Archive for the Christianity Category

Jesus says the Kingdom of God is here on earth

Posted in Christianity, The Spirit, what I'm reading with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2013 by jason elijah

In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.”

“If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the Kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you.”

sunrise

In this excerpt from his book, Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ, Andrew Harvey describes Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God which is not about the afterlife, but a new form of society here on earth.

[The radical message and vision of Jesus] menaces both of the predominant modern visions of political organization — the “socialist” and the “capitalist” theories of society.

The socialist vision is “undermined” because the center of Jesus’ ideal society remains God, Kingdom-consciousness, and the living experience of love through communion — and not the State or some vague feeling of “fraternity.”

Capitalism, both in its historical and contemporary “globalist” and “nationalist” forms, is questioned because its frank advocacy of competition and blatant celebration of power and wealth betray all of Jesus’ beliefs about how human beings should live.

Any political vision, in fact, that is not primarily a mystical vision of transformation betrays the fullness and majesty of what Jesus had in mind; any mystical vision of transformation which does not also attempt forcefully to be a political one also betrays his vision.

He urged those who followed him to give generously to beggars, to lend money without expecting any repayment, and to give without anticipating any reward. The Jerusalem church after his death practiced a form of ownership-in-common, which may well reflect Jesus’ own beliefs. A kind of mystical “communalism” may be the best analogy we have of what Jesus intended for a society that reflected the egalitarian compassion of the Kingdom.

If everyone was equally welcome at the table of love, and love’s healing resources were to be shared equally with everyone, why shouldn’t wealth and land also be similarly equally distributed, so that no one need be poor and that everyone could have the chance at a decent life, and not at the expense of others but in admitted interdependence with them?

It is at least probable, even likely, that Jesus’ practical picture of the Kingdom on earth would have at its heart a vision of as equal as possible a distribution of wealth and property and access to, and control of, the sources of power.

As the mystic realist he was, Jesus would have known that mystical inner-communion had to be reflected, as exhaustively as possible, in the actual day-to-day relations of society at every level, and that the holy equality of beings to the all-loving eye of God could not simply be “experienced” but had also to be implemented in the life of the world.

To someone who has not seen the Kingdom, the games of power can seem sad but unavoidable rituals in a mostly evil world that needs hierarchy and power elites not to crumble into chaos. But to someone to whom the Kingdom and its glory has been revealed — and to whom the glory of the human spirit and soul have also been revealed — no arrangement deserves to be fostered that does not constantly encourage and inspire the transformation of the human into the divine human and does not constantly invoke the potential splendor of the new world, one in which the glory of God and of the Spirit and of the love between them would not only be honored but actively reflected in every law, every transaction between beings, every concerted “social,” “religious,” and “political” action.

When Jesus said “my Kingdom is not of this world,” he did not mean that it belonged to some purely ethereal realm: he was in not any way an escapist. What Jesus meant was that the Kingdom had nothing to do with this world, the banal, violent world created by human greed, ignorance, and folly; the Kingdom was the hidden soul’s reflection in reality and not the reflection of that blind false self that had — goaded on and inspired by evil forces — largely made human history. To make the hidden reflection of the soul “real” was the task of the life that Jesus came to “give more abundantly,” of the new being he was trying to inspire into action, and of the living and very heteroclite (“deviating from common rules or forms”) community that sprang up around him.

Jesus and dove

In the Gospel of John, when the Pharisees (religious elite) ask Jesus if he is the son of God, he replies, “It is written in your own scriptures that God said, “You are gods.”

We are all the divine children of the Spirit. We must bring the Kingdom of the Spirit into reality. “It will not come by expectation.”

Rob Bell: Poets/Prophets/Preachers

Posted in Christianity, Rob Bell, The Spirit with tags , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2012 by jason elijah

This is the complete 2009 film series by pastor/author Rob Bell. Excellent stuff.

