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The Divinity of Christ?

DaftChrisDaftChris Spiritually conflicted. Not of this world. Veteran
edited September 2012 in Faith & Religion
I've been on my spiritual journey for almost a year now and I feel a slight pull back to Christianity. In a sense, I can understand why.

After looking into scripture, research and comparative religion, I've discovered that "God" goes being a literal understanding. It is within and beyond us; pointing to a transcendent understanding. Science (real science, not things like Young Earth Creationism) does not have to be compromised. There is a place for "faith" in the modern world without it having to be a "poison". Truly, I almost feel a sense of, dare I say, enlightenment.

So, why don't I become Christian again?

Simply put, the notion of Jesus as God.

This is one thing that I cannot accept. I, with a spiritual heart and skeptic's mind, do not believe in miracles or revelations. Why would such miraculous things occur in ancient times, but not now? Branching from this is the notion of Jesus as this divine being. I fully accept that Jesus was a great teacher, but a magical man he was not. To believe he was literally born of a virgin, walked on water or rose from the dead is, to me, irrational. In fact, I view it as an antithesis to the teachings of the Buddha; with one putting full faith in a divine Godman whom will save you from damnation if you spiritually submit to his "father" and one being how we find our own nirvana by saving ourselves from, well, ourselves.

Couldn't just believing in his teachings be enough? I feel a pull back to Christianity, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy in particular, but (oddly enough) Jesus is what's holding me back.

Comments

  • If the founder of a religion is holding you back then it doesn't bode well for the rest of it does it now ? The pull-back simply suggests you are attracted to ritual and community.

    coz
  • Have you looked into Islam? Faith based in Allah with Jesus being a prophet instead of God
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited September 2012
    DaftChris said:

    I've been on my spiritual journey for almost a year now and I feel a slight pull back to Christianity. In a sense, I can understand why.

    After looking into scripture, research and comparative religion, I've discovered that "God" goes being a literal understanding. It is within and beyond us; pointing to a transcendent understanding. Science (real science, not things like Young Earth Creationism) does not have to be compromised. There is a place for "faith" in the modern world without it having to be a "poison". Truly, I almost feel a sense of, dare I say, enlightenment.

    So, why don't I become Christian again?

    Simply put, the notion of Jesus as God.

    This is one thing that I cannot accept. I, with a spiritual heart and skeptic's mind, do not believe in miracles or revelations. Why would such miraculous things occur in ancient times, but not now? Branching from this is the notion of Jesus as this divine being. I fully accept that Jesus was a great teacher, but a magical man he was not. To believe he was literally born of a virgin, walked on water or rose from the dead is, to me, irrational. In fact, I view it as an antithesis to the teachings of the Buddha; with one putting full faith in a divine Godman whom will save you from damnation if you spiritually submit to his "father" and one being how we find our own nirvana by saving ourselves from, well, ourselves.

    Couldn't just believing in his teachings be enough? I feel a pull back to Christianity, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy in particular, but (oddly enough) Jesus is what's holding me back.

    I kind of know what you mean, @DaftChris. I've found myself increasingly drawn to spiritual people and places lately, including a local Greek Orthodox Church. I've also been reading spiritual works outside of Buddhism, and I often get a feeling of expansive peace and interconnectedness when I come into contact with deeply spiritual people and teachings of all faiths.

    As for Jesus, while I don't believe in a creator God, nor, as a consequence, that Jesus is the son of God/God in the flesh, I do have a soft spot for him as a spiritual teacher, and I think some of the things he's reported as saying in the New Testament are pretty cool. I especially like, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone" (John 8:7), the Sermon on the Mount, and his many teachings on forgiveness. But I'm not planning on converting to Christianity anytime soon.

