About Christianity, Part 3

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.

What a True Christian Should Know

Thank God, many Christians have understood and do now understand the true fundamentals of Christianity having to do with the golden rule, universal love, peace, freedom, sharing and fairness, which are based on the universal divine imperative common to all religions.

That is why everyone should now understand the real reason Jesus of Nazareth was such an important figure in world history -- because he was the first spiritually anointed Jewish Messiah to be inclusive and integrate the spiritual wisdom and principles of other religions.

In fact, Jesus integrated not only the wisdom and principles of the preceding mashiachs and prophets of Judaism, but also the wisdom of the Jewish Essene Kabbalists, the Hermetic Greek philosophers, the Avatars of Hinduism and Zoroastrianism (the religion of the Magi), the Buddha Gautama, Lao Tsu, and other sages of his known world.

That is why ancient scrolls revealed that Jesus was called "Issa," and that he was versed in Buddhism and Hinduism prior to his teaching in Palestine regarding Judaism. That is why the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha are so similar (as is revealed in the book Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings, by Marcus Borg et al, or Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, by Thich Nhat Hanh, and other on the subject). It is also why some of the parables Jesus used in his teachings were from the Hindu Vedas, and it is also why Jesus spoke as an Avatar or Siddha Guru in the Hindu tradition, saying "I am the way, the truth, and the Light," and "Before Abraham was, I am." That is, he spoke as the Ancient One, and did so for the Ancient One who is with God in heaven -- because he realized his oneness with God, and he said we can too.

That’s what Avatars and Siddha Gurus do. For the Ancient One is the Spirit of truth, who was before Abraham and Moses and is the Alpha and the Omega, who was, is, and shall always be. The Ancient One has been and is represented by many human representatives or hosts, and Jesus was a host. And the Ancient One is the human aspect of the Supreme Universal Consciousness.

That is why Jesus said: "Before Abraham was, I am." He was speaking as the Ancient One, for the Ancient One. And in that respect, Jesus served in the role of a Christed (anointed) Avatar.

Similarly, it was in that role that the great Indian Siddha Guru, Meher Baba, said: "I am the Ancient One. I am the One so many seek and so few find. For no amount of intellect can fathom me. No amount of austerity can attain me. Only when one loves me and loses one’s self in me, am I found."

Those words could have been said by Jesus, and they are like some of the words attributed to Jesus. They are what the Holy One says through a Christ or an Avatar or Siddha or other genuine servant-representative of God, being one who is enlightened and has been blessed with divine self-realization and knowledge that they are one with God and one with humanity.

That is why Jesus said the next son of man would say, "As you do unto the least of our brethren, so you do unto me."

That is also why Jesus said, "When the Spirit of truth comes to you, you shall know that I am in God, and you in me, and I in you." You will know that we are all in fact One in the omnipresent eternal Spirit of God.

Of course, theocratic Christian Apologists argue that Jesus' statement in John 10:30 ("I and my Father are one") demonstrates that Jesus considered himself God. However, that's not what Jesus meant. He told his disciples they may realize they are one with God too, that God is "our" spiritual parent, and he asked them to be of "one mind" and spirit. That’s part of the reason why Jesus said: “When your eye is single, your whole body is full of Light,” and why James wrote: “A double minded man is unstable.

Fortunately, many Christians have recognized the core universal teachings of Jesus, and they understand how and why the meek shall inherit the earth by abiding by the golden rule and universal divine imperative, loving their neighbor, and even loving their enemy. But some Christians do not understand and do the opposite, and therein lies the conflict between the doctrines of self-serving patriarchs vs. universal divine intent.

Universal divine intent is expressed in the central core teachings of all the greatest spiritual teachers, including Jesus, and especially in the golden rule. Like Hillel the Elder, Jesus said it is the overarching commandment, and it is in fact the universal divine imperative common to all religions.

On the other hand, "Christian" canon, dogma and doctrines of men are those which are more or less summarized in the Nicene Creed. As you may know, it declares that Jesus is (to paraphrase): "the only-begotten Son of God, God of God, being of one substance with the Father; who, for our salvation, came down from heaven and was made incarnate by the Holy Spirit through the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified for us, and on the third day rose again and ascended into heaven, and shall come again."

Almost none of that is true. 

Granted, Jesus was of one substance with God, but all human beings are. And while the soul of Jesus ascended to heaven, all souls can. Furthermore, Jesus was a son of man and not born of a virgin. The primordial "Word" is made flesh in us all, and we have but to realize it. So the Nicene Creed is erroneous, misleading, man-made doctrine designed to establish a doctrine of preeminence and superiority.

