Why do so many people have a strong negative reaction to the name “Jesus Christ?” The short answer is, we’ve become allergic to it after words from the Bible have been misused by organized religion for so long. But that doesn’t make our reaction right, or Jesus wrong.
If we heard the description of God as a personal helper, a friend, a guide, an all-forgiver who is a being of translucent light and perfection, perhaps we could accept that. So we need to try and not let the words “Jesus Christ” stand in our way. He is the Christ, and when he was incarnated, his name was Jesus.
There are really two levels at which this reaction happens: the personal and collective. Looking first at individual Christians, there can be a rebellion that happens against one’s early upbringing, including the parents and all they stood for. Often in religious settings, this includes a Christ who is pictured as this meek, sexless figure who demands a passive self-denial from all his followers. Blech.
So then this strong energy inside us that creates positive aggression and self-assertion ends up reacting to this version of Jesus who has rigid morals and who supposedly denies passionate feelings, sexuality and autonomy.
Over time, Christianity then has become defined by the masses as this confusing mixture of, on the one hand, love, truth, wisdom, salvation, goodness and service to God, and on the other, something that demands self-defeating denial of what it means to be human, with all our energies and expressions.
This mixture of truth and falsehood about Jesus Christ is downright impossible for a child to sort out. So that leaves two choices. Option one, submit to the whole ball of wax. That means to grow up being a good Christian who fears their feelings, denies their sexuality and puts reins on their aggression—because that would be “evil.” This creates Submitting Christians, who underneath it all, feel like a sinner whenever unallowed feelings make themselves known.
They must rebel in sideways sorts of ways, but of course, that creates guilt and more feelings of secretly being a sinner. Such people will find literal interpretations in the Bible that reinforce their denials of themselves as fully functioning people. They need that rigid structure to feel safe. And they would never enter a spiritual path such as the one outlined by the Guide.
Option two? Rebel against such a religion that denies one’s very being. That’s what creates a Rebelling Christian. And that is who these teachings are for.
In truth, Rebelling Christians surely should rebel against anything that denies they be all of who they really are. But that doesn’t mean they should deny the truth of who Jesus Christ really was too.
In the end, Submitting Christians have their work cut out for them, as they need to question their tradition as it was handed to them. The Rebelling Christians, though, need to come to accept the truth in the tradition. Jesus’ love, power and presence are real, and we would all do well to take him into our own lives.
Having parents who are strong and right gives children a sense of security in the world. So part of the reason Submitting Christians accept their parents’ religion is because it’s too frightening to think the parents were weak, or worse, wrong. Rebelling Christians, by contrast, find security in their rejection of their parents’ values. This makes them feel more superior, like their denial of Christ is more evolved. Well, in fact it is more evolved to deny the untruthful life-denying parts, but it is not more evolved to also deny the truths.
There is also a fear that develops that says, What if, by chance, my parents were actually right? In a kid’s mind, everything is always black and white. This way of thinking creates some big problems for us down the road. Being right is good. Being wrong is bad. There is indeed cause for concern here.
If this unconscious thinking remains buried, and a Rebelling Christian begins down the road of spiritual development where their total being—including sexual feelings and the urge for autonomy and self-expression—is waking up, and then this piece about Jesus Christ being in fact a good guy comes up, well Houston, we have a problem.
In a black-and-white world, if my parents were right about the Jesus thing, they were right about this other sex-is-sinful thing too. But I can’t be all-nice like their Jesus demands. And yet I was wrong for turning against them. And if I’m wrong, I’m bad. But I just can’t bear the guilt of being wrong on so many levels. So I must continue to turn away from Jesus.
And so negative reactions continue. Worse yet, both Rebelling and Submitting Christians fear that if they give in the towel, they’ll have to become like the other. Ew. The way out of this maze is, as always, to unearth mistaken beliefs that got buried on the way to being grown up. That is what it means to do the work.