    Not really sure what advice I can give besides explore wherever your heart takes you, and just try to be receptive to all the good things you find along the way, whatever form they may take.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited September 2012
    Telly03 said:

    Have you looked into Islam? Faith based in Allah with Jesus being a prophet instead of God

    That's an interesting idea. Might be something worth looking into, @DaftChris.
  • DaftChrisDaftChris Spiritually conflicted. Not of this world. Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Telly03 said:

    Have you looked into Islam? Faith based in Allah with Jesus being a prophet instead of God

    I have looked into it, but I can't be a Muslim for a few reasons.

    1.) It has it's fair share of "revelations" and "miracles" which are meant to be taken literally. God speaking with Mohammad, Mohammad ascending into heaven on a winged horse, judgement day with darkness and fire in the skies, etc.

    2.) I'm a homosexual. I'm not the kind to flaunt it or one who bleeds bleached-pink rainbows, but homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Islam. To an extent it is in Christianity as well, but there is little to no tolerance for it in Islam. So much to the point that many call for the deaths of homosexuals because it "states such in the Qu'ran and Hadiths".

    3.) I don't like the submission of woman view that many Muslim men hold.

    4.) I like Bacon too much.

    :D
    Telly03MaryAnnePatrevolve
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    What about Sufi Islam?
  • DaftChrisDaftChris Spiritually conflicted. Not of this world. Veteran
    Jason said:

    What about Sufi Islam?

    I've read into Sufism, but isn't it (at it's core) as fundamental and conservative as Sunni or Sh'ia?

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited September 2012
    DaftChris said:

    Jason said:

    What about Sufi Islam?

    I've read into Sufism, but isn't it (at it's core) as fundamental and conservative as Sunni or Sh'ia?

    I honestly don't know. Never looked too much into it, but I liked some of the things I've read about it and its more mystical approach. Whatever the case, the Orthodox church I visit is awfully conservative, and doesn't seem all that keen on the whole gay-thing either, which is one of the many reasons I could never join such an institution myself (besides the whole not believe Jesus is the saviour thing).
  • BhanteLuckyBhanteLucky Monk since 2014 A Forest Monastery Veteran
    DaftChris said:

    It has it's fair share of "revelations" and "miracles" which are meant to be taken literally.

    You know Buddhism has masses and masses of miracles, and they are meant to be taken literally? It's just as hard to take the miracles out of Christianity as it is to take them out of Buddhism.
  • @DaftChris, I don't know about what most people consider "Christianity", or what it means to be a Christian, but if you just take the teachings of Jesus apart from everything else, including the Old Testament, it's really more to the heart of how we should live and treat others instead of about beliefs. I think Christianity was founded because of Jesus, but not really by him... and so it came to be a mish-mash of old and new, with Jesus propped up as a divinity to save your soul, when his real aim was to get people to love one another. I believe it's through love that one comes to God, not through Jesus as a person or divinity (but through his teaching, "love one another").

    A lot of what I've read and researched suggests that Jesus' view of God was more in line with the Essenes, and that God is closer to the Hindu "Brahman" than an independent supreme being. That's just my opinion of course, but the way he taught seems to be more in line with this view of God than the traditional Jewish one. And so that he was a son of God, whether that was declared by him or words put in his mouth, could be construed as he truly understoond we're all part of the same reality... we're all sons and daughters of God according to Jesus.

    This takes any personal divinity out of the picture, so if you view Christianity this way perhaps it won't be a problem for you, yes? There is a compilation of the teachings of Jesus alone called the "Jefferson Bible" (put together by Thomas Jefferson) that you might consider reading. I've attached the PDF to this post.
  • If your practice is making the divisions in the world start to dissolve then you are making progress towards enlightenment. Religions are really not so different as their fanatics would have us believe. I believe Jesus was a boddhisattva, or enlightened one, like the Buddha. There have been and are many such people in the world. Anyone who realises the divine in themselves becomes enlightened so it is not unique, only unusual.

    It's important to see the difference between spirituality and religion. In spirit we are all one, and there are remarkable similarities between the teachings of Jesus and Buddha and other great teachers. Religions are man-made, often filled with rituals and rules pertaining to the period of their inception. Seek out the works of Meister Eckhart if you want to find a Christian mystic who could see through the doctrine to the spirit of his religion.