Of course, even though the missionary evangelist Paul was wrong about a lot of things, he got some things right, such as when he said that evil loves to masquerade as good, because the world is the way it is largely because of greedy, corrupt men who have claimed to be Christians. And even today they wave the flag, thump their bible, and rattle their swords.

Paul was also quite right when he advised Peter to "Tell those who are rich not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." - 1 Timothy 6:17-19

The Reaganite "Christian Right," on the other hand, insists that great wealth is a reward from God, and that the poor deserve their lot because they are "lazy." But they twist and distort scriptures to suit their purposes, and they have been doing so for many centuries and particularly during the last 30 years.

In fact, in some of what they call evangelical television ministries and/or “mega-churches” in America, Christianity is a business for profit, and most of the profits benefit the “minister” with much material wealth and bring great fame and fortune. But, such businesses have very little or nothing to do with the true message and teachings of Jesus, and those who operate them servenot God, but Mammon. Some of them even deceive and swindle people by claiming to “heal” people, like the old tent show "revivals." But most of them are merely proud, aggressive and even militant right-wing political activists who simply want to rule claiming to be patriotic and religious authorities.

Their imposing and aggressive political activism was in large part enabled by the silence of true Christians and all other truly faithful people who are humble, generous, sharing, compassionate, forgiving, and tolerant, regardless of their religion. For when good people keep silent, it enables self-centered, greedy, corrupt, self-important, self-righteous people to gain and abuse power.

Regardless of religion, people of real faith understand that it will be the humble peacemakers and the gentle and meek who will ultimately inherit the earth. And true Christians understand that it is more important to follow the actual core teachings of Jesus which are universal and common to all religions.

What Is a True Servant of God?

True servants of God understand how and why the meek shall inherit the earth. Therefore, they are unimposing and humble, and they understand that while there is one way to God, there are many paths that lead thereto.

A true servant of God is known by their good works and their love, which attracts people. A true servant of God does not wear their religion on their sleeve, but rather demonstrates their religion through love and selfless service that benefits others.

True servants of God are meek, which is to say they are humble, loving, gentle, tolerant, peaceful, and faithful. They serve as examples of how to behave, rather than arrogantly try to impose their doctrinal religious beliefs on others.

Like all fair, caring, understanding, considerate people, they realize that in social situations and at the work place it is not polite to assume that everyone else holds your political and religious beliefs, or to assume that they should.

A true Christian servant of God understands what “Satan” is, as opposed to what the Christ is. "Satan" is the reflection of egocentric delusion, self-importance and self-righteousness, which can lead to hate, greed and imposing force, while the Christ is the reflection of love, empathy, equality, compassion, forgiveness, charity and peaceful pacifism.

While hypocrites love to cite Matthew 10:34 where it states that Jesus said he came "not to bring peace, but a sword," true Christians understand that in the light of Luke 12:51, which records Jesus as saying he came "not to bring peace, but division."

That is more literally accurate because Jesus ushered in the passing age which is symbolized by the two fish that seem to be swimming in opposite directions, and Jesus said that knowing it would tend to be an age of conflict and division. That's why he foretold that a big change would come at "the end of the age" (aeon), which is not "the end of the world."

True Christians understand why it is written that we should "take the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God," and "the weapons of the Lord are not carnal (or lethal) but are mighty through God for pulling down strongholds," and "I will fight them with the sword of my mouth," and "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

True Christians understand why Psalm 45 states that God's "tongue is the pen of a ready writer." That is confirmed also in Psalm 103:20, Daniel 10:6, Daniel 10:9, and other scriptures that refer to the true, divinely inspired written word being the "voice of God's word" and "the sword of my mouth."

That is also confirmed in Daniel 2:35 which foretells that the "stone [of true judgment] shall shatter the image of the King of Babylon and become as a great mountain that shall fill the earth." That's because the stone is an esoteric symbol for divine truth and understanding of God’s word.

That "stone" is the same one mentioned by Isaiah, who reported that the Lord God said: "Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation, [so that] he that believes shall not make haste." (Isaiah 28:16)

Now it is time for Christians to understand the symbolic prophecies in the book of Revelation about "Armageddon," and about "the wrath of God" being "poured out" upon the earth. For example, while the religious advisers of George W. Bush convinced him that his war on Iraq would fulfill the prophecy of the warring "sixth angel" who "poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates" (Revelation 16:12), that does not mean that Bush was "doing God’s will," as he claimed.

