Follow Jesus' map
Gordon Robinson, Contributor
All you need is within you. Spiritual neophytes look outward for spiritual solutions. There's always some pastor or guru with exclusive rights to supplying spiritual answers, usually by telling us we're irretrievably 'broken' and attaching various labels of hopelessness (like 'sinner' and 'unworthy') to us. Then, we're set impossible life standards. When we fail, we don't even recognise how masterfully we've been set up for spiritual depression, curable only by repeated, expensive church attendance and counselling.
Desperate statements like "I can't live with myself" or "I can't stand myself" are often consequences of non-achievement of these hypocritically applied standards (not directed to pastor) compounded by misplaced characterisations of our imperfections as evil.
The true cure for this manufactured hopelessness is to surgically separate 'you' from the 'yourself' with whom you say you can't coexist. Instead of trying to live up to a false image of 'self' imported from the Old Testament and imposed as religious dogma, it's best to be Who You Really Are.
SELF is the illusion everybody sees. Self includes your body (whether bleached; creamed or tanned); your fears, especially of failure; your drive for material success; your issues with intellect, size, shape or colour. But self's worst drawback is intellect. In this realm of spiritual exploration, it's better to feel than to think.
YOU are the Being living within the illusion. 'You' can't be intellectualised, categorised, copied or patented. You just ARE.
Christian scholars postulating intellectual acceptance of Christ as Saviour isn't enough. They insist you surrender your life to Christ. They're warm, but not exact. Right principle. Wrong jungle. Inconveniently for this dogma, Christ died 2,000 years ago. Logic dictates you can't surrender to a dead man. It's also masochistic since He didn't ask for anyone's surrender.
Generally, it's a sound principle that knowledge alone isn't enough. To achieve wisdom, 'experience' must be added. So, not even you can discover Who You Really Are using intellect alone. You must 'experience' YOU by surrendering yourself to YOU.
This was substantially the lesson Jesus intended by his spectacular death. The Church has twisted his message to suit its own doctrinal purposes. Far from seeking surrender, Jesus said: "... Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." And, responding to a specific query about what "born again" meant: "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." And: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:3-8).
Instead of acknowledging that Jesus was simply describing the two stages of spiritual advancement (aka 'birth' and 'death'), Christians use these passages to support dangerous, superstitious rituals involving submerging babies in water. There's no 'rebirthing' there. The baby doesn't even know it's alive. It's already born "of water" (amniotic fluid) and "of ... flesh" (Mum and Dad).
John the Baptist's rumoured baptism of Jesus, if true, was probably just Jesus' kind gesture endorsing John's ministry. Why would Jesus, without sin, need baptism? Baptism was a rite of repentance for the forgiveness of sin, similar to ritual purification processes practised by a monastic sect of Jews (the Essenes) over 200 years BC.
There's no scriptural link between Jesus' 'baptism' and His 'born-again' teaching. We came from God through 'birth'. To return to (the Kingdom of) God, our transport ('death') is to be reborn "of the Spirit" and so become "spirit". Everybody wants to go to Heaven. Nobody wants to die. The circus-like baptismal or surrender ceremonies (depending on the Church) evidencing being "born again" would be hilarious if they weren't so psychologically dangerous.
The Church, faced with Jesus' simple message which, if accepted without intellectual distortion, could render the Church redundant, indoctrinates us to translate "born (again) of the Spirit" into surrendering to Jesus. To validate this warped logic, churches invented a daft, complicated duppy story called The Holy Trinity. Unless Jesus and The Spirit are one, how are we misdirected into surrendering to Jesus? Also, Jesus must be God, however hostile to the five senses or Jesus' own words that might be. Jesus repeatedly differentiated between himself and "the Father".
"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (John 14: 7-10)
God's spirit is within us, shaping our thoughts, words and deeds. Jesus never claimed to be God or different from us.
"He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he do also ... ." (John 14:12)
That's too straightforward for churches' mind-control purposes. So, enter Stage Right: The Holy Trinity. Suddenly, Father ('God'), Son and Holy Ghost are like the Three Musketeers - all for one, one for all. That no scriptural confirmation exists hasn't fazed our churches.
Their mind-enslavement strategy begins by mistranslating Jesus' "I Am" to "I always existed" to "I Am God". Here's where Robin exclaims, "Holy non-sequitur, Batman!"
