Attention to the Sayings

“And here is an issue to think over and find some good responses for…. Good, moral people refuse to believe that you can just forgive and forget. Christians notably have a hard time with this in regard to God. A holy God cannot just forgive and forget, but must properly punish wrong. There must be payment, punishment, atonement. As a friend of RB’s has said, ‘You cannot just forgive and forget.’ How would you respond to this concern?

“However, this is exactly what Jesus advocates.

“But religious people cannot get around this. Sure, we must not retaliate, they claim (just as Jesus told us), but like Paul we should heap coals upon other’s heads, and leave God to take vengeance. So they resolve this unconditional forgiveness thing by delaying the payback to later when God will take vengeance. So nothing will be ultimately forgiven and forgotten. Every hidden thing will be judged and punished properly.

“How do you reason and explain to others that Jesus was on about just forgiving and forgetting with no ultimate payback? Unconditional really means unconditional. No conditions. No requirements. No payment or punishment ever.”

wk
……………………………………………………………………………………………

Excellent points and questions! I shall try to bring on some peace.

First, religious folks need to see clearly that God’s unconditional love requires absolutely no punishment whatsoever, only mercy, and no sacrifice for prodigal behavior. They need to be overwhelmed by the good news of this astounding love for them. And this can finally happen by repeating the message in many different ways. In other words, use a “media” blitz of God’s loving forgiving justice in place of using the lies of a get-even/punishing mindset.

Second, that kind of love exposes the church’s salvation message as a myth. And it uncovers the historical fact that Jesus was actually murdered for teaching the Father’s loving message which then became an immediate threat to the Jewish Temple religion and its priestly mediators. In spite of being the final authority on this matter before his court, the Roman Governor was a participant in this murder. He used the cover-up excuse of a strong possibility that Jesus was leading another rebellion. Besides, it finally shut up the Jewish religious leaders who were hounding him about their laws which he could care less about. The lie satisfied the Governor’s troubled conscience for passing a death sentence on an innocent man. But it was murder any way you look at it.

Third, Jesus’ gruesome death did NOT pay for humanity’s sins! God had no such salvation plan! Nor would a loving Father ever participate in such an evil deed. So far as the Father/God was concerned, there were no sins to pay for in the first place, and there never were from the very beginning. The Father’s forgiveness is such that what is forgiven is also forgotten – totally – as if unjust harmful behavior never even happened! Not that God is blind to our prodigal behavior or even approves of it. Rather, the Father’s love for all his children is so very great that nothing but a complete forgive-and-forget-ness is the one and only thing that brings relief to both himself and to us. (Read that again and think about it as a “double blessing.”) That is why the Father needs NO sacrificial payment, especially a bloody one, something that would be participating in the injustice.

Again, that two-fold relief of tension, which is initiated by God, is the one and only thing that brings on an authentic behavioral change in us while also generating a smile of approval from the Father – because we finally get it! Treating everyone with mercy and loving forgiveness is what God does in all circumstances. It is the Father’s way.

“I will put my way into their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. – because I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” – Jer. 31

Fourth, all the above makes the whole apocalyptic Revelation prediction of a worrisome end-time judgment and a hellish payback for unbelief in the religious salvation mythology a complete hoax!

Fifth, living with and then mirroring the Father’s loving presence while hearing his promise to never leave us or forsake us, not even during our death experience, – well, who needs a resurrection myth to hope for under those circumstances? Besides, death was never a punishment in the first place. It just happens naturally when our bodily functions finally wear out or succumb to disease. Our bodies were given to us to use while we are here, in the Father’s “school-house” and his “school-yard.” Ha! The here and now is merely the beginning of our adventure in learning with the Father! Beyond saying more than that would be pure speculation.

Sixth, the most important thing to remember is to just keep your ears and your minds on what Jesus said concerning our Father’s love for us – and then keep your eyes off Jesus. Just pay close attention to the comforting message from our Father that Jesus discovered. The message is the real liberating thing! And the messenger? Well, he was just a Galilean Sage who was murdered for his “scandalous” message of God’s real justice. But that message brought no small comfort to oppressed humans. It still does.

