Monday, December 8, 2008

A Taoist Jesus

I've reprinted the following article twice before (2005 & 2006), but I find it so exquisite that I'm doing it again in 2008. It is written by a fellow who goes by the moniker Disciple Dan. He used to host a website called The Path of Tao Jia -- the link no longer works. If nothing else, this should provide readers with great fodder for contemplation and discussion. See if you agree or disagree with his premise.
Was Jesus a Taoist?
by Disciple Dan

Before beginning this article, let me say that I have been a follower of Jesus of Nazareth since I was thirteen years old. I was ordained as a minister in the Christian Religion in 1972, and have spent more than thirty years in service as a minister to that religion. I feel, therefore, that I have an established understanding of what Christianity teaches, and am able to speak candidly about that faith. Without the slightest hesitation, I can say that I love Jesus and deeply respect his teachings... but I am no longer a Christian.

The foundation question that must be asked before asking if Jesus was a Taoist, is to ask if Jesus was a "Christian." This question probably evokes laughter from some, and others would exclaim with contempt, "Of course he was! The Christian Religion is founded on Jesus and his teachings!" I beg to adamantly differ with you.

Christianity was not founded on Jesus nor his teachings. Jesus was a Jewish carpenter from Nazareth who never gave the slightest indication that he intended to leave the Jewish faith nor institute a new religion. On the contrary, Jesus followed the Jewish law and encouraged others to do so. He was circumcised on the eighth day and attended the Jewish feasts in Jerusalem. He would, in fact, die while attending a Passover Feast in Jerusalem. When he cleansed the lepers, he told them to go to the Temple and make the proper religious offering according to the Jewish law. Even when he was disgusted with the hypocrisy of the leaders of his religion, he told his followers to obey the Chief Priest because he "...sat in Moses seat."

The single motive of Jesus seems to have been the reform of his own faith. When approached by a non-Jewish woman in search of his favors, he told her that he had been sent to the "...lost sheep of Israel." The scriptures teach that it was his custom to attend the synagogue on the Sabbath day... a habit that he maintained until his death.

Those people who followed him were also Jews. When he died he was removed from the cross early because the Jewish Sabbath was about to begin, a clear indication that his closest followers were still devout Jews. His followers buried him in a Jewish burial place according to Jewish customs. Later on, when the Apostles had a difference with Paul of Tarsus, it was over the matter of circumcision and the keeping of the Jewish law. Again, this is tacit proof that the Apostles were still very much orthodox Jews with no intention of leaving their religion.

If Jesus had intended to start a new religion, he would have certainly committed some of the things he intended to be taught or observed in his religion into written documents. No such documents exist. In fact, there is not the slightest reliable indication that Jesus ever wrote anything, even though we know that he could read and write, and was educated so well in the Jewish law that he was able to impress the scholars at Jerusalem with his brilliant scholarship when he was 12 years old.

There were a number of Jewish sects in the region where Jesus lived. A Jewish sect would be like a Christian denomination. There were the Pharisees, the Saducees, the Essenes, the Herodians, and a number more. It is obvious, I believe, that Jesus did intend to start a new sect, because he clearly appointed leaders in his group, but the thought of beginning a new religion separate from the Jewish faith was unthinkable to Jesus. If so, three questions need to be asked. First, If Jesus did not found Christianity, then who did? Second, Who originated the central beliefs of the Christian Church if Jesus did not? And third, what did Jesus intend to be taught in his new sect?

It is clear to any honest student of the Christian religion that Paul of Tarsus was the founder of Christianity. Therefore, it would behoove us to have a close look at this fellow Paul. He began his life as a rigid, devout Pharisee, probably the most conservative sect (denomination) within the Jewish religion. There is not the slightest indication from New Testament Scripture that Paul ever saw Jesus nor heard a single lesson Jesus ever taught. Paul had a "vision" on the road to Damascus. Even in the vision there is no indication that he actually saw Jesus, but he did see a "light." This vision, much like the vision of Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith, was a major turning point in his life.