The book of Revelation is mostly symbolic. It does not justify preemptive war, and God did not cause it or sanction it. John’s revelation shows that those who "blaspheme" against God suffer in many ways, but God does not want anyone to be killed. Those who claim to serve God but instead judge, hate and curse their enemy simply ignore divine intent, unaware that our enemy is often just a reflection of our self.

That’s why it is so important for Christians to understand that Jesus was not the "only begotten son of God," or even "God Himself." For Isaiah 9:6, which says: ".. a son is given" ... "and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The Father..." was misunderstood by Christians. They believe it was fulfilled when Jesus said: "My father and I are One" and meant Jesus was and is God. But that is not true.

They do not understand what Jesus meant by that, and they do not consider the book of Isaiah in context. They ignore all the other passages in the book of Isaiah explaining how it is a "servant of God" who fulfills prophecy, and we should regard no man as God. Furthermore, in Isaiah 9:6 the Hebrew Masoretic text uses the words “Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom” which has been translated by Hebrew scholars as “Wondrous Adviser, Mighty Hero, Eternal Patron, Arbitrator of Peace.” (See the articles on Prophecies Re: The One Who Fulfills Them, and Isaiah Chapter 53.)

Only God is God, and Besides God There Is No Savior

As the article A Messiah Is Not the Savior states, the truth is that only God is God, and only God is the Savior and Holy One. In fact, as Isaiah wrote, we should not liken God to any man; nor compare the likeness of God to any man or son of man; nor regard any man or son of man equal to God; nor worship any idol or image of any man; nor consider any man or son of man alike with God. That’s what Isaiah says in 40:18, 40:25, 42:8, 44:24, 44:6-8, 45:5-6, 45:21-22, 46:5, 46:9, and 48:11.

If we consider that along with Isaiah 43:10-11, Isaiah 45:15 and 21, Isaiah 49:26, Hosea 13:4, Deuteronomy 4:39, I Kings 8:60, I Samuel 2:2, Joel 2:27, Luke 1:47, and 1 Timothy 2:3-5, it becomes clear. But the truth is ignored by some Christians who simply do not understand that Jesus was a son of man and the sacrificial lamb of God, and they don't understand the reason for his sacrifice, as an offering, and to culminate his teachings regarding forgiveness and pacifism.

Now there must be a New Reformation of Christianity to clarify divine intent, and remove the false doctrines, as the prophet Jesus wanted. For even though Revelation 22:18 claims that no one can add to what is written in that book, Jesus said he had to go away and be seen no more, but, because there was much to tell that the world wasn’t ready for yet, another would come at the end of the age to issue judgment, guide you unto truth, and show you things to come(paraphrasing John 16:7-15).

That one is the modern son of man, the principal messenger for the Spirit of truth, which comes not to condemn, but to educate; not to punish, but to correct; and not to destroy, but to save.

The day will come when real prophecy is fulfilled, when Christianity will be reformed and all Christians will be reconciled with each other and with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and members of all other major religions, and with all humanity.

Truly, we are all One with God, and One in the Spirit. We just need to start acting like it. We need mutual respect, empathy, compassion, charity, and love – and organized religions and their doctrines are not as important as that. In fact, organized religion really has not produced societies that are better behaved than societies in which people freely choose atheism or agnosticism.

The world needs a reformation of the Abrahamic religions so that they become what they are supposed to be. For the God of Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad is also known by many other names, including Brahma, The Tao, The Supreme Consciousness, the Creator, Wakan Tanka, and other names, all of which speak of the Great Spirit-Parent of us all.

Regarding Myths

In ancient times myths were regarded much differently than they are today, as modern scholars like Joseph Campbell and Karen Armstrong have pointed out. Myths are fictional stories that tell us about human behaviors and tendencies, and yet they also tell us what often occurs and happens even now, whether literally or in a symbolic way. 

For example, the ancient Greek myth about Narcissus speaks of certain human behavior in such a familiar and accurate way that modern psychiatry and psychology uses the term Narcissism to describe self-absorbed, self-centered, egocentric, vain behavior. And so it is with the Christian myths about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, and about the “dragon” and the “Beast of Babylon.” They are myths that are also valuable in that they symbolize certain universal truths that have always been and always are true, in a sense. 