Hank Hasse – August 23, 2013

Advertisements
Published in: on August 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Exposed

I have been going on and on about the unconditional compassionate and accepting love of the Father that the historical Jesus kept talking about and exemplifying. He undoubtedly learned that this was the primary attribute of God by both hearing the elders and asking them questions about the OT pre-captivity Prophets, and, not least of all, by observing the goodness of God found in the creation around him. Jesus taught that such compassion and forgiving love was the real righteous justice of God to all humans. He was unafraid to discard the scriptures that did not back up God’s real justice. It led him to reject the punishing apocalyptic teaching of his own cousin, John, whose idea was of a God who required a personal righteousness through the washing away of sin in baptism and the obedience of faith in a bloody atonement arranged by God.

Paul, however, rejected the God that Jesus had been teaching about. Instead, Paul was interested in his God’s law as he supposed had been given directly to Moses, and, in Paul’s view, the righteousness of God was dealing out a just punishment to a disobedient humanity. And for humanity to be saved required a worthy substitute as a sacrifice to God so that humanity’s sin-debt could be paid for in blood. However, there is a big conditional IF here. One can be saved only IF one believes this salvation plan. And unbelievers will be punished in an eternal hellfire stoked up for them by God.

My Australian friend reminded me of the following:

“In 2 Corinthians 11-12 Paul speaks of “another Jesus” who is different from his “Jesus” whom he calls “Christ.” Read the argument closely and you will see that what he is on about is the Jesus of the other apostles at Jerusalem, apostles whom he sarcastically calls the “super apostles.” (An apostle was defined as one who was a witness to the historical Jesus from the beginning.) Yet Paul claims he qualifies as an apostle because of his private, visionary revelations of the Christ given exclusively or especially to him. It ought not be surprising that some early Christians challenged his self-claimed apostleship. He charged those other apostles with some pretty nasty stuff. What is revealing in this contest is that Paul says that there is such a thing as “another Jesus.” No doubt about it, the Jesus of Matthew 5:38-48 (which is a redacted form taken from the earlier Sayings Gospel, Q1) is not the Jesus of Paul or the great Church of the Gentiles.”

This points out exactly what I have been complaining about. Paul was nothing but a crafty lawyer who had a delirious vision of a very different apocalyptic “Jesus” that he had been hoping would finally show up according to apocalyptic lore. Paul called him the one and only “Christ,” who had been sent by God to win salvation for us as God’s sacrificial human “lamb.”

This discovery about Paul’s switching a Christ, or Son of God, for Jesus, the son of man, is almost as important as the really BIG discovery of the core unconditional love message of the historical Jesus’ Father/God. Many of Jesus’ original followers, like Stephen, were hunted down and imprisoned or murdered by Saul with the Sanhedrin’s blessing. It is clear that Saul’s intent was to shut down and/or scatter the early Jesus-movement. That was before Saul, the tyrant, had his scariest apocalyptic Arabian desert vision and finally figured out how to twist Jesus’ murder into something that he could take advantage of.

During those difficult times, people lived in constant fear of other tyrannies as well. They were vulnerable and ready to believe almost anything that might save them from the tyranny of Rome and the false Jewish messiah-bandits who only rose up in rebellion long enough to make matters worse for everybody.

Paul was an intelligent well-educated lawyer. And according to his knowledge, he doubtlessly thought he was writing and teaching the truth as he had learned it. But isn’t that just the way? Sometimes, what we have learned from others is like a wall built around us. It keeps us from seeing anything beyond our educated brains. It keeps us from questioning and growing and finding a better way. Education needs to open doors, not keep them closed.

Father, forgive Paul, especially for teaching his delirious ideas of a “Christ” and his intentional cover-up of the historical Jesus’ unconditional love message from the Father.

Father, forgive the gospel writers for using Paul’s apocalyptic lies in their narratives and helping to turn the historical Jesus into Paul’s apocalyptic “Christ.”

Father, forgive the early Christian bishops for insisting that Paul’s letters, the gospel narratives, the other letters and writings included in the NT, and also the OT Hebrew texts were all holy words inspired by God.

Father, forgive the church leaders for centuries of murdering those who would not believe the lies of God’s pay-back justice, those who knew that a better and a truly just God loved them and required no atoning sacrifice for their prodigal behavior.