Paul did not seek out the Apostles of Jesus after this vision, as one would expect, so that he might be instructed in the fundamentals of this new Jewish sect. Instead he set off for the wilderness where he spent several years developing his very own, unique, never before heard or taught set of doctrines which became the foundation of a new religion which he personally forged from these novel ideas - many of which were 180 degrees out from the teachings of Jesus, whom he had never actually heard. He was never appointed an Apostle by the authorities in Jerusalem, and, in point of fact, boasted about this fact in the first chapter of Galatians. He claimed his appointment to be an Apostle was an act of God.

Based solely upon his personal reason and logic, this prolific writer and charismatic speaker redefined the sect that Jesus had founded. He now preached a radical new idea that righteousness was no longer a requirement for salvation. He said that righteousness was now a matter of correct "thinking" rather than correct "actions." It boiled down to what you "believed" rather than what you "did." This was, of course, the exact opposite message of Jesus who repeatedly admonished people to practical acts of compassion and righteousness, warning them that if their righteousness did not exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, they would not "see" the Kingdom of Heaven.

Most significantly, Paul prescribed a new way to have your sins forgiven. He now preached that you must accept Jesus as being none other than "God" if you wanted your sins forgiven. He of course had not heard Jesus, nor those who had firsthand knowledge of him, when he made this pronouncement. Jesus had said that no one was good except the "Father" in Heaven, hardly something he would have said if he thought of himself as God. He had never claimed the attributes of God. He grew in "wisdom" just as other children did. He learned to walk, talk, run, and play just like all the other children in Nazareth. He had to be "potty trained" just like the other children, and his mother Mary wiped his nose and cleaned his behind. When hungry one day in Jerusalem, he hiked over to a fig tree to see if it had any figs on it. Had he been God, he would have known whether or not it had figs. When it didn't have figs, he lost his temper just like you and me.

Paul's new formula for the forgiveness of sins was totally at odds with Jesus' formula. Jesus had said that if you want your Father in heaven to forgive for you sins, you must simply forgive those who sin against you. When asked by a young lawyer what was necessary to obtain eternal life, Jesus had replied, "Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do this and you will have eternal life." This simple answer from the mouth of Jesus was drastically out of line with early Christianity's highly exclusive formula about accepting Jesus as "God," being baptized, being "confirmed," celebrating the Eucharist, etc. etc. etc. It is clearly obvious to any honest student of the New Testament that Jesus and what he taught do not resemble Christianity and what it teaches. Paul's religion, when devoid of illogical defense, boils down to a primitive religion with a deity demanding a literal "human sacrifice" for his appeasement. Paul would make Jesus be that sacrifice in his theology.

Questions one and two mentioned above can therefore be answered with one word, "Paul." Paul founded the Christian religion. Paul originated its creed. He began to preach that baptism should take the place of circumcision. This concept was foreign to the official group of Apostles in Jerusalem. The very fact that these Apostles were still obedient to the command of circumcision is once again proof that they were Jews with no intention of leaving the Jewish faith. They merely wanted to found a new "movement" or "sect" within the broader Jewish religion. To them, being a follower of their movement did not preclude you from participation in every Jewish rite, ritual, and feast. It would be like a Baptist man today who was also a member of the Lion's Club. One had very little to do with the other in their eyes. To them. Belonging to their sect would only make you a better Jew and member of the Synagogue.

Paul, however, had other ideas. He came to the first Church Council in Jerusalem and argued that Greeks and non-Jews should be included in the new sect. He further argued that these new members should not be circumcised or become Jews. The Apostles had no problem with their becoming members of the new sect as long as the outsiders became Jews. Paul, the eloquent speaker and brilliant debater won the day and a brand new religion, outside the Jewish faith, was born in Jerusalem on that fateful day. Because Paul was by far a more educated man than the fishermen and tradesmen who made up the Apostolic Brotherhood, and because Paul was brilliant in the arena of debate, and chiefly, because Paul was a prolific writer who wrote more books on the new Christian Religion than any other person, Paul's new religion spread like wildfire, while the narrow Jewish sect that had hoped to be a reform movement in Judaism withered down to nothing.

