191. Jesus Christ in the eyes of a non-Christian. Part Seven
We were discussing that how did Christianity grow from a few demoralized, persecuted, leaderless followers to the largest religion in the world?
The answer is, because Jesus repeatedly appeared to his followers after his death, and even to one of his enemies, like Saul (St. Paul). There is nothing more convincing to any person than a visit, while one is awake and in full senses, than a visit and talk with a dead person whom one knew well when that person was alive. All doubts vanish, never to appear again. Even threat of painful death does not make one renege. It is no wonder that almost all of his 12 disciples (and others like Stephens and St. Paul), except John and perhaps one other (who were not killed), stood steadfast when they were violently executed. Some were beheaded; others were crucified, or stoned to death or pierced by pine needles or arrows.
That is why his death and resurrection were so important to God’s plan
Now, after I have discussed the four aspects of his life: his message, his miracles, his death, and his resurrection, what do I conclude?
Power of God was with him. Nobody before and nobody after him had that much power!
We are forced to arrive at that conclusion by the richness of the above mentioned four aspects and by the fact that the fruit of his labor resulted in the largest single creed which humanity has adopted. A tree is recognized by its fruit.
Nonetheless my rational mind cannot accept certain aspects of the popular and fundamental beliefs of Christianity. These are listed below.
1. Jesus was the Son of god
2. Three gods or one God
3. Man is made in the imitation of God
4. Redemption of sins by Jesus
God is fundamentally different from human beings. Let me repeat what I wrote before ( blog 113):
. God can be conceptualized as energy, or something even more subtle than energy, with a supermind. You can raise an objection that how can energy have a mind. We already know it can happen. Human brain is an example. It is made, mainly, of nerve cells. These cells have the power to think. Thoughts arise from certain nerve cells in the brain. I can communicate with them and they with me. When I address my brain cells and say “how are you doing?” I am certain that some brain cells have received the message, otherwise I would not be conscious of it. The message had to be received and interpreted by brain cells to come to my consciousness. The cells may reply “we are fine”. Again, to come to my consciousness, some brain cells must have formed the thought and sent it to me. Either the same or some other brain cells interpreted the thought. These cells communicate with each other instantaneously, at the speed of light (we know the speed, because all messages are carried by electrons, which travel at the speed of light). If our brain, a collection of billions of cells, made of atoms, and atoms made of subatomic particles, such as electrons and protons and neutrons, can have thoughts of pain, pleasure, compassion, jealousy, and anger, why not God, a collection of pure energy, have a mind?
Such a limitless mass of subtle energy cannot have sons and daughters like humans have. It is like saying that electricity has sons and daughters and husbands and wives. There cannot be three Gods; the Father, the son and the Holy spirit. Holy spirit is the kinetic energy of unchangeable God. The two cannot be separated, like milk and its whiteness, the fire and its ability to burn. Let us see what St. Paul had to say in New Testament:
6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:6).
Man is a creation of the Creator. It is not made in the image of God or in imitation of God. What has limitless mass of energy in common with a biped carbon based animal?
This mote’s concept of Jesus does not include the belief that he came to redeem our sins. He came to show us a path through his message and through the example of his noble death and resurrection.
I did not find any message of Redemption in the gospel of Mark. At any rate, to think that we are exculpated from evil deeds, because Jesus Christ has taken our sins and had to sacrifice his life for our sins, is not rational . This notion is not worth serious consideration.
And anyway what are the sins of human beings for which they are going to be punished in hell, by being burnt alive by fire for centuries if not forever?
All our acts, good or bad, are the result of three factors, or rather two factors; intention, nature and nurture. One is the result of one’s nature, which is produced by one’s genes, which one gets, half from one’s mother and half from one’s father. The other part of a person is constructed by where one is nurtured, or where one grows up. The environments; parents, teachers, peers, culture, etc. Neither in nature nor in nurture one had any control. A just God is not going to punish us for our sins, because our intention was mostly derived from factors which were not in our control (See blog 54).
As far hell is concerned I have discussed it in blog 119 (1). Here are some excerpts:
“Years ago (probably twenty-five), somebody casually remarked, “There is no hell, just heaven. God is kind and merciful; therefore, there cannot be a hell”. That remark gnawed on my ( this mote ) mind for years. The more I thought, the more I was convinced that there cannot be hell”……….
….“Isn’t it true that you have a son who is causing you great suffering because he drinks and………”(Sri Yogananda talking)
The man’s jaw dropped “How did you know? Yes, this has been the greatest sorrow of my life”
“Then may I make a suggestion”
“Yes”. The man was eager for a solution.
“All right take him out for a walk in the hills, and have two trusted friends waiting there for you. They should pounce upon him and bind him. Then let them build a huge roaring fire. Let them throw your son in the fire”
The man was flabbergasted. “Are you mad to make such a suggestion?”
“Exactly so! Yet you ascribe such behavior to God, who created you and instilled in you that love for your child. How dare you attribute to Him feelings so callous and punitive that He will take all of His children that have done wrong and cast them in eternal flames?”
A final remark to this seven blog series : All systems fail at the altar of human self-interest. Whether it is any religion or ideology, such as communism. Only certain individuals surmount this hurdle through selflessness......................................................................................................
(1) ‘Finding the joy within you, by Sri Daya Mata’