Letter From A Soul Friend To A Sceptic Beginner

Dear Friend,

You say you want to try out this Way of Life, which we also call the Way of Jesus, but you have serious questions about Christianity.

You say that the Way of Life asks us to soak ourselves in the Scriptures but the Jewish Bible (the Christian Old Testament) tells us to kill enemies and its treatment of non-Jews seems racist. Its God is male and the leaders of the Jews and the Christian Church were male. You think we should throw off these out-dated views and embrace a world where everyone is equal and where the Divine is reflected in the religions of all people.

The Bible is a library of 66 books of varied genres and periods of human history.  Its over-arching theme is the struggle between good and evil.  This struggle runs through every human heart.  The root sin is humans trying to be like God – it affects every individual and every nation.

The Old Testament (which means Covenant) tells how God tried to model what a God-guided nation should be, focussed on Israel, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 6) and its temple worship.  This was a laboratory. Its purpose was to show how every nation could become God-guided.

The 27 books in the New Testament tell how the Cosmic Force (The Word, God, Yahweh/I Am) chose to become temporarily incarnate within the human life stream.  This was Jesus, who was the Jewish Messiah.

The Christian Church which emerged likens God/Jesus to the Sun. Rays of light from the Sun stream to every people and religion, as well as dark ideas and practices.  It believes in Progressive Revelation.  The Old Testament reveals some significant rays of light.  The successors of the first humans (Adam and Eve) chose to obey God (under various names).  When they disobeyed things went wrong.  They discerned that a Messiah would be sent who would fulfil their divine aspirations and bring light to all nations.

Jesus claimed to be the Messiah.  He taught that although Moses had asked them to moderate retribution  proportionately (an eye for an eye) he wanted his followers to forgive their enemies. He laid out twelve Attitudes that Make You Happy (Beatitudes ) for all people (Matthew 5-7).

He claimed to be the messiah the Old Testament prophet Isaiah had foreseen, a Suffering Messiah (Isaiah 53).  He allowed himself to be captured and killed by religious Jewish leaders, teaching that the inmost nature of the Divine is selfless, suffering love for all people.  The last book of the New Testament describes the Divine, temporarily human-on-earth Jesus as ‘the lamb slain before the foundation of the world’ (Revelation 13:18).  That is, God’s eternal nature is Defenceless Love.

So when you read the Scriptures keep the Four R’s in mind: 1) Revelation (the account of how the Divine imparts a next bit of revelation to a person)  2) Response (the account of how a person or a people respond to this) 3) Record (The Jewish Scribes were extremely careful and accurate in writing down events and responses)  4) Reader.  How you, the reader, respond continues God’s ongoing action and purpose in the world.  You can be an informed God-guided partner. You can either do right and continue the progress of Light on earth, or you can be blown by every unsifted wind of fickle human nature.

Posted at 08:18am on 9th August 2023
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