Description: “Filmed live in 2009, Poets/Prophets/Preachers is a five part film series devoted to reclaiming the ancient, beautiful, provocative, healing, inspired art form known as the sermon. Over the five talks Rob explores the theological, conceptual, practical and personal dimensions involved in giving a talk, sermon, message, or teaching.”

Part 1: The Original Guerilla Theatre

Part 2: Beginning in the Beginning

Part 3: The Science of Homiletical Architecture

Part 4: Radar Buckets Chunks and the Marinade

Part 5: Death by Paper Cuts

Revelations of Christ book launch

Posted in Christianity, Paramhansa Yogananda, The Spirit with tags , , , , , on August 26, 2012 by jason elijah

This is an excellent public talk by Swami Kriyananda in Los Angeles at the July 21, 2007, book launch of Revelations of Christ: Proclaimed by Paramhansa Yogananda, Presented by his disciple, Swami Kriyananda.

Jung on the Christian Archetype

Posted in C.G. Jung, Christianity, The Spirit with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2011 by jason elijah

Quotes by Carl Jung (from various books) on Christianity, Jesus, ego and individuation:

“What happens in the life of Christ happens always and everywhere. In the Christian archetype all lives of this kind are prefigured.” - Psychology and Religion

“We are living in what the Greeks called the kairos–the right moment–for a ‘metamorphosis of the gods,’ of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time . . . is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing.” - Civilization in Transition

“The drama of the archetypal life of Christ describes in symbolic images the events of the conscious life–as well as in the life that transcends consciousness–of a man who has been transformed by his higher destiny.” - Psychology and Religion

“In so far as the archetypal content of the Christian drama was able to give satisfying expression to the uneasy and clamorous unconscious of the many, the consensus omnium raised this drama to a universally binding truth–not of course by an act of judgment, but by the irrational fact of possession, which is far more effective. Thus Jesus became the tutelary image or amulet against the archetypal powers that threatened to possess everyone. The glad tidings announced: ‘It has happened, but it will not happen to you inasmuch as you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God!’ Yet it could and it can and it will happen to everyone in whom the Christian dominant has decayed. For this reason there have always been people who, not satisfied with the dominants of conscious life, set forth–under cover and by devious paths, to their destruction or salvation–to seek direct experience of the eternal roots, and, following the lure of the restless unconscious psyche, find themselves in the wilderness where, like Jesus, they come up against the son of darkness.” - Psychology and Alchemy

“The fundamental idea of the theologians is always this: the earthly fate of the Church as the body of Christ is modeled on the earthly fate of Christ himself. That is to say, the Church, in the course of her history, moves towards a death . . . until the last day when, after fulfilling her earthly task, she becomes ‘unnecessary’ and ‘dies,’ as indicated in Psalm 71:7: ‘until the moon shall fail.’ These ideas were expressed in the symbolism of Luna as the Church. Just as the kenosis of Christ was fulfilled in death . . . even so it is with the parallel kenosis of Ecclesia-Luna (the Church).” - Mysterium Coniunctionis

“[The Holy Ghost descending at Pentecost brings about for the individual] not an ‘imitation of Christ’ but its exact opposite: an assimilation of the Christ-image to his own self. . . . It is no longer an effort, an intentional straining after imitation, but rather an involuntary experience of the reality represented by the sacred legend.” - Mysterium Coniunctionis

“Analysis should release an experience that grips us or falls upon us as from above, an experience that has substance and body such as those things which occurred to the ancients. If I were going to symbolize it I would choose the Annunciation.” - Seminar 1925

“The individual ego is the stable in which the Christ-child is born.” - Collected Works Vol. 11

“When a summit of life is reached, when the bud unfolds and from the lesser the greater emerges, then, as Nietzsche says, ‘One becomes Two,’ and the greater figure, which one always was but which remained invisible, appears to the lesser personality with the force of a revelation . . . –a moment of deadliest peril!” - The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious

“What is it, in the end, that induces a man to go his own way and to rise out of unconscious identity with the mass. . . ? Is it what is commonly called vocation . . . [which] acts like a law of God from which there is no escape. . . . Anyone with a vocation hears the voice of the inner man: he is called.” - The Development of the Personality

“The story of the Temptation clearly reveals the nature of the psychic power with which Jesus came into collision: it was the power-intoxicated devil of the prevailing Caesarean psychology that led him into dire temptation in the wilderness. This devil was the objective psyche that held all the peoples of the Roman Empire under its sway, and that is why it promised Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth, as if it were trying to make a Caesar of him. Obeying the inner call of his vocation, Jesus voluntarily exposed himself to the assaults of the imperialistic madness that filled everyone, conqueror and conquered alike. In this way he recognized the nature of the objective psyche which had plunged the whole world into misery and had begotten a yearning for salvation that found expression even in the pagan poets. Far from suppressing or allowing himself to be suppressed by this psychic onslaught, he let it act on him consciously, and assimilated it. Thus was world-conquering Caesarism transformed into spiritual kingship, and the Roman Empire into the universal kingdom of God that was not of this world.” - The Development of the Personality

“We all must do what Christ did. We must make our experiment. We must make mistakes. We must live out our own version of life. And there will be error. If you avoid error you do not live.” - Jung Speaking

“Jesus voluntarily exposed himself to the assaults [from within] of the imperialistic madness that filled everyone, conqueror and conquered alike.” - The Development of the Personality

“If the projected conflict is to be healed, it must return into the psyche of the individual, where it had its unconscious beginnings. He must celebrate a Last Supper with himself, and eat his own flesh and drink his own blood; which means that he must recognize and accept the other in himself. . . . Is this perhaps the meaning of Christ’s teaching, that each must bear his own cross? For if you have to endure yourself, how will you be able to rend others also?” - Mysterium Coniunctionis

“Although the Mass itself is a unique phenomenon in the history of comparative religion, its symbolic content would be profoundly alien to man were it not rooted in the human psyche. But if it is so rooted, then we may expect to find similar patterns of symbolism both in the earlier history of mankind and in the world of pagan thought contemporary with it. . . . The liturgy of the Mass contains allusions to the ‘prefigurations’ in the Old Testament, and thus indirectly to ancient sacrificial symbolism in general. It is clear, then, that in Christ’s sacrifice and the Communion one of the deepest chords in the human psyche is struck: human sacrifice and ritual anthropophagy [eating of human flesh]. . . . I must content myself with mentioning the ritual slaying of the king to promote the fertility of the land and the prosperity of his people, the renewal and revivification of the gods through human sacrifice, and the totem meal, the purpose of which was to reunite the participants with the life of their ancestors. These hints will suffice to show how the symbols of the Mass penetrate into the deepest layers of the psyche and its history.” - Psychology and Religion

“The mystery of the Eucharist transforms the soul of the empirical man, who is only a part of himself, into his totality, symbolically expressed by Christ. In this sense, therefore, we can speak of the Mass as the rite of the individuation process.- Psychology and Religion

“The problem of crucifixion is the beginning of individuation; there is the secret meaning of the Christian symbolism, a path of blood and suffering.” – quoted in Aspects of Jung’s Personality and Work by Gerhard Adler

“We discern a crimson line on this earth, a red, blood-spattered line which ascends, struggling, from matter to plants, from plants to animals, from animals to man.” – quoted in The Saviors of God by Nikos Kazantzakis

“The highest and most decisive experience of all . . . is to be alone with . . . [one's] own self, or whatever else one chooses to call the objectivity of the psyche. The patient must be alone if he is to find out what it is that supports him when he can no longer support himself. Only this experience can give him an indestructible foundation.” - Psychology and Alchemy

“He said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ But ‘kingdom’ it was, all the same.” - Jung Speaking

“The bigger the crowd the more negligible the individual becomes. But the carrier of consciousness is the individual. . . . Did Christ, perchance, call his disciples to him at a mass meeting? Did the feeding of the five thousand bring him any followers who did not afterwards cry with the rest ‘Crucify him!’ . . . ?” - The Undiscovered Self

