Rules are meant to give us a structure within which a great many people can live together in reasonable peace and safety. We understand that fact in the civic sense, and we know that until humankind has managed to do a lot more spiritual development there will be a need for civic authorities and their rules. But religious rules are another matter! Religions are just human-made efforts to make some sense of the greater reality and alleviate our fears of the unknown, and we know now based on abundant evidence that no religion gets reality right. None of them gets God right, either. All of that is not surprising, since every significant religion has been co-opted by human authorities and turned into what is primarily a method for better controlling the people. In our leaders’ efforts to control us all, fear-based rules are essential! And when those rules were first said to emanate from and carry the enforcement of a powerful god, the human-made concept of “sin” was born.
Last week we took a quick look at the history of religions and at the Gospel words of Jesus in an effort to understand how the genuine Godhead views the whole idea of sin. We saw that the Godhead does indeed have a point of view! We learned that:
- From earliest prehistory, God has been sending emissaries who each brought the divine revelation of some version of the love-based Golden Rule, around which their clueless listeners then generally built another fear-based religion; and
- Two thousand years ago Jesus came to the Jews from the highest aspect of the Godhead to free us from the need for religions by teaching us how to relate to God directly.
The genuine Godhead has never given us any rule beyond the exhortation that we love God and love one another. As Jesus put it, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (MT 22:37-40).
During most of human history, people likely saw no harm in the fact that the gods they worshiped were scary and demanding. But we know better now! We understand how essential it is that all of us rid ourselves of every kind of fear-based thinking, since we come to earth primarily to raise our consciousness vibrations away from fear and toward more perfect love. Therefore anything that introduces into our lives additional fear in any form works directly against the divinely-ordained primary purpose of our lives on earth.
So if we intend to follow the Jesus of the Gospels, we must abandon every religious rule and even the very notion of sin. We also must begin to know and to follow the genuine God as Jesus introduced God to us in the Gospels! He told us the following things about the Godhead, and about His own essential role:
- “The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work” (JN 14:10). This is an extremely important point! We know now that Jesus came from the highest aspect of the Godhead. What He said was the Word of God as nothing else ever said or written by anyone can be called the Word of God!
- “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (JN 4:24). The notion of a trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – was established late in the third century C.E. It did not come from Jesus! According to Him, God is only Spirit, so the Trinitarian Christian god that was depicted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as an old guy with a beard is human-made.
- “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). The genuine Godhead invites us to seek, to inquire, and to probe ever deeper. God wants us to always be learning and growing! So the god who imposes dogmas on us – unsupported old beliefs that we must not question, and that we must believe entirely on faith – also is a false and fear-based god.
- “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (MT 11:29-30) Unlike all those scary human-made gods, the genuine Godhead is gentle and humble. There never is any reason to fear God!
- When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (MT 6:6). God does not need nor want mass worship. From the perspective of the genuine Godhead, the important one in your relationship with God is not God. It’s you.
- “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). God rejects our religious traditions altogether. God insists that we give up the man-made rules and dogmas that underlie all our religions, and urges us instead to seek to ever better know and love the genuine God.
- “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 (MT 7:15-17). This is a very important point! Organized religions by their very nature tend to become increasingly distorted. Their dogmas become more and more fear-based, and the result is more damage inflicted on the faithful. We need only look at the widespread child abuse by Catholic priests, the judgment and rejection of people based on Old Testament sexual rules, and the splintering of Christianity into thousands of versions to see that the religion is by now producing an overabundance of thistles.
- “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (JN 5:22-23). So God never judges us? Really? Then the god who is said to have demanded that Jesus die for our sins is another false god. Without a concept of sin and without the judgment of God, there was no need for Jesus to die for our sins; and to make that explicit, before His death Jesus pre-emptively threw the much-later Christian doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement out the window!
- “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (JN 12:47). So Jesus doesn’t judge us either! But what did Jesus come to save us from? Certainly not from God’s judgment, since He has already told us God does not judge us. When we take all His Gospel words together, it is clear that what Jesus came to save us from was all the false and fear-based religious doctrines that had been coming between us and the genuine God.
- “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:48). Here is the Lord’s summary definition of the Godhead, which we are now given to understand is a Collective of perfected beings so advanced spiritually that they are… Perfect.
For what is likely to be the first time in your life, behold now the genuine God as God is revealed to you by the words of Jesus! I read these ten points over again and smile. God is indeed a loving and doting Parent, just as Jesus told us God is! All those fear-based rules whose violations clergymen insisted are “sins” so they can badger and shame us with them are for the Genuine God like a treasured infant’s spilling of a little milk on the carpet. Don’t believe any theologian’s ideas about God! Jesus knew the truth. He told us the truth, because He is the truth. And as 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).
The only Godhead is infinitely powerful, infinitely loving, eternally perfect Spirit. The dead say that God never appears in human form. God never judges us. God’s only law is the law of love that Jesus reveals to us in the Gospels. This understanding of God is not new. It was given to us by Jesus when He walked the earth, so it is centuries older than Christianity itself.
This vision of God that comes straight from Jesus is the only acceptable understanding of God for any professed Christian to hold. The fact that nearly all who call themselves Christians accept lots of fear-based human ideas about God is a shame that one day more enlightened generations will puzzle over. Christians call the whole Bible the Inspired Word of God, when only limited parts of just four Biblical Books can claim that distinction!
For us to live as genuine followers of Jesus in the world being created by the genuine God will require that we pretty radically change the way that we relate to God. For example, we now know that:
- We have no truly private space. When I first understood that our minds are part of the Mind of God, I kind of shrugged and imagined opening the top of my head and inviting God inside. Now I assume that my every thought is being shared directly with God. And wow, have I cleaned up my act!
- There are no God-made laws or commandments. Even what Jesus called the “commandments” that we love God and also love others as we love ourselves are not commandments in the usual sense. Jesus used the term just in responding to a questioner who had used it. We are here to learn to love ever more completely, and love is something that not even God can command. God urges us toward love, but God demands nothing of us!
- God does not want us to hold any compulsory Christian beliefs. Everything that Christians are told to believe that is not outlined in the ten points Jesus gave us above is just a human-made dogma. And even where those ten points are concerned, God wants us to question everything!
- There is no such thing as sin. Jesus made a point of breaking religious laws – He plucked grain and performing healings on the Sabbath – but most of our decisions are so complex that it is hard to find a moral compass for some of them. For example, here is an amazing woman who broke every religious law there is in her effort to fight the Nazis. We’ll talk about this sort of dilemma next week.
- Fear is indeed our only enemy. And the more fear-based a being is, the weaker it is, while the more love-based a being is, the more powerful it is. So we know now for sure that Our Daddy can beat every other daddy on the playground. We are perfectly safe and forever loved in Everlasting Arms. When I tell you on Seek Reality each week that you are the most beloved being in the universe, just see yourself tenderly held in those Arms and know an absolute freedom from fear that is new in all the history of humankind.
How are we to live in a world with no fear-based religions remaining, and with no gods but the genuine God that Jesus came to introduce to us? Let’s begin to talk about that next week….