Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
kah608

Many Paths To God

Recommended Posts

Hello:

I am a Christian 61 years old, brought up in the United Church of Christ and have been a member of Presbyterian churches as well as Methodist churches. As my wife has always attended the Baptist (Southern) Church, I joined our present denomination when we were married 17 years ago.

Neither of us believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible, we agree Christ was Jewish and it is important to recognize and learn more about Christianity’s Jewish heritage in order to better understand both the old and new testaments. We agree that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are more alike than different; having an educated and trained pastor is necessary in leading a congregation; and there should be separation of the church and state.

Immediately upon retiring two and a half years ago, we both became certified teachers of English as a second language and are working with both immigrants and refugees, of which we have over 150 languages spoken in the community. Additionally, we both feel that terrorism and extreme “Islam” is NOT Islamic (our Muslim students agree) and that our country needs to recognize that extreme “Christianity” is NOT Christian.

Over the past year, the political climate in our country has become a great concern to both of us. We cannot abide by the current ignorance, intolerance and hate that seems to have become fashionable in certain segments of society. I am truly embarrassed to be associated with an “Evangelical” denomination. Both my wife and I do not believe in direct “proselytization”, but would rather show our beliefs through our behavior toward others.

Because of my concern that many “Evangelical” leaders are associating themselves with a “politician” who I believe is not only totalitarian, but exhibits absolutely no Christ-like qualities, I have stopped attending church. My wife understands my concerns and has offered to join and attend a church I would be more comfortable with. I have been thinking about my religious roots and am considering the United Church of Christ.

Thank you for reading this far. I felt the background information was necessary to understanding the question I am about to ask. Although my wife and I agree on much in regard to religion, I am more liberal in my thinking compared to her moderate outlook.

I have been reading Bishop Spong as well as learning more about Progressive Christianity, both of which make sense to me. However, my wife does not agree on everything Progressive Christianity espouses. I tend to agree that I believe Judaism, Christianity and Islam have worthy values and all three worship the same God. Can anyone explain to me how the belief in several paths to God can reconcile with John 14:6 - "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”? My wife firmly believes this statement. Just as she wants me to worship where I am comfortable, I want her to feel comfortable with where she worships.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kah, My deepest regards to the Divinity within you and your wife. John 14:6 - "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”? Jesus said, " I and the Father are One" Father is God which is everything so I feel the statement says Jesus is experiencing unity in his consciousness with God's ocean of pure consciousness, which is the truth and the life, but to experience this as Christians we have chosen the way of Jesus. The way of Jesus is universal in that we must die first to experience the unity he is pointing to, which is beyond the individual identity which merges with the ocean of being. The mystics in all religions say the same thing in a different way because they are talking to different cultures at different times, but the way is basically the same beyond the ego mind in a state of grace of just being. It is in our nature as human beings to just be present and enjoy the Kingdom of heaven in the here and now. We don't have to die physically to experience heaven because it is eternal and we are in eternity except in our mind, which does not identify with it. We have glimpses of this experience watching a sunset, good music or being in nature. Jesus was trying to share with us the joy of unity and was not preaching to promote a religion so may we help each other by learning to just be our true self.

 

The teachings of Jesus are far-reaching and universal even known by people who are not aware of Jesus because the path of dying to an old way of living and being born again in a new life is made known in all the religions and non-religions of the world. Jesus is the only way because as he said a seed must die to give life, likewise Jesus died to give life to many Christians and non Christians. A seed falls to the ground and dies so it can germinate, grow and make many more seeds, which means there is no harvest without death. Christianity is not just a bunch of stories about the life of Jesus and a fixed set of beliefs for the same reason that we can’t enter a new life by just believing certain things are true that we are saved by just knowing the Jesus stories. The way of Jesus is the way of death and resurrection, a way of transition and transformation from an old way of being to a new way of being. Jesus said, “I am the truth, the way and the life,” making a statement that communicates his embodiment of the way, watch me, watch how I live my life and you will witness the truth within yourself, the light and your own unique way as well.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kah608,

 

There is also the possibility that Jesus never said this or was paraphrased inaccurately. Or if he did say it with any meaning that He thought he was a personal saviour and people needed to 'know' him or they would go to Hell, then he could be mistaken! :)

 

We know that the 4th gospel has a different take on Jesus than Matthew, Mark & Luke. Those Gospels are more about Jesus' life, experiences, and teachings, whereas John diverges greatly and makes his gospel much more spiritual. It is not unreasonable to think that John, being written some 60-80 years after the death of Jesus, could be expected to be influenced by the author's personal opinion.