“The divine process of change manifests itself to our human understanding . . . as punishment, torment, death, and transfiguration.” - Alchemical Studies

“The experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego.” - Mysterium Coniunctionis

“The reality of evil and its incompatibility with good cleave the opposites asunder and lead inexorably to the crucifixion and suspension of everything that lives. Since ‘the soul is by nature Christian’ this result is bound to come as infallibly as it did in the life of Jesus: we all have to be ‘crucified with Christ,’ i.e., suspended in a moral suffering equivalent to veritable crucifixion.” - Psychology and Alchemy

“Although the attributes of Christ (consubstantiality with the Father, co-eternity, filiation, parthenogenesis, crucifixion, Lamb sacrificed between opposites, One divided into Many, etc.) undoubtedly mark him out as an embodiment of the self, looked at from the psychological angle he corresponds to only one half of the archetype. The other half appears as the Anti-Christ. The latter is just as much a manifestation of the self, except that he consists of its dark aspect. Both are Christian symbols, and they have the same meaning as the image of the Savior crucified between two thieves. This great symbol tells us that the progressive development and differentiation of consciousness leads to an ever more menacing awareness of the conflict and involves nothing less than a crucifixion of the ego, its agonizing suspension between irreconcilable opposites.

“Through the Christ crucified between the two thieves, man gradually attained knowledge of his shadow and its duality. This duality had already been anticipated by the double meaning of the serpent. Just as the serpent stands for the power that heals as well as corrupts, so one of the thieves is destined upwards, the other downwards, and so likewise the shadow is on one side regrettable and reprehensible weakness, on the other side healthy instinctively and the prerequisite for higher consciousness.” - Aion

“The God-image in man was not destroyed by the Fall but was only damaged and corrupted (‘deformed’), and can be restored through God’s grace. The scope of the integration is suggested by the descent of Christ’s soul to hell, its work of redemption embracing even the dead. The psychological equivalent of this is the integration of the collective unconscious which forms an essential part of the individuation process.” - Aion

“I only know–and here I am expressing what countless other people know–that the present is a time of God’s death and disappearance. The myth says he was not to be found where his body was laid. ‘Body’ means the outward, visible form, the erstwhile but ephemeral setting for the highest value. The myth further says that the value rose again in a miraculous manner, transformed. It looks like a miracle, for, when a value disappears, it always seems to be lost irretrievably. So it is quite unexpected that it should come back. The three days’ descent into hell during death describes the sinking of the vanished value into the unconscious, where, by conquering the power of darkness, it establishes a new order, and then rises up to heaven again, that is, attains supreme clarity of consciousness. The fact that only a few people see the Risen One means that no small difficulties stand in the way of finding and recognizing the transformed value.” - Psychology and Religion

“The utter failure came at the Crucifixion in the tragic words, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ If you want to understand the full tragedy of those words you must realize what they meant: Christ saw that his whole life, devoted to the truth according to his best conviction, had been a terrible illusion. He had lived it to the full absolutely sincerely, he had made his honest experiment, but it was nevertheless a compensation. On the cross his mission deserted him. But because he had lived so fully and devotedly he won through to the Resurrection body.- Jung Speaking

“On the level of the Son there is no answer to the question of good and evil; there is only an incurable separation of the opposites. . . . It seems to me to be the Holy Spirit’s task and charge to reconcile and reunite the opposites in the human individual through a special development of the human soul.” - The Symbolic Life

“The continuing, direct operation of the Holy Ghost on those who are called to be God’s children implies, in fact, a broadening process of incarnation. Christ, the son begotten by God, is the first-born who is succeeded by an ever-increasing number of younger brothers and sisters. There are, however, neither begotten by the Holy Ghost nor born of a virgin. . . . Their lowly origin (possibly from the mammals) does not prevent them from entering into a close kinship with God as their father and Christ as their brother.” - Answer to Job

