Christians’ interpretation of Jesus’s words truly confuse me. They are trapped by a ridiculous belief system. Their belief in God, the creator looking down on us; heaven, the place good Christians go after death; and hell, the place where non-Christians go cripples them from actually growing spiritually past a point. If Jesus’s words were not always applied to their belief system and they tried to understand deeper they would see so much more. If Jesus’s words were used like Buddha’s or Zen koans he would help liberate many people. Unfortunately there has been a belief system built around Jesus’s teachings.
“It is better to destroy people’s beliefs than to make them.” – Alan Watts
Belief systems cripple us because they stop us from wondering. They put an end to us pondering questions like “why am I here?”; “why does this exist?”; “what happens after death?”; or “what was I before I was born?” Pondering these questions seems to be crucial to spiritual growth but once you think you find an answer you become attached to that answer and stop growing. I’d like to note that just because this post is mainly about Christianity does not mean that this doesn’t apply to all belief systems.
The biggest Christian mistake in my opinion is taking the bible so literally. The bible seems to be essentially the same as the Tao Te Ching, Bhagavad Gita, or any other sacred text but it was distorted to gain power over people. Jesus’s words are more profound when thought of metaphorically, as if interpreting art. Many eastern philosophers quote Jesus because they know what he really meant. Christians mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon; they mistake the map for the territory (not that it is their fault of course). Jesus’s words have far more symbolism in them than any Christian has ever heard of. Humanity has always imagined a perfect world where everything seems to be as it should be. Plato described it as the world of ideals or forms. Many religions refer to this place as “heaven.” Some think that they can get there after they die if they follow a set of rules during life. Everything here in the real world seems to be a “knock-off” of the ideal in their mind. What they miss is that “heaven” can be right here; when we “wake up” we realize this. This doesn’t have to be a world of knock-offs, this can be the real deal.
“You must become as a child to enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus
The above quote means that if you perceive the world as a child you will see that this can be heaven. He is not talking about actually acting like a child at the gates of heaven in the sky after you die. To me he seems to be talking about this now, not the after-life. My interpretation is that you must return to a childlike state to see that we are already in heaven. Heaven doesn’t seem to be up in the sky, and you don’t have to die to go there, it is all right here. However, hell also seems to coexist. This world could be heaven or hell depending on how you look at it. Jesus was trying to teach people how to see “heaven”, or perfection, in this seemingly imperfect moment.
Thou art That
What Christians call “God” seems to me to be really the same as the “Tao” or “Zen.” My “God” is that which is at the core of all, the unnameable. It is the creator, it is consciousness. To me we are all “God” pretending to be human. If Jesus’s teachings didn’t get distorted in the way they have been Christianity would most likely be similar to eastern religions like Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. Unfortunately, the meaning of his words seems to have been twisted and most Christians fail to realize the true meaning of their saviour’s words. I can only hope that as time goes on more people realize this and are able to find new profound meaning behind Jesus’s teachings.