Here is a summary of Christianity as i understand it now.
I tried to summarize thisÂ all in a few key sentences, but this is the best I could do, since everything is connected to everything!
There is a â€śthingâ€ť or â€śbeingâ€ť that exists and we can FEEL, that is pure love. Honestly IT will pour over you like liquid love. IT appears strongly in places like churches where people are united, especially if outside of their own egos, there to acknowledge a common greatness outside of themselves. This also includes sports stadiums when the crowd cheers together, or moments of self-sacrifice or pure honesty and goodness. Wherever two or three are gathered in the name of BEing, not self. Generally people call IT â€śGod,â€ť although â€śGodâ€ť is actually a generic noun, not a â€śproper name.â€ť But IT is also known by other labels.
God is incomprehensible to human beings, so any human attempts to define IT are only approximations (in the same way insect language cannot even begin to describe the complexity of human beings). So have RESPECT for othersâ€™ points of view, because everyoneâ€™s is flawed/wrong in some way due to our human limitations.
Insisting that IT couldnâ€™t exist just because you havenâ€™t felt IT makes no sense, given that many things such as germs or UV rays could only be guessed at until we developed the technology to find and prove them. If we could go inside the sun it would appear black, because we donâ€™t have the physical capability of seeing rays of those high wavelengths. Human perception is limited to its own abilities, which areÂ very limited. We can see and hear less than 5% of the available visual and audio spectrums.
People may have even felt IT in some ways but donâ€™t recognize IT for what IT is? Why do some people â€śfeelâ€ť it and others donâ€™t? Maybe they needed it or were just really open to it once. Liquid love that flows downstream?
GOD IS NOT GOD'S NAME
The Christian â€śbibleâ€ť or â€ślibrary of writings,â€ť which begins with Hebrew scriptures/writings, starts by using two words for God (you can see them starting in Genesis 1 through the creation stories):
1) â€śElohiymâ€ť which is a plural word meaning â€śstrengthsâ€ť or â€śpowers.â€ť The root â€śElâ€ť means â€śstrengthâ€ť or â€śpowerâ€ť and is also the root of the Arabic word for God, â€śAllah.â€ť
2) â€śYHWHâ€ť or â€śAHYHâ€ť in Hebrew (specifically see Exodus 3:14-15), which can be translated as â€śI AM (that I AM)â€ť but because ancient Hebrew used different tenses it can also mean â€śI WILL be what I WILL BEâ€ť or something like "He Will Exist," so a better translation might be â€śI Beâ€ť or â€śBEing.â€ť
The Deity is labeled "male" because those words themselves are masculine in Hebrew, and because of their culture at the time.
Because the Jews believed the â€śdivine nameâ€ť should not be pronounced (probably because as always, we demean it), YHWH in the Bible is translated â€śLORDâ€ť which simply means â€śmasterâ€ť or â€śbossâ€ť in modern English.
â€“> InÂ the second creation story beginning in Genesis 2:4, the writer uses a combination of the two words:
â€śYHWH Elohimâ€ť literally meansÂ â€śThe Powers That Be.â€ť
God cannot be â€śmaleâ€ť any more than IT is â€śfemale,â€ť and the Bible itself tells us in Genesis that male and female have both been created in ITs image. Human words like Father and Son could never be exact or literal; they are only attempts to describe the indescribable. We give God human characteristics to make IT more relate-able, which is called â€śanthropomorphism.â€ť The mark placed to identify the center of the circle is not the actual center itself.
In the same way, the Bible describes â€śhellâ€ť as both â€śfireâ€ť and â€śdarkness.â€ť Neither is intended to be literal; they are both attempts to describe the unfathomable in human language, to give us a â€śsenseâ€ť of it. Jesus also says we are â€śbaptized by fireâ€ť so we realize that fire is a powerful metaphor used in different ways. (â€śBaptizeâ€ť also simply means â€śimmerseâ€ť or â€śdunk.â€ť)
If God is omnipotent, timeless, and created everything, then EVERYTHING that ever happens is ITS FAULT. If IT didnâ€™t want it exactly this way IT could change it or would have made it different. Or IT is not omnipotent. The idea of a â€śfallâ€ť is ridiculous. God made â€śAdamâ€ť knowing exactly what he would do, and IT made him that way anyway. But, that doesnâ€™t mean that what i do isnâ€™t also my fault. â€śAdamâ€ť is a word that literally means â€śmankindâ€ť so it is a story about all of us. God made â€śadamâ€ť from the adamah, or red clay, that is, IT made earthling from earth.
