Blog

Faithless

Posted by Roberta Grimes • January 26, 2019 • 18 Comments
Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus, Understanding Reality

No sooner had I shared with you my insight that the Gospel words suggest the Lord meant to abolish the notion of sin than I realized there was another thing He seems to have meant to consign to history. This one is a harder call, so I wondered if I should mention it now; but I have come to see as I have written this for you that perhaps this further stumbling-block is even worse than fear-based sin as a barrier to our spiritual growth!

Jesus meant to raise in us a dissatisfaction with religious faith, and to teach us instead to seek and find a more solid spiritual certainty. What else can He have meant when He said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (MT 7:7-8)?

My difficulty in trusting the evidence that Jesus spoke against religious faith seems mostly to have stemmed from the fact that He used the word “faith” or “faithful” so often, and in three different ways:

  • He used the term as a synonym for loyal and steadfast service. For example, He quoted a master as saying, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master” (MT 25:21). And He said, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (LK 16:10).
  • He used the same term to praise a belief in Him that allowed Him to draw additional power from the minds of the sick as He was healing them. For example, “Seeing their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you’” (LK 5:20). Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith” (MT 9:29). “And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace” (LK 8:48).
  • He used the word to rebuke His disciples whenever they doubted Him. For example, when a storm threatened to capsize their boat and alarmed His disciples, He said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” We are told that the wind died down and He then said to His disciples, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Then they said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (MK 4:39-41)

In none of these cases does the word “faith” refer to believing in any religion. Arguably, in the second and third instances He is talking about belief in the powers of our minds being essential to our being able to use those powers, which was a concept His listeners could not have understood, but it does make sense to us today. Realizing the yawning gap in understanding that existed between Jesus as an ascended being and the primitives He was teaching gives you a lot of sympathy for Him! It makes you all the more admire His determination to overcome their ignorance and educate them to the point where they might bring the kingdom of God on earth even in that ancient, more primitive day.

Only once in all four Gospels is Jesus quoted as saying, “Have faith in God,” and even that sole example is another reference to our need to believe in the powers of our own minds. “Peter said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.’ And Jesus answered saying to them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be taken up and cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him’” (MK 11:21-23). Surely Jesus is not saying that if we have sufficient religious faith then God will at our command perform the parlor trick of moving a mountain? Of course not! We know now that He is talking instead about the vast creative powers of our minds, those same powers that He often says He is using to assist Him in healing those who approach him, hoping to be healed.

Nowhere in the Gospels do we see Jesus using the word “faith” in a religious sense! On the contrary, Jesus sees religions beliefs as stumblingblocks between us and God, and He rails against them as obstacles to our obeying God’s command that we learn to love perfectly. He says, “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men… You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition” (MK 7:8-9). And “Why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?… You hypocrites! Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men’” (MT 15:3-9). The fact that practicing any religion so often produces people that you would rather not be around was something He saw as a tremendous strike against religions as a whole. He said, Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  So then, you will know them by their fruits” (MT 7:15-20).

That was the Lord’s opinion of religious faith, as painful as it might be to read! Jesus told us two thousand years ago that it was time for us to move past mere belief in man-made religious dogmas, and to put into practice His own teachings so we could begin to live God’s perfect truth. He said, “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).

So it does seem likely that yet another thing that Jesus came to do was to eliminate religious faith. The question then becomes, why did He think giving up our faith would be a necessary prelude to the dawning of the kingdom of God on earth? Here are some thoughts:

