Christianity without Jesus?

wil

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a figment of your imagination
Or Judaism without Moses?

I've potentially derailed another great contemplative thread and I want to correct it by starting this one....

What if....??

I'm saying what if it were all made up??

But...it were all true!!

Had to get that one in before I had to duck all the arrows of nonjudgemental unconditionally loving Christians...

Seriously what if it were all made up and all true?

What if there was a truth so powerful that no one would believe it. But the knowledge was out there that stories told around the campfire about heroes and miracles and saviours had a power over thought and people as well.

That we knew that these stories got people fired up to go to war, created racism and could tear nations apart...

But what if someone got an understanding that said...I can use these stories and this power for good... And that understanding had a basis in truth...all one had to do was weave a story and imbed the truth...and the stories would be so powerful they would carry the truth around the globe.

Now would G-d be against utilizing such a method??

Would it explain why there is little or no evidence of Jesus anywhere other than scripture...

But back to the heretical blasephemous 'what if' premise.

One indicates the world would collapse...another that the church and religion couldn't stand it.

I say the truth is in the stories, not the people or events, the power is there whether any or all of it is disproved...

But another question, what if we can't discuss what if...what does that say of us?
 
Kindest Regards, wil!

I appreciate the sensitivity this raises.

Or Judaism without Moses?

I've potentially derailed another great contemplative thread and I want to correct it by starting this one....

What if....??

I'm saying what if it were all made up??

But...it were all true!!

OK, I want to be certain I am following, and what I see described is oxymoronic, combined opposites: made up, yet true. Perhaps I am nitpicking semantics here, but "made up" to me automatically indicates a fabrication, in this context, a falsehood. Falsehood and truth do not equate.

Had to get that one in before I had to duck all the arrows of nonjudgemental unconditionally loving Christians...
:D LOL

Seriously what if it were all made up and all true?

What if there was a truth so powerful that no one would believe it. But the knowledge was out there that stories told around the campfire about heroes and miracles and saviours had a power over thought and people as well.

That we knew that these stories got people fired up to go to war, created racism and could tear nations apart...

But what if someone got an understanding that said...I can use these stories and this power for good... And that understanding had a basis in truth...all one had to do was weave a story and imbed the truth...and the stories would be so powerful they would carry the truth around the globe.

Now would G-d be against utilizing such a method??

Would it explain why there is little or no evidence of Jesus anywhere other than scripture...
Dunno, I'm not G-d. But I'm not sure I see this quite the way you do. At the same time, I'm not certain I can explain.

If the man we know as Jesus happened to be an extraordinary person with a unique tie to the Divine (whether or not as described is still open to debate in my mind), and created with the sole purpose of conducting a covert operation on behalf of G-d as it were, and having succeeded in that mission, could he be on a par with other Biblical patriarchs such as Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses? Maybe better said Enoch, Melchizadek and Elijah. He would still function in the role of "perfect" sacrifice to appease cultural and previously set forth parameters of obedience, or would he?

If not, then of course (in my mind anyway) Christianity would be wasted effort. But it hinges whether Jesus can serve as scapegoat and not be Divine. Certainly no goat or lamb ever offered in the stead of humans was Divine, or course no goat or lamb ever offered was offered for the whole of humanity to come either.

But back to the heretical blasephemous 'what if' premise.

One indicates the world would collapse...another that the church and religion couldn't stand it.

I say the truth is in the stories, not the people or events, the power is there whether any or all of it is disproved...

But another question, what if we can't discuss what if...what does that say of us?
I do think that the insitution of Christianity would be turned upside down...whether or not the sincere individual Christians would recover is another discussion.

I hesitate to believe the power is contained in the words, the stories. I don't know. Perhaps, and this is a huge stretch, the stories point to a reality that is more mundane that we feel we need it to be, yet has an underlying connection with the Divine that surpasses anything any words or institution could provide for. I don't know. I sense something like this, only I can't put a finger on it.
 
OK, I want to be certain I am following, and what I see described is oxymoronic, combined opposites: made up, yet true. Perhaps I am nitpicking semantics here, but "made up" to me automatically indicates a fabrication, in this context, a falsehood. Falsehood and truth do not equate.