    As for miracles, there are dangers in relying on what science presently understands in explaining everything that happens in this world. Many events happen which science cannot yet explain. This does not mean they are miracles, but let's not be so quick to deny them.
    SilouanDaftChris
  • I completely agree with @Jason that it is a question of following ones heart whether it is Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, etc…

    As many of you now know I was Buddhist for several years with no Christian religious background before coming to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. I followed my heart there, but that’s not to say I didn’t have doubts, skepticism, and other struggles along way. I held the very same ideas pro and con that I have seen on this forum, and I inquired about them with my spiritual father, and studied the writings of the holy fathers and mothers for explanations too.

    Spiritually now things are much more a matter of the heart and internal for me rather than in the head and external, but don’t get me wrong Orthodox spirituality has an abundant wealth of material that can make your head spin too if you want it. Where I previously struggled with some nasty habits and passions I’m finding inner stillness, peace and joy, but I’m definitely not finished.

    The divinity of Christ is discovered in the depth of one’s heart, but it requires self emptying and participation in His life, and there is no end because the heart is deep so we just plunge deeper. Christ’s life was one of self emptiness, humility, and meekness. That is what the Christian is called to be, Christ like, and it does not come from just reading books. His divinity is expressed in the lives of the saints of the Church. Not because they primarily performed miracles, but the way they lived their lives. They are evidence of deification or Theosis possible for us. Becoming what God is by nature through grace by the sharing in Christ’s divinity.

    I agree with @poptart analysis as whole, though we have plenty of mystic examples in the Church, and would add that miracles be they Buddhist, Christian, or what have you is a question of how you see or view matter in understanding what could be possible. I have seen myrrh streaming icons and the body of saint of the Church in repose with parts untouched by decay or corruption, and other things best kept secret.

    In Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Po there are the phenomena of the rainbow body, and the virgin birth and resurrection in Christianity. There is obviously more to our world and universe than meets the eye or that science can explain.

    If interested in a very fascinating lecture on the rainbow body and the resurrection here a the link noetic.org/library/audio-lectures/the-rainbow-body-phenomenon-with-father-francis-ti/
  • DaftChris said:

    It has it's fair share of "revelations" and "miracles" which are meant to be taken literally.

    You know Buddhism has masses and masses of miracles, and they are meant to be taken literally? It's just as hard to take the miracles out of Christianity as it is to take them out of Buddhism.
    But people seem to manage it. Apparently there are atheist Christian priests these days.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    DaftChris said:

    I've been on my spiritual journey for almost a year now and I feel a slight pull back to Christianity. In a sense, I can understand why.

    ...

    Couldn't just believing in his teachings be enough? I feel a pull back to Christianity, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy in particular, but (oddly enough) Jesus is what's holding me back.

    It sort of reminds me of the foreign-born ESL students we had in my school. When they would come to America, at first they would run away from almost anything from their own culture, and would try to become "the most American" they could. After a while, they would begin to strike more of a balance between two cultures. That's sort of what you may be doing, although not intentionally.

    You ask, "Couldn't just believing in his teachings be enough?" Sure. Unless someone is bossing you around and telling you what to believe. You're a free man...aren't you?

  • BeejBeej Human Being Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Maybe it's important to ask yourself why the potential divinity matters to you. I don't see any reason why you can't follow the teachings of Jesus and also not believe he is a divine being. If this is a matter of being accepted into a community of like minded worshipers, then it's not really a question of divinty, but a question of society and it's entanglements. I think, above all else, Jesus was a teacher and someone interested in getting at the root of the truth. I grew up in the Catholic church and I study religion and history and I still don't get what it means when people say "Jesus died for our sins". It just doesn't make any sense to me at all and it feels a bit like a deflection of responsibility. He taught a way to live life, and it's the responsibility of each individual to either try to adhere to the teachings or to dicard them, but having faith in his divinity or his resurection doesn't really do anything other than romanticise his teachings. I guess people do the same things with the Buddha as well, but that's not on topic.