Oh, the terrible influence that all this foolishness had on peoples’ psyches! For example, study the vicious and hideous art used in and on the cathedrals, and so much more tyranny in governments and ….

Conclusions: Paul had a severely troubled apocalyptic mindset that gave him
– frightening visions,
– reason to detest the loving non-retaliation Jesus-movement for not teaching God’s payback justice as Paul knew it,
– divine permission to finally annihilate the Jesus-movement by inventing an atoning “Christ” message to satisfy God’s law, namely, the payback-punishment promised for humanity’s disobedience to that law, and
– the crafty idea of destroying Jesus’ message of the Father’s unconditional love for all his children by simply turning attention to the person of Jesus the “Christ.” In other words, give your full attention to who Jesus (“Christ”) was and what he did for you, and never mind what he said.

Henry Hasse – August 21, 2013

Published in: on August 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Listen

There was a city in Asia Minor near the northeastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea called Tarsus. It was a center of learning that rivaled Alexandria in Egypt. It was also the center of Western Persia’s Mithraism and the home of Saul. There are eerie similarities between Mithraism and Christianity that one has to wonder about. Did Saul convert from it only to bring the ancient ways of Persian Mithraism into his vision of Christianity? Did he, as Paul, use Mithraism as the common ground to speak to the Gentiles about his “Christ?”

cf., http://bogomilia.blogspot.com/2007/12/mithraism-religion-of-rome-and-paul.html#!/2007/12/mithraism-religion-of-rome-and-paul.html

Also cf., http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/publications/papers/vol1/491123-A_Study_of_Mithraism.htm

Words tend to fail one because Paul’s total rejection and reversal of the Father’s forgiving unconditional love (Jesus’ core message) was so crass that it seems to require words similar to his for the sole purpose of smacking down Paul’s brazen vision by using the same damning force of rejection.

Paul was so skilled at challenging Jesus’ comforting message of the Father’s compassionate unconditional love that through his (Paul’s) use of the well-known ancient apocalyptic counterpart which claimed “fair and just punishment,” and then by fitting in the threat of a “hellish end for unbelief” that Paul’s ”Christ” message actually seemed very plausible to the casual listener.

Paul was able to do that by simply leaving the punishing judgment up to God. Only God could deal it out fairly. It was like saying, “Yes, Jesus, you have nice ideas about love, but we humans cannot be trusted enough to be that loving and forgiving so that we might even forgive our enemies. It is much better to let God sort this out.”

The common listeners were unable to see the impossible oxymoron of saying that their God could have it both ways, that is, be forgiving and punishing; much less could they argue the point with a skilled lawyer like Paul.

What they heard was that God loves us so much that he promises to punish all those who hate us or take advantage of our weakness. He even punishes us for our disobedient sins against him. Let him do the “getting even” for us. Only God could come up with a salvation plan that involves propitiation for us. Only God could send his Son to be punished as a worthy sacrifice in our place. Only God could raise his Son from the dead to prove to us that his Son’s bloody payment sacrifice was acceptable. Only God could satisfy his anger with us and our enemies. In other words, only God’s retributive pay-back justice could satisfy mankind’s mindset concerning getting even!

Oh, BTW, Paul added that we must, of course, believe God’s salvation plan which was fulfilled for us through the shed blood of “Christ” in order to have eternal life waiting for us after our resurrection. And those who do not believe it will face the judgment and the everlasting anger of God in a terrible hellfire punishment!

To top all this nonsense off, Paul insists that his scripture and all other scriptures are God-inspired, so you best not challenge any of it or you will have hell to pay. So avoid those who cause divisions by questioning my (Paul’s) words of salvation!

Such was the masterful invention of a skilled defense attorney for a prodigal humanity. Make use of an acceptable substitute to make your payment due for disobedience. Completely disregard the voice of the Father concerning his compassionate love for us and his presence among us. Never mind what the dreamer from Galilee said about forgiveness. Forget about his claims that God accepts everyone as they are. Instead, God will have his justice served in “Christ.”

I do not intend to use such forceful words as “damning to hell” Paul’s apocalyptic ideas in order to get people to believe what I write. Just as well too, because that would turn off many would-be listeners today, folks that have begun to see past these myths and leave their churches while seeking a better message.

