What I believe, part 11
The Dead Church
When I first started to understand the meaning of Christ's teachings, I did not think for a minute that it would lead to me taking a stand against the teachings of the Church. At first I believed that I had just found something that the Church had lost, or that it had not yet found. I did not think it would end up separating me from the Church. I wanted badly to keep peace with the Church; and in my studies I tried very hard not to question those teachings that had always confused me. Instead, I tried to tell myself that one could believe them and still follow the teachings of Christ.
But as I went on with my studies, I started to see that there was a clear choice between the truth of Christ's teachings, which alone could save me, and the perfectly opposite teachings of the Church. I was forced to disagree with the Church; but I tried to be as soft as possible about it at first, because I did not want to lose what was very important to me, and that was my life with other believers. But by the time I had finished with my work, I saw that, try as I might to keep something of the Church's teachings, nothing was left.
Near the end of my work on the teachings of Christ, two uneducated workers who had been working for me had an argument about something they had read in a prayer book for children. It said that the law of Moses about not killing should not stop a person from killing enemies in a war, or stop a country from killing bad people. I could not believe that the Church would say this so clearly for everyone to read.
The workers asked me if what the book said was true, and I had to say that it was not. The one who had been saying that he believed the book asked me why the Church would say it was okay to kill people if it was not. I had no answer for him. I asked for the book and found that all of the Ten Rules that Moses gave were in it, but that most of them were followed by words that argued against the rules.
I looked at the longer prayer book that this one came from, and I found that the Ten Rules of Moses came in the part called "On Love". The rules of Christ, by the way, were not there.
The first rule of Moses says that we should only worship one God, but the Church book says that we can pray to angels and other Christians from the past, and, most important, to "God's mother".
The second rule says not to make idols, but the Church book teaches children to pray to statues of Mary and Jesus.
The third rule says not to use God's name when you are not serious about what you are saying, but the Church book says this should not stop people from making a promise in the name of God if the government tells them to do this.
The fourth rule says to make Saturday a special rest day, but the Church books says not to keep Saturday holy. It says that we should keep Sunday holy instead.
Rule number five says to obey your parents, but the Church book teaches that you should do the same for the king, the country, church leaders, "and other leaders". There are three pages listing all the different leaders that children are taught to obey at school, in the courts, in the army, on the job.
As I have already said,rule number six says not to kill, but the Church book says it is okay to kill for your country.
And this is what we are teaching all of our children in the name of "Christian teaching". We are teaching it to those children that Christ did not want people to stop from coming to him. He said that serious trouble would come to any who would stop even one of these children from coming to him. And yet, in the face of that, the Church today is openly teaching many thousands of children to go against the teachings of Christ. And the Church teaching is so strong that I could be sent to prison for what I am saying here right now in disagreeing with it.
It has happened as Christ said: "If the light in you goes out, how great will be the darkness." (Luke 11:35-36) The light in the Church is out, and the darkness in the world is now very great.
To the religious leaders of his day, Christ said, "You false believers! You have closed the door to the kingdom of heaven. You won't go in yourselves, and you stop others from going in You take all that the widows own, and you say long prayers that you do not mean. You will be punished more than others because of this You make statues of the prophets and other people of God from the past, and say, 'If we had been there at the time we would not have helped to fight against them and kill them as the religious leaders of their day did.' But you have said perfectly what you do today, as the sons of those who killed the prophets." (Matthew 23:13-31)
All of this reads like it was written yesterday about those who, in the name of Christ, force people to believe all that is opposite to the teachings of Christ, and who do all that they can to stop anyone who tries to uncover the lies.
I came to understand with the strongest confidence that the church's teachings, apart from using the name of Christ, are the very same darkness that Christ told his followers to fight against.