If the man we know as Jesus happened to be an extraordinary person with a unique tie to the Divine (whether or not as described is still open to debate in my mind), and created with the sole purpose of conducting a covert operation on behalf of G-d as it were, and having succeeded in that mission, could he be on a par with other Biblical patriarchs such as Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses? Maybe better said Enoch, Melchizadek and Elijah.
Ok now, so I may be clear this is an all pervasive what if....

The 66 books, and the apocrypha...stories...all told with the utmost of good intent. ie the names and places are made up, or historical fiction ie they have some validity enough to quell the questions 'round the fire. And something happenned, but we don't have the internet and it is far away or a long time ago...and these have a ring of mystical truth...they answer a lot of the questions we have around our perverbial philosophy discussions around the fire...and they have legs...they are good enough to be told and travel from city to city...

Don't worry you can't find any of this in the local paper, or in the local logs....cause truth is you can't find half the stuff that goes on around here...and we've heard of plenty of prophets and magic...no news there...just bigger and better....

So all made up yes...but the stories contain the truth. Parables in parables myth imbedded in myth, allegory in analogy.

Truth is we couldn't and wouldn't take the truth if it was laid down in front of us...So G-d had to wrap it in flesh and stories (Adam and Jesus) in order to get us to listen.

Not unlike today, when we won't read the book, but will go to the movie. When we won't study the candidates but will vote based on commercials. What if back then we wouldn't listen to the still small voice....but were sucked into this larger than life phenomenal story round the fire and dinner table?

I'm thinking there exists an underlying truth...and while I am not saying it is all stories...I am asking what if?

And I'm thinking the underlying truth is the foundation, and the stories are the paint...and the foundation is not damaged by the paint...
 
wil:

You have just accurately detailed the powerful dynamics that great mythologies have had, and continue to have, in pushing the realities of human existence into the future. The facts of it all, if knowable, aren't as important as the stories that they are turned into for our education and enjoyment.

Besides, most of the factual material is disjointed and meaningless when it stands by itself. It must be woven into a "big picture",an wholistic matrix of threads of believability for it have significant impact upon cultures over time. That's what all mythologies, including those in the Bible, have in common. Of course at some point belief takes hold, and then the stories may become something else altogether in our lives, repression, war, jealousy, love, bliss, etc. It is stories that bring linear thinking, past happenings, and future possibilities to human cultures. Stories imbed us all in an historical matrix and bring meaning and purpose to our collective existence.

I've mentioned this elsewhere here before but the book of Genesis is believed to have been written by a redactor about 1,000 bce. This "redactor", who is thought by some scholars to have been a female member of King Solomon's court, wove together at least five major threads of creation stories and many folk legends and beliefs of the Hebrews and other near east tribal groups into a coherent book regarding the origins of Judeo-Christian belief and heritage.

Is it true?...yes. Is it a collection of myths?...yes.

flow....:cool:
 
Do you mean 'made up' in the sense of 'not HISTORICALLY true' and 'all true' as in the 'Spiritual truth' (or whatever) behind the story? (No one critisised Jesus for teaching in parables-made up storys to impart a spiritual or possibly political truth). I know you've probably answered this but I need it spelled out in simple terms...
Going on the above as correct for now I'd say;
I think all those who cling religiously (pardon the pun) to the belief that every single thing in the bible is literal and historical truthwill be seriously upset by that being found out and would manicly search around for any thing they could cling to.
I think a lot of people who have rejected Christianity/Judasim/religion in general would suddenly find it quite attractive and maybe any church strong enougth to withstand the original revalation would maybe find itself a lot fuller.
I'm going to keep watching this thread for Thomas's response...
 
I think a lot of people who have rejected Christianity/Judasim/religion in general would suddenly find it quite attractive and maybe any church strong enougth to withstand the original revalation would maybe find itself a lot fuller.
Namaste Flow and pfw...

You are in line with my thoughts on the hypothetical what if...
 
the fact that Abe wasn't so honest doesn't diminish Lincoln.

Or that Washington never chopped the cherry tree down take anything away from the story.

The US flag is not changed because Betsy Ross didn't sew the first one.

Valley Forge is still important despite the fact that nobody died from frostbite, and they weren't naked and starving....

Concepts get embellished to rally the troops.... I just don't see it an issue.

I think my point, my reason for going all the way 100% what if it were all made up...if we can still stand then...then the realization that there are some issues with translation, editing, redacting, don't really mean a thing to our faith...the essence remains, and that is what is important.
 