By 312 AD Paul's new religion had adherents throughout the kingdom, chiefly because of Paul and his companions untiring efforts at evangelizing and proselytizing from one end of the empire to the other. When Constantine made Paul's Christianity the State Religion in the Empire, the new faith quickly absorbed many of the pagan customs, rituals, feasts, and holidays of the various religions of the realm and swallowed up massive population groups. Deliverance from hell could now only come by complete obedience to the Bishops and Priests of the new Church, giving Constantine immense power over the populace. Many were forced to accept Paul's religion by threat of physical harm. It is a matter of record that the Christian Church killed more people during the first hundred years after becoming a legal religion of the realm, than had all its persecutors during the one hundred years prior to 312 AD.

The final question previously asked, might be a bit harder to answer. What did Jesus intend to teach in his new sect? Of course, there is the obvious answer: he intended to teach the simple message of the early gospels which taught a path to peace with God that included only two elements; loving God and loving one another. One thing can be determined with certainty: he did not intend to have a set of written beliefs - a creed, if you will. Had he intended this for his sect, it is obvious that he would have written it himself. No other possibility makes any kind of logical sense at all.

He was intelligent, schooled, and able to read and write. He opened the scrolls in the synagogue when it was his turn to teach and he read the Scriptures. He wanted no creed for his new sect because he wrote no creed for his new sect. He wrote nothing because nothing needed to be written. This idea of living by intuition and practical goodness without a set of written commands is Taoist to the core. Ancient Taoism had no creed and does not presume to tell a single individual how he/she must behave.

The rest of what Jesus intended must be inferred by the example of his living. He lived very simply. He told his followers to go about spreading their message taking no provisions for their journey. He said that while foxes had holes, he had no place to call home. He practiced simplicity to the very extreme. When he was hungry, he plucked corn in the fields to eat as he walked along the way, having brought nothing to eat for himself. This life of utter simplicity is a foundation teaching of Taoism. It is repeated over and over in Taoist thought... simplicity... simplicity... simplicity.

Jesus taught humility. He told his disciples that the least among them should be counted the greatest. He told them to lead by serving and not by demanding. It grieved him when they tried to maneuver themselves to positions of higher authority or esteem.

Little could he have possibly imagined that a religion would one day be established in his name whose leader would be called the "Supreme Pontiff" who would dwell in the largest, most posh palace in the entire world where people would vie for the opportunity to have audience with him and kiss his feet. Could he have dreamed of the vast treasures of wealth and art that would one day be hoarded in Vatican vaults under lock and key in his name while thousands of the people he loved so much went without the basic necessities of life? No, Jesus taught humility. Humility is a core foundation of Taoism. One of the three treasures of Taoism mentioned in the Tao Te Ching, is humility.

Jesus taught simple, even illogical, trust in the Father. He told people not to worry about what they would wear or what they would eat. He told them not to practice what they were going to say when questioned about their faith. He told them tomorrow has enough problems of its own, just live in the moment. Trust in the Tao - the loving "Spring" of all existence - is a foundation in Taoism. Living in the moment and flowing like water, allowing the circumstances of the day to dictate the acts of spontaneity that propel us forward, are pure Taoism.

Jesus taught that knowledge cultivated apart from intuitive reflection was of no value. He told his followers to consider the lilies of the field, and the carefree manner in which they addressed each day. Any yet they were arrayed in royal splendor. They didn't struggle to "be", they just were. He told them to consider the birds of the air and how they survived on intuition alone without forced intention. He even sat a small child before them, ignorant and unlearned, and told them that they must be as the child to "see the kingdom of heaven." He placed no value in the wisdom of the learned mind and repeatedly lifted up the ideal of teaching by example and common sense fueled by compassion. This truth that the things worth knowing are known intuitively in the depths of the human heart and cannot be learned nor taught is a foundation of Taoism.