    Either way, it might be appropriate to ask why your spiritual quest needs to identify a higher power, why you need that power above you in your life, and what accepting of that power will mean to you going forward. If a non-devine being came up to you and gave you important advice or tips on how to live life and you found them to be insightful, pertinent, and compassionate would you bother to ask him/her if she was devine or would you agree that their advice resonates deeply within you and that it really doesn't matter of what nature the person was? Might be helpful to approach it that way.

    Also, I find it interesting that people often overlook the most important aspect of Jesus' death: the cause. The way I see it, both with intuition and a mild understanding of the historio-political landscape of Jesus' era, one single act caused his public death. This was the act of Jesus entering the temple, and upon seeing the priestly hierarchy commit intentional acts of deception and thievery, enraging himself and responding by whipping the money-changers, overturning tables and generally causing a scene that could inspire all types of revolt and uprising. It wasn't his teachings or his thoughts or his following that inspired his death, but this one single act of defiance against the established leadership of the region. I think you could even call Jesus the first "Occupy Wall Street" inhabitant, though his stay wasn't long as he was killed a few days later. Jesus was a teacher, a spiritual leader, a revolutionary, and a human. All of those things are inspiring to me, and his potential divinity doesn't really strengthen that for me. In fact, his potential divinity seems to distract me from those things. And I sure don't need any more distractions than ones I already have. :)
    DaftChrisJeffreyJasonjessie70
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited September 2012
    DaftChris said:

    I've been on my spiritual journey for almost a year now and I feel a slight pull back to Christianity. In a sense, I can understand why.

    After looking into scripture, research and comparative religion, I've discovered that "God" goes being a literal understanding. It is within and beyond us; pointing to a transcendent understanding. Science (real science, not things like Young Earth Creationism) does not have to be compromised. There is a place for "faith" in the modern world without it having to be a "poison". Truly, I almost feel a sense of, dare I say, enlightenment.

    So, why don't I become Christian again?

    Simply put, the notion of Jesus as God.

    This is one thing that I cannot accept. I, with a spiritual heart and skeptic's mind, do not believe in miracles or revelations. Why would such miraculous things occur in ancient times, but not now? Branching from this is the notion of Jesus as this divine being. I fully accept that Jesus was a great teacher, but a magical man he was not. To believe he was literally born of a virgin, walked on water or rose from the dead is, to me, irrational. In fact, I view it as an antithesis to the teachings of the Buddha; with one putting full faith in a divine Godman whom will save you from damnation if you spiritually submit to his "father" and one being how we find our own nirvana by saving ourselves from, well, ourselves.

    Couldn't just believing in his teachings be enough? I feel a pull back to Christianity, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy in particular, but (oddly enough) Jesus is what's holding me back.

    I can totally relate, DC, including to the Orthodox part. Have you considered the Unitarian Universalists? They're very flexible on doctrine, and open to all stripes, spiritually speaking, so I don't think you're required to believe in Jesus' divinity (or even be a Christian, as I understand the UU's).

    You can interpret "God" or "the Divine" as the Tathagatagarba, the Buddha potential within.

    Just a few thoughts.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Silouan said:

    I have seen myrrh streaming icons and the body of saint of the Church in repose with parts untouched by decay or corruption, and other things best kept secret.

    The body of the highest lama in TB in Mongolia from the early 20th Century was found about 10 years ago in meditation position, undecayed. But someone did some research on the case and found records of his having been mummified by monks after his death, and carefully preserved. Mongolia is very dry, anyway, so this sort of thing would tend to happen naturally. In any case, after I read that, I doubt these types of stories, even though I'm kind of into this sort of thing.

    I do agree that there's more to our world and universe than meets the eye. You'd be surprised what science has managed to explain already. Science education in the US (I don't know about Europe) is so poor that word of even the most basic principles, let alone the more exotic discoveries and theories, just doesn't get out.

    person
  • Cloud said:

    @DaftChris, I don't know about what most people consider "Christianity", or what it means to be a Christian, but if you just take the teachings of Jesus apart from everything else, including the Old Testament, it's really more to the heart of how we should live and treat others instead of about beliefs.

