Saturday, April 28, 2007

Jesus and Immortality


Jesus was an awakened, illuminated, and enlightened man. The great psychologist Dr. Carl Jung believed that the Gospel-stories were allegory, not literal history. As fundies, of course, we were dogmatically locked into the straight-jacket of insisting that every word was literal history.

But legends grow like weeds, especially around amazing or unusual people. Sometimes, these mythologies have nothing to do with "real" or literal events. It is not necessary to be dogmatic about this issue. Personally, a "middle of the road" approach is preferred here: Certain events and descriptions in the Gospels might well be symbolic legends, and others might well be literal, or have had a foundation in an actual event.

But still, it would be a terrible mistake (often made by fundies) to confuse Gospel writers with the modern definition of the word "historians." They often wrote, not to be "accurate" in the literal and scientific modern sense, but to get across spiritual lessons. At times, most ancient writers could not have cared less whether a described event actually, literally occurred. The important thing to them was not historical accuracy, but the lessons.

We know for certain that legends grew up around other "celestial" or spiritual messengers and teachers. It is said that the Buddha, for example, was "born of a virgin," and that he wrestled with Mara, the tempter, for forty days and nights before his enlightenment. But Buddhist scholars and experts universally agree that these were symbolic statements. They indicated a special being of light who recognized that he was not a body, but a mind (Soul). That is why great teachers are often divided from the rest of us by a story re parthenogenesis (birth from a virgin).

So, we need not believe in the literal virgin-birth to follow, understand, or love Jesus as a master, a "son of God." Nor, by the way, need we disbelieve. We can simply keep an open mind. Unlike the cults, people of sophisticated spirituality do not need "black and white," simple "yes or no" answers to every question.

In fact, recognition of Jesus' full humanity actually brings him closer to "home," as he was truly "one of us." The very ancient Christian formula said that he was "true God and true man." He was a man who realized that his true or higher Self was an immortal, non-physical Soul. At Its core, this Soul was the Spirit, God, or Love. In fact, he directed this Soul to become an incarnation or perfect reflection of Love

He was not a freak, a one-of-a-kind forever being. Instead, his early disciple got it right when he said, "Christ died for you, leaving you a model to follow his footsteps closely." So, our most active Love for Christ lies not in worshipping his human form, but in trying honestly to follow him, as he called upon people to do. In fact, he had a habit of saying, "Follow Me."

So, as he said, "The things that I do, you also will do-- and even things greater than these." So, do we see Jesus as God?

Yes, for he said the perennial statement of the mystic. He said, "I and the Father are one." But if Jesus is a model, not a freak, it implies that, deep down, in our minds, in the deep Unconscious, we are also unified with the great perfect Mind (Spirit) called "God." Indeed, like Jesus, we all have a Lovemind or Love-nature "buried" deep within the "unconscious" Mind. Our challenge is to tap this interior Christ-nature, this Christ-spirit, and to manifest Its Love in our world.

Ancient Christians such as Marcion (about 140 CE) clearly distinguished between "Jesus" the man and "Christ" the Spirit. Jesus the historical man was born, lived, and died. But Christ the everlasting Spirit lived through that death; as a Soul, he proved that death is a survivable experience. It was among his more important lessons: "I will die," he said in effect, "and I will come back to my friends and prove that you -- and we all -- survive death. Death is not the end."

And of course, his body (Jesus) did die. But his enlightened Soul (Christ) did not. (Indeed, in his Soul he had become the Mind of God, deep within him as It is within you and me, and all beings of Love.)

So, in our lives, "Jesus Christ" is a human image of the God beyond ordinary imagination, and beyond even symbols. In Jesus, we can see the "face of God," the full human and divine expressions of Love.

As you can see here, the knowing that God is Love changes everything. Then, we do not have the traditional difficulties of the history of theology. We do not have to explain how Jesus and God-- two different "persons"-- are "one," as Jesus declared. Love lives in your heart, as It did in the heart of Jesus. A human mind can "become one" with Love by living Its principles, for Love is not "another person." This very simply explains such profound mysteries as the "oneness" of Jesus and God.

Since Jesus was a model, we are expected to "follow" him, to live as he lived, and to act and behave with Love towards even our "enemies," again, as he said. For we, like him, are potentially "one with" God. God is not another "person" (this word means "mask") in outer space. God is the very deep Lovemind (Mind filled with only Love, overflowing with Love) at the core of all minds. It is a shared or collective Mind, the very deepest Unconscious. The entire "material, external, physical" universe is an expression of the Mind of God.

We usually live our everyday lives in a kind of sleep, or unawareness of spiritual ideas. That is why, in the symbolic book of Genesis, "Jehovah" (the principle of ignorance) put "Adam" to sleep, and the record never says that Adam ever woke up. Human history begins after Adam is put to sleep by the god of ignorance, Jehovah. Only later does the God of Love come to us, and awaken us. ("Awakening" is a synonym for "enlightenment.")

Again, a whole library could be written to answer your most profound inquiry. Several books have been written here about the deep mysteries of God and human minds, and the many relationships and interactions among them.

Your second question concerns the afterlife. That there is an afterlife is what gives deeper meaning to our actions and lives here on earth. For earth is a place of visitors, but no one really "lives" here.

For years, we were in total denial of death. As Jehovah's Witnesses, we suffered from a severe form of "thanatophobia," or death-terror. But, for the first time in history, tens of thousands of people have actually died, and biomedical technology has made it possible to literally bring them back from the dead. (See the breakthrough work, by Dr. Raymond Moody, Life After Life. It can be found at any bookstore, in a used paperback edition.) Medical interviews have proved, beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt, that these people continued as minds after their bodies were heart-dead and brain-dead. (They were truly clinically dead. To say that they had a "near-death experience is simply a way of giving in to sixteenth-century materialism, which denies survival.) Of course, Jehovah's Witnesses and materialists dismiss the afterlife because, for other reasons, they do not want to believe in it. They say that it is all brain-induced hallucination. But this idea must be wrong, for if you give ten people a powerful drug, such as lsd, you will have ten very different experiences; for the cells and structures of different brains are very different. But many thousands have died and returned with accounts of exactly the same experience. I can attest to this truth, for I have died twice.

How many people would have to return from a country called "Russia," where you have never personally visited, before you would believe that this country really existed? It is similar with the afterlife.

Antique materialism, and Jehovah's Witnesses, claim that all thought, and consciousness, originate in the physical brain. Modern medicine and science now question this dogma. The famous neurophysiologist Sir John Eccles said that the brain was merely the "switchboard" for a non-physical mind (Soul). People have been able to think even after huge portions of their physical brains have been destroyed in accidents.

Immortality is one of the clearest teachings of the Christian Scriptures. To limit this to 144,000, based on a literal interpretation of a verse in Revelation (14:1), inside the teaching that the entire book of Revelation is symbolic, does not make consistent good sense.

Again, entire libraries have been written on this most captivating subject, so they cannot all be adequately summarized here. Since cults keep their members in enforced ignorance, discouraging reading, I take the opposite tact: Read everything! As a free and independent adult, you can choose what you want to believe, and know, and need not fear "influence" by books. Books cannot harm you; that is simply a superstition designed to keep people in ignorance.

Much, much more to come later, my friend. In fact, would you like to read one of my other books? If so, simply say the word, for teaching and learning were the two reasons that I was born.:)

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