I didn't believe that Jesus was the Son of God.
I didn't believe that Jesus was God Himself.
I didn't believe Jesus was born of a virgin.
I didn't believe that Jesus ever rose bodily from the dead.
What if I said that all of these things - indeed, much about the story of Jesus Christ - was simply a reworking of historical fables & myths?
What if I claimed that the "truths" in Scripture were no more valid than the "truths" found in Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Greek philosophy, and among other great minds throughout civilization?
That the Scriptures were not the words of God, but the words of men under the "spell" of Jesus and as affected & infected by their cultural surroundings?
Would you still consider me a believer?
Would you call me a heretic?
Or would you call me one of the greatest Christian leaders of our time?
In the vein of coming against man's natural inclination to be religious, I thought I would post here an answer to someone asking me about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
My grandparents & parents attended the March on Washington. They were rightfully enraged and protested when Dr. King was unjustly assassinated. Still today there are pictures of, and books about, Dr. King in their homes as he is fondly remembered for the sacrifices he made - even of his own life - to bring about social justice for the disenfranchised.
And yet none of that has anything to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It would shock most to realize that this great reverend, minister, preacher, and "man of God" didn't even believe in Jesus Christ and never preached the Gospel a day in his life.
Dr. King taught an ecumenical, new age "gospel" of social justice that he learned from Mahatma Gandhi and only used Christian principles when convenient to promote that platform.
social justice: the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society
civil rights: of, relating to, or promoting equality in social, economic, and political rightsI am not talking about the rantings of racists or the efforts by government officials to discredit him. You only have to examine Dr. King's own words to see what he believed.
What Experiences of Christians Living in the Early Christian Century Led to the Christian Doctrines of the Divine Sonship of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, and the Bodily Resurrection?
"Doctrines and creeds do not spring forth uncaused like Athene sprang from the head of Zeus, but they grow out of the historical settings and the psychological moods of the individuals that set them forth...But if we delve into the deeper meaning of these doctrines, and somehow strip them of their literal interpretation, we will find that they are based on a profound foundation. Although we may be able to argue with all degrees of logic that these doctrines are historically and philolophically untenable, yet we can never undermine the foundation on which they are based."A Study of Mithraism
"For an instance, in the mystery-religions identification between the devotee and the Lord of the cult was supposed to be brought about by various rites of initiation; the taurobolium, or bath of blood; the eating of flesh of the sacrifical beast and the like. Now there was something of this in Paul too, for he thought of the believer as buried with Christ in baptism and as feeding upon him in the eucharist. This is only one of many examples that I could give to prove the similarity between the developing Christian Church and the Mystery Religions...That Christianity did copy and borrow from Mithraism cannot be denied...To discuss Christianity without mentioning other religions would be like discussing the greatness of the Atlantic Ocean without the slightest mention of the many tributaries that keep it flowing."Unfulfilled Dreams
"It’s there: a tension at the heart of the universe between good and evil. (Yes, sir) Hinduism refers to this as a struggle between illusion and reality. Platonic philosophy used to refer to it as a tension between body and soul. Zoroastrianism, a religion of old, used to refer to it as a tension between the god of light and the god of darkness. Traditional Judaism and Christianity refer to it as a tension between God and Satan. Whatever you call it, there is a struggle in the universe between good and evil."Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution
"The world in which we live is geographically one. The challenge that we face today is to make it one in terms of brotherhood...We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured."I've Been to the Mountaintop
"And I'm always happy to see a relevant ministry. It's all right to talk about long white robes over yonder, in all of its symbolism, but ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here...Now let me say as I move to my conclusion that we've got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end...But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."An Autobiography of Religious Development
"From this it seems quite clear that I joined the church not out of any dynamic conviction, but out of a childhood desire to keep up with my sister... I guess I accepted Biblical studies uncritically until I was about twelve years old. But this uncritical attitude could not last long, for it was contrary to the very nature of my being. I had always been the questioning and precocious type. At the age of 13 I shocked my Sunday School class by denying the bodily resurrection of Jesus. From the age of thirteen on doubts began to spring forth unrelentingly. At the age of fifteen I entered college and more and more could I see a gap between what I had learned in Sunday School and what I was learning in college...As stated above, my college training, especially the first two years, brought many doubts into my mind. It was at this period that the shackles of fundamentalism were removed from my body. This is why, when I came to Crozer, I could accept the liberal interpretation with relative ease."
Is faith in Jesus Christ just a copy-cat belief adopted from pagan myths?
Are other world religions and philosophies just as valid as Christianity?
Is God "struggling" with Satan or is Satan a created being subject to the will of God like every other creature?
Is the purpose of God to make all people one and share a common brotherhood?
Is there an intertwined destiny for all mankind or does God say there there are two destinies, one to salvation and the other to damnation?
Is the here and now supposed to be more real and important to the Christian than our eternal destiny?
Are the fundamentals of faith in Jesus Christ merely illogical & unscientific "shackles" incongruent with an educated, reasoning mind?
What Promised Land is Dr. King speaking of? What faith? What god? Is it not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Some might say, "How can you say these things about such a great American hero? He has done great things for African-Americans!"
I would respond, "How can a 'man of the cloth' say such things about my Savior, Jesus? How can people who claim to belong to Christ deny Him in order to champion some sort of perceived justice in this temporal world?"
Yet this is more than just about Dr. King. In Dr. King, we have the "beliefs" of many Christians, the teaching of many "Christian" colleges, and the tenets of faith for even our own President Barak Obama.
According to such persons, Jesus Christ is not the Truth, the Way, and the Life, but is one of many truths, ways, and lives. Being a "Christian" is simply about taking what one can from these "stories" about Jesus and seeking to be a better person through them.
No matter how many "good works" one has done, unless one has done the will of God, such persons will hear the terrifying words, "Depart from me you worker of iniquity. I never knew you." (Luke 13:23-28; Matthew 7:21-23)
Israel was unable to receive Jesus as their Lord & King because they were looking for someone to "right the wrongs" done to them in this present, evil world. They were looking for an earthly kingdom with earthly justice. Jesus gave it no consideration. In fact, He told His followers that His kingdom was not of this world. They were to expect injustice in this life because the god of this world is Satan. Instead, Jesus tells us to set our affections on things above, and not below (Colossians 3:2).
Does such mean that we should ignore injustice and do nothing when inequity occurs? No, but it does mean that we must never set aside the fundamental truths of our faith in order to obtain some temporary justice, peace, or unity in this world. If we do, then we have become idolators.
Today, schools, lunch counters, libraries, housing, workplaces and the like are largely integrated (albeit perhaps not equitably). Yet the majority of folks in them are on their way to being damned. Giving people a life of social equality may give them 60, 70, 80 years of justice in this life, but they will still wind up spending an eternity in Hell if they never come to know and believe in Jesus Christ.
Don't be shocked by this, but most folks don't care about Jesus. They are simply pimping Him to further their social, financial, political, corporate, community agendas. Whether in the pulpit, on the street corner, or on the Internet...you had better be sure you know which Jesus people are professing faith in and be even more certain of the Jesus you personally confess (II Corinthians 11:4).
Jesus was more than just a good man. He is God incarnate and is the name above all names by which man must be saved.