    I brought the Jefferson Bible to work with me with the intention of accomplishing some reading during lunch... I was surprised by a Christian coworker sharing the Bible's warning about extracting portions such as this:

    Rev 22:18-19 (King James version)
    18b ...if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in his book.
  • The first search result here is a phd thesis rectifying shentong buddhism with christian negativistic mysticism. The author believes they are compatible. https://www.google.com/search?q=shentong and christianity&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&source=hp&channel=np
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited September 2012
    @Telly03, That's a great warning but that's all mankind has ever done, add and subtract from holy scriptures to emphasize what they believe at the time. The New Testament is an entire addition to the Bible... Christianity is an entire new religion attached to an old one (IMO it should've detached itself from the old one, as much of the new contradicts the old). And then you have the council of Nicaea that hand-picked what they wanted in the Christian Holy Bible to make sure everything fit their agenda (specifically removing anything that suggested Jesus was just a man) and so on. It's been going on forever. You'd think we'd have a ton of plagues already. ;)

    Besides it doesn't apply here... the Jefferson Bible is the colloquial name; it's not an actual Bible. The real title is "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth". It's for people who want to see what Jesus really said, which is always a message of loving one another. He doesn't talk about belief, he talks about love, again and again. It's so short that even non-Christians can comfortably read it, so its value is very high. I'd highly recommend it to anyone! :D
  • @Jeffrey
    Thank you so much for finding and providing a link to the thesis. I looked through some of it and it looks very promising. I can hardly wait to read it in full. :-)
  • I definitely believe Jesus was a Buddhist, his teachings contain so much Buddha dharma. The reason I personally don't identify with the christian or catholic church is that so little of it's foundation has anything to do with the ACTUAL teachings of Jesus, which were just the conveyed teachings and transmission of Buddhism anyway. It's all been so skewed over the years, and the oral tradition has not been maintained, so much gets lost in translation and which language changes have happened and how many translations, and different people deciding how things should be translated based on their assumed understanding of previous languages of previous times without the orally transmitted understanding that comes with being introduced to the nature of mind by the master. Sogyal Rinpoche says that the true nature of mind is like a glass door leading to a beautiful garden, and we can try for years unsucessfully to open the door because it is locked by our habits, conditioning and thought processes. But once given the key by the master through direct introduction to the nature of mind, we can access it freely. And I believe that 2000 years ago that's what Jesus was trying to start up for his people...and they killed him instead. Here's an interesting link.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_years_of_Jesus#Saint_Issa
    RebeccaSSile
  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    I feel that pull every once and a while too. Mine usually seems to be fear based though, as if it was just the conditioning from my childhood that's rearing it's ugly head. Logically, I've settled my doubts, but every once and a while I start to wonder, "What if they were right?"