  • Beliefs that are not based in facts are superstitions. We hear the word “superstition” negatively, but its dictionary definition boils down to “an irrational belief.” And we hear the word “faith” positively, but it means “a belief in something for which there is no proof.” The words are synonyms! And no matter how Christians might celebrate their faith, the plain fact is that every Christian belief is based in teachings many hundreds of years old that come from the non-Gospel parts of the Bible and the fear-based notions of ancient primitives. From now on you might want to replace the word “faith” whenever you see, hear, or even think it with its synonym, the word “superstition.” Jesus wants you to know the truth! He has given you the right to demand God’s truth, and He urges you to settle for nothing less.
  • All beliefs not supported by facts are of equal value. If all we need is religious faith, then how can we find and know the genuine God? What about Moloch, the Canaanite god that demanded infant sacrifice? If unsupported faith is a good thing, then how is having faith in Moloch any less worthy than is having faith in an invisible god that demands the sacrifice of its own son before it can forgive us for Adam’s sin?
  • Having faith makes it much harder for us to come to know the true God. Since having faith assumes that no evidence is needed, we can – and we do – imagine many of the characteristics of our personal deity. Having faith alone means that we have created an idol in our minds, rather than following the Lord’s direction that we seek the perfect truth.
  • Having faith cannot banish our fears. I was there once, so I know that faith is thin gruel in the middle of the night. You think there is a God. You want to believe! But how can you really know? And worse, without any certain characteristics of the genuine God to guide your thoughts, you cannot help worrying that your imaginary God might be angry and judgmental and might condemn you to hell forever after all. If you don’t come to know the genuine God, it is easy for you to fear the worst!

So to summarize our discussions of the past few weeks, Jesus tells us in the Gospels that He came to abolish religions, teach us to relate to God on our own, teach us to be seekers and teach us how to grow spiritually, and also teach us to abolish fear-based notions including sin and even religious faith, all so we will be able soon to bring the kingdom of God on earth. It feels astonishing to read this list! Yet the evidence of what Jesus came to do is stated in the Gospels in plain words that make sense and come together well even after two translations over two thousand years. The fact that Christianity has largely ignored those Gospel words has only delayed the moment when we can at last empower the Lord to speak to a people who love Him enough to hear and respect what He is saying! Without religious dogmas in the way, we can come to know the true Jesus. And through Him we can come to know at last the genuine, eternal God.

Knowing what we have been learning from the Lord, you and I can much better see that the forty-thousand-odd versions of modern Christianity must be anathema to the Jesus of the Gospels! Knowing that the death of Jesus on the cross has never made an afterlife difference for a single human being, and knowing how important our following His Gospel teachings is to the genuine Lord, we can see that every living Christian faces what might be for some a hard choice. We can cling to a set of fear-based dogmas that have nothing to do with the risen Lord, or we can instead become among the first true followers of Jesus and His Way. And in truly following Him at last, we can help Him save the world!  Or to put it even more plainly:

Jesus came to abolish religions, teach us to relate directly to God, and give us the tools to raise our personal consciousness vibrations sufficiently to bring the kingdom of God on earth.

Jesus was determined to remove from our lives every source of spiritual fear so our personal vibrations could naturally rise to the point where the love-based perfection of the highest afterlife levels could overspread the earth. And as I write, I realize there is one more thing that Jesus came to do….

 

Adam & Eve photo credit: www.ilkkajukarainen.fi <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/130333033@N08/41963999232″>6Q3A8287</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Isaiah photo credit: Andrew-M-Whitman <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23967095@N00/28816066756″>Victoria & Albert Museum, London</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Roberta Grimes

Roberta Grimes is an internationally recognized expert on death and the afterlife. Learn More

Latest posts by Roberta Grimes (see all)

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

18 thoughts on “Faithless

  1. I totally agree! I appreciate your plain English, digging out of ancient, entrenched superstition. I love Jesus and I have a hard time finding others with similar beliefs combined with a deep love for Jesus. Religious Science/Ernest Holmes and Emma Curtis Hopkins are the closest I can get and even though Religious Science (Science of Mind) teach these principles, I miss the love for Jesus.

    And I can’t wait to hear what that “one more thing Jesus came to do” would be!

    1. Heh – I’m sorry to be mysterious, but we’ve got to give people a reason to tune in each week ;-).

      Actually – seriously – I was surprised when I did some research and saw that I hadn’t fully addressed something that really is at the center of everything. I’ll do that next week. What I haven’t felt ready to say plainly before, I believe I am being prompted to say now.

      And one surprising and delightful thing about your saying that you love Jesus is that so many people also believe that Jesus is real! Recent surveys suggest that only 37% of Americans go to church each week, but 92% of Americans overall think Jesus is a real person. I find that wonderful and astounding!