[There is a] . . . continued and progressive divine incarnation. Thus man is received and integrated into the divine drama. He seems destined to play a decisive part in it; that is why he must receive the Holy Spirit. I look upon the receiving of the Holy Spirit as a highly revolutionary fact which cannot take place until the ambivalent nature of the Father is recognized. If God is the summum bonum, the incarnation makes no sense, for a good god could never produce such hate and anger that his only son had to be sacrificed to appease it. A Midrash says that the Shofar is still sounded on the Day of Atonement to remind YHWH (God) of his act of injustice towards Abraham (by compelling him to slay Isaac) and to prevent him from repeating it. A conscientious clarification of the idea of God would have consequences as upsetting as they are necessary. They would be indispensable for an interior development of the trinitarian drama and of the role of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is destined to be incarnate in man or to choose him as a transitory dwelling-place. ‘Non habet nomen proprium,’ says St. Thomas; because he will receive the name of man. That is why he must not be identified with Christ. We cannot receive the Holy Spirit unless we have accepted our own individual life as Christ accepted his. Thus we become the ‘sons of god’ fated to experience the conflict of the divine opposites, represented by the crucifixion.” - The Symbolic Life

Mysteries of Easter and the Tree of Life

Posted in Alan Watts, Christianity, The Spirit, what I'm reading with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2011 by jason elijah

In honor of the Easter holiday, here are a few very interesting excerpts from one of the most in-depth books on the subject, Easter: Its Story and Meaning by Alan Watts.

According to the story, Jesus was crucified on a wooden cross on a hill called Golgotha, “the Place of the Skull” [where Adam's head is supposed to have been buried, so Jesus is the Second Adam, "Fruit of the Tree"]. Legend tells that the wood of this cross had a strange history…

It is said that after Adam and Eve had been expelled from the Garden of Eden, one of the sons of Adam, named Seth, had managed to obtain a cutting from the fatal Tree of Knowledge whose fruit had opened his parents’ hearts to evil. Some versions of the legend say, however, that the branch was from the Tree of Life, which also stood in the Garden. From this branch a staff was made, a staff handed down from generation to generation among the ancient Hebrew patriarchs. This was the staff which Moses turned into a serpent before the Egyptian king, the staff with which he opened the passage in the Red Sea, and struck the rock in the wilderness so that it gave forth water. And when the Hebrews, escaped from Egypt, were plagued by snakes in the desert, this was the staff on which Moses hung a serpent of bronze that all who gazed upon it should be healed of the plague. This, too was the staff of the shepherd Jesse, the father of David, which miraculously blossomed as a sign that his son should be king. After many adventures, the staff came at last into the hands of Joseph, husband of Mary. By his son, James, it was given to Judas Iscariot, and by him to those who used it to fashion the Cross of Christ. “The tree,” wrote St. Augustine, “which had brought about the fall and the loss of Paradise, shall be the instrument of redemption.”

Such is the legend of the Holy Rood, or Rod, of the Tree which bears both the fruit of death and the fruit of life and around which has been formed one of the most fascinating collections of Christian symbolism. Associated with the Tree are two serpents, the serpent of poison and the serpent of healing. The one is Lucifer, the Devil, who tempted Eve to eat the fruit of Knowledge. The other is Moses’ serpent of bronze which healed the plague, and which Christ used as a symbol of himself. To this day, the bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Church carry a pastoral staff shaped not, as in the Western Church, like a shepherd’s crook, but like the Caduceus, the rod entwined with two serpents–emblem, also, of the art of healing.

During the Christian rites of Holy Week leading up to Easter, hymns to the Tree of Life are sung by choirs on Good Friday in which the ancient myths [such as the pine of Attis and the tamarisk of Osiris] find their fulfillment:

“Faithful Cross, above all other
One and only noble Tree;
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peer may be.”