    Literally last night, I was flipping through the channels and happened upon one of the church channels (I know!) and started watching a program on some scientific discovery made about the shroud of turin (I KNOW!) and I'm not going to lie, it scared me for quick moment until I remembered to turn my analytic goggles on.
    mfranzdorf
  • Omar067Omar067 Veteran
    edited September 2012
    If you don't like Jesus, you will never be a Christian. It's just that simple. Christians believe that Jesus died on a cross because g-d was going to exterminate the human race because of the sins they committed. That is one of the most central teachings of Christianity. You can't be a Christian if you don't have full faith in Jesus.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    ^^ Omar, that depends on how you look at Jesus. Not all people, and not all "Christians" look at him the same way.
  • Omar067Omar067 Veteran
    edited September 2012
    From my studies of the bible and the criteria to being a christian, you must have 100 percent faith in Jesus. It's either you have complete faith in him or not. You can't dislike Jesus and be able to call yourself a Christian. Now, Draft Christ if you want a religion that is like Christianity and it says you don't have to believe that Jesus has powers, I recommend Judaism. Or Islam, because all of them are connected in big ways.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Apparently you are unaware of what I consider to be the most powerful change in religious beliefs in modern history -- personal religion is quickly overtaking "formal organized" religion. Catholics may still consider themselves Catholics, but a majority believe what they feel is right (a good example is the difference between the Pope and the people in regard to birth control). No one has the power to dictate to Christians (at least in the West) exactly what they must believe. We have freedom of thought, even if you don't.
  • Apparently you are unaware of what I consider to be the most powerful change in religious beliefs in modern history -- personal religion is quickly overtaking "formal organized" religion. Catholics may still consider themselves Catholics, but a majority believe what they feel is right (a good example is the difference between the Pope and the people in regard to birth control). No one has the power to dictate to Christians (at least in the West) exactly what they must believe. We have freedom of thought, even if you don't.
    How does that propel what I said above?
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    @Omar067, it goes a long way toward negating phrases such as: "you must have 100 percent faith in Jesus" and "It's either you have complete faith in him or not". There are many churches out there who see things differently from each other, and within each church there are many people who have different perspectives on their faith.

    This isn't Europe hundreds of years ago. The Inquisition isn't going to come and get you and punish you to death. We have free will (at least in free countries).
  • edited September 2012
    @DaftChris- look into Unitarianism! Basically, Christianity in which Christ isn't divine, but is a profit. Does not believe in Trinity, btw. Just worth investigating. Unitarianism tends to be more openminded about homosexuality, fwiw, too... in some ways, more open-minded. Accepts ppl from all backgrounds. Just look into it- maybe find a Unitarian church near you and meet w/clergy. Good luck!
    Omar067
  • Christian-A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

    You can't have unsure faith in Jesus and consider yourself a Christian. If you don't think Jesus is g-d in human form, but you believe there is a male omnipotent being, then that has to make you a Jew or a Muslim.
    This isn't Europe hundreds of years ago. The Inquisition isn't going to come and get you and punish you to death. We have free will (at least in free countries).
    Now that I think about it, there are liberal Christians who don't believe in everything that is in the bible.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Unitarianism, as mentioned above is a good organizational example of a group of people who think differently.

    But individuals think differently, as well.

    @Omar067, you are free to believe all Christians walk around like zombies with some central figure sending out mind control...but they don't.

    People have free will.

    I know many Catholic who don't follow the formal teachings of the Pope, and none of them have been excommunicated.
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited September 2012
    I'm opposed to the idea that you have to believe Jesus was truly divine. You'll want to do this if you believe in a personal God and believe Jesus to be his son... but it's just as easy to follow Jesus as a sage, like the Buddha. To be a follower of Jesus is what Christian should mean, but faith/belief has been purposely over-emphasized in Christianity. They say you have to have faith/belief... hogwash. It's impossible to make yourself believe something you can't believe, and many rational people are still good but not religious.

    Instead of asking myself what the Bible says (using this or that in the Bible to support a position or not... such as discriminating against homosexuals), I ask myself what Jesus would do. Jesus went beyond the strict conventions of the Jewish religion and spoke directly to the heart of the matter... that we're all brothers and sisters, and should love one another. No one who follows this commandment to "love one another" can be a bigot, but plenty of people who call themselves Christians still tend to be bigoted in some way. These people may be Christians, but I don't consider them to be true follows or disciples of Jesus.
    vinlynRebeccaSArthurbodhi
  • Okay, I had no idea that there was a form of Christianity that lowered Jesus's status. You learn something everyday. I take back what I said above.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Thank you for being open-minded.
    Omar067
  • Omar067Omar067 Veteran
    edited September 2012
    No one who follows this commandment to "love one another" can be a bigot, but plenty of people who call themselves Christians still tend to be bigoted in some way. These people may be Christians, but I don't consider them to be true follows or disciples of Jesus.
    I think Jesus failed to fully stress the meaning of his teachings. His teachings have leave to much room open for bigotry.
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Jesus didn't fail anything, it's the people who came after him who failed. It's the people who actually put together the Bible who failed. :) If you take Jesus' teachings apart from the rest of the Bible, it's very clear everything he taught was about loving one another. He even made his commandment to love one another to be the highest of all commandments (also to love God, but he was speaking to people who already believed in God). The rest of the Bible, however, obfuscates this message or makes it pale compared to the enormity of the rest of the text.

