Do I believe in Jesus?

Someone asked me yesterday if I still believed in Jesus?   So I asked them if they meant believing in or the things taught about Jesus?   They asked what was the difference so I gave them some of the following examples.   I believe in an actual historical man called Jesus who born in Palestine  and lived in a way that was remarkable for his time, but I do not believe the story about his virgin  birth & demi-god status. I believe in the unique qualities of his life and loving humanity but not in the church doctrines developed to totally replace it.  I believe that he was killed for his convictions but not the sacrificial atonement myth created by the church to replace his personal courage in the face of certain death.  I believe in the transformational nature of his story to effect change here and now but not the heaven cult built to replace it, which demands my belief or damnation.   Finally I believe in The Way as Jesus taught and lived but not the gospel story of self hate and God’s wrath & vengeance created to replace it.


21 thoughts on “Do I believe in Jesus?

  1. You know, Bill, those are not the only choices. It’s not either you believe this about Jesus or you believe that. I refuse to be a stereotype. What you describe is not the church I know. One can believe that Jesus is who the Bible says he is, who he claims to be, and believe what he taught about our relationship with God and our fellow man, without buying all the “church doctrine” that has arisen over the years. It is possible, simple even, to differentiate between the doctrines of men and biblical truth. One can believe that his death on the cross was atonement as kinsman redeemer, and not just for pie in the sky but to restore a relationship that was broken, a reconciliation (the word translated “saved” means “healed” or “made whole” as I’m sure you know). That we humans rebelled against God is pretty obvious from history, and I’m not talking about original sin but rather the actions of each and every one of us. It’s in our nature to test the limits, to see what we can get away with. One can believe in the Bible as the inerrant word of God without indulging in self-hatred (we are wonderfully and fearfully made, what’s to hate?), without seeing God as a big blue meanie hellbent on wrath and vengeance (he takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked), but rather as a loving Father taking steps to protect his children from their own folly. One can see the gospel for the Good News that it is, no guilt, no condemnation, but restoration. And one can even believe all this without believing in eternal damnation (as Rob Bell, for example, would tell you). I know it’s easier to make fun of a stereotype, and that stereotype does have a basis in reality, but that stereotype does not describe the entire Church, and it’s disingenuous to squeeze us all into one mold. One size does not fit all. Peace.

  2. Jesus taught us how to live in fellowship with God and in fellowship with our neighbors. He taught us what God’s ideal is for us. It’s a bar set so high that we can’t reach it without him, but then he lifts us up and carries us over the bar, so it’s really all him. We belong in him. It’s where we are supposed to be. Broken people made whole. Him living through us. Our own efforts are feeble attempts, our own righteousness filthy rags. “Let go and let God” may be cliche, but it’s a profound statement of our place in the grand scheme of things. No set of rules to follow, no having to perform, to earn God’s favor, but entering his rest and just being. Our job is to surrender and let him work through us. Jesus said “I and the Father are One.” He also said, “I in them and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one…” I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.

  3. Yes, it’s your journey. But when you present the Christian church as this one monolithic stereotypical caricature, which only a piece of it actually is, it becomes a sort of strawman. A buffoonish thing easy to tear down. And it does a disservice to those in the church who fall outside that stereotype, who want to bring change, who want to bring God’s love to a hurting world, because we are lumped with the buffoon.

  4. Not really protecting the church. I don’t want to protect it as much as help it be what it was meant to be. I don’t want to give up on it. It may need fixing in some respects, maybe pruning off some dead legalistic branches, but it’s still alive and viable. But on a more personal level, I feel lumped in that clownish definition of the church, and I want to say, Hey, that’s not me. That’s not a lot of us.

    Anyhow, have a great rest of the evening.

  5. I don’t really understand the idea of original sin or the idea of us getting a sin nature because if it. It’s illogical. If we sin because we inherited our sin nature from Adam and Eve, but they didn’t have a sin niature until they sinned, how could they have sinned in the first place without that sin nature? I think a more logical explanation is that God created us with free will knowing darn well what that meant, that we had the ability to choose to either obey him or rebel, and that children being what they are, we would have to find out just how much we could get away with. We are who we are. It’s not original sin or sin nature. It’s just being human.

    When comparing Jesus to Adam, with Jesus being called the second Adam, if through Adam ALL men had sin imputed to them without having a choice in the matter, then, logically, through Jesus, wouldn’t ALL men have righteousness imputed to them without having a choice?.

  6. I have to ask one question do you believe that the bible is the word of GOD?
    for without it how would we Know the nature of GOD , his chosen people and who his Son was Jesus who says himself I and the father are one

  7. First I believe The Bible is a collection of words about God from many different sources. I do believe The Bible is a story about the Jewish People and I do think Jesus was one with the purpose of Elohim which was goodness and love. I do not believe the Bible is Infallible nor do I think it was meant to be seen as inerrant by the writers although I do believe it teaches some valuable lessons and spiritual truth.

  8. I am pass the church as an institution for positive change and brotherhood in the world although there are some on the leading edge of some very good things who remain on it’s fringes.

  9. All denominations, even non-denominational churches teach false doctrines. If someone, anyone wants “God’s Truth”, they are to seek Him, and if they seek Him with all their heart and soul, they will find Him. Salvation is about a personal relationship between Jesus and you. We seek God by getting Jesus’ teachings. We find God by obeying Jesus’ teachings. We have to believe everything that Jesus says. He reveals himself to those who get his teachings and obeys them. We have to watch our lives and our doctrines closely. We have to check on everything that others try to teach us.

  10. All you did was get the Bible and pick what you wanted to believe and throw out what you did not want to believe. You made for yourself your own god and story, which is really no God with a fictional story.
    Maybe everything that you chose to believe is false and everything you say is false is the truth.
    You have to believe the entire Bible, because it is all the truth. Who are you to pick and chose from it?
    You are really missing out on knowing and understanding God.

  11. Maybe it’s ok and as far as understanding God that is an eternal project. Most religion is a lot like a God google with people certain there place on the Google page is the absolute truth.

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