How is Aesential Christianity different than common types of popular Christianity?
Common Christian: Jesus is Christ
Aesential Christian: Jesus of Nazareth was a dark skinned man who lived in Israel 2,000 years ago. Christ is not his last name. He is Jesus, son of Joseph, not Jesus Christ. Jesus is the best example in history of a human connecting to his inner Christ. Christ was his state of being. Christ is also the title given to him by his followers. “Christos” in Greek means “to anoint with oil”, or the “chosen one”. Messiah is the same word in ancient Hebrew. We all have the potential to connect with God through our inner Christ, which is the conduit and enlightened path, part of our collective unconscious. By connecting to God in this way, we become like Christ, Christians. A true Christian does not worship Jesus. Only God should be worshipped. Christ is the connection. As stated in John 14:6 “The way to come to the Father (God) is through me (the Son, Christ).”
Common Christian: Jesus is God
Aesential Christian: Jesus was a man. God is God. The inner Christ connects us to God, like a conduit or an enlightened pathway.
Common Christian: The Holy Trinity is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
Aesential Christian: The Holy Trinity is: God, the Creations, and the Holy Spirit, which is the energy and life force that flows through all things.
Common Christian: It is OK to pray to or worship Jesus, saints and angels.
Aesential Christian: Only pray to God. Do not worship false idols. There is only one God, the omnipresent Creator. The Christ is in you, which is your personal conduit to God. It is OK to ask the Christ for help in times of need. Christ will help connect you to God.
Common Christian: The Bible was written by God.
Aesential Christian: The bible with written by people, inspired by God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Common Christian: Only God and Jesus are divine.
Aesential Christian: Everything in the universe was created by God and therefore from divine origin. Everything on earth has been touched by the divine, and should be respected as such.
Common Christian: The devil, satan and Lucifer are fallen angels. Evil is external to me.
Aesential Christian: Evil exists within every human being. We all have the potential to deceive like Lucifer (the false light bearer) or to bring evil into the world. When God is ignored, Hell exists on Earth. People bring evil into the world, not some type of external devil creature. The devil resides in all of us. We must be able to control our urges to surrender to evil, which includes greed, gluttony, betrayal, vanity, ego, deceit, and many other sins.
Common Christian: Hell exists in the afterlife. We strive to go to heaven
Aesential Christian: We strive to re-create Paradise here on Earth. Heaven, if it exists, can only be visited in the after-life. Hell can easily be created here on earth by humans if we turn away from God and allow evil to flourish. Eg. Europe in 1944.
Common Christian: God’s chosen people are more important than other people.
Aesential Christian: We are all sons and daughters of God. God loves all of his children equally. God does not make mistakes.
Common Christian: I am a sinner, therefore I am inherently bad.
Aesential Christian: Humans have free will and therefore the ability to commit sin. We must learn from our sins.
Common Christian: Sinning is bad and I am evil.
Aesential Christian: Sinning gives you the opportunity to acknowledge your faults and to grow into a better person. Sins may hurt yourself, as well as others. On the surface, some sins actually appear to be virtuous, and you may think that you are doing the right thing. That is the power of deceit, and the charlatan of evil. It appears to be a friend but is actually a serpent that wants to bring evil into the world. Learn to recognize the serpents in the world, and study their deceitful ways! That is the beginning of wisdom.
Common Christian: Jesus died for us. He saved us. He is our savior.
Aesential Christian: Jesus showed us the right way to live: to teach and enlighten, to challenge injustices, to help the needy, to battle temptation, to carry your burden, to sacrifice yourself for what you believe in, to die, suffer, then become reborn again. Rise up when others try to destroy you. Jesus did not do all of the hard work for you. You must now do the work for yourself. Save yourself. Take responsibility for your own life. Awaken the Christ within you! At his death, Jesus did recognize and assume (absorb) all sins in the world. That is the by far the largest burden that Jesus had to carry. By emulating Jesus, we strive to take on as much burden as we can possibly bear, as to improve the world as much as humanly possible. It is on us, as individuals, to do our part to save the world. Jesus did not save us. We must work to save ourselves. Personal responsibility is the key to redemption. Christ is our savior, since Christ is the conduit through which we connect to God. The enlightened path will save us all!
Common Christian: Jesus died so that we may live. His death gave us eternal life.
Aesential Christian: This is a typical belief of common Christians, but does not coincide with Aesential Christianity. First of all, Heaven may or may not exist. Are you living to make this world a better place, or are you hoping to escape to a better place and time in the afterlife? Many people are doing just enough on earth to guarantee their way into Heaven. We do not agree with this type of thinking. It is selfish and cowardly. A better goal is to work to improve life on earth as much as possible, and to also prevent the world from descending into a state of hell. That happened in the 1940’s and it will happen again. Be awake and aware, and do you best to help all people from descending downwards.
Secondly, what does “eternal life” actually mean? Is it immortality? And why would another person’s death grant you the gift of immortality? Fact: we are all humans and we are all going to die. Nobody is eternal. Will our spirit live on, beyond our mortal bodies? Maybe. But that is another discussion entirely. For now, let’s define Eternal Life as “Legacy”. You achieve Eternal Life when you die and people on earth remember you in a positive way. Jesus lives eternally because we remember his life, the good deeds he performed, and the giant sacrifices he made while he was here. “Do this in memory of me”. We not only remember Jesus, but respect him and emulate him as much as possible. He taught us grace, patience, forgiveness, helping those in need, among other things. This is his legacy and eternal message. This is what makes him eternal. If we also live this way, try to be like Jesus as much as possible, then our lives will be eternal too. Our legacy will live many years beyond our mortal bodies.
Common Christian: God will reach down and save you from Heaven.
Aesential Christian: God is waiting for you to reach up, to climb up and re-connect with God in Paradise.
Common Christian: God is an old white man with a beard.
Aesential Christian: God is all things, everywhere, all the time. If you want to picture God as an old wise man with a beard, that is fine. We are humans, so our capacity to fully comprehend the power and magnificence of God is unpractically limited. God is man and woman at the same time, young and old, human and beast, water and flower, rock and stream, tree and wind, earth, moon, sun and the stars. Matter and vacuum. Particle and wave. God is in everything you see, touch, hear, smell, taste, or feel. God is in your mind, in your heart, and in your dreams. God is today, yesterday and tomorrow. God is everywhere. There is no hiding and no doubting God’s existence. God is in every tear of emotion, and in every baby’s smile.
Common Christian: The Bible is 100% true, word for word.
Aesential Christian: The bible is a story, written by several people over thousands of years. It is a giant poem, a metaphor, and parable. Some lines and words carry multiple meanings. There are many ways to interpret the stories in the Bible. Be cautious of contradictions and human bias within the bible. Eg. It is OK to have slaves (ref: 1 Timothy 6:1-2)
Common Christian: During mass, the bread and wine turn into the body and blood of Jesus.
Aesential Christian: Bread and wine are representations / symbols of Jesus’ mortal body. They represent earth and water, the nutrients and energy that come from the earth to feed and nourish our bodies. Like the fruit in the garden, knowledge is food for the mind, as wisdom is soil for the soul.
Common Christian: The only way to connect to God is to go to Church or join an established institutional religion.
Aesential Christian: It is possible to connect with God directly. If you need assistance with your journey, help is available through the Aesential Christ network and other religious & spiritual avenues.
Common Christian: God is divine, pure, and clean but earthly things are dirty and evil.
Aesential Christian: The earthly world was created by God and is therefore touched by the divine. A piece of God exists in every thing in the universe, including every thing on earth, living and inert. The Holy Spirit flows through all things, connecting them to God. Therefore, it is misleading to think of heavenly things as divine and earthly things as pagan or evil. The earth is a gift to us from the Creator, it is sacred, please treat it as such.
Common Christian: Everything I need to know about life is written in the Bible.
Aesential Christian: The Bible has a lot of useful information but not everything is in there. How should I be a good parent? How should I be a good partner or spouse? Where is that written in the Bible? Are women equal to men? According to genesis 2 & 3, woman came from man and should be a servant to man. Woman also brought sin into the world, so the popular Christian churches teach us at an early age that women are evil and should not be trusted. They are easily persuaded by evil. I adamantly disagree with these “typical” teachings! They are so incredibly destructive and disrespectful to women, that they should be outright banned. Not the stories themselves, but the incorrect interpretations of these stories. (see my review of the Adam & Eve story for what I consider to be a “proper” and respectful interpretation of this story. Eve was much stronger and wiser than you may suspect!). In the New Testament, there are only a few instances where Jesus treats women as equals. There are many instances in the Bible where women are treated like lower class citizens, servants to men. If these stories are the cornerstones for our culture, then what are we teaching our young people? It’s no wonder people are turning away from the Bible and Christianity in droves. Because in their hearts, they know that these misogynist teachings are wrong! These interpretations are evil and disrespectful to women. Mary is a virgin, pure and holy. Therefore women who have sex out of wedlock are whores? But men can do whatever they want sexually. Why the double standard? The church also teaches us, incorrectly, that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. This is a misconception and against the actual writings in the Bible.