For example, the root of the name Mary, the mother of Jesus, is Mar, which means ocean or sea in many languages. It is even the root of the English word maritime and marine. So symbolically  Jesus was born of the sea, as a fish. In that sense he was a son of Nun, like Joshua. 

You see, Nun is the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and it means fish, which is a product or life born of the ocean. Jesus is a derivative of the name Joshua and Jehoshuah, sons of Nun, who was the minister to Moses. And that is not merely Judeo-Christian symbolism.  Nun means fish in Aramaic, Phoenician and Arabic. In many mythologies, Nun is the ethereal waters or ocean from which all life has come, and as it is above, so it is below. As it is in “heaven,” it tends to be, or can be, as it is on earth, even though ignorant, egocentric Man simply cannot see that. His “eye” is not single, and his vision is clouded with the illusion of duality and a separate-self mentality that does not recognize his oneness with God and all humanity.

In fact, in certain ways, as Mankind has grown in intellectual understanding of how life and form were created, and has learned much about the way things work, from the smallest nano-particle and atom to the Universe itself, Mankind has grown less humble, less able to acknowledge the spiritual reality of what is unseen, and more self-assured that we understand reality and God, even though God is actually infinitely beyond Man’s comprehension and understanding.

We can but try to understand God’s will, which is that we be thoughtful, conscientious, empathetic, humble, gentle, kind, charitable, forgiving, and compassionate in order to bring lasting  harmony and peace to the world.

The modern son of man, the Messiah, understands that, but confesses that in that respect he has failed miserably. He could not and still cannot forgive offensive hypocrites as long as they are causing so much conflict, trouble, and even death and destruction. Therefore, even though he knows that the judgment he has delivered was prophesied and necessary, he is as guilty of offense as the hypocrites are. That is the paradox we all should try to understand.

Encouraging Progress

We all should try to learn and understand more truth about Jesus, about Christianity, about the Abrahamic religions, and about religions in general. This is needed and crucial, especially since the theocratic political aggressiveness and influence of right-wing American "Christian" Dominionists who want to rule the nation and world in the name of "Christianity" has increased during the last 30 years, and extreme right-wing “Christian” leaders continue to lust for political power.

Fortunately, what the great thinkers from Spinoza to Jefferson expressed during the "Enlightenment" era has been revived in recent decades, and people are learning more all the time -- learning good information that has been gradually refuting and exposing the myths about Jesus, the errors in the Christian canon, and the Pauline theology of Apologetics.

Modern scholarly research and archaeological research has also contributed to our edification. In 1945 a huge collection of leather-bound papyrus codices or manuscripts of early Christian texts which had been buried in a sealed jar along with three Hermetic Greek works were discovered near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, and they are now known as the Nag Hammadi library, and sometimes known as the “Gnostic Gospels.”

All these writings may have been buried after 180 (CE) when an influential Christian leader, Bishop Irenaeus, wrote a book lauding the epistles of Paul and the gospels of Mark, Luke, John, Matthew and a few other compatible works while condemning the rest of the Christian writings and gospels as "heresies.” Or they may have been buried after 367 AD when “Christian” Bishop Athanasius condemned as “heretical” all writings other than those selected for the official Church canon and Bible during the Council of Laodicea in 364 A.D. But, they are extremely valuable in adding to our general knowledge of what Jesus of Nazareth actually had in mind.

The discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library was followed by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran in 1947. They are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and other religious texts. They are of great religious and historical significance because they include the oldest known surviving copies of documents that preserved evidence of great diversity in the Second Temple of Judaism in Jerusalem. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus. There are works of "hidden" wisdom, such as the Book of Enoch, Jubilees, Ecclesiasticus, some of which had been known only through the existence of a few copies, some of which had been suppressed by “conservatives” and orthodox Jews. 

The scrolls discovered in Qumran are traditionally identified with the ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes. And when modern scholars began translating the scrolls, they soon realized that a historical account had already been written on the scrolls' authors, in a reference from Pliny the Elder (a Roman historian and naturalist, c.23-79 AD) who referred directly to the Essenes at Qumran. 

The Essenes should be a subject of research and study, because while Pliny mainly mentioned Essene monks, it should be known that the Essenes were a great, albeit relatively small, sect of Judaism associated with Talmudic and Kabbalistic Judaism, and as is evident throughout this article About Christianity, the modern son of man believes they also had an influence on Jesus and his family.

In other words, there is much to learn. And if humanity does learn, and realize the true role of Jesus of Nazareth, and his true mission as a teacher and a prophet, it will help immensely in Interfaith dialogue and understanding.