 

I think one just has to have a look for themselves into other religions and see quite clearly that many people feel they experience unity with God and live fruitful and purposeful lives. Surely Jesus God can't see this as a bad thing?

 

Welcome to the forum kah608 - I hope you find things beneficial here.

 

Cheers

Paul

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Kah608,

 

I think both Soma and Paul have posed valid possible answers to your question. Personally i take it in context of the complete Chapters to the point where it is recorded in John 17:20-21 ".Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: ....... "

 

To me this makes it clear that if Jesus spoke all this he was speaking from that faith/oneness relationship. And further more praying that we could be one also even as he was one with God. The way is faith and oneness with God and it appears to me not limited to a single person or religion. It seems to me anyone on that path in the present moment relationship (at one) with God could say in that consciousness ... I am the way, truth and the light. But of course it can be easily misconstrued.

 

Joseph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the above posts -

And for myself, because I've done lots of poking about in historicity etc, I feel that there are many words that are in the bible because people wrote them according to their own world view and spiritual prejudices - rather than being included because they are direct quotes from Jesus himself.

 

However, many of us have a personal relationship with scriptures that speak to us, so simply disregarding that particular text isn't really a kind thing to suggest.

 

It is helpful though to look at the context that the author of John was writing via. These words presented and added as canonical because at a time of possible Pagan chaos, early Christian leaders were concerned about their charges following any number of the many teachings from a variety of sects and behaving in a way some might have seen as damaging. There were also many who claimed to be the ultimate prophet back in the day and perhaps those words were directed more at those wayward and lost folk who were at risk of joining in dangerous cultic practices. It's so hard to say ... because we weren't there (oh! to be a fly on the wall!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps there are no paths to God but God is simply drawing us inexorably into him.

 

What we percieve as a path may be just be looking through the wrong end of the telescope. A path implies we are in control, and that may not be the case at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Burl I like your thought, we are in the midst of the infinite so we are already there, we just aren't aware God is all around and inside us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Burl I like your thought, we are in the midst of the infinite so we are already there, we just aren't aware God is all around and inside us.

 

Thanks. The concept is from Wolfhart Pannenberg, who was a genuinely original theologian.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Burl I like your thought, we are in the midst of the infinite so we are already there, we just aren't aware God is all around and inside us.

 

So is this a panentheistic or a pantheistic interpretation/like?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So is this a panentheistic or a pantheistic interpretation/like?

Panentheistic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies. I apologise if my comments are very shallow or basic for some of you but I just want to try and find where Jesus fits in my life and if I believe if he performed miracles or not. Is Jesus a human who was at one with God or is he God in human form?

 

I also wonder why did the writers of the gospels say that Jesus performed miracles if he didn't? What would be the meaning of this and is this something that was common for the time?

 

Again I apologise but I would just love to learn and understand more. I realise I won't get a definitive answer but with more understanding I may be able to see where Jesus fits for me.

 

Please feel free to move this topic to the debates section as it is broad but I just want to learn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you take the opinion that Jesus was only 'one with God', then John 14:6 is exclusive to Jesus of Nazareth.

 

If you are of the opinion that Jesus was God, then the verse becomes "God is the way and the truth and the light".

 

Interesting, no?

Edited by Burl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you take the opinion that Jesus was only 'one with God', then John 14:6 is exclusive to Jesus of Nazareth.

 

If you are of the opinion that Jesus was God, then the verse becomes "God is the way and the truth and the light".

 

Interesting, no?

No , not necessarily. I take the 1st option and it is not exclusive to Jesus as he followed that with he is in the Father and the Father is in him and furthermore he prayed that we would also be one with the Father even as he was. Elsewhere in John it reads the the logos is the true light and lights every man that comes into the world. God and the Light is in and through all things therefore , in my view, God is not exclusive to Jesus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×