Christian scholars correctly teach Jesus had no beginning. Nor do we. All of us, including Jesus, come from God, who created our transport to mortality, ('reproduction'). We were 'in God' (I Am); God is in us (having sent little pieces of Himself to earth as 'us', we couldn't leave Him behind if we tried); and we'll return. We're here to be (as humans 'being', not human beings). Then we're born again, with 'reality' (experience of a relative world) added to knowledge (God's absolute world); return to God as spirit; and Be (Who We Really Are).
Jesus' 'I Am' (within the Father) is how best mortal language could describe His previous existence. Then, he showed us the entire cycle of existence, with ball-by-ball commentary (God is 'within me'), including the crucial link between 'death' and being 'born again'. We're one with God; God is one with us.
surrender to Jesus
The Church's plot requires belief in a Holy Trinity, belief we must surrender to Jesus, not to the Spirit within. This keeps us in church tithing 10 per cent of earnings. Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) Since He wasn't God, what did He mean? Jesus alone taught these spiritual principles. He WAS the light in a spiritual swamp showing "the way"; he SPOKE the only "truth"; he LIVED the only righteous "life". Anyone wanting to "come to the Father" could learn how only from Jesus ("through me"). He showed us the way as clearly as any cartographer. He proved that, to be born again, we need only shed the physical illusion of self.
"Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ,
who are you; what have you sacrificed?
Jesus Christ, Superstar,
do you think you're what they say you are?"
Who killed Jesus Christ? It's popular anti-Semitic rhetoric to accuse the Jews. But Jews loved Christ. He walked among them; cured the sick; performed miracles. Members of the Jewish religious hierarchy felt threatened and plotted against him. But they had no lawful authority to kill.
It wasn't Pontius Pilate, although he wielded the authority. It was Jesus who killed Jesus. By Machiavellian manipulation of disciples' fears and his right to remain silent, Jesus painted narcissistic political leaders into a corner from whence their only option was crucifixion.
Pilate tried tricking Herod into doing his dirty work:
"Pilate: Who is this broken man cluttering up my hallway?
Who is this unfortunate?
Soldier: Someone Christ; King of the Jews.
Pilate: Oh, so this is Jesus Christ, I'm really quite surprised.
You look so small; not a king at all.
We all know that you are news; but are you King,
King of the Jews?
Jesus: That's what you say.
Pilate: What do you mean by that? That is not an answer.
You're deep in trouble, friend
Someone Christ, King of the Jews.
How can someone in your state be so cool about your fate?
An amazing thing; this silent king
Since you come from Galilee then you need not come to me
You're Herod's race! You're Herod's case!"
Herod was clever:
"Jesus, I am overjoyed to meet you face to face.
You've been getting quite a name all around the place
Healing cripples, raising from the dead,
and now I understand you're God,
at least that's what you've said."
Jesus remained silent. Herod persisted:
"So you are the Christ, you're the great Jesus Christ
Prove to me that you're divine, change my water into wine.
That's all you need do and I'll know it's all true.
C'mon, King of the Jews."
Jesus' discomforting quiet drew further taunts:
"Prove to me that you're no fool;
walk across my swimming pool.
Do that for me, then I'll let you go free.
C'mon, King of the Jews."
Herod couldn't draw Jesus' tongue. Eventually, refusing to be Pilate's scapegoat, Herod, returned the hot potato:
"Hey! Aren't you scared of me, Christ? Mr Wonderful Christ!
You're a joke, you're not the Lord.
You're nothing but a fraud.
Take him away, he's got nothing to say!
Get out, you King of the Jews!"
The coward Pilate promptly passed the buck to the mob and washed his hands of the sordid episode. What was Jesus up to?
"Did you mean to die like that?
Was that a mistake or
did you know your messy death
would be a record breaker?"
Jesus lived without Internet, social networks, mass communication. Yet, the lesson of his death was 'broadcast' worldwide. Jesus executed a perfectly planned strategy to prove his teaching by example. This was no lamb to the slaughter. This was a deliberate sacrifice of self to expose the illusion of self; to separate self and soul; and to prove rebirth (resurrection) in the Spirit. "Whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:26)
Brilliant lyrics quoted are by Tim Rice. With Andrew Lloyd Webber's superb music, they became seminal rock opera, 'Jesus Christ Superstar', and forced former mental slaves to rethink Christian dogma. Naturally, the Church demonised them.
Let not thy heart be troubled, the Universe is unfolding as it should. You're fulfilling its divine purpose by existing. In times of trouble, let it be.
Peace and love.
Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.