In recent years, I’ve explored many of the major (and some of the minor) religions. By ‘explore’, I mean I’ve read the wikis that describe their basic beliefs & tenets, read some of their sacred scriptures, visited their temples and looked at the wisdom writings of a few of their most fervent followers. Granted, it’s not an exhaustive study, but it’s given me a taste of the culture, the people, and the god(s) or goddess(es) of these paths. I’ve looked at Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Baha’i, Paganism and others. My spiritual understanding is enlarged by this exploration. Yet each time, my inquiry serves to reaffirm my commitment to the path of the dusty-footed, bloodied Semite we call Jesus.
My understanding of his mystical path does differs from that of many who also call themselves Christian. For example, I don’t believe Jesus ever claimed to have an exclusive relationship with the Divine. I don’t believe he was the *only* child of God, and I don’t believe he saw himself as such. I think he is a Boddhisattva (to borrow from another religious tradition) who illumines a path we ALL can walk. But Jesus goes beyond, because unlike other Boddhisattva’s, he does cross over – and then returns.
I believe that we (and the entire universe) come into existence beautiful, perfect, good. We are not born sinful or ‘fallen’, predestined for punishment because of primogenitorial peccancy.
There is no hell. Early church shepherds fabricated a tale of eternal damnation to frighten a theologically diverse flock into a single pen. It was a construct of political power, not theology.
I don’t believe God created us, found our performance lacking, and imposed upon himself draconian rules that required him to sentence everything he created to ever-lasting torment – and then ordained the murder of his child as a work-around to the rules.
I do believe Jesus died and rose again, and in so doing showed us that we are both spirit and matter, both human and divine, and our destiny is to achieve perfect balance in this life. I believe that he stands before me, laughing, arms outstretched, inviting me to joy, to a life of deep fulfillment and yes, to divinity.
Am I a heretic? In the eyes of some, probably yes. In the eyes of the Galilean whose Spirit fills me, I don’t think so. And his is the opinion that matters.