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Where Did Jesus Live Learn,and Work, Between 13-30Years Old?


annalenalampe
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I have just read an article of Elisabeth Clare Prophet, about S:t Issa. Jesus as same people seem is documented.."The unknown life of Christ" written by Nicolas Notovitch at1887. And the same travel and documentation Dick Bock who traveled to India and Tibet at 1975 to make a movie about Jesus life there and he met John C. Trevor , and Ralph Greaber, that also found out the same. That he had came with a caravan fråm Nasareth at the age of 13 to learn..about life and teach , I would like to hear if there is someone that knows more? Anna-Lena from Sweden.

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Hi Anna-Lena,

 

I became familiar with these works while doing research on a novel I was writing at the time (about a mystery religion cult started by St. Peter).

 

The problem I discovered is that these authors have Jesus (whom they call St. Issa) learning Buddhism during a visit to India. Buddhism didn't enter India until the 7th Century CE - long after Jesus' time.

 

It's a fascinating idea, though. However, the philosophy taught by Jesus doesn't resemble what I recall as the teachings of The Buddah.

 

NORM

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I think it's always interesting to speculate on these things, Anna-Lena, as long as we keep in mind it is merely speculation. Over the years I have studied and practiced Chrisitanity in depth, and have a pretty solid foundation in Buddhist doctrine and practice. Honestly, I see very little in common between the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha, except for some universal ideas about the compassionate treatment of our brothers and sisters.

 

If I were to guess, I would say Jesus probably stayed pretty close to home. I suspect life was probably very difficult, so everyone was needed to pitch in. His religious training was Judaism, and he probably didn't stray far from that. The gospel of John shows elements of Stoicism, so Jesus may have been familiar with that philosophy.

 

Some time ago I read a book about John Cassian, a commentator on the early Desert Fathers and Mothers. Some scholars believe there may have been some contact among Christian and Hindu sects during that period, but again, there is nothing solid to point to. But it's fun to guess anyway!

 

Peace.

Steve

Edited by SteveS55
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Hi Anna-Lena,

 

I became familiar with these works while doing research on a novel I was writing at the time (about a mystery religion cult started by St. Peter).

 

The problem I discovered is that these authors have Jesus (whom they call St. Issa) learning Buddhism during a visit to India. Buddhism didn't enter India until the 7th Century CE - long after Jesus' time.

 

It's a fascinating idea, though. However, the philosophy taught by Jesus doesn't resemble what I recall as the teachings of The Buddah.

 

NORM

Actually i believe you will find Buddhism in India approximately 500 years before Jesus. Myself, i find much in common with the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha. However, one must dig really deep for the similarities.

 

Joseph

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I would be interested to know if the authors of these books attempted to reconcile the teachings of Jesus with early Buddhist teachings, particularly as found in the Pali Canon (taught by oral transmission at the time of Jesus). If Jesus had any contact at all with Buddhism, he certainly didn’t grasp, or perhaps rejected Buddhism altogether.

 

The Buddha taught only “suffering”. While Jesus acknowledged the suffering of humanity in general, he certainly didn’t explain it with the profound understanding, and in the detail taught by the Buddha. The Four Noble Truths, impermanence, dependent origination and non-self, comprise the seminal teachings of the Buddha, and they are accepted by most Buddhist schools in varying degrees and methods of understanding. To my knowledge, there is nothing taught by Jesus even remotely similar to these teachings, all of which are related and, taken together, attempt to explain the origin and cessation of all things.

 

On the surface, some people might say that Jesus and the Buddha taught “basically” the same thing. I think this is simplistic and an attempt at spiritual eclecticism which is rather common today. The fact is one cannot accept both the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the Buddha without creating internal cognitive dissonance, causing a person to either make a choice between their teachings, or rejecting both.

 

With all due respect Joseph, the more one penetrates the teachings of the Buddha, the fewer similarities one finds with the teachings of Jesus. Fundamentally, they are completely different, mainly because they employ contradictory axioms to arrive at their conclusions. Of course, if someone could explain some fundamental equivalents in both teachings that would certainly give me pause to reflect.

 

Peace.

