Some of the most important aspects of Jesus teachings were repressed from the beginning. The Hebrews started the repression. The Roman Catholic Church expanded it. And by and large the Protestants followed.
The spiritual truth presented by Jesus was inconvenient to Hebrew authorities, and subsequently to the Romans. Eventually, it was also inconvenient to the majority of Christian bishops in the fourth century CE.
As a result the Church repressed critical teachings of Jesus. Hebrew leaders needed to eliminate Jesus and his message.
Jesus taught a revolutionary message. He was literally shaking the religious foundations of his Hebraic heritage. In response, the Jewish religious leaders had to suppress him and his ‘heretic’ teachings.
Jesus taught with words and actions. We must appreciate his message within the entire context of his life. We must consider his words and his deeds, including his miracles, his resurrection, and his ascension.
The Early Christians.
After the Ascension, Philip, one of the Christian leaders started to evangelize to non-Jewish audiences. His actions were amplified by the apostle Paul.
Christianity started as an offshoot of Judaism. There was no Christian Church during the time of Jesus on Earth. With Paul’s activities, Christianity as a new religion greatly expanded outside of Palestine.
The Greek audience referred to Jesus as Christ—meaning “the anointed one.” As followers of Christ, they called themselves Christians. They were aware that the message of Jesus was not Judaism. They called it Christianity.
The followers of Jesus would eventually be referred to as Early Christians. They gathered together for protection and support as they were persecuted first by the Jewish authorities, then by the Romans.
The early Christian Church.
The Early Christians no longer feared repression from the Hebrews after the Roman sack of Jerusalem in 70 CE. But they were persecuted by the Romans, who had declared that their emperor was a god.
The Romans had many gods but could not accept a religion worshipping the ‘one and only God.’ In effect, it rejected the emperor as a god.
However, when the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 CE, this signaled a major turning point in the history of Christianity.
The Roman need for a unified Christian dogma.
Constantine declared Christianity to be the only official religion of the empire. Therefore, he wanted to unify the various views about the message of Jesus. This proved to be a difficult task.
The political needs of the emperor saved Christianity from remaining a marginalized religion. However, conformity to the message of Jesus was somehow elusive and no longer the most important objective.
Constantine summoned 318 bishops to a council at Nicaea in 323 CE. The bishops were ordered to iron out the many different stories about Jesus and his message that were circulating at the time. And the bishops were not all of a same mind.
Christology and the Trinity.
The council of Nicaea was not a success. The bishops were not able to reach an agreement on important issues. Almost sixty years and three emperors later, a legalistic resolution was passed at the council of Constantinople in 381 CE.
The bishops established the concept of the divine Trinity with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It caused more questions than it resolved.
The bishops declared Jesus to be ‘the one and only son of God.’ In so doing they repressed the message of Jesus who referred to himself as the ‘son of man.’ As a result, suddenly Jesus was no longer the way shower for humans in spite of the fact that Jesus wanted us to follow in his steps. He said so himself in John 14:12. But how could humans follow the path of a god?
Once he was perceived to sit exclusively at the right hand of God, Jesus was out of our reach. Many asked themselves, how relevant is Jesus to my daily life?
The Hebraic law given by Moses.
Some fifteen hundred years before Jesus, Moses had laid out the Hebraic law to be faithfully followed by all Hebrews.
In spite of his affirmation that his message was fully in the spirit of the prophets before him, Jesus clearly differentiated himself from Moses. The difference became clear when he delivered his Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7).
The message of “good news.”
Since the time of Moses, Hebrews were used to a God to fear. Jesus preached a God to love.
Hebrews had considerable tasks to fulfill daily to avoid the wrath of God. In contrast, Jesus was bringing the novel idea that what matters to God is our individual state of consciousness. Not the required Hebraic rites and rituals.
For Jesus, God is directly accessible by each and every one of us. This critical awareness was repressed by the Catholic church and became one of the reasons for the movement of Reformation starting in Europe in the sixteen centuries.
Jesus—the son of man—told his disciples that they also could do what he was doing. Therefore, his message was one of empowerment. And the recognition of our spiritual self is the direct route to our own empowerment. He was showing us the way to spiritual salvation from the human condition.
The nature of God and the nature of men and women.
Having declared his conviction that God is love, Jesus was asking for all human relationships to be based on love, from kindness to compassion and cooperation.
Because God is a God of love, humans receive an aspect issued of God’s spiritual nature. This spiritual aspect is our soul. It is also the conscious “I” of “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). But in Jesus’ mind this relationship is not limited to himself alone. It applies to all of us. That idea was repressed by the bishops as well.
It is clear that when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire, it was no longer possible, for reasons of law and order, for Christianity to encourage the notion of the divine presence within all individual humans. Consequently, the fourth century bishops elected to bend the truth and to cooperate with the emperor.
The nature of ‘error’
The entire creation of God is spiritual, i.e., in God’s image. God and God’s creation are necessarily Godlike—that is, true, real, perfect, and eternal. It is the ultimate Reality. We will use the term ‘error’ to refer to anything and everything that is not Godlike.
What is spiritual is neither physical nor material. Conversely, what is physical and/or material is not spiritual even if it might be perceived as good. If the true, real, and eternal is spiritual, it follows that anything else is neither true, real, nor eternal. That is the reason is it referred to as ‘error’ since it does not conform to divine Reality.
