(yet another attempt to delve into certain religious beliefs and terms that are held by so many others, as a possible way to make a “bridge” or to use what is already there. Perhaps the effort is futile, perhaps it is not, but while freedom of speech remains and that lane is still open, I will take the shot from my poor place on the court . . . )
Straight to the point, folks.
Question: why were the words of the newer message from Christ gathered into a book along with the older religion of the Jewish people? The first part of the “official” Holy Bible, the old testament, has a great amount in it about retribution, God’s wrath, and destroying those who did not follow or worship the “correct” God. Why was the new message of Christ and the messages of love, peace, and forgiveness grouped together with the old ones of death and destruction? The apparent contradictions are far too many to ignore— the stories of death taking place in the Old Testament are far too many to list— but it follows that most folks are taught this without question, as if a person isn’t supposed to even notice the conflicting views.
Being taught such a contradictory religion as a child— when young, new into this world, with a mind eager for knowledge and ideas, at a time when the young is susceptible and vulnerable and open to the words from authority (parents, preachers, priests, etc.) and receiving guidance of how to live and behave from the holy book that says one thing, then states its complete opposite— this should be cause for great concern. Does anyone see the problem with that? How can you teach, “Love one another”, “Turn the other cheek”, and “To forgive others”, but at the same time teach “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”, and the idea that murder and killing is condoned by God? Christ didn’t teach that, did He? Is that not Judaism and the religion of the Jewish people, their vengeful God of retribution and such, whereas the new message from the Great One was supposed to be the start of Christianity itself?
Why did the Holy Church put those two together, Judaism and Christianity, and pass it off as the holiest Holy Book of all books? Did this, in a very real way, high-jack the message given by Christ? How many times have you heard sermons and such, preached so eloquently and reasonably, so casually, about God ordaining the killing of people labelled as enemies? Self-honesty is important. Ask the hard questions. Is this what the Christ taught? Or was it the old view?
The Great One said, “But I say, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. Do we pray for the death of our “enemies”? Don’t we pray for our soldiers to return home, hopefully surviving any battle in which they may have been involved, because why? Because they have killed their fellow man or survived battle. Is this correct? Is this “righteous” as the word was so often used? The second commandment that Christ gave, “Love your neighbor as yourself”— is it love, to kill and murder and hate those who are indeed your “neighbor”? No argument can justify death, no matter how many tricks of reasoning all used, no matter what theological reasoning is used to justify murder. Life is sacred. It’s a simple idea. But difficult to accept perhaps?
He said, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them” — do we forgive? Do we release our hold upon our grudges and forgive others? Or do we become angry and resentful? How can we let go? By praying? We are taught that killing is allowed when the other folks have a different religion, or practice a different way of life, and especially because they want to kill us if given the chance. Is that what Christ taught? Again, “Love your enemies”. The Man Himself surrendered, did He not? The story, even if not historically accurate but existing as the main religious idea nonetheless, was that He gave up His very own life. He didn’t fight, didn’t kill, didn’t do anything to resist what happened. The only record of His anger was when the money-lenders were thrown out of the temple. He didn’t kill them. If He could do what it is written that He did, certainly He had the power to kill. And quite easily. But He didn’t. Think about that.
All life is sacred, even the lives of those who are labelled “enemy”. He said that He came not for the righteous, but for the sinners. It was to those who have sin in their hearts that the message was given. What do you hear? What’s in your heart? Anger? Resentment? Jealousy? Spite? Or do you feel unequivocal and compassionate love for all life and for all the children of God, each and all that has been created and that exist, no matter who they are or what they believe? Are you still wanting to force them to your way of thinking, or do you pray for them? Do you want those who have caused harm to others and to the world to suffer and to “burn in hell”, to pay for what they have done? If so, who do you think you are, making that decision of who should suffer and die, and who should instead live?
So— the question remains. Why is all that old testament stuff grouped together with the new message that was given? Because the Church said so? Because the king of the country in power at the time, a man named James, sanctioned as “official” what books and scrolls that the church leaders gave to him? Or did he himself decide to group them together, the old testament and the new testament? The records show that even shortly after the death of Christ, already the two opposing views, the old and the new, were being put together as one. How can this be? God of Vengeance versus God of Love— the color white is not the color black, and black is not white. Day is not night. Right is not wrong, and wrong is not right. More importantly, how much is this stressed or explained, that one part of the sanctioned Bible is old and could be considered “outdated”, in comparison to the new message of love and forgiveness, and that it is no longer the new and better message, and that the new part, the new testament, in Christian terms, was exactly what the world was given from God by His only Son? If the old view is right, why the need for another? I mean, if the body is full, why keep eating? If the body is rested, why keep lying in bed? If the final answer and truth is already known, why keep searching for another? If the true way of God is given, why another? Think about it. Why the new, if the old was correct and right?
Did man’s view change somewhere along the way? Is that it? What was once considered to be fair and just— the violence, the murdering, the vengeance and destruction so common in the old testament— had this idea of “fair and just” somehow changed, as man learned or was told that violence was not the answer? Or was it that God Himself changed? —Once the God of Wrath, then the God of Love. What exactly changed? The idea or the conception of what God was and what God is? Or was it rather a much needed improvement on the way for the human race to live and act with each other? I mean, how can a prophet or group of prophets foresee and tell of the coming of a messiah, and then when that messiah arrives, the message that’s given then becomes mixed in with what was previously believed and held as God’s law? Why have a messiah that teaches love and forgiveness in the first place? Why a messiah to begin with, if what was believed previously is true and accepted as doctrine, and there’s no more need for anything further…? Why something new, when the old is just fine?
Ahh— that the majority of the Jews or the leaders did not believe Christ to be the messiah that was foretold. Is that the answer? Then, why not have a separate book altogether for the Christian religion, that separates the old from the new? Certainly the Torah and the Talmud remain as official and sacred Jewish books, and there are those who follow only those groups of texts. Without getting into any of the Jewish beliefs and ideas, those that are well and good, and those that seem to be limiting and that hamper the human spirit— was the organized Church and its officials trying to capitalize on the growing power of the Christian faith by including it in with the older view of the Jewish people? Why not only Christ’s words and message and story alone? If He was the one messiah, and as it is obvious that His main message is contradictory to that of the Jewish faith, then why not separate the two testaments from one another completely?
Choose a side. You can’t have it both ways, killing others, and loving others. Doesn’t really work. Kill them, love them. Forgive them, destroy them. Eye for an eye, or turn the other cheek. Those are as opposites as night and day. Perhaps the fault lies not with the people who have been misled or misinformed or mis-educated, but rather with the actions of the organized Church at that time. Perhaps the only fault belonging to the people is in not questioning anything, or refusing to acknowledge the all-too-apparent contradictory official stance of the Church, putting the old and new testaments together and passing that off as the entire new religion of Christianity.
It’s never too late, I hope. But as far as organized Christianity is concerned, not too many folks will give up their hold on one half of the “Holy Bible” and study only the words of Christ. Thus, history repeats itself— folks killing folks, folks hating one another, and anger and revenge to satisfy the “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” dictum and to mimic the wrath of the older version of God.
Turn the other cheek, remember? Forgive. And please, forgive me myself in my ignorance and lack of knowledge or compassion. If my words are felt to be disrespectful, that was not my intention here and may you forgive me any slight or insult to your own religious beliefs. There’s been enough of argument and strife already between various people over the world. If we don’t find a common ground upon which to discuss our differences, we may not make it much further. . .
—peace, be well
—-Well now, that’s something indeed. I just Google-searched and found that there was a Greek man named Marcion who lived in 144 A.D. that thought along these very same lines, that the old testament God did not correlate with the God of the new message and messiah. And he was kicked out of the Church because of his beliefs and ideas. Heresy was the reason. Hersey against whom, the Church and its official stance?
Long sigh…. so someone had it right, way back then. No wonder it’s such a mess, Christianity that is. To have a system of thought or religion or whatever, a system which by its very nature establishes limits and guidelines, the boundaries and borders of itself, and then to have specific and highly important contradictions within that one system not recognized or ignored— well, not much insight can be attained from such a system, other than the false insight that occurs when recognizing those conflicting areas and trying to make the opposing views merge. And then, viola! Insights and illuminations arise! Only it’s the cracks in the system that break apart a bit and allow light to shine through.
What a waste of potential. What a waste of time, to have to spend so much energy and effort merely in trying to rectify opposing points of views— just so that the “system” doesn’t fall apart altogether. False illumination indeed! It’s basically working with the same ideas over and over, mixing and matching the pieces together in new ways, and no new insights, no new messages or words from God will come from rehashing the same ground already trod upon. As if everything worthwhile has already been said. How very limiting. And how very sad, that the system itself prevents any further “light” to shine through.
Look through the cracks!. Stare through the holes! Peer through the bars of the cage, and see. Or knock down the walls completely, tear the bars apart, toss them aside, and run as free as the wind! Maybe the human race isn’t ready for that, complete freedom of action. Yeah, probably not. Most likely not. Else we would have it already. . .
I am ashamed though, that the greatest message the human race has ever had, became high-jacked and distorted from nearly the get-go. It hardly had a chance. Buddha did alright I guess. But Christ, that’s some tough luck. Too bad for us all. No wonder my teacher said:
“[Christ] will return not to unite religion organizations, but to undermine them”.
And: “by that time Christianity will be in shambles”. Things do need shaking up indeed. Even with the Buddhists: no need for the monks to practice martial arts anymore. Love, peace, and forgiveness will remove the need. Ah, but that’s eventually, and maybe not ever. I’m such a dreamer I guess . . .
(Odd thought: maybe that’s why the folks that claim to see aliens or spacemen and such, they see them with thin and fragile bodies— because there’s no need to develop the flesh and muscles once we evolve to a point of greater understanding. But then again, maybe not— perhaps the ideal development of the human body has yet to be reached, and the flesh certainly does know a trick or two on its own. I know that I myself don’t direct the small healings that take place in my body: a small cut that stops bleeding automatically, or the digestive system regurgitating bad food I didn’t know about, or for other folks, slipping into a coma so that the body can try to heal itself. Seems like there’s something the body knows, all on its own….)
I know. It’s like Chief Joseph said: “Truth doesn’t require many words”. But as far as my long-windedness goes, I would say that the real education of the human race has been long and greatly neglected . . .