When a whole lot of people are dealing with the same hidden wrong beliefs—or what the Guide calls an image—this creates what is known as a mass image. There is one of these that is collectively a Jewish mass image. It is the feeling of being threatened if Jesus Christ was, in fact, who he said he was.
Like the Submitting Christian, there are those who deny Christ because Mom and Dad said so. And geez, if M&D were wrong about this, how could they be trusted in anything? And we’re back to that black-and-white thinking: if they’re wrong about anything, they are wrong about everything. So much easier to just give them a pass.
Going back to the time of Christ, that was a time when the Jews were the only ones who worshipped God as being just one God. They were in touch with God and attempted to follow his commandments and laws. As is the way with humans though, pride—which is one of our three main faults—had to creep in. So there was this feeling of superiority among the Jews because they got it right. The pagans, not so much. It’s like the Jews saw themselves as the aristocrats of the human family.
The only place Jesus could have been born then was among the Jewish people because he is a manifestation of the one true God. He could only pop into a population that worshipped this God. Other factions worshipped multiple gods which were often spirits from fairly undeveloped realms—sometimes even evil spirits.
And so it was that Jesus should find himself living among the Jews. All gifts, as well as painful occurrences, are also tests. And this too, then, was a test. The test was to recognize Jesus for who he was. And that flew smack into the face of all that personal pride. Had they sailed through the test, Christianity would have simply become an extension in the development of Judaism. But history tells another tale.
Actually, everyone failed the test, Jews and Christians alike. And admitting failure is not easy to do. The Jews may have started it, feeling threatened by Jesus and not wanting to give up their self-serving power, but the pagans weren’t a whole lot better. Once the separation became a reality, with most Jewish leaders denying this self-proclaimed Messiah, the pagans embraced the New Message. They were hungry for it. And over time, more pagans turned to Christ than Jews. Having been made to feel inferior by the Jews who were supposed to carry God’s love and God’s word, they picked up the fight and made the Jews their enemy. This then became a vicious circle.
Jews then saw the pagans and Christians as one, and as both hostile and inferior. They didn’t want to see how they had co-created this hostility, and instead painted themselves as victims of the pagans, that is, of the Christians—all the while looking down their noses at them. This type of soul attitude continues to be handed down from one generation to the next, perpetuating this notion and with it, the Jewish karma.
Everyone, in the course of doing this work, will at some point find themselves confronted by their friends or healing helpers with the possibility that we have been wrong. And so often we react as though having made a mistake is unforgivable and makes us unacceptable. We think this makes us unlovable. It takes both courage and humility to jump into the apparent abyss of opening one’s mind, and then discovering that an assumption was false.
This ability to admit our imperfections and human fallibility is what makes us full-fledged human beings. This is how we find our true value and find God’s love for us that has always existed, but which we couldn’t feel because it was blocked by our wrong thinking. This is the true path for all of us, as individuals and as societies.
Just as truth has its own laws and consequences, so does untruth. So when these types of mass images continue to be denied, guilt piles up. And that adds more resistance, because who wants to feel that guilt? Negative karma can accumulate over lifetimes if we keep looking away. Truth has to become more important than justifying our parents, or ourselves. That’s what breaks this endless chain of painful repetition.
We have to be willing to give up being a victim and playing the blame game. We have to be willing to accept that we each may be holding onto a piece of collective history that we must become willing to let go of. When, after much resistance, we dedicate ourselves to seeing the truth, we sometimes have to hang out with the pain of our guilt. We may need to experience the pain of guilt for having inflicted pain on one who came to us in love. We may each need to see where we have turned our backs on Jesus.
But we can do this in a spirit of life, rather than death, so that we come to self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. In this way, we come to know that God has been forgiving us all along. This truth ushers in the light. We can know a new strength and oneness with ourselves, with others and with God.
