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Christianity As Myth

A number of people have been shocked by the title of my recent book, Moving Beyond the Christian Myth. They wonder how I, a former preacher, could call the Christian religion a myth. Let me try to explain using a simple example.

Primitive societies were dependent upon nature to make it possible for them to exist. But they were aware that they had no control over the weather or the crops. They were helpless in the face of the powers that affected their lives. They gave names to these powers, and did whatever they could to persuade them to be helpful and not destructive.

One of the most glaring examples of this mentality is the practice of human sacrifice in some primitive cultures. There are descriptions of virgins being thrown into volcanoes to calm down the vulcan gods, and this image has influenced those who created the religious beliefs with which we are familiar today.

Conservative Christians preach a God who hates sin and the sinner, and who is prepared to cast them into eternal suffering in hell. To avoid this fate, some sort of intervention is necessary. In Christian theology, that intervention still comes in the form of human sacrifice. Jesus is the “pure one” who is thrown into the volcano of God’s anger to restrain the one who has the power to kill us all.

Christians see a two-faced God: one is the god who is angry at human nature and who is prepared to kill his own children to punish them; the other is the loving merciful father who will do anything to save his children. Since these two gods seem to cancel each other out, what are we left with?

This whole image is a classic metaphor. We are afraid of a god who is powerful and unreachable, so we imagine an equal power, the son of this god but someone who looks like us, to neutralize the god whom we fear. Then we throw him into the volcano hoping that God will accept our offering and become benevolent and loving toward us.

When you look behind the metaphor, you see that its purpose is to describe a God who is positive and accepting. That’s because we are part of this power we call God; it is in us, and we are in it. It is our human nature that sees this power as alien and fears it, and which consequently believes that we need a savior. What we really need is to be awakened to our spiritual nature which sees this power as part of our own being and loves it.

There is no volcano, and thus there is no need for a human sacrifice. What we are called to do is to move from our physical perception of reality to a spiritual one.

There is no need to pacify or appease God. God is not our enemy. This is what Jesus came to tell us, although we perverted his message and turned it into another religion which required a savior. God is the whole of existence in which we find our consciousness. Therefore, living in the presence of this creative power and love can heal the fear that distanced us from God in the first place, and make us realize that we are one with God, with others, and with the universe.

Posted Sept. 21, 2016

Copyright: John W. Sloat 2016