May 6, 2020

I am not a Christian But ..

I wrote the following as part of a discussion in a FB group.

I’m quoting it here understanding that it may be very ‘triggering’ for some people who do not like their religious certainties questioned and for secularists who think this kind of talk is irrelevant nonsense. So for most this will be irreverent or irrelevant .. If it is either for you .. just let it go. ‘you be you and i’ll be me.’ 😉

Anyway I wrote:

I’m not a Christian because of the doctrinal stuff associated with that identification but I have to say that the core teaching of Jesus has it all. The core of the core as it were was the extraordinary statement that Jesus made when he was asked ‘What is the greatest commandment?’. He replied that the greatest commandment was that you should love God with all your heart and soul and might and then he went on to say that there was a second, very like it, that was that you should love your neighbour as yourself.

I recall Echard Tolle remarking that Jesus did not say ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’, he said ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ because your neighbour is yourself. This is the core recognition of all true religion (the word means ‘reunite’). Jesus continued by saying that ‘on these two commandments hang the whole of the law and the prophets’. You can’t get more hard core than this and this should be recognised as the central message; the key meditation for anyone that claims to be following the teachings of Jesus.

That something as crucial as this is effectively forgotten, essentially relegated to a blind spot of religious consciousness, would probably not surprise a historical Jesus.

Permit me to quote:

Matthew 19:16-24 King James Version (KJV)

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

This is why we slide away from the reality of love and what it demands. Because if we recognise everyone ‘as ourself ‘ then we have to give up the privileges of our particular situation and be with the poor and the oppressed. We can’t accept this; as individuals it is almost impossible to act on this consciousness, but as a conscious community (a Kingdom of God as it were) we might just make it. This is why the narrative, the conversation is so important and also why it is suppressed – consciously and unconsciously.

Passages follow those that I’ve quoted that I don’t consider to be part of that same teaching ‘on which the whole of the law and the prophets hang’. I consider them and some other sayings attributed to Jesus to be part of a Jewish eschatological framework that was tacked on to the teachings of Jesus and that together with Greek mythopoetic interpretations subverted a non-judgemental and humble teaching about the profound Unity of all Being and beings into one, that answering the selfish misunderstandings of Peter (the Church), became both hierarchical and judgemental. And absurd:

25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Obviously mine is a very personal perspective on Christian teaching. Everyone who engages with any teaching takes what is meaningful to them. I’m not claiming to be ‘right’ about this, i’m just saying what it means to me and what I learn from it. The central truth is that we are one and love is the expression of that oneness.