Steve

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http://buddha-christ.info/faqs.html

 

Now I don't know if Jesus had any contact with Buddhism. Since he was Jewish I can only see what the Judaism of his time had to say and there are many opinions.

 

But there is enough interfaith dialogue between Christians and Buddhist with a bibliography that would be the length of your arm to suggest common ground in the human experience to say there are enough similarities in the traditions. Each are also unique in their differences which should be respected.

Steve I disagree with you about the general statement " the more one penetrates the teachings of the Buddha, the fewer similarities one finds with the teachings of Jesus. Fundamentally, they are completely different, mainly because they employ contradictory axioms to arrive at their conclusions. Of course, if someone could explain some fundamental equivalents in both teachings that would certainly give me pause to reflect."

Well yes I have stated that've get are different axioms. No one can deny that. But us shims is not a religion. One can be buddhist and still be a Christian, a Jew, and an atheist. Buddhism does not demand that you adopt a dogma like some Buddhist who are secular suggest.

I became an oblate with Benedictine and in my continuing study of The Rule of St Benedict I have also practiced centering prayer AND have studied Buddhist disciplines. Many a Benedictine monk I know have a deep knowledge and experience with Buddhist disciplines. Enough that their commitment to the church is not the least bit threatened.

 

I can suggest many books that might help you expand your view of the subject.

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http://www.wrmosb.org/nonduality/index.html

 

This is just one source which has opened my heart. I am a better Christian in my practice of Buddhism and in my knowledge if all world religions because I deeply believe that all strive to define what it means to be human.

 

Even an atheist could draw do much non-theistic knowledge if what it means to be human. God isn't needed to be human.

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This is the reading list the White Robed Monks have on their site. I have read most of them, but more than just being intellectually fulfilling, they have present me with the opportunity to go beyond the limitations within myself and allow me the see the idea that the same old arguments about this or that aspect of theology, or about this or that tradition, can and should be transcended.



The Holy Rule of St. Benedict


Abe, Masao. Zen and Western Thought


Barnhart OSB Cam, Bruno and Joseph Wong OSB Cam. Purity of Heart and Contemplation: A Monastic Dialogue between Christian and Asian Traditions


Bielefeldt, Carl. Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation


Borg, Marcus (Ed.). Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings


Carter, Robert E. The Nothingness Beyond God: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Nishida Quitter


Cobb,Jr., John B. and Christopher Ives, eds. The Emptying God: A Buddhist-Jewish-Christian Conversation


Epstein MD, Mark. Thoughts without a thinker


Fry OSB, Timothy (Ed). The Rule of St. Benedict


Funk, Mary Margaret. Thoughts Matter: The Practice of Spiritual Life


Graham OSB, Aelred. Zen Catholicism: A Suggestion


Griffiths OSB, Bede. The Marriage of East and West


Gyatso, Tensin (Dalai Lama XIV). The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus


Gyatso, Tensin (Dalai Lama XIV). Spiritual Advice for Buddhists and Christians


Gunn, Robert J. Joourneys into Emptiness: Dogen, Merton, Jung and the Quest for Transformation


Hackett, David G. The Silent Dialogue: Zen Letters to a Trappist Abbot


Hanh, Thich Nhat. Living Buddha, Living Christ


Henry, Patrick, ed. Benedict's Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of St. Benedict


Johnson, Willard. Riding The Ox Home: A History of Meditation from Shamanism to Science


Kasulis, T.P. Zen Action/Zen Person


Katagiri, Dainin. Returning to Silence


Kennedy SJ, Robert F. Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit: The Place of Zen in Christian Life


Lopez, Donald S and Steven C. Rockefeller (Eds). The Christ and the Bodhisattva


Merton OCSO, Thomas. The Wisdom of the Desert


Merton OCSO, Thomas. Zen and Birds of Appetite


Mitchell, Donald W. & James Wiseman, eds. The Gethsemani Encounter: A Dialogue on the Spiritual Life by Buddhist and Christian Monastics