Christanity without Jesus is religon. It is evil men with pious actions having wrong motives. It is men attempting to please God without having to submit to God. It is vain and utterly useless. It is American as the "star spangled banner" and as human as it is to err. It is the lostness of man exposed for men with eyes to see.
 
Yes ... after your most recent post, wil, I think I begin not only to understand - but also to wholeheartedly agree. I've been a bit inclined, I must admit, to play devil's advocate, or to say, "no, we simply cannot get away from the idea of Christian Salvation in our understanding of Jesus" (!).

And yes, it's really still me! ;) :p

But what I think I finally understand is that - sometimes only by coming to consider the greatest possible opposite extreme, can the doors of exploration, understanding & free inquiry be opened!

What else does Dan Brown's DaVinci Code do, for Christianity, if not invite a 2nd, 3rd, and ever deeper look at some of the most popular, and also most important aspects, of Christian teachings? These, many of them, are so popular, and so "taken-for-granted" by most Christians, that I think the very possibility of approaching them from a different perspective has become lost!

Jesus is certainly central to most people's understanding of Christianity, but because of one, hammered emphasis throughout ~1500 years ... we have arrived at what some people regard as a rigid, stoic, inflexible model, or idea(l).

There are outside authorities (outside of our own hearts, minds and spiritual lives) which would insist on thus & such an approach, yet these authorities typically refuse to ask even the most basic, or fundamental questions!

So wil, and others, if we are bold enough to engage in this Gedankenexperiment (`thought experiment'), then why not temporarily toss Jesus right out the window? I mean, grab him off the dashboard, cross yourself, say a couple of Hail Mary's and then ... out he goes!

Either his life was a complete fabrication, a morality tale given a human face & form, or perhaps the details were inspired by the lives of other prophets/teachers and amalgamated into one, convenient & handy presentation.

There are probably dozens of possibilities, which are just variations on a theme, but the bottom line: Jesus, as an individual man, ne'er existed at all.

I think that there are some folks for whom this would just be so stark, so bold, so sobering (and I dare not suggest that `the Divine Intoxication' is a "bad" thing) ... that they would not be able to see this Gedankenexperiment for what it is.

But personally, imho, it belongs here on this Liberal Christian forum, and perhaps it is even long overdue! I can only say, Thank You, wil, for bringing it to Light!

A few minutes ago, I did not see things this way at all ... and some part of me was still resisting the very notion. I do know why, actually, but that's beside the point. "Mileage may vary," as you tend to say wil, for each of us, along these lines. What's most important is that we go on to ask WHAT NOW?

We can say, How would this change my behavior, my motives, my interactions with other people (friends, family, strangers, even "faith communities" - if we are careful)?

Or we can ask, What would the world look like, at this point, without Christianity as we know it?


As you've said, pfw:
"I think all those who cling religiously (pardon the pun) to the belief that every single thing in the bible is literal and historical truthwill be seriously upset by that being found out and would manicly search around for any thing they could cling to."
To be certain! And with what might they/we replace our Biblical literalism, or our assumed historical understanding & acceptance of "the facts." Debate is one thing, but wil, this thread take hard, honest, genuine WORK! :p ;)

~andrew
 
I believe in a lot of things. But Christianity without Jesus? I can't it even comprehend it.

I'm enjoying your collective thoughts, though, and I'm listening...
 
Wow, there's a lot to think about there Zagreus- I think you're right about this thread tho, it's a brave piece of work that demands you think outside of our comfortable boxes. I know for sure I'll be looking in regularly.
 
Here's what I'd like to think.

In the beginning there was a picture of G-d.

As men all over the world repainted the image, small variations crept in.

Blue became Cyan and Black became Sepia.

Now the only painting available to view is in one's heart.

If I'm looking at the Blue and Black painting in my heart, I have to insist that it's the only true one and it really is because it's a painting of "The Only True One".

But when you tell me of your Cyan and Sepia painting, my initial reaction is to feel that it's a different painting.

And so not wanting to lose the vision of the "True One", I don't want to look at your painting.

Is this what you think or have described?

I confess that I don't want to lose sight of the real thing. I'm conditioned to "cling to the rock". I'll look at your painting and if I can see "the master's touch" behind the colors, I'll know it's the same thing.

Warmest thoughts,
Mark
 
Prober, I find this approach helpful as well. Beautifully stated. Thank you.