“O Tree of beauty, Tree of light,
O Tree with royal purple dight,
Elect on whose triumphed breast
Those holy limbs should find their rest”

During the Easter Sunday rites, before lighting the Paschal Candle, the deacon sings of the mystery of the light which comes out of darkness:

“Now is come the night whereof David said: Behold the night is as clear as the day: then shall my night be turned into day…” [and later he calls upon God to "be present at these Mysteries..."]

–words that take us back to the Mysteries of Demeter at Eleusis [the "Mysteries" were the ancient equivalent of churches], where the night upon which the initiation was completed was called “the holy night, clearer than the light of the sun.” So, too, the initiate of the Mysteries of Osiris said, “About midnight I saw the sun brightly shine.”

…It is the descent of the Spiritual Sun into the Material Waters for the creation of the universe.

The various rites of Tammuz, Adonis, Kore, Dionysus, and many others [existing hundreds of years before Christianity], had as many basic elements in common as their respective myths. Some of them were celebrated at the Spring Equinox… but their universal theme–the drama of death and resurrection–make them the first “Easter services.” Many of the Christian customs and ceremonies resemble these former rites.

Obviously the rites of Easter have some connection with mankind’s perennial joy in the renewal of the earth’s life at springtime. But this is a very dim and partial glimpse of the truth behind the symbols. … Easter–by whatever name it may be known–is a theme common to almost every religion and every people. … It is the theme that through death men can enter an eternal life. Sometimes the “death” in question is a physical death. But at other times it is, and has long been, understood as a “psychic death”–that is, as self-denial, self-sacrifice, or self-forgetting, while in the midst of life. … It is nearly always a story rather than a doctrine or idea.

Two points stand out clearly in the story:

One is that the new life which the risen Savior brings to man is not just ordinary, biological life alone. This is true whether the Savior be Christ or Osiris. The gift of Easter is not mortal life, but eternal life, spiritual life. [Now, not after you physically die.]

The second point is that the bestowal of this gift is the fruit of death. Die and come to life–this is the essence of the story. It is like learning to float on water. So long as you tense your muscles and try to hold your body upon the surface, you sink. But as soon as you try to sink, you relax and float. It sounds crazy, but it works. In the famous language of the Gospel: “Whosoever would save his soul shall lose it, but he that loses [we might say, looses] his soul shall find it.” “Die and come to life.” “The first shall be last, and the last first.” “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” “Except a grain of corn fall into the ground and die, it remains alone; but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.”

This is what Easter is saying: the source of life–not ordinary life alone, but eternal life–is death itself. The source of supreme joy is something which, at first sight, seems to be utter despair.

Easter is the celebration of a triumph. For the passage from Good Friday to Easter Day is the passage from the full acceptance of death to the dawn of real life. This is no mere expectancy, but a vision enjoyed here and now, a vision which accounts for the self-denying charity of the saint and the fearless joy of the martyr. … The condition of eternal life is that incessant “dying to oneself” which is called love.”

If there is one symbol in which the whole meaning and mystery of Easter may be summed up, it is water. From the spring rains to the Baptismal Font, from the waters of chaos in which the world began to the water of eternal life flowing from the throne of God, this symbol lies uppermost in the pagan [pre-Christian] and Christian Easters alike. It takes precedence over the egg, the lily, the lamb, the peacock-phoenix, and even the hallowed fire.

Resisting it, one sinks; giving in to it, one floats. Like the Lamb of God led to the slaughter, it resists neither nails nor blows, yet they have no power to harm it.

It is said that Odin, the Norse supreme God-All-Father, learned the secrets of divination by spearing himself to the tree at the center of the world in a sort of crucifixion.

“I know that I hung
On a wind-rocked tree
Nine whole nights
With a spear wounded,
And to Odin offered
Myself to myself;
On that tree
Of which no one knows
From what root it springs.”