Constantine made the way for the devil to put a Christian coat over the whole Roman world, without really changing the world at all, and then to teach the believers that it was God's will for them to follow the Roman government. Constantine was a very evil man, but for all his sins, the Church says he was one of the best Christians of all time. And because of him we now have a Church that does not ask its believers to do anything at all about obeying Christ to be saved.
Instead, believers are told to obey the government, obey the Church, and to obey almost anyone but Christ. Where the Church should be leading the world toward the truth, the world is now leading the Church, and people now believe that it is the Church's job to teach that all that the world says and does is in agreement with the teachings of Christ.
There are two sides to any religious teaching. One side tells people how to live, and the other side tells why it is important to live that way. One side is more physical, and the other side is more spiritual.
It is easier to understand the problems in the church when we understand that it stopped teaching the laws of Christ. Without the laws of Christ (which teach us how to live), the second part of the Church's teaching changed only to a teaching about going to heaven when we die, and obeying a few church rules. Because the Church says that how people live has nothing to do with them going or not going to heaven, even the second half of its teaching (about why we must live as we do) loses much of its meaning. When the Church teaches some action that a person must do to receive Christ's forgiveness it does not do so because Christ taught that the action would bring forgiveness. So faith in Christ, who taught us how to live, has been changed to faith in the Church, which teaches us to do what the government says.
In the past, the Church tried to hide the Bible from the people, but some free thinkers helped to bring the Bible to the little people. Movements to end things like owning slaves did not come from the Church (which always taught that owning slaves was in agreement with the will of God), but these movements came from people who had been touched by the truth of Christ's teachings. The same must happen with movements against war and against killings used to punish people. The Church will never take the lead on these things, because the Church has for too long argued that these things are part of the will of God. If change is to come, it must come from people outside the Church.
The Church has no teaching about life only teachings about heaven and hell and about what happens after we die. In the real world here and now the Church has nothing but buildings, statues, beautiful robes, and empty words. For eighteen centuries the Church carried the light of Christ's teachings under its robes where people could not see it, and in so doing, it has itself been burned up by the flame.
The world now lives without the Church. There is no way to hide that truth. Even the government no longer needs the Church. Science not only does not turn to the Church for help, but it is strongly against it. Art, which in the past was almost wholely under the Church, has now very much left it.
Because the Church has no rules for how to live life here and now, life has no more interest in the Church. What we call the Church now is only a container where, at one time, Truth lived. All of the churches stand like soldiers who are watching a prisoner. But the prisoner has been free for a long time and they do not even know it. All the real changes in the world are coming from people outside the Church now.
Movements to help the poor, help women, bring about changes in art and science these all are started by people who have more understanding of the law of God than they could ever find in a Church that did all it could to hide those truths. The Church is so far behind what is happening in the world that no one hears the voices of its teachers now. And it is just as well, because they have nothing to say anyway.
| Just kicking the bad leader
out will not save the people.
People went on a trip in a boat. The boat had an owner who steered it well, and the people put their faith in him. But a time came when another man took the job of steering the boat, and he had no interest in steering. The boat moved on quickly and easily without anyone steering it, and no one could see any difference for some time. But when it became clear that the new leader did not know where he was going, the people kicked him off the boat.
The problem is that just kicking the bad leader out will not save the people on the boat. And that is what is happening in the world today. We forget that we still need a leader. The Church has no clear direction, but the world too is lost and does not know where to go. We live and get through life, but we clearly do not know why. And it is no good going through life without knowing why.
If we had just found ourselves in a place, we could say that we did not know how we happened to be here. But after finding ourselves on this planet, we have been making choices for some time that have put us in one place or another, and the effects of our choices can be serious for ourselves and for our children. So we must answer questions like: Why do we still choose to have armies to kill and hurt millions of people? And why do we build big cities, with the problems that come from them? Why do we have law courts, and send prisoners far away from us to live out their lives? Why do we leave our farms, to do work that we hate in the cities? And why do we teach our children to do all of these things too?
