Monday, October 10, 2011

Is Jesus a Religion, or a Man?

"Oprah Denies Christ"...that was the title of a U Tube video I came across today. (although I didn't bother watching it)  I am not a big fan of Oprah's. I don't like to watch Dr. Phil either. I'll confess they annoy me a little. I do watch some shows that I'm sure annoy the crap out of most the Real Housewives. I say that because I don't want to make people feel bad who like Oprah or Dr. Phil, or make it sound like I think I'm better than them. But the whole reason I'm pointing this out is because I happened to see a little of an Oprah show ("Life Lessons", or something like that) where she was talking about the ego. I thought it was good, and ironically so much of what I feel God has been teaching me lately.  But then the thought came into my mind, "Oh great--now anyone who reads my blog will think I'm a follower of Oprah...that it is Oprah who has lead me down this horrible road away from the church". (so much for having come to a place where I don't care what people think ;)

It seems to me that for many Christians, it's not about what is being taught as much as who is doing the teaching. So, two people can teach the same principle, (for example, loving others as we love ourselves) but if a Buddhist teaches it, then it's wrong. If a Christian teaches it, then it's right--doesn't matter that they are both saying the same thing.  Seems silly to me...shouldn't the principle be correct regardless of who is teaching it?  But because Jesus said, "I AM the way, the truth, and the life", Christian's interpret that as "Christianity is the only true religion", without any regard to the fact that Jesus was speaking about himself, not a religion.

And so many Christians have absolutely no problem believing that a man like Gandhi, who lived out the teachings of Jesus better than many Christians do, is rotting in an eternal hell because he denied the deity of Jesus.  It blows my mind.  Makes me so sad, but all I can do is pray that more and more Christian's will start taking a harder look at the things they believe and why they believe them, and maybe just consider that the religion of Christianity has maybe not understood everything about the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus.

PS...Did you flinch a little at my title, worried that I would deny the deity of Jesus? (because then I would be going to hell like Oprah)
I think it's curious that in all the scriptures I come across, the writers are most concerned with people denying the humanity of Jesus. When I took a quick look at commentaries about why this was so important, they always talk about it being because Jesus had to be human so he made the perfect sacrifice for our "atonement".  But if Jesus being the atoning sacrifice (to appease God's wrath) is the main point of his death, why can't I even find the word "atonement" in the new testament? (using the Young's Literal translation--the one scholars say is the most accurate.Yes, Paul talks about Jesus shedding his blood for our sin. But his point is always "we don't need to keep making sacrifices", not "Jesus had to die so that God could forgive us". God was ALWAYS forgiving the Jewish people.) When I wrote to a Jewish priest about sacrifice being to appease the wrath of God (remember...the authors of the new testament all came out of the Jewish faith) he was disgusted.  He wrote me back and emphatically said that was never what sacrifice was about.  When you look at what Christianity was while it was under the leadership of Jews, (in the book of Acts) and what it became when it was under the leadership of people who had come out of pagan religions (where sacrifice was all about appeasing the gods) you see a big difference, don't you?  Just things to think about.