Many of the posts I write are categorized in my blog category, “Rethinking Christianity”. These writings are due to my curiosity about how Christianity became the theology that it is and what would it have been if it had not be influenced by the Greeks (Hellenization), Paul (Pauline Christianity) and Constantine (pagan infusions). Would it have even survived if it had remained the teachings of a first century Jewish rabbi in early Palestine? Many scholars believe that it would not have flourished, especially without the intervention of Paul, and would have faded into history as just another short lived fringe cult of Judaism. Which always brings to my mind the question of how then Jesus became recognized in other religions. Is it just that followers of other religions are simply showing respect to Christians by recognizing their Holy Man? If so, then it is a one sided courtesy because Christians certainly do not recognize the Holy Men of other religions, except as misguided pawns of satan.
The history of Christianity is no longer privileged information kept in elite inner circles of theologians and academics. The origins of Christianity are now on public display for anyone who chooses to research and learn about it. We can read masses of information on the internet, in books, and hear startling disclosures during lectures and conferences. The truth of Christianity is that it is not a sanctified covenant established by God through Christ, taught to us by the disciples who followed Jesus, and divinely maintained by the selection of God-ordained men teaching the gospel truth. It is a religion born of Hellenistic influence, division between apostles and restructured paganism by the ancient Roman Empire. Many others who discover what I have decide to close the door and walk away. Others make it a mission to debunk it. I chose to rethink it; to attempt to understand what Christianity would have been, as it was in the beginning, before Constantine, before Paul and from the mind of Jesus.
In rethinking Christianity certain questions arise: What is sin? What is the meaning of baptism? Is hell real? Is Satan real? Was Jesus God? What is salvation? Why did Jesus have to die? What is the purpose of spirituality and the quest to know God?
These are fear inducing questions for most indoctrinated Christians. I understand why. Breaking the grip of a deeply ingrained hell doctrine is just too terror paralyzing for many to attempt. It was hard for me in the beginning. There were always thoughts that if I was embarking onto a wrong path my soul was imperiled. What helped me to step past those thoughts was reading bible scriptures that instructed the faithful to search out the truth. But once I started I could not stop, and before long I realized that I could not define myself as a Christian, of any degree, casual or devout.
Once something is known it can’t become unknown. I have drifted through periods of agnosticism, in and out of progressive and liberal theologies and finally into an expanding acceptance of mysticism and being spiritual but not religious. But still, I have a curiosity about Jesus and Christianity, and whether or not there was a message taught by a first century sage that became buried beneath the foundation of a religion.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)