We must ask ourselves if these are the best ways to live our lives. Even if we believe they are, we must be able to say why they are the best ways. But if these are things that we really do not want to do, then it is even more important to answer the questions about why we still do them. We need to give answers, or stop doing such things. People who do things without knowing why they do them are not really alive.
Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims all of these people do the things I have listed above. But they have rules and arguments in their religion that tell them that it is God's will for them to live in this way. Some uneducated Christians also believe the Church when it says that God wants us to fight wars, punish bad people, work for more and more money, and so on. Right or wrong, all of these people have a reason for doing these things. But now a time has come when only the most uneducated people can believe that we do these things because it is the will of God. People know now that the Church is not God, and that the church is not following God. More and more people are seeing this every day. But these educated people are the ones who need an answer now a reason for their actions that does not come from the Church. What these new world leaders do today will change the whole world. Yet they do not know why they are doing what they do. I have asked hundreds, and they give an answer that does not answer the question as I put it to them.
When I ask a church-goer why he or she lives in a way that is not in agreement with the teachings of Christ, the answer is always about bad people in the world, and about how there should be more faith in the true Church. But as to why they themselves do not obey Christ, there is no answer.
A philosopher will talk about the law of progress and how the world is slowly getting better, but here too, there is no answer as to why they themselves do not right now follow good reason and do what is clearly right even if others do not.
Most people that is, the half believing half not believing people who always talk about how bad things are when asked why they themselves do not change and make the world a better place, will talk of the law, their business, the government, or people in general. These people do the same as the philosophers and the church-goers. They all change a question about themselves to a general question about the world as a whole, or progress, or the Church. And the reason is because all of these people have no rules for themselves. They all leave that to someone else.
In the past people always had rules for themselves, but only in today's world have we lost that. And it is because the Church left out the teachings of Christ and taught only about life after death. The Church talks of a dream world where all will be as God planned; but it says nothing about how we should live now. Such teaching is of no use to the real world.
But science, without knowing it, is following in the steps of the false Church. We see smart people thinking they are free of religion just because they have not believed the church's teaching about life after death. But they still must have a way of life for here and now. Their reason for living the way they do will be their faith, and their faith will be their religion. When we look closely, we see that their faith is the same as the faith of the Church. They all do what they do because a big invisible machine tells them to. In both groups we see that the religion of our time is a religion of force doing anything that the strongest powers around us say we must do.
This does not answer the question of how to know the difference between right and wrong. A thinking person needs to have such rules needs a better reason to follow a leader or a teaching than just the argument that the leader or teacher can put you in prison if you do not obey. Sad to say, most of the smartest scientists in the world today not only have no such rules for telling right from wrong, but they cannot even see a need for them.
Ask anyone today in the Church or out of it what teachings they follow, and they will be forced to say that they follow only the laws of the country. They know that the laws of our country did not come down to us from heaven, or from prophets, or from others with a deep understanding of what is right and what is wrong. They will, themselves, talk against many of the laws, but in the end they will follow them because they have no higher law to follow. If the government says that all young men must be ready to kill and to be killed, all of the parents with sons will follow it and teach their sons to do the same.
We have lost any thought of a law that stands on its own, without a policeman or a gun to back it up. We cannot hear, or even think of, a voice in our own heart telling us what is right and what is wrong. This voice the voice of God has been locked up by the teaching that a good person just does what the police say he or she should do. I have looked through all of the so-called Christian (Western) world for some clear rules about what is right and wrong, but I have not found them. There is a strange feeling that such rules are not needed, that religion is about God, about life after death, and about magic actions in a church building that can save people's souls; but it is not about knowing right from wrong. In such things as how to live, or what to teach our children, we give full power to others (who, themselves, do not know what is right) to say what we should do. Most of the West now has no higher understanding of the will of God than the will of the police.