Mitchell, Stephen. The Gospel According to Jesus


Steindl-Rast OSBC, David. A Listening Heart: The Art of Contemplative Living


Susuki, Shunryu. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind


Teasdale, Wayne. A Monk in the World: Cultivating Spiritual Life


Uchiyama, Roshi Kosho. Approach to Zen


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You are confusing spiritual "practices" with "teachings", Matteo. Clearly some Chrisitan contemplatives engage in meditation borrowed from other traditions. That is not my point at all. I also disagree with your statement that one can be a Buddhist, Christian, Jew and atheist. To suggest such a thing is absurd. A Buddhist may be an atheist, and most likely is one, but a Christian, by definition, maintains a belief in a God of their understanding. For your information, there are many Buddhists who, while not neccessarily dogmatic, are very concerned with "right view", one element of the Eightfold Noble Path. This "right view" is an understanding, acceptance, and ultimate realization of the Buddha's teachings. If you want to debate similarities in teachings, I will gladly do that, but you are missing my original point entirely.

 

Peace.

Steve

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Steve and I disagree with your statement that you disagree with my statement. Why is it absurd? I am not trying to be a reductionist here. I agree there are differences between the traditions. I don't ignore the differences in world religions. "For your information, there are many Buddhists who, while not neccessarily dogmatic, are very concerned with "right view", one element of the Eightfold Noble Path. This "right view" is an understanding, acceptance, and ultimate realization of the Buddha's teachings." Yeah, and?

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Is a fundamental equivalent the state or fact of something being equivalent; equal in valuer or force? If so, then the only way to determine the fundamental equivalent when discussing Buddhism and Christianity is not that they are the same, but that they hold similar beliefs. It's not a surprise that Elisabeth Clare Prophet and others have seen something in Jesus's teachings that make them think about Buddhism. They both deal with the human experience. They both offer similar, but not necessary identical ideas about what it means to be a human being and how to deal with the suffering that is in this world. Jesus says that suffering just is. I am not talking "original sin" because as a Jew living back then, from what I know, that concept did not exist. Paul did not outline original sin. At least that is not how I have come to re-read Paul. See Tom Holland's Contours of Paul's Theology.

 

http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2009/01/original-sin-part-4-fyi-paul-never.html

 

After meditating on scriptures, in my own experience, and in coming a across this book from this article (this website, Experimental Theology, is pretty good, by the way) I was really able to brush away any residue of original sin in my mind which was instilled in my upbringing.

 

Jesus said nothing of original sin. Neither did the Buddha.

 

That is just one example of something of fundamental equivalent between the two of them.

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I agree with you, Matteo, that neither Jesus nor the Buddha taught the doctrine of “original sin”. But I will say that, at the very least, this doctrine attempts to address the reason why we find existence so unsatisfactory. When we reject this doctrine, a Christian must find a different way of explaining why we suffer in this world. There is just no good answer to this. God must be an evil god, or an uncaring one, to allow his creatures to suffer so.

 

The Buddha taught that we hold our fate in our own hands. We have the means to put an end to suffering in this life, and end the cycle of future rebirths. This is not the Christian understanding of the nature of suffering. Suffering is seen as inevitable, and I think Jesus saw it in the same light. In any case, he didn’t actually “teach” an end to suffering in this life. That is not to say he didn’t think it was possible, only that he didn’t tell us how it might be accomplished.

 

So, I would say that the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Noble Truths, namely the fact, origin, cessation, and path to the cessation of suffering has no equivalent teaching given or implied by Jesus.

 

But, I will get back to the original question posed in this thread. I think that one way we can determine whether or not Jesus had any contact with Buddhist teaching, is to see if his teaching bears any similarity to Buddhist teaching. Personally, I don’t think it does. That is not to say that Jesus was not familiar with Buddhism, it is only to say that perhaps he wasn’t impressed with it. It is possible to see any number of similarities among various religions and traditions. I am often “reminded” of Christianity when I study Buddhism, and vice versa. But, I think these tend to be “universals”, which result from the mere fact that we are all human beings.

 

Peace.

Steve

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So, I would say that the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Noble Truths, namely the fact, origin, cessation, and path to the cessation of suffering has no equivalent teaching given or implied by Jesus.

 

 

Peace.

