The Seven Mortal Si- Correctable Mistakes of Christianity
Isa, Jesus is the name of the Kurdish truck driver that picked us up. His whole being emanates a fine spirituality that almost puts us into a trance. I’m reminded of another Jesus who lived about two thousand years ago and preached universal love. Many things happened since then; he was misunderstood, mistranslated, Christianity declared to be a state religion, taxes were collected, wars conducted in his name. It might be worth pondering about what the original teachings of Jesus Christus of Nazareth actually were. And the errors of Christian mentality could shed some light on some basic problems of western civilization.
We have to wade through some really difficult territory now, but do persevere. Things will work out in the end. First of all, imagine you are a native a few hundred years ago meeting Europeans for the first time. One day strange ships cast anchor on your shores and a row of proud strangers dismount. They proceed ceremoniously, holding high the statue of a man being tortured to death. This is the only true god, they assert, proceeding immediately to murder, enslave, rape and plunder in his name with remarkable efficiency. The apex of their religious ceremony is symbolic consumption of the flesh and blood of the person dying on the cross. What kind of a cannibalistic blood cult is this? – You wonder in amazement. Later, if you are one of the lucky survivors, they disclose that the man is not God, but his son and he died for your sins.
Let us examine a few problematic ideas of practical Christianity that still have an effect on our society and psychology.
1. There is Sin, Hell, Satan
According to this axiom, darkness is an independent force in nature that has to be fought. You have to fear Evil which is mightier than you. This entity endowed with volition can even reside inside you and make you do evil things. So if, instead of some external ideals, you follow your inner feelings, you have to torment yourself. You have to be preoccupied by your past mistakes, hating yourself for them. Your attention is best turned to undesired behavior instead of desired goals. A large part of your feelings have to be suppressed, you must persecute and punish yourself and be in terror of eternal suffering.
2. Original Sin
Let’s start life with the conviction that you are inherently bad. You were born as a faulty piece of junk and the only way to purify yourself is by following the sacred rituals of the Church. Let an underlying feeling of guilt permeate your whole life, guilt for something you could have done nothing about. Build a house on sludge, cast salt with your vegetable seeds, design a machine where the cogwheels can’t move. This precept provides a great foundation to personality.
3. Life is Endless Suffering
Just think of all those bitten-into-lemon faces on the murals in churches. But it is justified, after all: Jesus was betrayed, unjustly sentenced, tortured and murdered. Horrible. There is, however, a tiny detail left out of how we tend to remember Him. He was resurrected! He gloriously rose to the sky, ascended into eternal peace and harmony!! He has triumphed and He is forever alive!!! How could we have forgotten that the misery ended and good prevailed? How could we have brushed aside all that great news and returned to the suffering, the dying body on the cross? The symbol of Christianity should be a flying-into-heaven sign, a bird-soul or some ecstatic expression of joy. Which does exist in the symbolism of the Holy Spirit. Why not put this on church towers and necklaces?
Source: Ilianna Brett, Unsplash
4. God is a Man
Not even muslims, with all their reverence to Muhammad, resorted to turning their prophet into a god. Of course, Jesus said: “I’m the son of God.” And He was right. We all are, together with trees and birds and mushrooms. But those head priests gathered at the Third Council of Constantinople believed otherwise. Jesus was so special, they had to make him into a deity. Being supposedly monotheistic they couldn’t openly do that. They ended up with this convoluted three in one solution that no one in his right mind comprehends. Which is used as further proof of supernaturalness. Of the reformist churches only the Unitarians got rid off that mental fog, proudly proclaiming on their churches: God is One.
Talking about politeistic tendencies, the cult of saints is reminiscent of lesser deities. Having problems with travel? Pray to Saint Christopher. Sinned? Ask Saint Rita to plead for you. The good side of these subsidiaries is that some female energy is being bootlegged back into the picture. It’s not only the guy with the beard.
I don’t care how many gods you have, one or a thousand. The problem is that they are people. There is this incredibly strong anthropomorphic mold laid on the universe that prevents us from finding our real place in the great scheme of things.
5. You are Separate from God
You walk into the Lord’s House, look up to the cupola and there, impossibly high above you catch sight of Him. Of God who is outside of you. Even though you learned in catechism class that “God is everywhere”, somehow you are left out. He is kind of everywhere, spying on you, checking if you are behaving appropriately. But you have to put incredible effort in getting close to Him. You must work on it all the time. You cannot simply be happy for you are not one with Him.