Jesus practiced a "live and let live" kind of life. When those outside his religion approached him, there is not a single instance of his taking the typical Christian position of "You must be "saved" in the manner prescribed by my religion to enter Heaven." There are no instances of him telling anyone outside his own faith that they needed to adopt his faith. When a Pagan Roman Centurion approached him about healing his sick child, Jesus not only granted his request, but as he walked away he exclaimed, "I have not seen faith this great in all of Israel." Never is there the first indication of his proclaiming exclusivity in matters of spirituality to this man at a point in the grateful man's life when he would have definitely been willing to listen. Jesus knew that spiritual peace was not a matter of lining up brain cells to fire in the proper sequence to believe certain dogma, but rather, in a life of humble simplicity and service to others.

For the Taoist, spiritual peace is achieved by living a life of absolute child-like trust in the One beyond our ability to understand and comprehend; in a life of humility where good works are performed without the desire for recognition or ego-bulging praise; in a life of simplicity where "less is better"; in a life lived in spontaneity where we trust the Tao to provide and direct the course of the day's events; and finally in a life of compassion toward others, allowing them to progress spiritually in their own time and way. Does this path sound familiar?

For most of my life I have been a Taoist - but I did not know it. Perhaps that's the way it was for Jesus. I lived as a minister in the Christian Religion, daily forcing my mouth to say things that my heart did not truly believe. This horrible way of living brought me much misery and even a breakdown in my health. Finally, my Teachers from the Other Side brought me to the shores of this ancient Ocean of pristine Wisdom, thousands of years older than Christianity. I stood in humble awe. The crude, leaky vessel of my Christian faith was no longer needed or adequate. The time-worn ship of intuitive experience had brought me to the ever-waiting shores of enlightenment.

Was Jesus a Taoist? He was definitely not a Christian. He lived his life as a Jew but, like me, was in constant conflict with the faith of his youth. He was in so much conflict with his faith that its leaders finally killed him for his demands for reform.

Was Jesus a Taoist? He was more Taoist than he was Christian. He was more Taoist than he was Jewish. His message was clearly more Taoist than either of these religions.

Forty-one years after officially becoming a Christian, I made the conscious decision to make a sincere effort to imitate the life of Jesus of Nazareth. That is precisely why I could no longer be part of the Christian religion. Was Jesus a Taoist? All things considered, if we carefully consider the religion he practiced rather than professed, I believe he was.

26 comments:

  1. First, let me tell you where I am coming from when I read this. I almost never talk about these things and had resolved that I would not do so online, but...perhaps against my better judgment, here goes....

    Very long journey made very short: I was raised a Christian fundamentalist. Over time, my views moderated and eventually I became a Protestant pastor for more than a decade. I hold a masters of theology degree from a somewhat "liberal" Catholic university.

    I am no longer a Christiam either anf for some of the same reasons alluded to in "Disciple Dan's" article.

    I will say of this article that although I have some minor disagreements with it, and though Dan (probably necessarily, given the short length of the srticle) paints with a broad brush, the essential points that he makes are in the main correct, according to my own studies in graduate theology. I don't think what Dan writes would raise an eyebrow in any but the most evengelical of Christian seminaries these days. It is basically the accepted view. And yet somehow the profs (most of them anyway) remain Christians. If you can figure that one out, let me know....

    I don't know about Jesus being a Taoist though, or bothering to try to live by his teachings. The New Testament documents (even the Gospels) are so heavily post-laden with theological constructions written back into the "history" that they are more commentaries by later generations (already fully "Christian") and not truly accurate representations of who Jesus was, and what he said and did. We really don't know what Jesus really said or did. We only have what the Church has told us he said and did.... About the most that a historian could unequivocally say about Jesus (and I have a history degree as well) is that he was an intinerant Jewish rabbi in the first century whose teachings were unorthodox (and perhaps considered politically dangerous) enough to piss off both the Jewish establishment and the Roman authorities resulting in his crucifixion.

    I think if we try--as it appears that Dan is trying to do--to seek through the Gospels to try to find the "real" Jesus, that we will err. Albert Schweitzer once said of the search for the historical Jesus that "we look into the well of history and found our own reflection staring back at us." I take that statement to mean that the Jesus one trys to consgtruct will inevitably look like...us.

