bunyan and his comic book characterization of the world. Funny thing is I still see this kind of thought popping up in mega best sellers such as the "Shack", a really vile book which I was unfortunately reading as I was reading this book. Yuck. I've got to stop reading these Christian books. They will start to make me brain dead. (Though, I am currently reading 800 pages of the selected writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and absolutely love it. Good logical arguments never go wasted on me! and this book ain't that).

Once again, it's really easy for me to make the obvious modern political reference from this book. Republicans would absolutely love Bunyan. Character and sincerity in their world view is always the responsibility of the individual. Bi-polar people or the 47% lazy moochers (those who pay no income tax, just ask Paul Ryan or Rush Limbaugh for clarification) are each to blame for their situation. Time and chance play no role. In their world, who we are is always blamed on the person themselves and nothing else. God can judge because he gave 'free will' according to them and since God is not really judging they will judge for Him in His stead. Trump (and his white supremacist aides) are the most judgemental people in the country. Patriotism is code for blaming others.

Bunyan's encounter with Mr. Atheist illustrates a problem with his presentation. For the life of me, I have no idea why he thinks Christian won the encounter. Faith doesn't keep Mr. Lion away. Actions, time and chance do. I would like this book much more if I hadn't read part two which he wrote after this book had been a mega best seller in its time period. His dogmatism just comes thru too much. I just can't start something without completing it, but would strongly recommend only reading the first half of the book for those who don't have my completion obsession.