Steve

 

Steve,

In my view, on the contrary, there are indeed some equivalents at a deep level of understanding even though the words of the time differ and some understandings of church doctrine are near impossible to reconcile.. Jesus is recorded saying ... In this world ye shall have tribulation (sufferring) but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world. Both his teachings and Paul's teachings teach us how to overcome by dying to or some might say crucifying self so that we also may overcome the world (in which resides sufferring). Some think the cessation is in the next life but i am NOW a new creature in Christ and old things have past away and all things become new.. I feel pain in the world but "I" ( the life that i now identify with) is not of this world and i have been freed from suffering because it is not i that lives but Christ that lives in me..

 

Tariki (Derek) on this forum is a practicing Buddhist who is very knowledgeable in both traditions and especially with the writings of Christian Thomas Merton, Meister Eckhart and others.. Read THIS THREAD for some interesting comments that i think at least partially address your points..

 

Joseph

 

PS Christian progressive Marcus Borg has even written an entire books on the parallel sayings of Buddha and Jesus

You tube review HERE

Edited by JosephM
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Actually i believe you will find Buddhism in India approximately 500 years before Jesus. Myself, i find much in common with the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha. However, one must dig really deep for the similarities.

 

Joseph

 

Oh, my! I do stand corrected. I went back and looked at my notes, and it appears I misread the dates. I misread the date of the Buddha's appearance as 7th Century CE instead of BCE.

 

I admit I have not spent much time with Buddhist teachings, but from what I have read, I don't see much similarity - unless you are referring to Jesus' pacifism. I think that Jesus' philosophy is more a reflection of Hillel's teaching - almost word for word at times.

 

Perhaps it was Hillel that traveled to India? He certainly had the time, as the Talmud claims he lived to be over 100 years old.

 

NORM

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It looks as though this is becoming an authentic debate, with examples and everything!

 

With all due respect to St. Paul, I would like to focus on the words and teachings of Jesus himself, rather than place reliance on someone who never actually met him.

 

I think that the few words uttered by Jesus regarding his acknowledgement of suffering, dying to self, and overcoming the world, hardly satisfy the requirements of a legitimate teaching. It certainly doesn’t compare to the highly systemized teaching of the Buddha. But, I am not attempting to place a value on either teaching, only to see if they have anything at all in common.

 

Jesus said “I have overcome the world”. Is that a teaching, or merely a statement of fact? We are to “die to self”. What does that mean? How is that to be accomplished, or must we refer to Paul to interpret an answer for us? Is it a Christian understanding that we all possess a “self”, and it must be annihilated, or are we void of “self” to begin with?

 

I think your argument is rather thin; Joseph, but I appreciate your response. And yes, there are many authors who will compare similarities of different religions for us. Borg is only one. Thich Nhat Hahn, Thomas Merton, and D.T. Suzuki are some others. But at least Merton and Suzuki contrast the differences as well. I got sober 28 years ago in AA and I am amazed at the similarities between AA teaching and Buddhist doctrine. It is incredibly similar, right down to “taking refuge”. But AA was founded by WASPS, and based all of its Twelve Steps on Christian practices! Go figure.

 

Peace.

Steve

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"The Buddha taught that we hold our fate in our own hands. We have the means to put an end to suffering in this life, and end the cycle of future rebirths. This is not the Christian understanding of the nature of suffering. Suffering is seen as inevitable, and I think Jesus saw it in the same light. In any case, he didn’t actually “teach” an end to suffering in this life. That is not to say he didn’t think it was possible, only that he didn’t tell us how it might be accomplished."

 

So now you're talking about the Eightfold Path - the cessation of suffering. The Buddha though he told us not to worship him - and it's a contended issue as to whether Jesus ever said that or that he was God, but that his relationship with God as he understood it to be - within the Jewish tradition - was so that he was intimate with it - and that we should not trust him, he still allowed himself to be venerated by his followers. Buddha may not be what he developed into by later Buddhists, again, an area of contention among Buddhists, but he always made himself front and center of the dharma. Jesus spoke about the nature of suffering, as did Buddha. Both of them had similar ways to alleviate suffering. Again, I am arguing not the Christ of tradition, but what can be gathered of the historical Jesus.