THE UNITY OF OPPOSITES
Good and bad, like all opposites, such as tall and short, light and dark, as well as belief and unbelief, donâ€™t exist separately in nature/reality. Each set are like two sides of one coin, but much more like two graduated â€śendsâ€ť of one shoelace, a bell-shaped curve of ONE THING, only existing relative to each other. The fact that dark is the absence of light or maybeÂ evil is the absence of good doesnâ€™t change this.
And those opposites can NOT be divided in â€śhalf.â€ť That duality, like Genesis says, â€śIs ALL good.â€ť
Â Free will = Good + Bad
(As a demonstration of this, get a piece of paper, noting that it has a left half and a right half. RipÂ the left half off and throw it away. Note that the remaining piece still has a left half and a right half. Bad is only the â€śleft halfâ€ť of all possible acts.) Like Dr. Phil says: â€śno matter how flat you make a pancake, it still has two sides.â€ť ?
HEAVEN AND HELL
So â€śHeavenâ€ť and â€śHellâ€ť really could not be separate places, it must be that the closer you are to God, the more you are in â€śheaven,â€ť the farther you are from IT, the more you are in â€śhell.â€ť This explains how it is both â€śworksâ€ť and â€śbeliefâ€ť that â€śsaveâ€ť us. The more we do of both the closer to God we are. Those places are INHERENT in what we do, not imposed on us from outside.
The word â€śHeavenâ€ť is made up. The Hebrew word "shamayim" is a plural form meaning "heights," "elevations" and so "skies" and "heavens." In every language other than English the word is translated somewhat more more correctly as "sky." Even if you want to remain archaic it should be translated â€śheavens.â€ť Why is English using a fake word?
The early followers of Jesus, along with most people who lived at the time, believed that the earth (erets) was flat and covered with a space or metal dome called the firmament. The heavens (shamayim) were on top of the firmament, and sheol, the location of the dead, was underground, completing the three-part cosmos.
We now know that that is completely wrong.
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
So if â€śheavenâ€ť is to remain valid, as the word shamayim actually means "heights" anyway, the sky can represent the â€śhighest places.â€ť â€śKingdomâ€ť canÂ also be translated â€śdomainâ€ť or â€śrealmâ€ť and is not limited to a physical place. These days we rarely have â€śkingdomsâ€ť we have â€śstatesâ€ť instead. So a better translation of â€śkingdom of heavenâ€ť might be "highest state."
Â literally means â€śmiss the markâ€ť in both Hebrew and Greek. Our sins are our flaws and imperfections, everything that keeps us from continually hitting the imaginary target of perfectly beneficial existence and action and reaching or having the prize of complete wholeness. Sin is a condition, not only a sum of individual acts. Weâ€™ll never get rid of a beach by trying to remove individual grains of sand. Is there such a thing as a â€śperfectâ€ť tree or a â€śperfectâ€ť rock? Nonsense â€“ â€śperfectionâ€ť is a concept that exists only in the human brain, and isnâ€™t real.
â€śAll have sinnedâ€ť = â€śnobodyâ€™s perfect.â€ť
Â is only Godâ€™s instruction manual (that IT â€śreveals,â€ť or we â€śrealizeâ€ť in an excruciatingly slow process and write down) for how the universe works. It shows us that we are all imperfect â€śsinners.â€ť
God cares what we do because IT loves us and doesnâ€™t want us to hurt ourselves or others.Â The rules were made FOR us, we werenâ€™t made to fit rules, but actually when we fit them, life works!Â As Jesus says, â€śThe sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.â€ť
Our imperfections do contain their own punishment (in an overall sense), because the laws of nature have their consequences. If you drop your hair dryer in the bathtub, you get electrocuted. If you lie, it causes problems. If youâ€™re gay, it causes problems. If youâ€™re born with one leg, it causes problems. People are born with genetic damage such as missing chromosomes, or XXY gender markers which makes them physically both male and female. â€śAll have sinnedâ€ť just means â€śnobodyâ€™s perfectâ€ť â€“ what part of that donâ€™t we get?
We inherently eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, cutting everything in half and â€śjudgingâ€ť it. We try to make ourselves like God but only God understands it all, so only ITÂ can judge or assess correctly. (Note that a more accurate translation is actually "the tree of the experience of function and dysfunction." And note that if God had said "don't sit in that chair" instead, then that chair would be known as "TheÂ chair of the experience of...")