      I think there is going to be a secular movement begun, led by Jesus – the movement that He came to earth to begin. Stay tuned….

  2. I’m a new subscriber and student of A Course in Miracles for decades. I absolutely agree with this. Love how you used specific examples and clarified. I grew up attending church and always questioned what I heard, even when very young. What they were preaching didn’t match my personal experience of God in my heart. ACIM has been life changing for me. It truly has helped me to know Jesus

    1. Dear Nancy, you are far ahead of me! I was as devout a Christian as you can imagine until into my thirties. And reasonably devout even into my fifties! But I also had majored in Christianity in college and read the Bible repeatedly. When some things came together and I realized that Jesus is entirely right but Christianity had been lying to me all along, I fell out with the religion as with a lover to whom I had given my heart, and who had been lying and never loved me at all. Seriously. And I get emails from people for whom the break felt similar. We have all been lied to! But we have the Lord’s love, and His eagerness to lead us in finding God’s eternal truth, and I have come to see over the last couple of decades that Jesus is more than perfectly enough!

      I do agree that A Course in Miracles is a wonderful way to much better experience the teachings of Jesus. I found it especially important for smacking down my ego, which – amazingly! – you can “extinguish” (their term; it’s really just a hard smack) and it will be subservient forevermore. What a wonderful difference that makes!

  3. A breath of life, this post. I have always felt Jesus’ presence and guidance in my life. But I have struggled with the church dogma and fear based belief system. As I have been on my spiritual journey to establish my own relationship with God, I must say this uplifting article feels like it was written for me. Thank you, Roberta!

    1. Dear Seda, indeed it was written for you! And I am so very glad that it found you at the perfect time.

      I have to admit that I am a junkie of sorts. I spend a good part of every day corresponding with such wonderful people that I likely never will meet in person, and over and over every day of my life I find myself thinking, “Now, THAT’s why I was born!” I cannot tell you what a high it gives me that you have let me know this article has helped you!

  4. I have loved Jesus from the first time I learned about him, as a child in Sunday school. I have never been able to reconcile his teachings to any of the church/religious dogmas and traditions. This post validates and inspires me to continue in my personal spiritual journey, seeking “God’s truth.” So, a big thank you Roberta Grimes.

    1. Dear Kathye, I am so glad we have become friends here! You will love to know that there are many people now who feel as you do – hundreds of millions! – people who love Jesus but cannot find Him in the Christian religion. Which is not surprising, when He is pretty much nowhere to be found in any Christian denomination! Apparently it is going to be up to us to give Jesus the secular spiritual movement that He came to earth to begin. What a thrilling thought!

  5. Thank you Roberta. I to agree that the real Jesus has been distorted by organized religion. I think A Course in Miracles was transformative in revealing the true Jesus.
    What about the Bible as we know it from organizations zed religion? Can we trust the New King James Bible or New Living Translations- bibles Christian Churches use? Can we trust the translations since it was originally not in English? Didn’t a council of Nicea decide which books would be included as Church Canon? Are there other books of the Bible or teachings of Jesus that were left out by the Council? What about the Epistles (Paul’s writings)? Thanks.

    1. Wow, Steve, you have lots of questions! Let’s see what I can do in the way of quick answers:

      1) You cannot trust any old translation to tell you what Jesus actually said, and frankly some of those old Bibles are barbaric in spots. Recently I had a strong exchange with an otherwise very nice airport driver about how awful he thought Jesus was, but it turned out he had been faithfully reading the King James Version. Good grief, throw every old Bible away! The New International Version is what I use personally, and I quote from the New American Standard Bible when I write because it has more liberal permissions.

      2) The Council of Nicaea in 325 chose the books that made it into the Bible from a very large selection, including more than a dozen accounts of the life and work of Jesus (now called Gospels). They chose only four closely related Gospels to include in the Bible, and they both removed things from those four Gospels and added things (church-building and Apocalyptic nonsense mostly) – it’s not difficult to pull the later stuff.