Of course, there are also those who would swear on their Bible as being the one and only source of truth and salvation for humanity. And they are willing to use the payback parts of it to justify destroying their unbelieving neighbors. Unfortunately, they cannot see the twinkling lights hidden among all the weeds, lights that illuminate God’s everlasting love for humanity, lights that Jesus found and shared with everyone, lights that show another way of life, God’s way of justice, a way of acceptance, forgiveness, and love for everyone.

Many others merely treat their churches as social institutions where good friends gather for potluck dinners or collect used clothes for the needy in their community. Not that these gatherings and projects are bad. Of course not! But why not also gather to proclaim and reassure each other of God’s unconditional love for humanity? Absolutely no conditions, no threats, and no sacrifices required! Only being like God, as much as it is possible for us to do – treating others, even our enemies, like he treats us, here and now, through his presence, with a compassionate acceptance, and a loving forgiveness – and especially reminding each other of God’s loving promise to never leave us or forsake us, not even in death. The original Jesus followers did exactly that.

Today, those who have had a near death experience continue to attest to this fact – that the God of love never left them, but remained with them, and assured them of his acceptance, no matter what they worried about concerning their past. Their past experiences were merely meant to be learning experiences, experiences that brought them to learn about a better way of life.

That was Jesus’ message in a nutshell! Jesus’ core message is summed up in Matt. 5:38-48. Please check it out. It is a total rejection of Paul’s lies and the church’s lying creeds, just as it was a total rejection in his day of the sacrificial temple rituals and the priest’s threatening promises of an end-time judgment, the lie they had picked up during their Babylonian/Persian captivity. And do not forget that beside the sacrificial rituals Jesus also challenged and rejected the words, “eye for an eye” as being unjust, words which Paul claimed were God-inspired and must not be challenged or you will have hell to pay for it!

Jesus was brutishly tortured and murdered for challenging holy words, the temple religion of blood sacrifices, and for being falsely accused of starting another rebellion against the Romans. But Paul saw an opportunity to use this for his vision of an apocalyptic salvation plan. And the gospel writers soon followed after by using Paul’s ideas and by adding their own. Although hidden within their narratives, at least they did preserve Jesus’ core message of a loving ever-present Father pleading with us to mirror him by using his loving ways on our neighbors. That core message, scattered about in the gospel narratives, is all that is left of the Jesus’ sayings which had been passed on orally by original followers. After the influence of Paul’s letters (50 CE), and after the Jewish war with Rome (69-70 CE) and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jesus’ sayings recorded by the gospel writers began to indicate an apocalyptic slant.

So how could we turn Paul’s trick, which the gospel writers and the church bought into later, upside down on them? – Something like Paul and the church did by reversing and rejecting Jesus’ message which had proclaimed a loving Father who only pleads for sharing his mercy with the oppressed and who never has demanded a bloody sacrificial payment for them.

Why are the church’s creeds all about sacrifice and a bloody payment for sin by a “Christ,” the one and only Son of God? Why is the son of man’s message of an ever-present accepting, loving, and forgiving Father not even mentioned in the church’s creeds?

I should think that it may take the similar skills of a masterful prosecuting attorney. And that attorney would need to gather endless evidence of the love that the Galilean Sage spoke of. That attorney’s final summation would need to convince the jury of humanity that the news of a bloody salvation payback-justice and an apocalyptic end of the world is actually guilty of spreading horrible fears among prodigal humanity (Paul’s “defendant”). He must also convince the jury that such a message is not the “comfort” it claims to be, nor does it offer an authentic comfort, not even when the defendant tries his best to believe it.

In fact, it spreads so much fear that it tends to encourage a similar horrible treatment and tyrannical behavior toward fellow humans who refuse to participate in such madness as Paul’s “Christ” vision, a myth which soon duped the early rural Q followers who had previously been passing on only Jesus’ core sayings by word of mouth, then duping the gospel writers a generation later, and eventually Paul’s “Christ” vision also duped the new Christian church itself.

How could this happen? Well, we need to remember that Jesus was well-aware that his message was so outrageously new and so totally opposed to the well-known apocalyptic mindset of the day that he even warned his followers not to attempt to “place new wine into old wineskins.” In other words, the two messages were incompatible. And yet, Paul attempted to do precisely that very thing.

