The following is excerpted from Do You Like Jesus – Not the Church?
Today, as they have been throughout history, people are still complacent to religious knowledge. They willingly but blindly follow tradition. In the twenty-first century, the majority of people in the United States are more interested in money and consuming than they are in asking questions and delving into the workings of organized religion and the mysteries of self and life. For many, life is based on accumulating wealth and a feeling of security. They accept at face value, as faith and as truth, what their religious leaders tell them or what they read in the Bible. This is especially true of Christians. I call Christianity the lazy, sleepwalking religion. At least in Islam, you’re required to pray five times a day. And what about the historical Jesus, whose image and name Christians use for their corrupt religion? Christianity goes totally against his original teachings and message:
“That Jesus gave the Pharisees and Sadducees a hard time cannot be denied, and that he probably gave the Essenes just as hard a time is only just beginning to be realized. This was a man of passionate belief, a man of action, a man who believed himself fully qualified and positioned to challenge the religious leaders of his time…This was no half-baked revolutionary with a rabble behind him: it was an individual of clear mind and strong heart who wished to inaugurate a revolution on both the religious and social levels of his culture and time. This is what is so attractive about him—one senses the passion in him boiling away as he tries to make his often doltish disciples understand his insights and long-term plans. He is special, and he knows he is special. He can see only too clearly that his religious peers have become bogged down in narrow-minded, nit-picking practices, and as a Galilean with a deep sense of space and freedom he wants to reveal what he has personally found out about God—that He does not live in a box labeled Religion.”[i]
In today’s world the Church of Rome will look at these words as heretical because I view Jesus as the perfect (divine) and imperfect (human) man, but not fully one or the other and surely not the “living” God or the redeemer. And the church would deem sacrilegious Jesus’s belief in the divineness of the earth and all its creatures (kingdom of God[ii] spread before you).
There is also a belief that Jesus’s first followers viewed him not as the risen God but as a philosopher, prophet, and teacher. To the Sanhedrin, the council that defined Hebraic law, Jesus was in all likelihood viewed as a heretic. According to Douglas Lockhart, “Jesus is by definition a heretic. And this is not to do Jesus an injustice, for in the light of his nonconformist teachings and behaviour, he was without doubt a heretical figure in Jewish eyes. And if he returned today, he would, likewise, be a heretic in the eyes of the Christian Church.”[iii]
What beliefs would make Jesus such a heretic? Was it his egalitarianism? Was it just his message of love and forgiveness? Or was it something more? Could it have been a message about one’s inner spiritual sun—the spirit of the Creator—God (Alaha[iv]) the Divine within? And when it was combined with his sharp words and criticism of the prevailing religious thought and attitude, it caused such an uproar and discomfort among others, as well as the religious and civil authorities, that he was branded heretical and a danger to the ruling elite:
“The question is, if Jesus himself was not the message, then what exactly was the message? Is it possible to identify what it may have been? Are there still traces of it around? As a sentiment “love one another” may appear to be an important ingredient of the message, but as each of us knows only too well, love, like hate, cannot be conjured out of thin air—it has to spring up inside of us due to a profound connection between “self” and “other” [my italics]. We seldom hate for the same reason that we seldom love—lack of a profound connection.
“I think Jesus understood the dynamics of ‘connectedness,’ the meaning of love, and hate, but that what he had to tell us has been changed into an exercise in self-propaganda, a narcissism which we have each taken up in our own way.[v]
Without a doubt, the key to Jesus’s message is the connection between self and other based on “natural law.”[vi] It is an awakening[vii] of a new consciousness—a “new” way to see one’s self and others, perfection not only within but perfection outside of us—an inner kingdom and an outer kingdom spread throughout the earth. This would change our attitude and treatment of fellow human beings and all other things, such as the earth and all its creatures. This would “awaken” us to the divineness of others and ourselves as well as the humanness of life. When we have a knowing within our hearts that we have starlight, a “spark of creation—a sun of God,” within us and a knowing that others do also, we are then able to truly “love our neighbor,” to forgive, and to have compassion for others. This is the heart knowledge of the oneness of life and the heart knowledge of the humanness, the joy, the struggles and the suffering of life. We understand our own selves, and we understand others. This is true empathy and compassion.
With this knowledge, the need for any organized religion as “gatekeeper” between God and us becomes nonexistent.
[i] Douglas Lockhart, Jesus the Heretic, 169.
[ii] Please use common sense. There are eight billion galaxies or more. Within each, there are an unknown number, probably billions, of stars. This is known creation. The earth sits in the corner of one of these galaxies—the Milky Way. It is the height of folly and arrogance to suppose that any human being or religious institution would have intimate knowledge and be able to identify the creator of our known universe within its concrete of dogma.
I acknowledge that the Creator, the Unknown and the Uncreated, cannot be identified or imagined in human terms, just in absolute terms, as it is the greatest mystery of all mysteries. I use the term God when referring to the Absolute, the All.
However, I am not referring to the concept of the Christian God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost—but to the Creator, the greatest Mystery of Mysteries, the Divine, the All, the Absolute, the Concealed and the Revealed, which is both immanent and transcendent and beyond human comprehension.
Thus, God, the One and Oneness of all, the Mystery of Mysteries, which is within us and outside of us, transcends our abilities even as divine human beings to comprehend the essence of what is the greatest mystery of all. God surpasses our dualistic view of reality and is neither male nor female but is the mystery of all that there is. God is love, not fear, both immanent and transcendent.
[iii] Douglas Lockhart, Jesus the Heretic, 9.
[iv] Alaha is Aramaic for God. Even though I would prefer to use the Aramaic name Alaha for numerous reasons, one being that it implies sacred unity or oneness, it may cause confusion, as it is similar to the Arabic Allah. Thus, throughout I use the term God with the understanding that I am referring to Alaha—the Great Mystery, the Divine, the All, the Uncreated and the Created, the Concealed and the Revealed.
[v] Douglas Lockhart, Jesus the Heretic, 12.
[vi] This is God’s natural, altruistic law: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts” (The HarperCollins Study Bible, Jeremiah 31:33, 1174).
[vii] Fundamental awakening is “a way of collapsing the distance between mind and enlightened mind, and thus, abolishing the dualism that is itself the stuff of delusion.” (Bernard Faure, Visions of Power, 16.)