 

Steve I think your statement that "when we reject this doctrine, a Christian must find a different way of explaining why we suffer in this world. There is just no good answer to this. God must be an evil god, or an uncaring one, to allow his creatures to suffer so" seems contradictory. First, you don't accept the doctrine of original sin, then you reject the notion that the Christians who believe it, then you reject the notion of God, which you don't believe in.

 

​My argument is what Jesus taught and not what some Christian theology teaches. There is no notion in the Hebrew scriptures of original sin. Ask any Jewish person who knows their books. Also, the doctrine of original sin is not even something ALL Christians agree upon and it is not something you say is a matter of orthodoxy or traditional. The Eastern Orthodox Church does not accept the notion of original sin as St. Augustine (and later the Calvinists built on) puts forth. The Mormons don't. The Swedeonborgians don't. PCers don't. So when you use the term "Christian" you should be specific what you mean.

 

So, both Jesus and Buddha both talk about the nature of suffering. They both discuss ways in which suffering can be alleviate in this lifetime. In John 9 its clear that Jesus goes against the notion that people suffered but Jesus told them not to be afraid, Matthew 10, or not to worry in Matthew 6. . This to me points to right view and right intention. Jesus taught not to crave, to desire, to covet in Luke 12.

 

Jesus taught to have right speech, action, and livelihood - an ethical code to live by. Jesus talked in the hear and now - the Kingdom of God - NOW. Not later - that is not what he taught.

 

Jesus taught to be mindful - in the sense of mindfulness - in Matthew 18, Matthew 26, and Matthew 14.

 

 

I fully accept the I AM statements Jesus made about himself NOT as him being God incarnate, but as his relationship with God, as he understood it in his tradition and in his time and place, as being as one. In John 9 through 14 and beyond, over and over again Jesus tells people about his "relationship" with God and they misunderstand him and ignore him. They accuse him of things he did not say as they misinterpret him. Maybe it was his fault and he wasn't clear enough.

 

I don't see Jesus as Christ. I see him as Jesus, a flawed all too human being who had an incredible experience. i believe that there is enough of this humanness that is retained in the gospels. If the NT were onus the epistles and the other books, minus the gospels, I wouldn't accept Jesus as anything.

 

You also haven't defined a "fundamental equivalent". But I sense that no matter what I say, you really don't care.

 

Maybe Jesus had contact with Buddhism maybe be didn't. No one knows. There is no reason to discount the writings of those who say he did, however, as they simply point to the reality that Jesus was as much a human as all of us who was on a journey that whether any of us believe or not, still affects us and makes us react to it, positively or negatively. That alone points, like the Buddha, no matter what anyone thinks about him, to a fundamental equivalent in their respective traditions to address deep-seated and truthful existential problems that even the most ardent atheist ponders on some level.

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You are all over the place with your responses, Matteo. Try focusing and actually making a point. I don't say this to offend you, only to let you know I find it very difficult to follow your comments. A "fundamental equivalent" would be a foundational teaching by Jesus or the Buddha which most reasonable people could agree are virtually the same, or at least very similar. And, by "foundational", I mean a teaching which defines the essence of either Christianity or Buddhism.

 

Peace.

Steve

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Steve said "A "fundamental equivalent" would be a foundational teaching by Jesus or the Buddha which most reasonable people could agree are virtually the same, or at least very similar."

 

Personally i am not concerned whether most 'reasonable people' (whatever that means) could agree or not in the similarity of teachings. Certainly, there is no argument that there are strong fundamental differences with traditional church interpretations but to me i find that studying and practicing Buddhism has provided great insights into the words of Jesus and visa versa. In fact i see much commonality in the teachings of the Tao also with not only Jesus teachings but those found throughout the Bible. A long thread on the Tao that took place here can be found HERE.

 

The 'Kingdom of Heaven or God' , which Jesus spoke of so often to me is not a physical place as commonly taught by the church system but to me an ever-present reality that is here Now and the end to all suffering. I would not argue this with another because that is only my personal experience which i value above what someone else might be teaching.. My own experience and study of the Greek agree and a short explanation can be found here in THIS THREAD POST if you are curious.