    The infamous "Jesus Seminar" listed as their first rule of study and research "Beware of finding a Jesus agreeable to you." And they too, have violated their very own rule....

    To Dan, Jesus may look like a Taoist because Dan wants him to look that way.

    For myself, I'll just leave Jesus, whoever he was, in the mists of history...and the religion that he didn't found along with it.

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    1. I think you're all missing the point. The point is not the man, the point is The Way, The Way is simple, and can be expressed in an infinite number of ways. Just like you said people see what they will see and they all see The Way

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  2. FW: This is one of the things I so love about blogging!! What a marvelous response. You make many excellent points; ones that I will ponder.

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    1. I love this reply. I will do the same!

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  3. "we look into the well of history and found our own reflection staring back at us."

    Sounds somewhat Taoist to me. We must all find our own paths to enlightenment, true? Does it matter what path we take if it leads to the same place?

    I don't know if Jesus was Taoist or Jewish, but his teachings are right either way.

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  4. A part of my point was that to attempt to crystalize some pure essence of "Jesus' teaching" that is divorced from adulteration by religion is a doomed enterprise.

    "What Jesus taught" will inevitably end up looking like what we already want it to look like.

    That's why I stopped bothering with the effort.

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  5. Forest makes a great point. I was a member of the Jesus Seminar for awhile. It's amazing how few of the words attributed to Jesus are now accepted as his authentic words! Many passages simply seem to be made up and others reflect circumstances that took place long after his death.

    It makes it near to impossible to separate the authentic person from the manufactured one.

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  6. Hi, RT. Thanks for reposting this. I'm glad I found it (better late than never, as they say).

    I agree with "forest wisdom" that we can't know who Jesus really was or what he really said. On the other hand, Christianity was my first path into my spiritual life, and as such, it's the one I'm most familiar with.

    What I've found most helpful in my subsequent spiritual journey is to look at the Bible and the supposed teachings of Jesus and to take those insights that still are meaningful to me. "Disciple Dan" pointed to the two main ones: Love God with everything you are, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. "God" in this case is simply a finger pointing toward the Ground out of which we all arise and which sustains and nurtures us through our time on the planet and which takes us back to itself when we pass from this life.

    Compassion. Kindness. Justice. Mindfulness. Gratitude. Joy. Awareness. These are the "lessons" I choose to carry away from my Christian upbringing. Taoism gives me a place to explore them in a new way and from a new perspective.

    Thanks again for the post. Forgive the long comment.

    I hope all is well with you and yours.

    H. K.

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  7. I like the article but its factuality leaves something to be desired. The man was a pastor so it does not surprise me that he bases his ideas on the concept that the gospels are factual Modern scholarship is debunking that every day. The Pharisees were not the most conservative sect, indeed they were the most liberal and from them came rabbinical Judaism. It is debatable whether Paul thought Jesus was God or whether his Jesus even parallels the historical Yeshua. Paul was creating a cosmic religion based on myth and hellenistic views of salvation and gnosticism. The real Jesus was of no interest to him at all in the creation of his religion.There is little reason to believe Jesus wanted to start a new sect or that he was literate. Dan uses the gospels as if they are history when in fact they are mystery. I believe in the existence of a historical Yeshua because passages in the Talmud refer to him, but the Jesus of the gospels is a mythic creation given birth in order to deliver some very deep spiritual truths. I am a Taoist, but the problem I have with some eastern religions such as Taoism and Buddhism(especially Thich Nhat Hahn) is that sometimes their adherents try to make the gospel Jesus, someone who never existed, somehow a part of their beliefs system. All I can say is this: there is no reason to do that, so we should stop. Leave Yeshua where he belongs, in the Talmud.Taoism stands on its own without any help from any other religion. We should resist the temptation to bow down to the majority American religion by including their heroes and messiah's in our religion without factual basis to do so.