There are no such things as ‘acts of God.’ Tornados and pandemics cannot possibly be of God. Noah’s flood is an allegory, not a reality of God’s creation.
What we experience—whether physically, mentally, and/or psychologically—is not of God is. By default, that is a mental construction of the collective human mind that feeds the collective consciousness of error. We can call these mental constructions appearances.
Appearances, not reality.
Although appearances are not of God, we experience them. We live them. They get from us the power we mentally and emotionally give them. During our early conditioning, we are generally unaware and accept the collective erroneous state of human consciousness.
We do not take at face value the sky seemingly touching the ocean on the horizon. Neither do we panic when the railroad tracks seem to converge in the distance. In both cases we know better. Our mind corrects the information from our senses.
With his miracles, Jesus was telling us that what we see is not God’s perfect Reality. It is precisely what he meant when he declared, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Or when he raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).
In the noncanonical gospel of Thomas, we find confirmation that what we experience is not God’s Reality. Jesus said, “The father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth and people do not, see it” (verse 113).
Conditioned by collective consciousness.
Modern psychology has helped explain how we become conditioned. Babies and young children to the age of six have already received such an amount of information that it will direct their state of consciousness as an adult. They can remain unaware of the conditioning for the rest of their lives. That is why our state of consciousness is mostly constituted of our subconscious.
Babies and young children are like sponges. They absorb a myriad of observations stemming from how they are treated, how others interact, and the effects of their environment. From all of this and more, they form long-lasting beliefs and values.
The collective consciousness is formed by the sum of all these beliefs and values accumulated from the beginning of humanity. The collective consciousness maintains humanity in a state of ignorance perpetuated from generation to generation.
The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Make righteous judgments.
Jesus was prescient and ahead of Carl Jung when he asked us in The Sermon on The Mount (Matt.5-7) to become aware of our intents, thoughts, and beliefs.
Jesus also taught us, “do not judge by appearances but make righteous judgments” (John 7:24). This means to judge according to what is right and true. Let’s remember that he also said, “my kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Jesus put us on notice not to take this world of appearances as God’s Reality. It should also teach us that we must treat our experiences as appearances. That too was muted by the Church.
Adam and Eve and the original sin allegories.
Adam and Eve’s fall from Paradise is an allegory. It exists to make us realize that the world we live in is the result of our collective state of consciousness that is rooted in duality.
Christianity used the Adam and Eve allegory to ‘prove’ that we all are sinners. But Jesus saved us from this false idea. He taught that as children of God, we all are part of the spiritual nature of God in the Reality of God’s perfection. That part of his message is officially muted.
Instead, Christianity portrays Jesus as the savior of humanity because of an alleged ‘original sin’ committed by allegorical Adam and Eve. Christianity erroneously or willfully selected disobedience as the reason of the so-called original sin. But the real reason is hidden.
It was not the biting of an apple that was the problem. It was the desire of Adam and Eve—which reflects our own acceptance—to accept duality such as good and evil. Here they were in Paradise, in a state of oneness, fully provided for by God’s bounty, but they wanted more. They believed the mental suggestion that there is something more than 100% of God’s Reality.
From a state of oneness to a state of duality.
There is no such a thing as more than 100% of anything. Adam and Eve already had the fullness of God’s Reality. But the suggestion to have more caused them to fall into the mental error of duality. As a result, suddenly, they found themselves living in a world of good and evil—the human condition. They were no longer in the world of divine oneness that Jesus referred to as “my kingdom.”
From an eternal life of divine bliss, Adam and Eve found themselves in a world of birth and death, health and disease, lack and abundance—and of every other aspect of the pairs of opposites.
The lies about Jesus and every one of us.
Jesus, the man, was mortal and in the context of his mortality was not part of the divine Trinity. Christ, the spirit of Jesus, is fully spiritual and eternal and fully of God’s essence.
The Christ spirit is not an exclusive aspect of Jesus. It is God’s individual gift of Itself to each and every one of us. This fundamental spiritual truth is not commonly accepted by Christianity at large. It is especially muted by the most fundamental denominations.
In God’s Reality there is no separation between God and Its creation. In truth we are never separated from God. Except that, due to our false beliefs, we live as if we were.
Our spiritual salvation is to recognize that we are the offspring of God. In that recognition we are saved from the lies of this world of appearances. It is also the only way to be saved from the limited vision of certain denominations that insist that humans are first and foremost sinners.
Our life in this world.
Our life in this world is one of transition. More exactly, it is a phase of our return to the “Father’s house.” We must escape the prison of collective consciousness that is incompatible with the nature of a perfect and unconditionally loving God.
To believe in the God of Jesus is to accept that this world cannot be a creation of God. Therefore, by default it is a creation of collective human mental activity. This has been denied by Christianity since the time of the Council of Nicaea. Instead, Christianity has clung to the idea that the allegorical Satan is both real and in opposition to God.
The appearances of this world are challenges that feed on false beliefs—both our personal and collective beliefs. Overcoming the challenges requires knowing the truth about God, about ourselves, and about appearances.
Appearances are not a product of God and can only have the power that humans attribute to them.
Do not give your God-given power to appearances. Redirect that power toward the knowing of spiritual truth. That becomes the basis for a level of faith and conviction capable of transcending appearances.
An extract from the essay of the same name from the recently published book, Religion, Politics, and Reclaiming the Soul of Christianity: A Spiritual Imperative for Our Time and Our Nation, by Jon Canas. Available at: http://Reclaimingthesoul.info
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