 

Joseph

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Thanks for all of the threads, Joseph, in this and your other posts. Obviously this is a topic that is well worn here, and elsewhere.

 

I don’t deny there are similarities among religions and spiritual traditions. Theoretically, we could all invent our own religion or philosophy, and there would be elements common to all. However, we would tend toward an eclectic approach, while Jesus and the Buddha understood reality in very original and unique ways. They had other sources as background, but not nearly as many as we do today. What makes them “special” is that their teachings had a unique revelatory quality which spoke to the specific local cultures of their time. As these cultures and times differed, so did their teachings.

 

Every religion/philosophy/tradition demands a certain allegiance by its adherents. This is so because we cannot initially verify, through are own experience, every teaching a religion asks us to accept. It is simply not possible, in my opinion, to grasp depth without that allegiance. Neither is it actually possible, again in my opinion, to accept two or more religions, giving each the allegiance required.

 

One observation I have with Progressive Christianity (not a criticism, merely an observation), is that the Progressive Christians I have come in contact with refuse allegiance to any particular religion or spiritual tradition, and take a Universalist approach to all of them. My personal view is that this approach is not always for the best. I believe I have hinted at this in some other threads, but I am attempting to clarify it here. This is always a question of individual preference, sometimes resulting from past negative experiences, but it is something I believe is worth considering.

 

Peace.

Steve

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Every religion/philosophy/tradition demands a certain allegiance by its adherents. This is so because we cannot initially verify, through are own experience, every teaching a religion asks us to accept. It is simply not possible, in my opinion, to grasp depth without that allegiance. Neither is it actually possible, again in my opinion, to accept two or more religions, giving each the allegiance required.

 

One observation I have with Progressive Christianity (not a criticism, merely an observation), is that the Progressive Christians I have come in contact with refuse allegiance to any particular religion or spiritual tradition, and take a Universalist approach to all of them. My personal view is that this approach is not always for the best. I believe I have hinted at this in some other threads, but I am attempting to clarify it here. This is always a question of individual preference, sometimes resulting from past negative experiences, but it is something I believe is worth considering.

 

Peace.

Steve

 

Steve,

 

I would concur with your observation concerning the Progressive Christian and do not see it as a negative.

 

Concerning allegiance to a religion...... in my experience allegiance concerning ones spiritual journey has its drawbacks and i personally do not see it "for the best". Possibly best for the associated church system demanding that allegiance but not for the individual who knows or has learned that it is wisest not to place ones trust concerning his/her spiritual journey in man or a system of beliefs made by men.

 

PC to me, is a individual journey and blind allegiance on dogma and doctrine or beliefs one cannot or has not experienced for oneself are not in my view a wise part to hold to. It seems to me, in my experience to be rather counterproductive to real depth. When i let go of that allegiance real freedom entered and as experience grew, in time i became comfortable with uncertainty which no longer proved to be an enemy to my journey but rather an open door through which light is free to enter.

 

Just my own experience and thoughts concerning some of your post comments.

Joseph

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Again, Joseph, just something for people to consider. I don't wish to beat a dead horse, so I'm going to leave this alone now. My perspective on the spiritual life is perhaps not in conformity with Progressive Christianity, although I do think PC is a valuable option for many people.

 

I'm not trying to win any arguments, only share my perspective. Beyond the regular contributors to this forum, you seem to have many guests who stop by and read. Hopefully, differing perspectives here will be helpful to them on their journey.

 

Peace.

Steve

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Thanks Steve,

 

Yes we do have many guests and your comments are most welcome as they seem to be respectful of others. Also i might note my comments above do not speak for anyone but myself as my experience indicates while there is much commonality among PC'ers, there are also differences of views/opinions that i find refreshing and have been helpful in ways to my own journey over the long run..Agreement is never a requirement here but courtesy and respectful conversation remains paramount .

 

Joseph

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Can I suggest Lamb: The Gospel of Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

 

The book is ficticious, hilarious, respectful of Christ and imagines what might have happened during these years. It also points to the various Eastern influences in Jesus's teachings.

 

This is book I think would make it to my top ten all time reads.

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