But there are a few people, the best people of our time, who are not happy with such a faith, and who have a belief of their own about how people should live. Often these people know nothing of Christ's teaching, or they know, but only take a part of it. Because they have a belief at all, and because they will not give in to the powers that be, they are the only true believers left in our country.
God used the Church to hold the teachings of Christ for some time. But now those teachings are moving out into the world, where people can see them more clearly. The church has done its job. It was the organ that God used to give birth to what is happening now in the world. But, like the organ that comes out with the baby at birth, it has finished its job. It is no longer alive. Its use is finished.
This does not mean that those people in the world who are trying to follow what they believe is right now have all the answers. Like new born babies, they kick and hit and cry in anger. They do not have the food that came through the old organ, so they need a new way to find the milk of God's truth.
These people must see how weak they are without God, and they must cry out to him for more truth. If they do not do that, they too will die. A new born sheep moves its eyes and ears, shakes its tail, jumps, and kicks and dances about. To look at it, it seems to know everything. But the poor little thing knows nothing. All its confidence and strength came from the mother's blood. But her blood no longer comes to it. The animal is happy and strong; but it will soon be dead if it does not find the mother's breast.
The world today is like that. It is full of change and enthus-iasm. Art, science, business, and government all are changing quickly and all are full of life. But this is only because of the strength they received from their Mother's blood in the past. The Church has finished feeding the world through her blood, and the babies are free to move about on their own now. But if they do not find a new way to receive Truth from the Mother, all this action will be wasted. The world today is looking for answers in every place but one. They don't understand that they must choose from the Mother now only that which will help them to grow. What the world needs to take hold of now is the teachings of Christ. They can throw away the Church, but they must not throw away the teachings of Christ, or they will be throwing away their only hope.
One can argue with Christ's teaching about what happens after death; but you cannot argue with what he said about life here and now. What he said gives us reason to live, because what he said is life. What Christ said about why we should live a good life is not new; but what he said about how to live a good life is.
Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims who feel something has been left out of their law, will find it in Christ's teaching about not hitting back. And those in the Christian world who have no rules at all about right and wrong should find the teachings of Christ even easier to receive.
If you are a believing Christian, it should be very easy to receive Christ's teachings. He does not argue with your beliefs about God or the future. But he adds to what you have now. He gives you simple rules for life that will free you and others from evil. Believe in life after death, in heaven and hell, in the Church, in baptism and the holy bread, in forgiveness of sins; and go on praying, fasting, and singing your songs. This does not stop you from doing what Christ taught to make your life full and happy.
He said, Do not be angry; do not think thoughts that could lead you to be guilty of adultery; do not make promises; do not hit back; and do not go to war. At times you will break some of these rules, as you break some of the rules that you now follow. But in your quiet times, choose not to give up trying to follow these rules. And do it because it is God who tells you to do it.
|Don't just take my word for it.
Try the rules yourself and you'll see that it is true.
If you are a philosopher who does not believe in God, and you believe there are rules about how things act in the world, do not feel that you must argue with the teachings of Christ. Go on believing as you do now that in thousands of years the world will be much better. But add to that law some rules for your own life. Christ's teachings give you rules that will surely make the world better at the same time that they make your own life better. Live by them and you will see how progress itself is only another way of saying what Christ said.
If you are one of the many other people in the world, half believing and half not believing, who has no time for things like the meaning of life, and who does only what everyone else does, then do not try to argue over which teaching is best. Go on and do what everyone else does; but as you do it, listen to that voice inside of yourself. At times that voice will agree with what you do, and at times it will not. Listen to that voice. And at those times, I am confident that the laws of Christ will come to you in their full strength.
If you are closer to believing in God than to not believing in him, then acting in this way will be acting in agreement with God. If you are closer to not believing in God, then acting in line with the voice inside of you and the teachings of Christ will be acting in agreement with the best reasoning, and the best rules in the world today. Don't just take my word for it. Try the rules yourself and you'll see that it is true.
Back to Jesus Christian's Home page