Many may consider this blog to be controversial, blasphemous or misleading. Religion is controversial, but open discussion and the acknowledgment of other’s views and opinions will hopefully lead to a better understanding of one another.
Jesus was not a Christian, as most of us have found; he was a practicing Jew1. Christianity is believed to have begun several decades prior to the 4th Century AD; traced to the Eastern Mediterranean with its beginning, history shows it ultimately spread its teachings and influence throughout the region resulting in it becoming a dominant religion within the Roman Empire2. Where then, did our modern day beliefs come from and what are we to believe?
Modern day Romans, one of seven undisputed letters of St. Paul the Apostle, states that “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God3” and ensures that salvation can be found through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. History records that Paul was not “ashamed” of the said Gospel because it held power.
16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.
Would Jesus be a Christian based on the preceding statements and quotes and the way that his modern day followers live by and practice their faith? Jesus as depicted in the earliest writings of the gospels preached simple messages of love as the way to God and Heaven, rather than the atonement teachings that “You have to believe in Jesus to be saved. You have to repent for your sins and believe that He died on the cross for you to be saved and get into Heaven4.” Should we live our lives through atonement or rather the example set by Jesus before his death? Christian dogma must also be confronted by the fact that the Christian Bible is a “living” text whose manuscripts “reflect the distinctive beliefs of the individual Christian communities which read them5.”
Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom of God had come with His arrival, Matthew 12:28; Luke 4:21. “But you just have to read your daily newspaper to know that Jesus could not possibly have been the messiah. The kingdom of God is not here. For 2,000 years since Jesus’ coming, the genocides and rapes have not ended. Racism and poverty still flourish6.”
Final reflection: According to the 2009 American Religious Identification Survey, The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. Much of the decline is attributed to data collected from New England which shows the biggest decline in faithful Christians. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stated; “That really hit me hard, the Northwest was never as religious, never as congregationalized, as the Northeast, which was the foundation, the home base, of American religion. To lose New England struck me as momentous7.”
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you8.
After all, “We’re all children of the same Universe.”