Rather, consider the compassionate message of the OT pre-captivity Prophets who understood the presence of a loving God who pleaded for us to share his mercy toward humans, especially the oppressed. Then consider the compassionate message of the Galilean Sage, who insisted on being called nothing more than “the son of man,” one who also felt the presence of a loving Father among us and who tried to pass that love on to everyone.

Consider these as one and the same messages concerning our Creator/God, one which has been his message to all of humanity from the beginning. It treats each and every one of us as his sons and daughters and tells us that all that he has is ours to use and to enjoy and to make things better here and now.

Let’s get on with it and leave the rejecting and opposing messages, loud and numerous though they may be, buried in the dust of historical foolishness! Follow the path less chosen, and it will make all the difference for you and for others. Discard words that require the need for payback retribution. Look for, discover, and hold on to the gemstones of love hidden among all the weeds of the scriptures, words that are not holy by any stretch. Most of them speak of an angry sky-god who encourages and participates in mankind’s need for a payback justice, a justice that is unknown to the real Father’s justice of love as it was exposed, taught, and practiced by the son of man from the little farm community of Nazareth.

Can you hear the gentle voice of the son of man who delivers an unconditional loving message from our Father? It is a voice that destroys nothing. It is a comforting sound to every oppressed prodigal soul. And yet, it is also like a mighty wind moving across the earth, one that sweeps away the salvation myth of Paul and the church. And it leaves behind the only sacred thing that there is, ordinary humans doing very ordinary loving things for each other.

Listen. Can you hear it?

Henry Hasse ~ August 12, 2013

Published in: on August 14, 2013 at 10:18 am  Leave a Comment  

History Exposes Retribution Mindset

I would just like to add a few historical reminders to my previous emails and blog posts. Sort of supplemental material that I think is worth considering.

1) Original followers of Jesus were not well-educated writers, not even Peter. Someone else penned the 2 letters using his name.

2) Original followers passed on Jesus’ unconditional loving message orally.

3) Original followers were Jews and continued to follow Jewish customs which drew no special attention to them, neither from the Romans or from the Jewish Temple leadership.

4) Original followers, Jesus’ brother James and Peter, were the leaders in their Jerusalem synagog.

5) Some 20 years after Jesus’ death, James and Peter heard about the news of Paul’s work among the Gentiles, and Peter was sent to check it out among several Asian “church” groups where he learned that Jewish members had not been circumcised. Paul and Peter had a heated argument about that. It was only the beginning of trouble between them!

6) A year or so later, Paul was asked to come to Jerusalem for a first-time visit with Jesus’ followers to discuss his new vision of a salvation payment through his resurrected “Christ,” neither of which (salvation payment & resurrection) the original followers knew anything about. Remember that the gospel writer’s speculative accounts of Paul’s resurrection vision would not appear until about 30 years later. (For Paul, the resurrection idea was proof that God’s demand for a sacrificial blood payment was finally satisfied.)

7) The original followers sharply disagreed with Paul’s vision which did not match at all with what they had heard directly from Jesus, namely, a loving unconditional forgiving presence of the Father in and among us here and now who required no human blood sacrifice for sin and who promised to never leave us or forsake us, not even at our death.

8) We know little more about the debate, but keep in mind that Paul was a highly educated writer and speaker compared to the uneducated fishermen. And an off-handed remark in one his letters indicates that he had little respect for them.

9) The writer Luke, who admired Paul’s skills and message, wrote around the turn of the century about stories he had heard about the “Apostles,” and he tried to cover up the seriousness of this debate by simply mentioning the agreement that Jesus’ brother James and Peter made with Paul that he would service the Gentiles and Peter would be sent out to service the Jews.

10) Paul’s many letters and his “Christ” salvation message spread quickly throughout Asia and beyond because the Gentiles were tired of the old Greek and Roman myths and were hungry for a new, more recent myth that fit into their apocalyptic thinking of a godlike messiah figure who would open the way to a final retribution that would restore everything to paradise-like conditions. (Paul knew this Gentile mindset well, and he obviously rejected the message of Jesus and his followers and craftily formed his sacrificial payback message to satisfy that mindset.)