      3) Jesus spoke Aramaic. His words were passed down orally for a couple of generations before they were written down in Greek, then much later they were translated from Greek into English. The wonder is that the words in a modern English translation are much closer to what is true than are those words if you translate directly from Aramaic to English. We know that because the dead tell us what is true, and they are very frank about it! The Lord used a modern English translation to write Liberating Jesus, and I am told that He is pleased with the result. So we are witnessing a genuine miracle in the fact that the modern translations are even closer to what He actually said than were the Aramaic or Greek versions. And I have no way to explain it except to say that upper-level beings not in bodies must have supervised these modern English translations!

      4) I haven’t concentrated on Paul’s letters. Paul never knew Jesus, and it was Paul who built the Christianity that we now know is wrong. Thomas Jefferson called Paul “The first great corruptor of the words of Jesus.” I’m grateful to Paul for having wrapped the Lord’s teachings in a fake religion that preserved them for a better day, but it is long past time for us to open the gift!

  6. I’ve really enjoyed your recent blogs on Jesus, Roberta. Thank you so much.

    My heart tells me that you are right about getting rid of sin and non evidential faith. Yes, these need to be replaced by the love of God and of each other. Great to see this put into words by you!

    I’m not from a Christian background, but I had what can only be described as an inner experience of Jesus, one morning when I wasn’t particularly thinking of anything.
    Ever since, Jesus has become more and more real to me. I now see him as the Highest.

    It was a few months after this experience, that I asked to know Him more deeply and I asked too, what Heaven is like. Then I stumbled across you on Youtube.
    My life journey since has been quite wonderful.

    I look at the understanding that we are perfectly loved, eternal beings as liberating. It is as if the self, prior to this knowledge, was the caterpillar and now it becomes the butterfly, taking to wing in a bright, new morning.

    Guilt, self doubt and low self esteem gives way to a sense of all pervading love. Wow. This does however, bring me to my questions, dear Roberta:

    Is this new understanding of Jesus and perfect love, the lance that finally impales the dark dragon of self doubt, despair and feelings of low self worth?
    If so, how do you see this change in perception happening in the world?
    – With thanks, peace and blessings.

  7. From “The Nag Hammadi writings found in 1945. Orthodox Jews and Christians insist that a chasm separates humanity from Its creator: God is
    wholly other. But some of the gnostics who wrote these gospels contradict this: self-knowledge is
    knowledge of God; the self and the divine are identical.
    Second, the “living Jesus” of these texts speaks of illusion and enlightenment, not of sin and
    repentance, like the Jesus of the New Testament. Instead of coming to save us from sin, he comes
    as a guide who opens access to spiritual understanding. But when the disciple attains
    enlightenment, Jesus no longer serves as his spiritual master: the two have become equal–even
    identical.
    Third, orthodox Christians believe that Jesus is Lord and Son of God in a unique way: he remains
    forever distinct from the rest of humanity whom he came to save. Yet the gnostic Gospel of
    Thomas relates that as soon as Thomas recognizes him, Jesus says to Thomas that they have both
    received their being from the same source:
    Jesus said, “I am not your master. Because you have drunk, you have become drunk from the
    bubbling stream which I have measured out…. He who will drink from my mouth will become as I
    am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.”

    1. Thank you, dear Joe! (Or should I say dear dog-friend?) What you say here is very helpful. Thank you for sharing it! You should know that you are not the first to compare what we are learning together to the teachings of the gnostics. In fact, I recently had some Christian rant at me in an email that I was just a gnostic and they lost so get over it ;-)! The truth, however, is a stubborn thing. Truth is truth! And now it isn’t only the fact that Jesus tells us we must seek the truth, which to me means that we really cannot be sincerely following Him unless we do that. But amazingly, the additional sources of information now available to us are beginning to suggest all the very same things that we are learning from Jesus! There is a singularity of information coming in which science, the Lord, those that we used to think were dead, and all the choirs of heaven and earth will be singing from the same book. It won’t happen tomorrow. Nor likely in the lifetimes of those of us living now. But it is going to happen soon!