Because if â€śsmartâ€ť is â€śgoodâ€ť and â€śstupidâ€ť is â€śbad,â€ť then Iâ€™ve decided that God created me â€śwrong,â€ť since all of us are actually somewhere in between. This causes us to be ashamed of who God made us and put on â€śfig leavesâ€ť to cover our true selves. It is our inherent belief in good vs. bad that separates us from God, which is (at least) EVERYTHING. IT told us not to eat from that tree!
â€śJesusâ€ť is the Greek translation of his real name, which is Hebrew or Aramaic and is Yeshua (or Yeheshua). The closest English translation is Joshua. Also, â€śChristâ€ť is not a name, itâ€™s not even English, they made a word up straight from Greek (Christos). It means â€śannointedâ€ť and by extension â€śmessiahâ€ť or â€śsavior.â€ť In modern parlance we call such a person â€śthe chosen one.â€ť So in common English his name is NOT â€śJesus Christ,â€ť it is more accurately: â€śJosh the Chosen.â€ť
In Jesusâ€™s â€śNameâ€ť
The â€śnameâ€ť isnâ€™t even the point. Back then someoneâ€™s name wasnâ€™t just a word label, it reflected what they ARE. â€śYeshuaâ€ť means â€śGod saves,â€ť and another name they gave him, â€śImmanuel,â€ť means â€śGod with us.â€ť So when we pray in Jesusâ€™sÂ â€śname,â€ťÂ what he really meant is we need to pray in the name of those things, or in theÂ SPIRIT of Jesus or with the HEART of Jesus.
The Greek word LOGOS ( the origin of our word â€ślogicâ€ť) is usually translated as â€śWord,â€ť which is a good representation of the meaning, as in â€śWhatâ€™s the wordâ€ť? Because it means more than just an individual word, it isÂ a thought/message/truth and also â€śexpression.â€ť
But Christianity makes a big mistake when it reads
John 1:1: â€ś1 In the beginning was the Wordâ€¦â€ť
because the conclusion is: â€śthe Word is Jesus.â€ť
Wait, what? NO! WRONG!
Later on, in verse 14:
â€śAnd the Word became flesh and dwelt among usâ€¦â€ť
OK,Â NOW the Word is Jesus. The divine word or message is not a book or a person; but it could be contained in a book, or a person, such as Jesus. This resolves a lot of confusion when Jesus appears to call himself God, but we notice that he spends a lot of time distinguishing between himself the â€śson of manâ€ť and himself the â€śson of God.â€ť And most of the time He talks about God as if â€śHeâ€ť were separate.
Jesus is like a cup that holds the divine coffee. Without the cup the coffee just gets absorbed by the floor. Before him we were just trying to suck it up off the ground. But since he came we can drink it from him. (The â€śWordâ€ť is also referred to as male simply because the word â€ślogosâ€ť is a masculine word in the Greek language.)
Jesus came to show us two main TRUTHS, as the embodiment of the â€śLogos,â€ť which has always existed with God:
â€“God loves us totally and completely exactly how we are; our â€śsinsâ€ť (flaws) are totally, always forgiven, partlyÂ because God made us this way. In fact, God IS pure love.
â€“To reach â€śwholenessâ€ť or â€śperfectionâ€ť (heaven = the highest state) we must die completely to our â€śselvesâ€ť for the good of the whole, doing our best to act in perfect harmony all the time. And Jesus shows us how. But we need help, and the living, BEing God will help us do it if we ask.
Jesus had to die in order to express the complete deal. Just talking isnâ€™t enough, we have to DO what we believe, otherwise our beliefs arenâ€™t. By dying he became the â€śembodimentâ€ť of the truths of God. That complete self-sacrifice for the good of the â€śworldâ€ť or the â€śallâ€ť is the ONLY way to â€śheavenâ€ť or â€śwholeness.â€ť
If i keep insisting that iâ€™m separate, how will i ever be whole? Buddha also grasped the concept of killing the self to find the all or the â€śwhole,â€ť but Buddhism as a religion seems to be missing the actual relationship with the real, live â€śSpiritâ€ť of God. Not to mention we are not supposed to have statues of the Buddha. Buddha says, â€śkill the Buddha!â€ť
or Die. Love?