Many, if not most, Christians believe that an immense entity called God, the creator of heaven and earth who resides apart from his creation, dictated to scribes the books that make up the Bible. The Bible by this line of reasoning—or belief—is inerrant. There were a lot of other books floating around the Middle East that purported to tell the true story and teachings of Jesus. At some point a council of churchmen gathered to determine which were true and which were false, and they too were to have been guided by God. That’s how we ended up with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I don’t believe any of this is true. It’s a false conception of God, for one thing. What must have really happened isn’t difficult to understand if you pull your head out of the mythology that inevitably grows up around figures like Jesus.

As with every other human endeavor, in religion there is a central figure around whom arise a series of concentric circles of followers. It’s true with the world of computers, for example. There are people close to the center of development who know what’s actually going on and what the real issues are. Farther out, people get second, third, and fourth-hand information, all of which is watered-down and hyped. In the spiritual realm, the central figure is someone who has made the deep dive into the roots of consciousness and discovered firsthand what’s true. That individual then reemerges and begins to speak about what he or she has come to understand. There will be a handful of followers who get it, or are somewhat close to getting it. And surrounding them are others whose understanding is a little less. And beyond them are still others whose understanding is even less. And so it goes.

The enlightened don’t write books. Others take down what they remember being taught and through their devotion begin to construct elaborate mythologies. The ones setting it down have an imperfect understanding. The holy books are imperfect roadmaps, but, if we’re lucky, accurate enough that we can take the journey ourselves. It’s the only way to understand. Buddha taught for something like 40 years and had time to expound his teachings in detail. Christ was around for only a short time, which make, I think, the Christian books less reliable. But Jesus taught someone person-to-person, and his message has been passed along in the deep background ever since. That’s the only place it can ever be learned. Real religion doesn’t happen on the Internet or on television. It happens in the deep background.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for writing this down, Mark. I’ve been thinking about this for years, too, although not as deeply or consistently as you have, because I wasn’t sure how to do that. A philosophy of religion course helped me understand that there was at least an academic framework for dissecting Christian propaganda. I majored in anthropology and read a couple of anthropology books about religion and a Reza Aslan book about the Guy from Nazareth, which introduced me to the idea that there were many messiahs preaching in Jerusalem during his time. Already knew there are hundreds of versions of the Bible. I’ve watched discussions about Christian mythology … I’m rambling, just wanted to say that I welcome your blog redirection and look forward to learning more 👏🏾👏🏽👏🏼👏

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