  8. Dear Efrem, thank you for sharing your story here! And I love your analogy to the caterpillar and the butterfly. That is how coming to know the genuine Lord does feel, actually, as you know!

    What is going to free all human minds and begin to lift us away from negative thinking and toward ever more perfect love will be the elevation of consciousness that has been underway for more than a century. Consciousness is all one, and it is a form of energy, so for even one of us to vibrate higher will raise seven billion others, even just a bit! We think that as few as ten percent of those on earth raising their own vibrations will be able to begin to lift all of humanity, and of course it will be a self-reinforcing process because the second ten percent raising their own vibrations will lift even more people and so on and on. It is this process that Jesus was referring to when He talked about bringing the kingdom of God on earth, and He told us that its advent would for a time actually make for more stress and negativity, so we should probably greet the current political insanity and all the other stuff that is going wrong as actually good news!

    We don’t know the timing, but we do believe it is starting to happen now, after a century or so of preparation. And you might be interested to know that I have lately begun to hear from others who are feeling the Lord’s call and telling me I have helped them find Him. What a thrill that is for me, as you can imagine! For my part, I have always thought my work would be teaching everyone who will listen that life really is eternal; but I am being told now that work was all prelude to teaching everyone who will listen the perfect truth about the teachings of Jesus. When you give your life to God, you are the last to know ;-).

  9. Heh. Please don’t think I mind! But it does surprise me that I am essentially a robot – an avatar – and appreciated as that, but not consulted insofar as I can tell. Perhaps in a way it makes life easier?

  10. The last to know…?!

    I get the picture of a tall light house, in my mind’s eye, shining it’s great beacon out into the dark night and inky seas beyond.

    Dimly, the light house sees the outline of scattered, jostling ships straining past the jagged, rocky teeth that lay in wait, as they push toward the safe harbors beyond.

    The light house herself doesn’t see much but slate grey outlines jostling the dark waves.

    But the ships! What a blazing light they see, held far over the dull cliffs, raising a beacon of clarity and hope to reveal the uncertain, tempestuous seas below.

    Love you, love your work Roberta!
    You light our way.
    Peace and blessings.

    1. Oh dear Efrem, you are very sweet, but please never forget where that light comes from! It is the greatest privilege to be used this way, but anyone who says to God, “My life is yours,” and means it with his whole heart will be used to shine God’s light.

      God has always been calling for us to shine that light! The Old Testament is full of people who heard the same voice speak in them that you heard, Efrem, speaking in you, and that I heard when I was eight years old. The little boy who became the prophet Samuel was told by his mentor, Eli, to “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening'” (1 Samuel 3:9). And the great Isaiah tells us, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!'” (Isaiah 6:6).

      But the prophets could only prepare the way for God to begin to shine that light in a way that people could see the light, so as humanity’s capacity to understand increased, it was time at last for us to learn how to develop spiritually. And Jesus the Christ came to us. When He called the fishermen Peter and Andrew, He said, “Come, follow me… and I will teach you to fish for people” (MK 1:17). When He sent His first disciples to begin to spread His Gospel teachings, He said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (LK 10:2). Jesus sent these first teachers of the Way to what He called “the lost sheep of Israel.” Oh dear Efrem, can you imagine how many lost sheep God is searching for now?

      For us the wonderful difference is that today at last we begin to understand what it was that the Prophets and Jesus all were calling us to do! We heard the Old Testament prophets only calling us to stop doing what we knew in our hearts was wrong, but we didn’t know then why it mattered. Jesus came specifically to tell us why it matters! He came to take humankind that next gigantic step away from fear-based religions that could affect only our behavior, and to lift us into the shining joy of perfect union with the Godhead. The teachings of Jesus really are the Way! And now at last, more than three thousand years after the great prophets first called to us, we know not only why, but also how! Dear Efrem, there are seven billion sheep who are thirsting for the joy and light of God’s love that always has been there for us. Now at last Jesus has shows you and me how to help them see it! Dear Efrem, you have heard the Lord’s call too, haven’t you? Just say, “Here I am, Lord. Send me!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *