After the interesting reactions I’ve had to my latest post “Christian faith and children” I’ve decided to express my whole concept on the matter a bit more extensively.
I’ve actually managed to provoke and enrage with a single post two devout evangelical Christians and a fervent atheist at the same time. That event has to be recorded in some way, because I don’t think anyone else can manage two such feats so effortlessly and simultaneously.
It doesn’t hurt one to have a certain sense of humor about oneself. Anyway, though I’m certain the Christian gentlemen won’t believe it, I like them both even if they don’t like me in return. As for the atheist, I think he’s a highly intelligent, incredibly polite and nice man and I’ve really enjoyed our discussion.
You can view these discussions on my page “Granny’s haunted house” in the comment section underneath the specific post, but I must warn you there were some rather impolite and rude things said from both sides in the discussion with the two Christians and the whole thing is not for the faint of heart.
However you are free to read what was said at your own risk and peril.
And now let’s get serious about what Jesus said one must do to be saved and why he said it.
I’ll give it in the form of a list though I’m not a big fan of lists. I hate them actually, but I’ll do it, only in order for it to be more comprehensible and easy to understand.
1. Be like children.
Mathew 18:1-8 Who is the greatest, Mathew 19:13-15 Jesus blesses little children, Luke 9: 46-48 Who is the greatest, Mark 10:13 -16 Jesus blesses little children etc.
But how exactly are children? Innocent, imaginative, playful and most importantly HAPPY, when left alone and not being oppressed by their parents, society’s precepts, fixed labels and this whole system bent upon eliminating innocence in all its forms.
2. Don’t serve money, don’t seek self glorification and power of this world or worldly knowledge but instead seek spiritual heavenly treasures, be humble at heart and poor in spirit.
That’s a part of Jesus’s whole reconstruction of the system of values forced upon us by this soul-devouring machine we call society.
a) First regarding money and riches:
Mathew 19:16-23, Mark 10:17-23 Jesus counsels the rich young ruler “with God all things are possible”.
Luke 12:13-21 the parable of the rich fool
Luke 16:19-30 the rich man and Lazarus.
And many more.
But why Christ asks us not to be greedy and not to serve money? Because greed makes us unhappy. No matter how much money you have, it’s never enough and you always fool yourself in thinking that if you had ten times as much you’d be happy. When you achieve it, you are still unsatisfied. Because money enslaves us to this material world and we lose ourselves in the process. So that’s the core of these teachings. Once again man’s happiness and nothing else.
b) Now let’s examine the self glorification and humility subject
Mathew 20:25-28 Greatness is serving
Luke 14:7-11 take the lowly place…. for whoever exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Luke 18:9-14 The Pharisee and the tax collector.
John 13:1-12 Jesus washes the disciples feet and many more.
Why Jesus wants us to be humble instead of arrogant and conceited? How many famous men and women haven’t died horrible deaths due to addictions to pills and alcohol? If this type of fame had made anyone truly fulfilled, all those people wouldn’t have destroyed themselves. Fame and arrogance is a burden and when you throw it away and do not seek or need it, you become happy.
So there we are again. Jesus asked us to be humble for our own happiness and fulfillment and not to oppress us or force us into anything we don’t want to do.
c) Finally we’ll examine worldly knowledge in opposition to the inner truth that emanates from our relation to God.
Mathew 5:3 blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mathew 11:25 I thank you father that you have hidden this things from the wise and the prudent and revealed them to babes.
That also has to do with the first part «Be like children». And let’s not forget that Jesus chose simple uneducated fishermen and craftsmen to become his disciples and that he accused the learned scribes and pharisees of blindness and hypocrisy and that Judas Iscariot, the only one educated, was the one who betrayed him.
Why Jesus does advise us against seeking earthly knowledge and encourages us to hold on to the simple and pure view of a child. Because earthly knowledge often blinds us to the deeper truths that actually help us see, beyond the outer veil of injustice, the beauty and justice of the world that is hidden from us by this ungodly system. That means to return to the happiness we lost when we fell from the state of complete unity with God. So in a few words he advises us to do what we have to do in order to be HAPPY once again.
3. live in the present moment and enjoy it, being spiritually reborn every single day of our lives.
Mathew 6:25-34 Do not worry.
Jesus in this passage tells us not to worry about the future, since the father who provides food for the birds and clothing for the flowers will most certainly provide for us, his beloved children.
Mathew 5:43-48 Love your enemies.
Mathew 6:12 and 14 (The model prayer). Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you.
So by means of forgiveness we can free ourselves of the past. Someone free from worries about the future and not holding grudges against others for what may have done to him in the past, free from guilt and despair, is free to live in the moment, enjoy the sun the taste of fruit, the scent of flowers and each little pleasure of life in general in the present day and moment. He becomes free from the bondage of linear time and he can be born again every moment of his life. Why Jesus asks us to do that? You’ve guessed it! In order for us to be HAPPY.
4. Do not judge.
Mathew 7:1-6 Judge not, that you be not judged.
In other words do not put labels on others, do not accuse them, and allow them to be the best human beings they can without bashing them with words or actions. Do not fill them with guilt and actually accept them the way they are.
Why does Jesus asks us to do that? Because, when you judge, you only see wickedness and evil in others. You feel surrounded and trapped in a circle of maliciousness. You see imperfection in everyone and everything and therefore you become unhappy. To conclude, that too is expected from us, to help us become truly and uncompromisingly HAPPY. Seeing everyone as a brother helps us free ourselves from the chess-player logic that forces us to see only white and black pawns and reunites us with our innocence and purity of heart.
Putting our faith in Christ as the person above all other persons and true and unique representative of God the Father on earth allows us to believe his words and of course be HAPPY.
Now let’s examine Paul that my evangelical Christian friend is so fond of.
Ephesians 2:1-8 By grace through faith.
Here Paul tells us we are not saved through works but through faith and the grace of God.
As a matter of fact my evangelical Christian friend asked how many works must we do in order to be saved. He asked me to tell him the mechanics, as he called it.
The answer to this question is actually quite simple:
We only need to do one but do it constantly. Be truly HAPPY and fulfilled, allow that happiness to spread to others and feel good while doing it. That’s all there is to it.
How can anyone make anyone else happy, if he isn’t happy himself to begin with? How can someone love and be grateful to God, when he secretly hates his life and he is miserable and unhappy. That’s the one work we have to do to please God if one can say with a straight face that being happy can actually be considered a “work”.
Besides Paul himself answers this question 1 Corinthians 13-13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Faith, hope and love that summarize the whole of Christ’s teaching and is the essence of it. We need faith in order to believe in Christ, follow his teaching and become happy through the way of life he embodies, we need hope so that we remain positive and HAPPY and believe that happiness is possible for us to begin with, and finally we need love in order to spread that Happiness to people around us. It doesn’t get any simpler than this.
I’d like to close this post with Paul’s touching definition of love:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.