11) Some of the sayings of Jesus that were being passed on orally were finally recorded by scribes, those records had not been widely distributed. It may have been done before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. And we are not sure what happened to them or to Jesus’ followers. During the persecutions and the very divisive Christian controversies over the next two centuries, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, had ordered all “unacceptable” (anything that did not back up retribution justice) scriptures burned, but copies of Jesus’ sayings and other early writings were buried in Egypt and finally discovered in 1945. Many of them back up Jesus’ comforting message of a loving God.

12) 5 to 10 years after Jerusalem’s destruction, and about 30 years after Paul’s letters, or some 50 years after Jesus’ death, the writer, Mark, built a narrative around many hearsay accounts of Jesus’ life, using some of Jesus’ sayings and most of Paul’s claims concerning the “Messiah-Christ.” His story became popular among early churches.

13) Another 5 and 10 years after Mark’s narrative, Matthew and then Luke wrote their narratives using most of Mark’s account, but also adding their own distinct suppositions, including virgin birth, miracles, apocalyptic end time retribution, and conflicting resurrection accounts. However, thanks to Mark use, some of Jesus’ sayings were also included.

14) Finally, the theologian, John, wrote his account which claimed much more for Jesus’ identity than either of the previous three writers. He may also have written the horrible Revelation account of the apocalyptic final judgment when Christ supposedly returns to throw all unbelievers of Paul’s salvation message into everlasting hellfire.

15) Keep in mind three important facts. For 20 years after Jesus’ death, early followers only had the oral accounts of Jesus’ sayings to share, and that was done only locally for the most part. Then, for the next 30 years, the Gentile “church” groups only had Paul’s letters and his “Christ” message to share. And after that, the gospels, slanted by Paul’s message, began to trickle into the churches until the turn of the century.

16) To repeat and emphasize, the “Christians” faced untold persecutions from the Romans during the following 200 years and were scattered throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. During those centuries, numerous arguments and divisions took place. They had only two things in common among them: FEAR of Roman tyranny and FEAR of Christ’s return in judgement, included in Paul’s apocalyptic message.

17) After 325 AD, Emperor Constantine stopped the persecutions and the divisions among the churches by forcing the Bishops to unite under their retribution salvation message concerning the “Christ” of Paul and the gospel writers. From that time forward, Jews and “other-minded” or questioning folks, had another FEAR to contend with: the church’s bloody sword, with full approval of Constantine and the coming rulers of Europe, Asia, and North Africa who were approved and controlled by the church.

18) All this history is important to know in order to understand why the unconditional loving message of the historical Jesus got buried by Paul’s message of punishment and retribution. Paul’s message fit into the same old controlling payback-punishing mindset that had been plaguing humanity since ancient times, only now it supposedly had a solution for humanity’s perilous predicament, that is IF humans believed it. In other words, it was still conditional!

19) But Jesus’ unconditional comforting message can still be discovered as pearls hidden among the weeds of the NT – thanks to the oral sayings used by Mark and copied by Matthew and Luke for their narratives. Those same pearls can also be discovered in some of the OT pre-captivity Prophet’s compassionate messages calling for mercy without sacrifice, and kind treatment of widows, orphans, strangers, and the needy who were unable to return the favor much less pay for it.

20) Probably the greatest error made by Paul and early Christianity was the claim that ALL scripture is God-inspired. That claim covers up a whole lot of BS by not allowing anyone to question it or compare its payback retribution to the comforting unconditional loving message of our Father-God which is promised to all humanity, the good and the bad alike. It’s God’s justice, unconditionally free to everyone.

21) Serious Christians want to have it both ways, trying to be like God, but leaving the “just” punishing up to God in the end. This creates a tension for them that cannot be reconciled. Either the Galilean Sage had it right or he was a liar. What do you think?

Henry Hasse – August 4, 2013

Published in: on August 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
SYNERGY

Discovering Flashes of Unconditional Love Among Us

Irenic Publications

Discovering Flashes of Unconditional Love Among Us

The Unconditional Human Spirit

Discovering Flashes of Unconditional Love Among Us

Great New Story

Discovering Flashes of Unconditional Love Among Us

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.