And then, of course, to be one with Him an intermediary is needed. Communion, forgiveness (for what?), last unction, all are performed by a priest. Do not listen to your innermost feelings, it’s the priest that will instruct you how to get to God.
6. There is only one True Religion
In Japan you may be a buddhist and a shintoist simultaneously, as these are not tribes with stone axes but ideas. Muslims at least respect the “religions of the book”, Christianity and Judaism. We, Christians, don’t respect anybody. No one can be right but us. We have no idea what other religions say, and don’t want to know since they are pagan misconceptions. If you were not christened by our sect, if you are not accompanied by a priest when you die, you go to hell.
As a side note, Hungarians can at least be proud that it was in Transsylvania where religious freedom was first declared in Europe.
7. Other Living Creatures do not Matter
How could we be animals, animals are rude, crude creatures who cannot attain heaven. Animals are governed by instincts, not high ideals like us. We are special beings. We are the only ones with feelings, with rights. It does not matter that we have the same organs as animals. It does not matter that humans and chimpanzees are more closely related genetically than horses and donkeys. The many millions of other species also don’t matter, we can treat them as if they were inanimate objects. We may cut all the trees, kill all the animals as they are not human. Morality begins with being human.
Why is this important today when most westerners are not even religious? We are beyond religion, we have been enlightened, in our age science, rational thought decides the fate of humanity. At least this is preached by Christianity’s descendant, modernity. Well, Christianity is the culture that took over the planet. If you want to understand how we managed to arrive to the brink of extinction, here’s a hefty chunk of it. No matter what culture you live in, you have been affected by the so-called white man. I happen to be a white (pink) man raised as a Catholic so I feel somewhat endowed with the right to intuit what the original foundations of this religion might have been. My conjecture cannot be scientifically proven, but fortunately in the prophets’ time no standard deviations were required. Could the following propositions be closer to the original theachings of Jesus Christus?
1. Darkness is but the lack of light. Satan does not exist. Sometimes our imagination projects shapes into the darkness, that is all. There is no hell, the “punishment” for our mistakes is the deed itself, the lack of harmony. Evil is a part of Good and always local. If there was no imperfection there was no progress. Mistakes are important, they facilitate learning. When you feel your connection to the Light that created you your actions are proper and everything is in its place.
2. The greatest force in the universe is creation which is love. You were conceived out of love, thus you are good. You are good the way you are. And, since you are good, you are capable of moral behavior. All you need to be happy is located within you. The more you let yourself be guided by your innermost feelings, the easier. Not all your actions will be perfect, but you can continuously improve them if you want. You can even aid redirecting the momentarily erring consciousness of human civilization. This will help others reconnect with the Whole.
3. The world is light. Flow. Experience. Learning. Life. It is full of creatures all of whom are born with everything they need for their lives. Pain is a part of the world, at least in our individual lives, possibly to balance the joy of being. Life is good; it is not comprehensible but it is possible for us to experience it. Life is magical, exhilerating. The purpose of life is to experience happiness, to pass on the light that we received, that we consist of.
4. God is not a person but much more: the consciousness of the whole world. God is Everything, which is by far not purposeless orbits of lifeless molecules but an awareness, a field, a collection of emotions, a divine wonder. It is rationally not conceivable and nearly impossible to put into words. But we can experience its human part which includes everything that we really desire.
5. As a part of the Universe you are already one with everything. When you die you return to this sublime, unified consciousness. You are a child of God, a dream of the Universe, a flower of the World Tree. You are always connected to your God-nature, otherwise you wouldn’t be alive. If you had not paid conscious attention to your God-nature, you may begin to experience it and feel the oneness with God at every moment of your life. Your breathing, the beating of your heart is directly connected to the pulse of the world. By allowing yourself to be conscious of these rythms, you can begin to experience this connection.
6. There are many spiritual traditions, all of which strive to experience our unity with God. There are no special paths, what counts is your experience. Traditions can give you many tools in this quest, and experience shared with others may be stronger. At the same time concentrating too strictly on rules and power structures may diminish the inner essence. Only you really know if your God-self is actualized in a moment of time. Thus it is not imperative to follow a religion, one may choose to follow an individual path.
7. Humans have no special place in the universe. Humans are but one of many millions of species on Earth. God loves all his children in an equal fashion. It is entirely possible that there are completely different kinds of life in other parts of the world. Even seemingly inanimate structures, planets, stars may be some kind of living beings. Every sentient creature has the same value. Being increasingly aware of that will help restoring the balance of our planet.
Now I’m aware that on the most important level you’ve known this all along. I’m just reminding you to remind yourself more often.