    More than anything though, the failure is in believing in Jesus but not actually following his teachings. This is what many Christians do. Faith/belief is emphasized to the point that you need faith in order to be a real Christian and to be saved... emphasis is put on faith over actual practice (living by Jesus' teaching). They'll follow the Ten Commandments as much as they can (though this is still Jewish territory), but they don't put priority on "love one another". They consider the entirety of the Bible to have near-equal weight, but half of it is Judaism which had it wrong... which is why Jesus had to teach otherwise to begin with. It's self-contradictory to have Old and New together, and it leads people to acting in ways they think are right by the Bible, but not necessarily right by Jesus. Anyone can believe what they want of course... but I'd rather always ask myself WWJD?
    Omar067vinlyn
  • I'll take what you said into consideration.
  • edited September 2012
    @Cloud: I am not Christian- but agree that many different Christian sects may not be as loving and accepting, the way I imagine Christ-nature to be...and in fact some Christian sects are bigoted, which does seem to go against the very philosophy of Christ.

    I was just suggesting Unitarianism because of the community and idea that Christ is not divine (which is the part that DaftChris sited as problematic for him). It is wonderful to be in a community of like-minded and accepting people, and I know many people who find a great sense of belonging and support in the Unitarian church.

    FWIW, I was raised Jewish. I find Christ fascinating. I find Buddha fascinating. And I don't know or care if they are/were divine, because I think either we all are, or non of us are, and I don't even care which is true. I'm not even sure I understand the word divine except how it is used to describe chocolate or sushi...

    On a day to day basis, to me it all boils down to the decision to be good. Appreciate life, help others & be compassionate. The rest is paperwork. But it's helpful to find a group of people that are simpatico. I think much of one's searching for religious identification is for that purpose- sangha, community, congregation- whatever you call it, to feel belonging.... is *divine*.
    vinlyn
  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited September 2012
    @cwexl, If there were a UU church around here I'd attend, so I'm with you on that. :) It's the closest to my mixed spirituality, other than Buddhism (which of course there are no Buddhist monasteries or anything near here either). I agree it's all about finding within yourself reason to be good (at the least to do no harm). All religions try to teach compassion, but it's up to the individual to see compassion as the way.
    vinlyn
  • @cloud- UU church can be analogous to the "Reconstructionist" Jewish movement I was describing in another post. I think both are combining respective Judeo-christian traditions with greater tolerance and broader, less literal interpretations of the classic religious texts (Bible, Torah, etc.) To me, these religions start to meet in the middle.

    Any religion's fundamentalist sect focus on the differences between religions, divisively. More tolerant open-minded practitioners meet each other in the middle, going towards other's beliefs fearlessly, while the fundamentalists cling to the edge of the religion, threatened, trembling in fear, pounding on their texts, pulling away.

    Religious fanaticism almost always divides and makes separate, and any violence or hatred spread in the name of religion, IMO, comes from the edge of that religion- from the sect that lives in fear and pulls away from those who are different.

    To me, the heart of any religion, the center, has the sect that sees commonality, humanity in all. That sect will never bomb or initiate mass suicides. The center sect is the group feeding and clothing the poor and hungry and working for peace. It's the Rabbis and the Lamas and the Priests that meet in the middle and look for common ground, look to be more effective together. One reason we practice religion in a group is that we are empowered to do the necessary work on a larger scale.

    May these different religions all come together, see the similarities and the work that needs to be done, and start to heal the world in large numbers.
    :clap:
    Cloud
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