Considering what a contrarian Jesus of Nazareth was to structure, practices, piety and legalism, it is sometimes difficult to understand how he ended up bleeding out a religion.
It’s not just his own words, which abhor the strict nature of religiosity, but also the reaction of those who were the faithful partakers–how they deemed him ignorant, a drunkard, a glutton, an evil man who was demon possessed, and a friend of sinners.
Not a rousing recommendation.
Let us start on the basis that all religions have one similar goal–to promote the notion that there is some sort of Supreme Being(s) or enlightenment which prompts us to worship.
Also, when you put the religions of the world in the order of their inception, you gain an interesting insight.
Buddhism and Hinduism preceded Christ, as did Judaism. Then came Jesus. But the only religion that had the benefit of eyeballing the fallacies of following faith without rhyme and reason was Mohammed. Yet the Muslim faith is riddled with the misleading trap doors that open up to fanaticism.
What is the difference between Jesus and Mohammed?
Mohammed wanted to start a cliqué . Jesus was avoiding one.
Let’s look at specifics.
When it comes to the basics of spiritual expression–prayer–Jesus constantly warned his followers to make their overtures to God as practical and personal as possible. He said that prayer was necessary but should never be done in public to be seen by others, using vain repetition, or at a wailing wall or on a rug, but instead initiated behind a closed closet door.
When the subject of fasting came up, Jesus said there was nothing wrong with it as long as nobody knew you were doing it. In other words, put on a happy face, wash up and look energized by the experience instead of depleted.
How about worship? When he talked to the woman at the well, she was worried about where to do it and the style of doing it. Just like today–should it be contemporary or traditional? Jesus pointedly informed her that location and style were irrelevant. Worship was to be unfolded “in spirit and in truth.”
Seems like we’re on a roll. How about giving? Jesus claimed that giving was the key to getting. He once again wanted to make sure that generosity was not expressed to impress others, but instead, to instill in our hearts the knowledge that every little bit helps, and someday those we assist might come back our way and be our angels of blessing.
And then there’s the Law. Judaism and the Muslims are intent on maintaining a code of ethics, conduct and social interaction that was conceived more than two thousand years ago, with no respect for the power of freedom and the necessity of evolution.
For you see, Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of the Law. And what is that fulfillment? Two fold: “He has come to give us life and it more abundantly, and also come that our joy might be full.”
By no means should we condemn or even critique those of the Muslim faith for adhering to their rendition of God. But we must question whether the faith that is promoted has sufficient warnings to scare away all the rascals, fanatics and self-righteous rabble which can try to hurt others by using the words of the Prophets.
- Jesus told his disciples to worship God by being as normal as possible.
- He told them to blend in.
- He told them to honor Caesar instead of hating Caesar.
- He told them they were the light of the world, not the scourge of the Earth.
- And most of all, he told them that they had no right to judge. (He even sealed this point by saying that he–Jesus–could judge and it would be righteous and fair, but he refused to do so.)
Christianity works because we know how to isolate our idiots and make sure it’s clear that they are not really part of the faith.
The Muslims talk a big game, but after decades and decades of terrorism, they are still represented by those who kill women and children.