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Mysticisms of Christendom
"All religions are founded on the fear of the many
The Christian paradigm generally posits:
A mysterious creator-deity of awesome power and ability−sometimes thought to be infinite−who is the originator of all conceivable things. This creator-deity is considered to be the author of natural law and a lawgiver of moral law by fiat. This deity exceeds or transcends being human; indeed who is so superior to us mere mortals that we can only get glimpses of his purpose and ways, so "transcendent"−hear alien−that we cannot understand any aspect of him except that part of his will that he reveals. This deity is considered to be an infallible holder of all knowledge−past, present and future−entirely incapable of learning or not knowing anything. Of course he has enough human dimension to value his creation including his creatures so long as they ultimately conform to his will.
In its development over the course of 2000 years, Christendom has generated, borrowed, and incorporated many mysticisms that not only defy the spirit of Logos, that which is apprehended by logic or reason, that which can be understood, but also are incompatible with John 1:18, "No one has ever understood God, but Jesus his only begotten son has made him plain." Some of these are:
Divine versus human.
Some of these have even risen to the level of dogma in the overwhelming majority of Christian sects and denominations. Let's endeavor to de-mystify each of these in the light of using Jesus as the paradigm.
Divine versus human
The word divine is an adjective and comes from roots meaning healing, and was never meant to denote or connote something alien to being human. The contrast is a somewhat modern and fallacious development. Jesus says nothing to affirm this contrast. Enough said!
The trinity as 3 gods in one
This doctrine has its foundation in ancient planet worship of the Trimurti, a unity of three of the major planet gods in perfect alignment, and Christendom feels its "affirmation" is in the words of Jesus, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. However, in the paradigm of Jesus as the creator or the originator, the "Father"−the literal father of Jesus as a child of the virgin Mary−would be all of the unfallen human being citizens in the universe, and the "Holy Spirit" would be their spirit or mentality, their attitude of perfect unity in the truth. No trinity of 3 different person-gods-in-one, and no mystery!
God the Father as a person
Jesus called the unified unfallen citizens of the universe "the Father" because they inititated the conception that resulted in his birth. There is now no single being in the universe that wasn't created or in the case of Jesus, recreated. Nowhere in the book of John does he refer to God as our father until after the resurrection, when the believers could claim the Father to be their spiritual father.
The Holy Spirit as a person
Jesus in his everyday communication with his disciples used the sayings, figures of speech and cultural language mechanisms of the time. In that culture it was popular to personify certain important aspects. For instance, wisdom was personified as a woman called Sophia. So also did he personify the corporate unfallen as the father. He personified the original lie, the origin of evil, as the divider, as one going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Finally, he personified the great spirit of unity of purpose, principles and plan as the Holy Spirit. Again, no mystery. The Holy Spirit can best be understood as the god attitude, the indomitable, triumphant, inferior to no one, never-give-up, adequate attitude, the human spirit to the max.
The dual nature of Jesus
The psyche−which is what defines a person as human−of Jesus is, was, and always will be totally and only human. No where does he imply that he is anything other than human, and his favorite term for himself was "son of man", which means human. This term was alternated with "son of god". The term divine simply means healing, and does not imply being other than human.
Angels as belonging to a higher-than-human race of beings.
In the Old Testament, two terms have been confused with referring to living beings, or types of living angels. The term cherub means monster or non-human entity, and the term seraph means fiery entity, such as a comet or meteorite. These terms were not originally used to apply to what we would call human or higher-than-human life forms. The issue gets confused, though, because the ancient people anthropomorphized the planets and other aspects of heavenly phenomena into gods and their agencies.
The other terms that are translated as angel, both in the Old and New Testaments, simply mean message and/or messenger. In the Old testament, we have the account of the man-angel-lord visiting Abraham. See Genesis 18:2 & 10. Previous to this in the story of Abraham, the terms Lord and the Angel of the Lord have been used interchangeably. In the NT the term angel is used in the gospels interchangeably with human or some variation of human such as man or youth. See Matthew 28:2 where the term angel of the Lord is used in the visit to the tomb; where Mark 16:5 has it being a youth; where Luke 24:4 has two men, and where John 20:12 has two angels. Jesus says nothing to indicate that angels belong to a higher race, and he even has it that we will be judging them some day. Remember, he referred to us as sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. It doesn't go any higher than that!
The devil and demons as fallen angels
At times in the gospels Jesus speaks of the devil as a person, but we must remember that it was a common practice of the time−maybe even dictated by their paradigm of personifying into demons that which makes men act−to personify in your speech significant aspects of the human experience. As delineated above, he personified Wisdom, the Holy Spirit, and the Father. He personified the original lie as the evil one or the devil. However, these "literary" personifications should not give us liberty to take these agencies as living persons. No literal personification means no mystery to our way of thinking today.