* A comment by Robert A. Johnson on the image above (“The Tree of Life and Death” by Berthold Furtmeyer, 1481):

“The psyche keeps its equilibrium as accurately as the body balances its temperature, its acid-alkaline ratio, and the many other fine polarities. We take these physical balances for granted but rarely do we recognize their psychological parallels.”

“A medieval illuminated manuscript [pictured] gives us this information in vivid form. Here a stylized tree of knowledge, with its golden fruit, rises up from Adam’s naval. Adam is looking a little sleepy as if he does not entirely comprehend what he has produced. Two women stand beside the tree. The Virgin Mary is on the left, clothed as a nun, picking fruit from the tree and handing it out to a long line of penitents for their salvation. Eve, naked, stands on the right, picking fruit from the same tree, handing it out to a long line of people for their damnation. Here is vivid commentary on a single tree giving out a dual product. What a strange tree! Whenever we pluck the fruit of creativity from the golden tree our other hand plucks the fruit of destruction. Our resistance to this insight is very high! We would love to have creativity without destruction, but that is not possible. … The balance… the center point, is the whole (holy) place.”

Joseph Campbell’s “little sermon to the churches of the world”

Posted in Christianity, Joseph Campbell, The Spirit, what I'm reading with tags , , , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by jason elijah

Our culture has come to a crisis: the total disintegration of the inherited myths. They can no longer be read in the concretizing way that is fashionable and almost inevitable in undeveloped societies. Now we realize that the mythic force comes from within us. But it’s got to come from within us. You can’t take over someone else’s inside.

And my little sermon to the churches of the world is this: you have got the symbols right there on the altar, and you have the lessons as well. Unfortunately, when you have a dogma telling you what kind of effect the symbol is supposed to have upon you, you’re in trouble. “It doesn’t affect me that way, so am I a sinner?”

The real, important function of the Church is to present the symbol, to perform the rite, to let you behold this divine message in such a way that you are capable of experiencing it. What the relationship of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost to each other might be, in technical terms, is not half as important as you, the celebrant, feeling the Virgin Birth within you, the birth of the mystic, mythic being that is your own spiritual life.

[from Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation by Joseph Campbell]

The Gospel of Judas

Posted in Christianity, documentaries, The Spirit with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2011 by jason elijah

Here is an informative documentary (featuring religious scholar Elaine Pagels, among others) about the Gospel of Judas (“The Hidden Story of the Betrayal of Christ”), which was buried sometime around 300 AD, and discovered in the 1970s.



(continue watching on youtube)

Bart Erhman says Jesus was misquoted

Posted in Christianity, The Spirit, what I'm reading with tags , , , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by jason elijah

World-renowned Bible scholar and author Dr. Bart D. Erhman (Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why) gave a lecture at Stanford University in 2007 about the “Scribes Who Altered Scripture and Readers Who May Never Know.” This is relatively basic information about the Bible that everyone should know. Watch here or save the video.



(continue watching on youtube)

The Story of God

Posted in Christianity, documentaries, The Spirit, The World with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2011 by jason elijah

The Story of God is another excellent scholarly documentary that explores the origins of religion. Professor Robert Winston made the film in 2005 to be broadcast in three parts on TV soon after the release of his book, The Story of God.

from wikipedia:

Part 1: “Life, the Universe and Everything” – focuses on the origins of ancient animistic beliefs and the eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism.

Part 2: “No God but God” – focuses on the three great monotheistic Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Part 3: “God of the Gaps” – considers how the idea of God has been challenged by modern ideas, especially scientific theories and discoveries.

(This is no longer available on youtube, so save the mp4 version for your archive.)

The Hidden Story of Jesus

Posted in Christianity, documentaries, The Spirit, The World with tags , , , , , , on March 30, 2011 by jason elijah

Jesus

This excellent documentary made for the BBC in 2007 explores the myths and cultures that influenced the origins of Christianity. There are uncanny similarities between the stories of Jesus, Krishna, Mithra, Buddha, and others, with deeper meaning that unites them all.

(This is no longer on youtube, so save the mp4 version for your archive.)

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