After a supernatural experience at the age of eight I have spent most of my leisure time in two parallel pursuits: exhaustively studying the afterlife evidence, and reading the Christian Bible repeatedly. This is such an odd combination of interests that I may be the only person on earth with the knowledge and experience to compare what the dead have to say about God, reality, death, the afterlife, and the meaning and purpose of human life with the actual Gospel words of Jesus.
And the greatest discovery of my life has been the fact that the dead agree with Jesus! In amazing detail. How wonderful is that? We can demonstrate now that Jesus is real, and that He must have come directly from God because He knew things two thousand years ago that He never could have known otherwise. Wow.
Those that we used to think were dead have a lot to say about Christianity too, and here the news is not supportive. These are some of the many things that we learn from people now in a position to know:
- There is no anthropomorphic God. In fact, the only thing that actually exists is what you and I experience as consciousness, which is what Jesus called the Holy Spirit. This genuine God never takes human form, and it has no human failings of the sort that Christians feel the need to ascribe to their God.
- There is no Satan. What we are coming to understand about the physics of consciousness is that the less loving a being is, the weaker it is. So if a deeply evil being existed in opposition to God, it would have no power at all.
- There is no judgment by God. Jesus in the Gospels says this plainly! The only judge that we face after death is ourselves, which is another thing that Jesus tells us.
- The death of Jesus on the cross has never made an afterlife difference for a single human being. It was only when I knew the dead were sure about this that it dawned on me that if God is loving, then of course it cannot be otherwise! What kind of a petty and barbaric God would refuse to forgive our human failings unless he first gets to enjoy the murder of his beloved Son? That many Christians still see this core Christian belief as speaking well of their God now confounds me. The genuine God is perfect love!
So Jesus is real, but Christianity is not. In fact, modern Christianity is nothing more than a first-century Jewish sect, with its fear-based Old Testament teachings hardly tempered at all by the Lord’s Gospel words. I have never known a devout Christian in all my years of Christian worship who sought to follow the teachings of Jesus first of all, above the dictates of religion, but that is precisely what the Lord commands! He says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (JN 8:31-32) And He tells us repeatedly in various ways not to package his teachings in Judaism, but rather to keep them separate (His followers called His teachings “the Way”). He says, “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” (MK 2:22)
The Gospel teachings of Jesus are the surest route to rapid spiritual growth. That certainly has been true for me, and I am convinced now these teachings work for everyone as I hear from more and more delighted people!
But the fact that Christianity as it is practiced has nothing to do with the genuine Jesus presents a problem for those of us who want to teach the Lord’s truths to our children and grandchildren. I have been learning from readers of Liberating Jesus that every children’s book about Jesus they can find is full of fear-based religious teachings. So then we’ll just have to write our own books! The Fun of Meeting Jesus is the first in a series of read-aloud and early-reader picture-books based exclusively in the genuine Gospels. It was published just in time for Christmas, and early reports are that children love it. Parents are enjoying it too! There is a section for parents, so these books can be used to teach children the simple steps toward healthy spiritual growth devoid of fear that are what Jesus came to give us.
He said, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (LK 11: 9-10) The greatest gift we can give to our children is a comfortable relationship with the genuine Jesus. Following those simple Gospel lessons is the key to comfortable spiritual growth that truly can make their whole lives joyous!