Heaven as a literal place in the sky
Dealing with this one takes some rather extensive groundwork. First of all, modern Christendom tends to be materialistic in its thinking and translation of ancient words. The phrase translated "kingdom of heaven" should better be translated as "kingship of the heavens". The first is materialistic and directs our thinking to a literal region in the material universe where there are buildings, streets, etc. The latter directs our attention to the empowerment of a king that is promised to us. I remember being quite dismayed when I first heard the suggestion that heaven was not literally material, but I came to realize that we can have both; the fulfillment and empowerment being by far the most important facets. You want bejeweled buildings and streets of gold? Then have them, but the spiritual or non-material aspects of IFISEEKUS make these material things fade into insignificance.
The ancient word Cosmos literally means "the designed, organized system" and does not specifically refer to the material universe. The word "heavens" came from old English and meant "the heavings", such as what one would take out away from the home and heave like potato peelings! The stars and planets were considered to have been heaved by the creator into the material universe. All so confusing? Welcome to the world of semantic problems, which no doubt contributes to the confusion in our thinking.
Another aspect of the valid understanding of the term "kingship of the heavens", usually stated in the plural, is that at that time the general thinking apparently was oriented to 3 "heavens". The first heaven was the sky of atmosphere, clouds, and the domain of birds. The second heaven was the realm of outer space, the domain of the planets and stars. The third heaven was considered to be the actual physical dwelling place of the godhead, whatever and wherever that might be. The point is that the phrase "kingship of the heavens" as used by Jesus covered or included all of those. In modern street language it meant empowerment in all the realms.
The soul as something that leaves the body at death and returns to heaven
When a person dies, the soul, the pattern of the body, mind, character and personality is not lost, but is perfectly kept just as it was. This does not imply that it is a living thing in and of itself or that it goes anywhere different.
The soul as something that God injects into a human upon birth.
God doesn't inject anything into a new human, upon conception or birth. The human father and mother create a new person, and the soul or psyche is the product of both nature and nurture. It is to a various degree nurtured and developed by the interacting humans that influence the values and attitudes of the individual.
The logic of God that defies the logic of man.
The logic, reason and wisdom of God are not alien, just not atrophied and diminished like our own.
Transubstantiation of unleavened bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Jesus.
The bread and wine are just symbols, and the idea of anything that goes beyond this is unmitigated superstition. Jesus had no intention of starting any kind of rite or ceremony at the last supper. He just was asking the disciples to be and stay mindful of him and his message, what he stood for, until his death and resurrection.
Sprinkling a person with water, or dunking, thereby infusing them with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus never baptized anyone or put his stamp of approval upon this ritual activity. The claim was that he came to baptize with fervor and spirit.
The mysterious judgment of God, where we cannot understand the criteria used.
We can understand the judgment of God, because the citizens of the universe just want us to come into meaningful unity with them and with each other. Traditionally at the time of Christ, the word judgment of God was tantamount to "judgment for."
Hell as a literal place with literal burning of the human flesh of the living.
This is the most atrocious, bizarre, macabre, evil doctrine that has ever come from the mind of man, and has no valid foundation in the words of Jesus or even in the New Testament. This concept cannot be found in the gospels, and is a monstrous construction from misunderstanding what the term "Hades" meant in that culture, and from a misunderstanding of what Jesus prophesied as to where the Romans would later cast the dead bodies to be burned from the sacking of Jerusalem. The valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, was the town refuse dump where the fires never went out.
The substitution of Christ's merits for our own.
Every human being has merit and unlimited potential merit. Merit is not the issue. It is our sin, our wrong concept of the nature and character of God and our perverse clinging to it, that must be eliminated, and no sham symbolic transfer or bookkeeping entry of righteousness or pretension of justification will do.
Our bodies belong to God as his temples.
First of all, we are HUMAN BEINGS not temples, and our bodies belong to US! Even as a metaphor this is distasteful, but to push it beyond this becomes irrational. Rather than focus on enlightened self interest, there is pressure put upon many Christians to be concerned about how God feels if we don't follow the very best health practices in order to not defile God's "temple". It is absurd to not realize that if God is so concerned about his "temples" he could stop the decay and aging process, protect us from being victims of accident, disease, environmental, hereditary and systemic problems.
The Bottom Line:
Christianity has degenerated into JUST another major, mystical and false religion. Christians should be alarmed enough to be asking why?, when?, where?, and how?!