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  8. I am a Taoist. Not as a religious follower but as a student of the Tao. let me close my eyes and be still and see what can arise. The universe, whether it sprang from a multiverse or at once from the Big Bang, independently of some previous universe/s--is referred to as the "ten thousand things," in Taoist writing. In such a vast and ancient space of matter and time, great science rose up in the midst of study of those ten thousand things.

    We take the heart of our body to hold special significance over the other organs. The heart is the sun (fire). We may equate a red color to it, a male character, Yang. We look at our kidneys as the wife of the master. Kidneys are female, water, blue, Yin. Three other primary organs are liver, spleen and lungs. We can practice various exercises while contemplating the primary organs and release negative emotions. Fear in the kidneys, anger in the liver, grief in the lungs, worry in the spleen, judgement in the heart.

    These are forms of science related to the mystery of the Tao. As to the philosophy of the Tao, there is also much evolved science from the study of behavior and cause and effect.

    But in none of this would we be instructed to worship a person or thing, other than to be humble and observe the nature of the way. We can learn from the nature of water or from the nature of fire. We could call the sun the ruler of our solar system.

    Jesus sometimes seems to have had some insight into the nature of the universe. Obviously, we all share the same connection to the root of creation and we find the path to that communion the same, by going within

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  9. This is 100% percent true, I haven't seen truth like this in a while , the world needs more of it. Jesus was a Taoist. Think about it if there really is one truth and Jesus's words are true and The Tao is true then shouldn't they be saying the same things, well they, and so is Buddhism. Check out my website I translate really what all three are saying https://www.facebook.com/teotrass

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  10. Jesus wasn't a Taoist, Jesus is the Tao made flesh.

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  11. Love the post and the premise. I agree that Jesus the man can be viewed both as a jewish reformer and a taoist, whose teaching embraced the simple and the profound, and there was very little concept or belief required if any in following the way he taught.

    As a practitioner of Esoteric Christianity, I think that if we can look past the historical man presented within the NT as Jesus, there is a much larger Christ presence or Christ consciousness, that is the guiding and directing force of Christianity, that inspired initially Paul and the Christian church, as well as Gnostic Christianity and all the strands of Christian religious and spiritual thought that has abounded right up till today. The Christ message and consciousness is far too large and profound to simply ignore it as being the work of one man whether this be either the historical Jesus, or Paul or indeed the current rising of divine feminine christ consciousness.

    From a Taoist perspective it seems the Christ consciousness may be interpreted as Spirit or Fire teachings, guiding mental purification and remembrance originating from Spirit/the Christ Mind, reminding us of our origins, essence and possible our destination as Christed beings.

    The cultivation of the subtle body to uncover the immortal energy body within Taoism, in fact parallels ascension practices within Esoteric Christianity, although Taoism provides a much more balanced perspective of embracing matter and the physical and energy bodies as the ground for this work, rather than merely meditating, escaping, purifying or directly working on the light body and higher self.
    As someone very new to the deeper nuances of Taoism, I love the return to natural, simple, intuitive principles, and the methods for deep cultivation and harmonising of life force energy that makes up our inner and outer nature, and can see the two approaches working beautifully together.

    Thank you for the post.

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  12. Agree totally.
    I met Jesus (or Yeshua) in the 1970's in a taoist setting and have kept following him ever since. Best thing to live humbly as Yeshua is that you can walk in and out in catholic, baptist, muslim, buddhist and hindu temples and be like a bengali baul who finds God everywhere and sings endless songs to praise his name -- not missioning or prozelytising, just enjoying the weak and humble and soft, that which every tress and grass enjoys in the beginning.

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  13. I was raised a fundamentalist but resentally I lost my mother to cancer. I know I lost the answers .
    I am now a messianic cabalist which brings Taoist, Jews and Christians into one idea. The Torah is the breath that all blow thew the Aleph and tao are the same.

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  14. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 "Seek to live a quiet life, mind your own affairs and work with your hands"

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  15. As a former minister, trained in the faith with a very liberal point of view, your article is a fraud, filled with lies. But when you pick and choose the scripture you choose to believe, then untruth will only follow.

