My journey away from mainstream Christianity and toward following the teachings of Jesus has been lifelong. Having had two experiences of light in childhood, I was always certain that God is real. But Christianity troubled me more and more as I read communications from the dead and came to understand ever more clearly that the core dogma of mainstream Christianity is wrong. I have never in decades of reading hundreds of communications from the dead found any evidence at all that God or any religious figure ever has judged anyone. Neither have I ever found an instance where a dead person says or hints that the death of Jesus redeemed him from punishment for his sins. So Christianity is wrong about that. It’s wrong.
Jesus, however, is right. He told us things about God, reality, death and the afterlife that are consistent in even small details with what the dead have been telling us for decades. I will blog soon about some of these flat-out amazing correspondences between the teachings of Jesus and the words of the dead. Now, though, I’d like to make a different point.
The fact that some mainstream Christian teachings contradict the teachings of Jesus is not harmless. Christian dogmas are so ingrained by now that most Christians are hazy about what Jesus taught, but they can recite by rote their denomination’s teachings on sin and hell and sacrificial redemption. They embrace as the truth these man-made dogmas that directly contradict what Jesus said, and the fruits of their beliefs can be appalling.
As Jesus says, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”(MT 7:16) Here are two examples of the product of thornbushes and thistles gleaned from one day’s Internet grazing.
A Christian writer tells us he had the temerity to suggest that it was possible that even Judas and Hitler won’t be spending eternity in hell. They might eventually make it to heaven. He says, “Let’s just say that my readers weren’t universally appreciative of it. A fair number of them apparently want very much to believe that a fairly large number of people are going to be made to suffer egregiously in hell for their bad behavior in life.” There is a term for this sort of judgmental nastiness. Friedrich Nietzsche called it “Christian malice,” which he defined as “A psychological malady in which the stringent self-denial that Christianity demands of its adherents leads them to feel intense resentment for those who are insufficiently ascetic.” Christian malice. It’s a term like “loving hatred,” composed of two words that cannot rationally ever be held in the mind at once.
Of course, Christian malice is utterly against the Gospel teachings of Jesus! He says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (MT 7:1-3)
Then there is the matter of St. Mary’s home for unwed mothers, which was run by the Bons Secours Sisters in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland from 1925 to 1961. Many children died in that Catholic home for “fallen women,” and an old septic system has just been found to be “full to the brim” with the bones of 796 children from newborns to the age of eight. Why would Catholic nuns have throw the bodies of children into a pit of human waste? Catholic teaching at the time was that children born out of wedlock could not be baptized, and therefore could not be buried in consecrated ground. So what else could they do with the bodies of these children, many of whom had died of malnutrition?
In punishing children for having unmarried parents, the nuns gave no notice to the words of Jesus. He says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (MT 19:14)
It is easy to find such daily reminders that every nominally Christian denomination is remarkably un-Christian. Christianity reveres its own traditions, even those that contradict the teachings of Jesus.
The Lord tells us that building religions around dogmas rather than around God’s truth is an old problem. “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?… You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’” (MT 15:3-9)
As I spent years reading the afterlife evidence and came to understand ever more clearly that Christianity does not follow Jesus, eventually I had to make a choice. I chose Jesus. And without false dogmas between us now, my relationship with my Wayshower and Best Friend is real and satisfying and complete as it never was before. Jesus in the Gospels anticipates that each of us may have to make this choice. He says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (LK 6:46) “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)