Thomas Jefferson Sees the Errors in the Bible
Thomas Jefferson, the great American Founding Father, author of the Declaration of Independence and the third U.S. President, said this:
"Among the sayings and discourses imputed to Jesus by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being." -- Thomas Jefferson
"But a short time elapsed after the death of [Jesus] the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants ..." --- Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, like many other men of faith during the "Enlightenment," agreed about the errors and exaggerated claims made in the Christian New Testament. And in 1823 he wrote: "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
Even so, people like Jefferson loved the actual teachings of Jesus. In fact, Jefferson wrote: "Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus."
But Jefferson was against the "corruptions" in the Bible, and against the religious bigotry and hypocrisy of arrogantly proud, self-important and self-righteous people who claimed to be Christian authorities. He even edited the New Testament to remove the errors and exaggerations and leave the "gold" of the essential universal teachings of Jesus, and his work is called The Jefferson Bible.
The Truth Comes Out
Many modern Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars have agreed with Jefferson, including the modern son of man, because some of what is in the Christian gospels as we know them did not come from Jesus, but from followers who probably meant well and thought it would be good to establish the "one and only" religion founded by "God Incarnate," and establish a firm threat of hell and eternal damnation for disobedience to God (as represented by the church) and a reward of eternal heaven for obedience to God (as represented by the church).
That basic idea was not new. There were then and still are many religious traditions that attempt to explain the nature of life and death and the nature of the earth and its changes as if there is a Creator responsible for everything. For example, fundamentalist Hindus believe God (Brahman) is the Causal Source and, through its many aspects or lesser “gods,” is both Creator and Destroyer.
A more well known example is in the scriptures of Judaism, which Christians and Muslims are supposed to accept as the foundation of their religions. The idea that God punishes people, cities and nations for disobedience, as well as the idea to threaten punishment from God for disobedience, came from certain statements and stories told by ancient Jewish figures like Moses, Isaiah and Amos, who wrote as if God were an unseen but almighty Superman-Magician who creates all that is and causes all events. And even though there is ample evidence in their writings to indicate that much of what they wrote was allegory, metaphor and symbolism, and even though Talmudic Judaism confirms or reinforces that conclusion, some people take everything written in scriptures as literal.
For example, Moses wrote that God parted or divided the water of the sea, and, even though in modern times science and history tells us that in that instance the sea was altered temporarily by a huge natural geological event nearby, many Christians take it literally.
Fundamentalist Christians especially insist that their Bible is inherent and absolutely literal. They believe in a Superman God, and they believe Jesus was actually the “only begotten” sole human incarnation of that God. Moreover, one of the doctrines they believe in claims that Jesus will come again, next time as an Almighty God King to rule the world, and that it could happen at any time.
In a way that was an insurance policy designed to make Christianity the only genuine religion founded by God “Himself,” because Paul, Luke and others stated that anyone who thinks Jesus delays his "second coming" has no faith and deserves punishment. That is why fundamentalist Christians today insist that you simply need to have faith that "Jesus Christ is the Lord and your personal Savior," and that he came to provide your salvation and “rid the world of sin.”
Even though that’s obviously not true and the world is more plagued by sin than ever, those who wrote what we now read in the Christian Bible thought they had it all covered and they thought it was a great plan. And, admittedly, it was effective, because Christianity is now by far the largest religion in the world.
But, what they did was establish erroneous, patriarchal doctrines and dictates of men, which were perpetuated and are now still pushed by the leaders of "Christian Right," who commit much sin in "the name of the Lord," as Jesus knew they would.
That is why Jesus said the day would come when the hypocrites are rebuked, and they will cry out, saying: "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? Have we not cast out devils in your name? And in your name have we not done many wonderful works?"
But, as Jesus said then, and as the Ancient One now says through the modern son of man, the fact is that they are hypocrites who "work iniquity" (do wrong) in the name of Jesus.
Jesus said: "When you pray, you should not do as the hypocrites do, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues [and churches and mosques] and on street corners, so they may be seen and heard by men. But I say to you that when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut the door, pray to our God which is in secret." (Matthew 6:5-6)
Like Jefferson, Jesus felt our relationship with our God is a private matter, between each person and God, and all truly humble, wise and faithful people know that.
The wise know that the God of Abraham, David, Jesus and Muhammad, the God known as Jehovah or Yahweh or Allah, and also known as "our Father in heaven," Brahman, The Absolute Tao, The Supreme Consciousness, Wakan-Tanka, Ahura Mazda, the Creator, and many other names — is the same Great Spirit-Parent of all.
Like all other Master Spiritual Teachers, Avatars, Siddhas and Buddhas, the Christ Jesus said that the greatest commandment is: Love one another, love your neighbor as yourself, and treat others as you would want to be treated if you were them.
In the Judaic tradition, Jesus said that you should pray to "our God" in heaven; that you should love the Lord our God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; that you hear and know that the Lord OUR God is One Lord. (Matthew 7:12; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31; John 13:34)
That is why Jesus said to his disciples, "You have not heard the voice of God or seen God’s shape at any time." For even though Jesus realized his oneness with God, as we all can, he knew he was not "God Himself." He knew that the Lord our God is the eternal, infinite, omnipresent Holy ONE.
Now we know that God has many names because God is the unseen but omnipresent Divine Light-Energy-Source of our existence, the very Essence of all life and form, the Supreme Consciousness realized by the Buddha, the Christ, the Avatar and all other enlightened sages who realized the that the unspeakable, primordial vibration or "Word" of God is made flesh in all of us.
Only God is the Holy One, and besides God there is no Savior, as Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah and others wrote. And a son of man or Messiah is not the Savior, but a servant of God the Savior. Jesus knew that, and he knew that God was not made in our image. We are made in God’s image, as Children of the Divine Light.
That’s why Jesus also said, "God is greater than I." (John 14:28), "The servant is not above or greater than his Lord; neither is he that is sent greater than he that sent him." (Matthew 10:24-25 and John 13:16) For even as the Christian gospels are, they still contain much truth, and make it clear that Jesus said the Lord our God is One, the true God. (Mark 12:29; 1 Timothy 2:5; John 5:44, 7:28, 8:26, 17:3, etc.)
Where the Christian Bible is wrong is in using language that has created myths about a "virgin" birth, bodily resurrection, and second coming, but those myths were fabricated to create the doctrine of preeminence and superiority. But our Lord God is the eternal Holy One, and the primordial "Word" of God is made flesh in all of us.
John realized that when he was an old man in exile on the Isle of Patmos when he was carried away in spirit to the spiritual realm. There he saw a vision of the future victory of God's angels over the "Beast of Babylon" and the future fall of "Babylon the Great," and afterward he wrote the following:
"I saw the angels who sang the song of God’s servant Moses, and the song of the Lamb of God, saying: ‘Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, you Lord of Lords and Saints. Let all glorify your name, Oh Lord God. For you only are Holy. For all nations shall worship you Lord God, for your judgments are made manifest.’" – Revelation 15:3-4
Notice that the "song of the Lamb" praises God. The Lamb does not praise himself. He praises God. Both Moses and the Lamb Jesus praise the Lord God, who is the Lord of lords and the Lord of Hosts.
John also makes it clear that the sacrificial Lamb and Christ Jesus was not God by writing: "The Lord God Almighty and ‘His’ Christ are the temple" of prophecy. (Revelation 21:22)
That distinguishes between God and "His Christ," which are different (even though Jesus realized God was within him and he was within God). It also makes it clear the "Temple" of prophecy is not a building, but a spiritual temple for which we all can be pillars, and in that sense the whole body of humanity is or can be the temple of God.
Of course John wrote his book of Revelation as a very old and much wiser man, wiser than he was earlier in his life when he was influenced by Paul and some of the other apostles. For in the gospel of John (1:18) he had written: “No one has ever seen God. But his only Son, who is himself God, has told us about him.”
That statement is very contradictory. After all, if no one has ever seen God, then Jesus was not God, and Jesus himself spoke of our God in heaven as "greater than I.” The truth is that we can see God within, but God is not a person. God is the eternal, infinite, omnipresent Great Spirit-Parent of us all.
Furthermore, John 1:18 is in error in speaking of Jesus as the "only son of God," as all other references to Jesus as "the only begotten son of God" are in error. All men who realize God and the Spirit of truth within recognize they are sons of God, and the story of the "virgin birth" of Jesus is a myth (as is explained in the article on The Virgin Birth Story
Furthermore, even according to Matthew 5:16 Jesus said: "Let them see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven." And clearly Jesus did not say praise me, and never did. He said praise the Lord our God in heaven, and he even told people not to call him good, because only God is good.
Therefore we should not worship any man as an idol, but rather worship God. And we should take the advice of James: "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans, widows and the poor."
The false doctrine of preeminence and superiority is contrary to that, but it is very convenient for those who want to rule. That is why the Christian Bible and the Nicene Creed perfectly suited militaristic, imperialistic patriarchs and monarchs. Consequently, what followed was many centuries of theocratic tyranny, oppression and persecution, now called the "Dark Ages" and then the cruel Inquisition and the bloody and murderous Crusades against Islam.
The false doctrines eventually led to a "Doctrine of Discovery" in the 15th century, enabling Christians to invade and occupy the lands of Native indigenous peoples all over the world. It dehumanized indigenous peoples as "heathens and uncivilized savages" with no rights to land, giving Christians the "divine right" of lordship or dominance over them, and the right to take and own foreign lands, territories and resources without permission of the Native peoples whose ancestors had been living there for countless generations.
That doctrine was kept even after the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century. Even in America that doctrine justified slavery and enabled white European Christian immigrants to hold slaves. Then it was officially incorporated into U.S. Indian policies in 1823, declaring that Native Americans (Indians) had no rights, and it opened the door to unconscionable, murderous Westward expansion by European American immigrants.
Unfortunately, even though many Protestant Christians today believe that the Protestant Reformation of the Sixteenth Century cured and totally reformed Christianity, and that the Protestant version of the Christian Bible was true to the original teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, that is not true.
Granted, the Protestant Reformation did stop some of the theocratic tyranny, oppression and superstition that the early Roman Catholic Church had spread, and it did put an end to the Dark Ages. And certainly the Protestant Christian denominations that most countries in Europe adopted were generally an improvement over the medieval Roman Church.
Even the Roman Catholic Church was considerably reformed, because the works of liberal and progressive Roman Catholics like St. Francis and St. Thomas Aquinas helped to finally bring back some of the real Christianity into their church, and get rid of some of the misguided, oppressive, exploitive and even tyrannical practices.
In the freer religious climate brought about by the first Reformation of Christianity, the work of good Catholics and Protestants helped bring about the "Renaissance" (rebirth) of Greek literature, philosophy, architecture, art, and ideals that had been labeled as pagan by the Roman Church when it was first established. Historians even call that era "The Enlightenment," because it created so much positive change and improvement.
However, the first Reformation did not truly reform Christianity as it needs to be reformed, as Jesus foresaw and intended.
The Legacy of Erroneous Doctrine and Dogma
Because Christianity as we know it is flawed by erroneous doctrines and dogma, it has been problematic, particularly since the fourth century. The Protestant Reformation helped a bit, but it really did not remove the basic problem, which has surfaced many times in the world and even in America.
It was a problem for the Founding Fathers, which is evident from their writings, and the same problem has arisen sporadically. In fact, since 1981 one of the main causes of conflict in America has been the aggressive and imposing theocratic tactics and political action incited by the hypocritical leaders of the "Religious Right," which rose to power supporting Republican Ronald Reagan for president.
With a lot of flag waving, bible thumping and sword rattling, they have steadily gained political power in local school boards, state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, and the presidency twice. They have wielded steadily increasing political power, to the point that being a Christian became a litmus test for becoming president during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.
That not only betrays the universal God. It is absolutely contrary of the intent of the Founding Fathers. It violates the First Amendment and Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, which explicitly prevent any sort of law or government action based on religion, and any religious requirement for public office. And it is contrary to the declaration of the U.S. Senate in 1797, when it made it more clear that: "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."
The Founding Fathers honored universal spiritual and moral values common to all religions, and they wanted to establish religious freedom and freedom from religious bigotry and imposition, with a "wall of separation between church and state," as Thomas Jefferson put it.
Unfortunately, the leaders of the Christian Right have ignored the clear intent of the Founding Fathers, and they have been so loud and demanding that both Republicans and Democrats have resorted to pandering to them -- and that was one of many ominous indicators of the eroding tradition of the Constitutional separation of church and state in American politics.
Theocratic Christians have also been attempting to run the U.S. Military. Many belong to a group calling themselves "The Family," which includes Republican members of Congress and the right-wing Federalist Society, military personnel who call themselves "Believers in The Army of God," and many who identify with the right-wing Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which has a global religious military industrial imperial agenda.
Misguided Christians do not understand that Jesus is to be glorified as a spiritually anointed son of man, a servant of God, Avatar for the passing age, and a sacrificial "lamb" of God. They do not understand why Jesus said he had "other folds," and he broke Jewish messianic tradition because he understood the universal nature of God.
That is why we should understand that the teachings of Jesus incorporated Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu concepts and traditions, which is why Jesus spoke not only as a son of man and Messiah, but as an Avatar, as being "one with God," as the highest Self, the Ancient One who was “before Abraham.”
In fact, even though the Buddha Gautama perceived God not as an entity but as the pure, ultimate Supreme Consciousness, Jesus and Gautama both realized the divine reality, which is why many of their teachings are similar. (Read Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings, by Marcus Borg et al, or Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, by Thich Nhat Hanh, or one of the many other books on the subject.)
Unfortunately, theocratic “fundamentalist” Christians are unaware of the real truth and instead push Theocracy. And, in the late 1980s when some progressive people began to speak up to expose their bigotry and hypocrisy, the leaders of the Christian Right immediately began to fend off and stifle criticism by claiming that they were "being persecuted, as Jesus Christ prophesied."
That, however, is a deceptive claim, because Jesus foretold the persecution of the early Christians during the first few centuries after his death, and that persecution stopped in the fourth century when Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire. (And that’s when Christians became the persecutors.)
In spite of that, today in America the leaders of the “Christian Right” do not understand the righteous backlash against their hypocrisy, bigotry and aggressive theocratic imposition. They dismiss it as "persecution by the godless."
In 2010, in reaction to the progressive agenda of President Obama, they claimed there is a "grave threat from the anti-family/anti-religious radicals who control the White House and Congress." They falsely labeled liberal progressive Christians as "unpatriotic," and even falsely claimed that progressives are leading the United States into an "era of Nazi-like tyranny and despotism."
That is terribly ironic and hypocritical, because it is they who are trying to rule the nation and world. That is why it is now time to understand why political pandering to religious groups is in violation of the Constitution and the intent of the Founding Fathers.
That is why Americans need to know not only the intent of the Founding Fathers, but also the history of Christianity and how it has been negatively influenced by certain erroneous or false apostles, false shepherds, and false prophets.