    Jesus taught about heaven, which was scantly taught in the OT. He said He and the Father were one, and if you'd seen Him, you'd seen God the Father. He claimed to be the Messiah. You quoted him speaking to one woman saying he'd come for the Jews, but

    Jesus did not say that the birds of the air survived on their intuition. He said the Father in Heaven feeds them. You made that up for whatever reason. And he was using a similar metaphor when he talked of the lilies of the field. He was telling His followers that God the Father would provide for their need for clothes, saying the they are beautiful, and the Father considers people more valuable, so He will also take care of them. The reliance is on the Father, not on their own intuition. But since you're buying into some New Age lie, that you can be whatever you want, and what you believe is true for you, objective truth has no meaning for you. But there is still objective truth, even if you choose to ignore it.

    Jesus said that anyone who had in Him, would spend eternity with Him. And whoever did not, would not. You wrote in your article about having faith. But it's not about having faith in anything you choose. It's about having faith in Him and only in Him.

    This silly notion that Jesus was somehow embellished by those who followed Him, and that Paul was the real driver of Christianity if a lie from the pit. And I suspect you know that, and are being intentionally deceiving. You are very close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

    You would have no explanation for the central event of history. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who took our due punishment upon Himself. We sin. He was sinless. But he took our punishment, on one condition. That we have faith IN HIM, that God become man and humbled himself "even to death on a cross."

    It was foretold in the OT, especially Isaiah chapter 53, but elsewhere. He told his opponents, "Before Abraham was, I AM, which is the name for God. He claimed to forgive sins, and when questioned about it, told those opponents, paraphrased, I will heal this paralyzed man, to prove to you that I have the power to forgive sins. And then he did exactly that. And in that, was not only claiming to be God, as His opponents testified to, but proved it.

    He walked on water. He calmed violent storms. He didn't claim that faith saves us. He claimed that faith in Him saves us. And He told His followers to take this message to the world. There were times, when He sent them a specific assignment to go to Jews only. But that changed over time.

    Only non Jews, who came to Judaism needed to be baptized. But Jesus approved baptism for all coming to new faith in Him. He even gave the example of baptism, even though He was sinless. So he was certainly starting a new view of God the creator and Father of all.

    You never really left Christianity, because your view of Christ was incorrect. Being a Christian isn't about being part of a religion. It's about faith in the one true personal, triune God. It's not surprising that you do not have that because your writing indicates that you never did.

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    1. "It's about faith in the one true personal, triune God."

      Where exactly did Christ claim the Triune God?




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  16. For those who say they were once Christian and are NO LONGER, I have some sad news for you no matter how much you learned about Christianity or believed you were a Christian.

    1 John 2:18-19

    18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

    19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. NKJV

    This is speaking RIGHT TO those who at one time were among TRUE BELIEVERS in Christ but they themselves were NOT BELIEVERS AT ALL

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  17. Jesus was a Kabbalist

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  18. I came across this article because the more I studied the teachings of Jesus , which I follow, the more I came to the same conclusion Disciple Dan did. I believe Jesus was looking for something that was missing from his faith. There are by most accounts some 18 unaccounted years of his life. is it possible he traveled east and found Tao masters? What of the Three wise men? Historians have speculated that the chronology of their appearance in Jesus's life has been miscalculated. Perhaps it was Jesus who sought them out. I have studied many religions and philosophies to find the truth and feel that the teachings of Jesus which is simply love God and accept all for who they are is the most spiritually satisfying

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  19. If Jesus wasn't God than why did He allow people to worship Him?

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  20. As if someone worshipping someone else is proof of their being God...as if it's proof of ANYTHING. If Buddha wasn't God why did he allow people to worship him? If the dictators of North Korea (the Kim family) haven't been God, why have they allowed people to worship them...? Worship proves absolutely nothing.

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  21. In time of Christ his followers called their practice "the way." That fact alone sheds some light on the differences between later christianity and apostolic christianity.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_early_Christianity

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