Untruth is always painful. And one source of untruth is images—our wrong conclusions that we formed in childhood when we didn’t have the mental equipment needed to do any better. These false ideas about life attract negative situations, feelings and events. But we don’t challenge our own thinking because it is fixed, frozen in our soul substance. Then we react blindly in a conditioned way that creates negative reactions from others. When these come back to us, we think they confirm our wrong thinking. But we would be wrong. Nonetheless, we put up our defenses, and so it goes. On and on. The soul is not free when an image exists.
Back to the Rebelling Christians. They mistakenly believe that if they embrace Christ, they must give up their vitality, sexuality, body and pleasure, because all of these are sinful. So instead they shut out Christ in order to have their own God-given sexuality. Here’s the catch-22. Shutting out Christ means shutting out an essential part of God’s world of truth, beauty and love. This split creates guilt and pain.
So instead of simply liberating their sexuality, they must be defiant about it. This is the way we try to shut out other voices inside ourselves. And that right there makes us weaker instead of stronger. One may then feel like a failure but not know why. We may even blame this on having been raised with the influence of Jesus—if only we could be more successful in completely rejecting him.
But of course, rejecting truth is not a good strategy for building any kind of strength. So here’s the vicious circle: if we have the wrong idea that Christ intended us to deny our sexuality, we will develop reactions that, in the end, weaken us and seem to bear out that belief. Because our life force—our vitality—holds the vigor of sexuality.
Here’s another vicious circle, this one for Jews who are still caught in the mass image that says, “If my parents and forebears were wrong, and my ancestors killed Jesus who was not only a good man but a man who manifested God on Earth, then they were totally bad people. They can never be forgiven. I cannot face this possibility. I must deny this possibility in order not to be co-responsible with them.”
And yet, what Christ said over and over is, God is forgiveness. He is mercy and understanding and love. He said, it is never “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” So if one continues to believe totally in the old tradition of Judaism, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” this makes it impossible to admit a sin and get away with it. The punishment is too terrible. That means the truth—even the possibility of the truth—that Jesus was who he said he was, must be denied.
Now how does this image work? The Jewish misconception is that Jesus was a false prophet, that he was a fake, that the pagans and Christians are lying, deluded and inferior, and at the same time they are the victimizers, out to annihilate the Jews. This belief created a great deal of hatred on the part of many Jews, which is how it has become a mass image.
But the defensive reaction against this mass image resulted in more antagonism and actual persecution. So we’re back, reconfirming the apparent truth of what is basically a big old misconception. And that is how we create our own reality.
The deeper we bury a belief, the more bang we get for our buck—meaning, even greater consequences. Because the greater the guilt, the more fear there will be of its pain and the seemingly real possibility that this one really is unforgivable. So then the defense against the truth of the issue needs that much more gusto. That means the heart and mind must clench shut even tighter. And then even this fact of being close-minded and hard-hearted must be denied. And justified, and defended against. Really, one can’t get out of all this unharmed.
All these images are not just distortions of truth. They create rigid walls in a person’s soul that separate us from the best within ourselves. They disconnect us from the source of life with all its creative possibilities—from God, and from being able to give and receive love. So while we may have yet another allergic reaction to the word “evil,” that right there is evil. And that, in turn, creates “sin.” Such a war within oneself eventually leads to war with others.
How does one go about the painstaking task of dissolving these images? We start by poking holes in our own story. Ask probing questions from every angle. Ask deeply, Is this really true? We need to shed some new light on the picture. This will open doors that were previously closed and start to loosen up hardened places in the soul. We must open up our minds to consider everything anew. We need to get curious.
In order to create functioning societies, individuals must do their own work. At the same time, we must resolve mass images so they don’t stand in the way of the each person’s unfoldment and self-realization.
As we do this work of healing, we will become free of inner reactions to such words as “Jew,” “Christian,” “Jesus Christ” or “religion.” For many people, the word “reincarnation” is equally loaded. Even though it is against the current-day teachings of Judaism and Christianity, it is one of the eternal truths. Spiritual seekers will often have less resistance to this word, and because these inner doors are more open, they open readily to this truth.
