this particular post (which is probably going to be a long winded one) has been about a month in coming, ever since my return from new orleans, or maybe even it could have been written before then. this is a sort of processing what i have been reading lately, and doing some self-examination as to what i believe spiritually and why.
right before my trip, i read the laughing jesus by (hottie!) timothy freke and peter gandy. the blurb on the back cover looked intriguing, posing questions about the old testament being a complete work of fiction, and whether jesus christ ever actually existed as a human being, among others. so, i took the bait, and by the end of the book, i was an (un)believer. i made the conscious decision to believe the facts that i was reading and not the stories i had been told to believe on faith for much of my life. it is now my belief that the story of jesus, as presented in the bible is nothing more than a myth based on previous pagan myths about various god-men with almost the exact same biography found in the bible regarding jesus.
at the point i made that decision, it was like the scales literally fell off of my eyes. i always thought i understood this previously, especially after having read some years back books such as wilber’s up from eden or putting on the mind of christ by jim marion or why christianity must change or die by john shelby spong. however, this is where the idea finally clicked for me, that the story of jesus, like the stories of god-men before him, was meant only as an example of the possibilities i, and we all, can experience in god. paradoxically, my feelings about jesus are no different, and can be said to be even stronger because of this. he is an example to me of how i can be a christ, or anointed of god, right here and now. i don’t have to wait till i ‘die and go to heaven’ in order to be permanently in god’s presence. god’s presence is everywhere, even in the minutiae of my daily life, and i am in the continual process of learning how to be aware of it.
because of what i’ve read in this book, and others since then, i have come to the terrible conclusion that christianity in its current form is actually quite a diabolical religion. this is kind of hard to swallow, as this is the religion i was born and raised with, and i spent a number of years in the charismatic christian community. i know that if anyone from that movement were to read these words, they would immediately consider me backslidden and my soul lost for eternity. but this is exactly what i cannot reconcile, despite this blog post i wrote just a few weeks earlier on ‘why i am still a christian’. i just don’t think i am anymore. i mean, who would dream up a god supposedly of love, a god who demands absolute loyalty, a god who sentences you to hell because you don’t literally believe in jesus’ life and death? how can a religion claim that it is the only way to know god, when it has only been in existence for 2000 years? how did people get to know god before then? were they just screwed?
the original christians, the gnostics, knew that the jesus story was just a jewish version of the myth of osiris-dionysus, the god-man who within various milieux was believed (for starters) to have been born december 25 of a virgin, wandered the countryside as a young adult teaching parables, died on a cross for thinking he was god, arose from the dead and returned to heaven, promising to come back. the gnostics saw this story for what it was: an allegory of what we can have with god. it was this story that was perverted by the roman church, and moved from the level of teaching story to ‘gospel truth’, and is the basis of what passes for christianity today. what is so sad is that people who are normally rational thinkers believe that a child was born from a woman who had not previously had sex. and they believe in a literal hell for those people who think otherwise. and even though the crusades are obviously long over, there are still people who abuse their power in order to get people to believe this, while handing over the money in order to reach more people for this americanized jesus. thinking of the millions of people that have been brainwashed over the centuries into believing this form of christianity, i’m sorry, but to me, this truly is nothing short of diabolical. this is the very evil that i have so often heard preaching against.
it is also interesting to me how christians see stories in other religions, particularly eastern religions, as being mythical in nature, but stories of jesus walking on water and feeding thousands with only a few loaves of bread are ‘obviously’ true. again with the obi wan kenobi quote: ‘you’ll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.’