"There are a thousand hacking at the
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man [Jesus] has not been a failure yet; for nobody has ever
Without being defined as a motivation for doing something effective, hope is a dirty, four letter word symbolizing something which Christianity has used as a substitute for doing something that brings the reality of fulfillment. This kind of hope is what people do when they don't know what to believe and don't know what to do. "Hope springs eternal to the human breast." That is too bad because there IS no efficacy to this kind of hoping, there is only choosing to believe and responding in the right way. Jesus didn't teach hope and didn't use the word.
Bible/Word of God
The Bible is not the word of God, never has been, never will or can be. The Old Testament is valuable only in setting the stage for Christ and substantiating him as the Messiah. The New Testament, except for the gospels, is largely worthless except as a record for wrong ideas that do not work, as a track record for failure. Neither Jesus nor the Father ever authorized the writing of the documents or their selection in the New Testament, nor had anything to do with it, nor has time or history validated it's concept of god.
A major part of a valid theology is the proper definition, understanding and usage of the word sin that Jesus gave to us. The concept that sin is a misunderstanding of the character and purpose of God is foundational. Instead of fostering this crucial piece, Christendom has mis-defined sin in terms of legalism, as a transgression of the law, and consequently missed the underlying message that was delivered and demonstrated for us.
Forgiveness of Sins
Christianity generally teaches that we should pray to God for forgiveness of our sins even though Jesus did NOT teach this. He taught that we should ACCEPT the forgiveness of God, not pray or beg for it. Don't disagree on the basis of the Lord's prayer, for this passage is almost never translated properly, because it is an acknowledgement and not a plea. And even in the extant translations of Matthew the word used is debts or obligations. Luke substitutes the word "sins" but gets it right in the second phrase.
In the Old Testament and in the New Testament the Ten Commandment terminology was not used. They were called the ten words or Decalogue, NOT commandments. At best these ten words were meant to be promises, not commandments or demands that were directed toward men by God. The value to us of the Ten Words is that they elucidate some fundamental principles which we can incorporate into our lives to the extent that they do not interfere with the sustenance and/or the enhancement of life.
Jesus never talked directly about morality because it should be self-evident that the sustenance and enhancement of life−within the boundary of humane values−should define and determine morality, not some written code of morality determining life and behavior. In his conversations about morality, Jesus only scorned the current morality of the Jews. This literally means that whatever sustains and/or enhances life is moral, or to put it another way, whatever increases morale−again within the boundary of humane values−is moral. This means that in this world no specific rules can be absolutely valid. The most immoral thing that can be done is to impose rules of morality upon humans that God created to live free and use their own feelings and emotions to live by. Man was made to live by inspiration, not obligation or law.
Marriage is only sanctified or validated by romantic love, not by any formal rite or vows or priestly blessing. Marriage as a legal contract is strictly a human institution and was never ordained, instituted, or authorized by God. The prevailing mentality of marriage as it has evolved in the world is largely one of ownership, obligation, and forced commitment, completely opposite to the ideal way to live.
The only possible efficacy of a legal marriage contract between two people who are romantically involved is strictly the benefit of having ANY written legal contract as a form of an agreement between people in this world when there is a dispute. Since the essence of a good contract is specificity, this means that the legal marriage contract as constituted in the general society of the United States is the worst possible kind of contract in that it is vague, nebulous or silent as to specifics and terms of abrogation, and is subject to a different interpretation in every state, county and federal courtroom in the country.
Christianity has fostered spiritual defeatism by its mysticism and by misappropriating quotes from the Old Testament such as: "Who can know the ways of God?" and "Thy ways are past understanding." Even worse, they have failed to see the humanity of God, have declaimed it as anthropomorphism, and set up a false contrast between humanity and divinity. With their terrible doctrines of Hell and oblivion, and their false and arbitrary conceptions of perfection, who could or would even want to identify with or understand such a person, one capable of "doing his strange act", the literal eternal burning in hell of the lost. We are told that we should try but can never measure up to the standard and that we always have to rely on God's grace in order for him to put up with us. In contrast, Jesus is saying that we now have no excuse for not understanding all the truth about God.
The most virulent form of fundamentalism does not feel good about itself unless it makes itself "peculiar" and is persecuted. By teaching people that they are sons of God when they are not, Christianity fosters the concept of a very capricious father who sometimes can be counted on but most times can not, a father who allows his children to experience devastating trauma, intense suffering, and savage destruction, a father who promises and then does not deliver, a harsh, stern father interested in rigorous discipline, a father who will even literally throw them to the lions or the fire for His own glory.