As we grow and develop, we become more and more free of inner blocks. When we have no stake in anything but the truth, we are then no longer bound to nationality, political party, race or creed. We combine all their truths and reject all their errors. Anything that is in truth combines and unifies, while untruth separates and creates mutually exclusive dualities: If I am a Jew, I cannot be a Christian. If I am either, I cannot believe in reincarnation. These are all false choices that separate. If you must be one thing with a vengeance, you cannot be it in its best sense.
We must look for this place of prideful stubbornness. Great strength, autonomy and freedom lie in giving over totally to God, while constantly working to clean out our own closets that are full of confusions, images and emotional tightness. Instead we try to shoehorn ourselves into societal traditions that may or may not fit. But being a genuine individual means we seek God’s truth at all times, not the prevailing belief of a party or group. A group of such individuals is never in opposition to the individuals themselves. We suffer greatly from not yet understanding this truth.
This happens at the level of entire countries where we confuse pride and dignity with character and self-value. When countries cannot reach a peace agreement, each is firm in its own rightness, claiming the other is wrong. Neither wants to see the ways in which they are both right and both wrong.
But we’re getting there. Humanity is beginning to grow up. The process is slow and we bog it down further with our resistance to doing our own work, by not questioning our habitual ways of thinking, by holding on to our rigid ideas of how things are, by being lazy, and by tragically believing that the old ways are safe and therefore must be worshipped and held onto.
That’s how they get in, the forces of evil. And they can plunge us into destructiveness of all kinds. People who follow their true destiny are humanity’s Higher Self. Those who resist it are humanity’s Lower Self. Both are here. The winner is the part that is stronger.
So then it’s not true that there must always be wars. This only has to happen as long as the majority of us refuse to wake up and grow up these aspects that are in error. All of our pride and self-interest actually amounts to a lack of faith—faith that we really can make a difference and change the world.
But how do we come by such a faith? We have to experience it, by applying our will in the direction of coming to know God’s will. This starts with our responsibility to tackle our personal images. We also have an obligation to our own human race to take on our own mass images. We have to eliminate them in us, and that can shift the balance for all of humanity. So our own lives are at stake here, and so much more.
When we see how it is possible to resolve our issues one-on-one with another, we get a glimpse of how it could be for a whole society to get along. We can unwind surface dissension if we are willing to go, together, to deeper levels.
This kind of unity has nothing to do with “tolerance.” Toleration implies that there is still a difference. If we want to move from a state of separation to one of unity, we must evolve through these three stages: 1) locked in animosity and therefore separate, 2) tolerant, and 3) we find the place of unity. Getting to the level of oneness underneath the diversity requires that we mature—both as individuals and as people living together in society.
So let’s take all this back to the topic of JC. Good for us, for the most part, we are no longer barbarians who kill each other for being a Jew or a Christian. When this still happens, the majority think it’s a horrible crime. Yet, we are still largely locked-and-loaded in our tolerant stance about others who don’t believe what we believe.
We need to find those areas—sometimes under the surface but today often right there in the scathing things we say and write to each other—where we want to annihilate the other for being different. The “enemy” is somehow challenging our sense of safety in the world. This happened in the time of Jesus, when he was seen as the dividing force, rather than people looking within to see where dissension was alive and well and wreaking havoc.
Jesus Christ came to be a bridge. He came to help us cross over to a new stage of love and truth where we could know unity. But there is no room for mere tolerance if we want to live in unity. Rebelling Christians need to realize that it is simply a wrong interpretation to think they must give up pleasure—especially physical pleasure—if they embrace Christ. Rebelling Jews can come to see that God gave them a huge gift when Christ was born in their midst. What an act of love.
We need to challenge our assumptions so we can wipe out these misunderstandings. We need to consider that the truth may be totally different than the positions we have taken. But different in such a way that not only are we not at risk for losing everything, we stand to gain everything. In short, we will gain all that we ever feared we would lose when we give up our fixed ideas. Dang. Who wouldn’t want that?
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