“[Creeds] have been the bane and ruin of the Christian church,
its own fatal invention, which, through so many ages,
made of Christendom a slaughterhouse,
and at this day divides it into castes of inextinguishable hatred to one another.”
– Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), from his letter to Thomas Whittemore, June 5, 1822
The most important thing Jesus did for us was to introduce to us the perfect eternal love and forgiveness of the genuine God. For thousands of years human beings had been worshiping imaginary human-like gods; but then Jesus was born, and He gave us wonderful truths about God that we can now confirm. The Lord’s truths entirely transform what had been our terror-based relationship with the divine!
Please note, however, that the God of Christianity is sadly different from the perfect God that Jesus introduced to us. The Christian God is an iteration of the human-made Old Testament God, and that feels like a horrifying thought! If you doubt it, though, please point to the historical moment when the long chain of imperfect human-made gods at last gave way to the genuine Godhead. You never will find such a moment.
I know how hard it is to accept the idea that even though there is a genuine God, and even though Jesus proclaimed God to us, that eternal Godhead never has been sought and found by any religious denomination. Instead, religious folks continue to fret about human-made details of their human-made religion that bears very little relationship to what Jesus came to earth to teach. Here are two confounding facts:
There is indeed a genuine God.
No religion has ever sought and found that God.
It is past time now for all of us to come to know and love the true Godhead! Here are some important reasons why:
For nearly our entire history, terror has been our core condition. We were afraid of everything, from human enemies and animal predators to excessive heat, cold, disease, thirst, starvation, and the dark of night.
Whether we created our earliest gods in response to some innate spiritual awareness, or whether we invented the idea of gods in a desperate effort to lessen our fears, really doesn’t matter now. Either way, it is without question that the earliest gods that we invented were not the real Godhead. Not even close! And as we follow along in time from our most ancient and primitive human-made gods, we notice that eventually humankind established a generally consistent god-pattern. Our gods were beings in human form, often with animal-mimic heads, who lived in the sky or beneath the ground and had too much control over human lives. We had to placate them, which we did with prayers and with human or animal sacrifices, with chants and dancing and promises to obey the various gods’ arbitrary rules. The details of each of these gods were different, as were the religions that worshiped them; and the Christian religion in its many forms is not materially different from the religions that have existed since the first one began. Christianity has its own human-made and human-like God to be feared and placated, its own rituals and its rules to be obeyed, its myths and its tales. This has been the blueprint for all religions. And as should by now be clear to us, no religion ever has been God’s idea. In fact, the genuine God that Jesus reveals to us in the Gospels seems to want nothing to do with religions!
What do we know about the genuine Godhead? So far, we know at least three things:
But the genuine God is not a fan of religions! Proof of that fact is throughout the Bible, and since the Bible is a religious text these statements are what lawyers call “admissions against interest.” It is likely that many more such admissions were removed by First Nicaea in 325 and by other early church councils. The Prophet Isaiah suggested almost a thousand years before the birth of Jesus that God was disgusted with religious practice, even way back then! The Prophet said, “Bring your worthless offerings no longer. Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and Sabbath, the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly” (Isaiah 1:13). And then of course Jesus also told us repeatedly that God was disgusted with religions. For example He said, “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).
So we know there is indeed a genuine God still awaiting our discovery. And that true God wants a relationship with us that is closer than any religion can give us! As Micah of Moresheth said three millennia ago, “He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Jesus told us the same thing centuries later, and those that we used to think were dead now abundantly confirm its truth. God‘s desire for us never has changed, that in the fullness of time we will put aside our childish beliefs and want to know the true Godhead. As Jesus said, “seek, and you will find”….
“I am anxious to see the doctrine of one god commenced in our state.
But the population of my neighborhood is too slender,
and is too much divided into other sects to maintain any one preacher well.
I must therefore be contented to be an Unitarian by myself,
although I know there are many around me who would become so,
if once they could hear the questions fairly stated.”
– Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), from his letter to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, Jan. 8, 1825