InPeace,
InLove
 
My question might be this (relative to what you've just shared, Prober - and I really like your Avatar, btw):

What if I felt, in my heart, that is was right - even "more right" - to call another human being, Master,' in the same way that you say this in reference to Christ Jesus?

This isn't quite the same as "Christianity without Jesus," but it's kind of a, Could Christianity still be so, if Jesus weren't exclusively the `Master?'

To be fair, I would have to say that even a Master I might acknowledge as the Rock ... only signifies to me the outward representation of something which is deeper - and within - which I recognize as the Life, Truth and Way.

If I had to give one word to this, or resolve it back to One Word and concept (and Way of Life) ... it would be LOVE.

Thus - for me, Christianity without Jesus? sure Christianity without LOVE? nope, what's the point ...

Tell me that a Hindu man, understanding Krishna or Vishnu as the root/source of his Love, or a Buddhist, attributing Love to Bodhichitta ... is somehow loving any less, or even any different (at heart) than the person who epitomizes Jesus as the embodiment of Love ... and my whole being would revolt against it.

On another forum, someone who believes largely the way I do, at least regarding Theosophical teachings & principles, has just chided me for failing to express & demonstrate the Ideal of Brotherly Love. He was right to do so; and his reminder is sinking in.

Yet he didn't have to say a word about Jesus, and I understood his point every bit as fully as if he had. :)

(Sometimes it is even what is not said, which matters most.)

Peace,

~andrew
 
This feels like my own kind of personal heresy to say this given the essentially universalist/perennialist orientation I have, but (& I think it was Juan that often made this point), no I don't see where you have a practice of Christ(ianity), without Jesus or Christ. I agree with Juan that without that you're just practicing some sort of other understanding, perhaps equally beneficial. Now "my" Jesus and "my" Christ no doubt look a whole lot different from others' versions.:D In fact as Thich Nat Hahn, the Vietnamese zen monk said by way of his book title, "my" Jesus and "my" Buddha would be brothers. But similarly,if you're not practicing some semblance of Buddhism, you likewise typically would not consider yourself a Buddhist. Of course, I'm such a "spiritual mongrel," perhaps I should call my path "mongrelism.":) earl
 
To remind everyone, I am not indicating this is my belief or anyone else's.

This is conjecture, a question, an inquiry...

What if?

What if it were all made up?

But made up with the best of intentions, all divinely inspired and written. What if the stories are fables with moral and true implications behind them.

Do the characters, places, names matter?
 
What if I felt, in my heart, that is was right - even "more right" - to call another human being, Master,' in the same way that you say this in reference to Christ Jesus?
Peace,

~andrew

I completely understand what you're saying.

If I could see my Master in your Master, how could I disagree with your Master?

And If I couldn't, I would have to examine myself to make sure my mind is open to recognizing Truth and make adjustments if required.
 
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wil said:
To remind everyone, I am not indicating this is my belief or anyone else's.

This is conjecture, a question, an inquiry...

What if?

What if it were all made up?

But made up with the best of intentions, all divinely inspired and written. What if the stories are fables with moral and true implications behind them.

Do the characters, places, names matter?

To some, I'd say the Names matter, for it is hard to talk about God's Love without words. And some Names are just too dear to our hearts to forget. Maybe that's it. Maybe what really matters is what we do in honor of the Names we know and love. I'm just thinking, wil--not preaching. I hope both you and Zagreus know that.:)

InPeace,
InLove
 
I completely understand what you're saying.

If I could see my Master in your Master, how could I disagree with your Master?

And If I couldn't, I would have to examine myself to make sure my mind is open to recognizing Truth and make adjustments if required.
Thank you ... this makes perfect sense!

The day I cease to see my own Master(s) in Jesus of Nazareth (at least in terms of Mythos, and also the Mystic Jesus) ... is the day I cease to see altogether! Historically, ah well, that's just it ...

.. be it a cerulean blue, navy blue, Carolina blue, or what-have-you! ;) :)

~zag
 
Thank you ... this makes perfect sense!

The day I cease to see my own Master(s) in Jesus of Nazareth (at least in terms of Mythos, and also the Mystic Jesus) ... is the day I cease to see altogether! Historically, ah well, that's just it ...

.. be it a cerulean blue, navy blue, Carolina blue, or what-have-you! ;) :)

~zag

Indeed!

Mark
 
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