Christianity has trivialized the Sabbath by insisting on sacralizing a special day of the week instead of understanding this as a symbol of our freedom from burdens, works and legalism. It has trivialized Jesus washing the disciples feet by making it an "ordinance of humility" instead of realizing it to be merely a symbol of service and helping each other to finish cleaning our belief system. It has trivialized the wine and unleavened bread as a sacrament instead of accepting them as symbols of understanding the true meaning of Jesus' words and deeds. It has trivialized the "language with fervor" of Acts 2:3 as literal tongues of fire dancing on the people's heads. It has replaced the reality of understanding the message of Jesus about God with the sacrament of literal baptism of water. It has mysticized understanding all the truth by thinking of being "possessed" by the Holy Spirit and then indulging in "charismatic" nonsense.
Christianity has misapplied so much of what Jesus said, causing us to shift our emphasis away from accepting ourselves as we really are and concentrating on understanding what he said. Instead, it has shifted the emphasis to being concerned with remanufacturing ourselves to fit someone else's arbitrary, artificial standard. Christianity has totally misapplied his words about sin and sinning, the Parousia, marriage, divorce, denying him, loving him, the Holy Spirit, the Kingship of the heavens, righteousness, the scriptures and the law, etc., ad nauseam.
In the allegory of the Garden of Eden the disenchantment of the universe began for humanity when Adam chose to be afraid. Probably, it really began a long time ago when our forefathers failed to choose equality and began to resent their inferiority, and inaugurated the downward spiral for our family of human beings.
A disenchanted universe is, at the same time, a universe or world vulnerable to control and power manipulation. Any theology that conceives of the universe as being governed by a set detailed plan or chronological agenda that reduces its various riches to the drab application of general laws thereby becomes an instrument of domination. And certain men, intended to be enchanted dwellers and adventurers in the world, in the name of Christianity have set themselves up as dominators of it and rulers of other men.
Because they are so powerful, and therefore dangerous in this world when misused, our God-given dimensions of sensuality and eroticism have been frontally attacked by Christianity in the same way it has approached other areas of human life; that is, it applies a set of restrictive rules. Only for these aspects the rules have tended to be more harsh and negative, usually designed to shut down these qualities or deny the legitimacy of experiencing these dimensions. In the realm of sexual behavior and feeling the large part of Christianity has purposed to put part of the range of human experience off limits, to narrow the full spectrum of the piano keyboard, i.e. to play music with the notes only around and above middle C with the lower notes considered to be perversion, base instead of bass.
When they are properly translated the Gospels contain no reference to Jesus even suggesting or implying martyrdom for his true believers. The martyr complex is a serious sickness of the psyche. The truth is that there is no truth that demands the sacrifice of a human life. For us to die for the truth is to make of no effect the death of Jesus and to deny the truth he died to emphasize. All martyrs to this point in time have died in defending error and violating the advice given by Jesus. The belief in a God who will resort to the ultimate violence has caused Christianity to kill more non-Christian martyrs than the ones it has suffered.
The one understanding the truth about the character of God and the nature and imminence of the "Kingship of the heavens", and supporting unity is not called upon by Jesus to be persecuted any more than Jesus was during his public ministry. The one understanding these truths is not trying to solve the world's problems with mundane methods, is not concerned with military, political, social or "moral" issues, and does not need to take a stand that will subject himself to more than the incidental and psychological persecution he is willing to endure. There is persecution enough in being alienated and in the frustration of being out of harmony with others as to purpose and values.
The whole doctrine devised or at least adopted by Paul and given primary emphasis by him, sometimes called Righteousness by Faith, sometimes called Justification, sometimes referred to as Imputed Righteousness, is the idea that the merits and virtues of Jesus are totally given or transferred to us by our acceptance of, or faith or belief in the transaction, and thereby we are sinless in the eyes of God. This conceptual package is a false construction based in an ever false framework of legalism and fiat law given by God. The idea of this Substitution is implied or based in the Old Testament scriptures. Fiat law and the sacrifical system were never valid, never more than cultural mythology. Jesus never put his stamp of approval on this line of thinking.
What IS valid is that true righteousness was ever and always reasonableness within the context of knowing the truth. True Righteousness is not some amorphous or mystical condition which can be imposed upon us but was/is always and ever a synonym for ultimate reasonableness. The "right" thing to do is always the most reason-supported thing to do when the reasons are valid.
Rather than see that Jesus gave us a new paradigm, a fundamentally different picture of God and that understanding this truth and following his instructions would lead us into a true, substantive atonement with God, Christianity treats what LOGOS did as some kind of transaction that helps God change his mind about us.
Perhaps the most profound or fundamental mistake that Christianity fosters is the idea that God is transcendent, greater than human, composed of some mind-bending triune structure−three gods in one or three different faces of God−and cannot be completely understood as a human being. This idea is the Diabolos, the great divider, the original lie.
See The Twin Pillars