Jesus went against popular culture in his day and treated women with dignity. Eg. At the home of Mary and Martha, Jesus taught Mary and did not expect her to wait on him: “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42). Jesus also spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well. She had had several husbands and was considered to be a very low class citizen. Jesus said: “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14).
Common Christian: God’s love is finite. God will only love you if you obey the rules and follow the orders of the priests.
Aesential Christian: God’s love is infinite! There is no limit to God’s love, energy, or spirit that flows through all things on earth, at the sun, and throughout the entire universe. Whether
Common Christian: If I don’t believe in God then I am going to Hell.
Aesential Christian: Whether you believe in God or not does not change God at all. The beliefs that you hold in your head have zero impact on the sun rising or setting, on the seasons coming or going, the planet spinning on its axis or revolving around the you’re your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs do not and cannot change the majesty or the universe. Whether you think the stars are animals, fallen angels or tears from heaven, they will continue to shine in the night sky. Whatever “reality” or belief system that you have created in your mind has very little, if any, bearing on the function of the universe. That is up to God and God’s divine plan. You are a human on earth, like a speck of sand on the beach. Insignificant compared to the grand scale of the planet, our solar system and the great universe beyond that.
What God, may I ask, do you not believe in? The popular Christian version of God, which is the old man in the sky? The angry man who judges and condemns you to hell for not obeying his commands? That is not God. I am happy that you do not believe in a God like that because that is a very narrow-minded version of God which does not remotely acknowledge that immensity of God’s infinite love, or the vastness of the universe that we live in.
And as stated early, hell is not a punishing destination of the after-life. Hell is a real place on earth, if we chose to allow earth to fall into the clutches of evil. The concentration camps and extermination camps of World War II are accurate examples of hell on earth. Hell is real, if you allow it to manifest. Be aware at all times! Do not rest when the serpents conspire within the shadows.
Also: There is evil in the deed itself, as well as in the justification.
Common Christian: White is good and black is bad.
Aesential Christian: There are many references in the Bible that describe the pathway to God as being the “enlightened way”. Find God by following the light. This is the conduit of Christ, the True way that Jesus taught us. Conversely, the way of Lucifer is the “false light.” It is a fake light that appears to be true but it is not. It is a deceiving false light. If we follow the path of Lucifer, we are actually going down the wrong path, away from God. Be aware of the possibility of mistaking the True light from the false light. To a naïve, gullible or greedy person, they may look the same. Lucifer’s followers do their best to mimic the True light as best they can, to fool you and take advantage of you. So one of your goals in life is to discern between True light and false light. In popular Christianity, different terms are used to represent Ture light from false light. They use good and evil, light and darkness. Over the years, in communities with people that were predominantly white Christians, light and dark were replaced with white and black. It was a sin to be “blacklisted”. The odd person was the “black sheep”, or the “negro in the woodpile.” This language became part of common culture in the Christian world, which by its nature, is racist and anti-black. In popular stories and movies, the good guys are typically white and the bad guys wear black. Be aware of these cultural norms as they may unconsciously alter your behavior.
Additionally, according to the psychologist Carl Jung, we all have a dark side, a potential to bring evil into the world. No matter what your skin colour is on the outside, there is a brooding darkness within all of us that wants to get out to wreak havoc on the world. Please be aware of your inner shadow, the darkness that can cast a shadow on your heart, causing it to become cold and malicious. Life is not a struggle of us (good) versus them (bad). It is a struggle to determine what exactly is good and evil, because at times they appear to be the same. Success is in the details. Life is a struggle by wanting to do good, but always being tempted by evil. Because it is easier or more convenient, or more familiar and comfortable. Bad habits die hard. And evil promises you personal rewards that can make you feel really good. Do you recall Satan tempting Jesus in the dessert? (Matthew 4:8-10) “…the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Beware of men who promise you riches as rewards for doing evil deeds. They follow the ways of Satan, and not the way of God.
Common Christian: The Bible is the only sacred book.
Aesential Christian: The bible is a sacred book. It is a book that uses stories to guide civilized society. When these stories are read, analyzed and openly discussed, they provide insight and direction for living a righteous life, on the pathway towards God. The stories also show the negative outcomes if people decide to follow Lucifer instead God (aka penalties and punishments). The Bible should be treated with respect, since it is a historical document that has helped guide the lives of many great people for thousands of years. Keeping in mind that the Bible is written metaphorically and should not be interpreted literally. It is difficult for a person to read and fully understand the meaning and intentions of every story written in the bible. It takes countless hours of study and discussion with trained experts to fully comprehend the true meanings and hidden nuances contained within the Bible stories. Therefore, the Bible should not be read in solitude. The stories should be discussed in groups, which includes elder members of the community as well as young people who offer fresh perspectives.
Another sacred book is the dictionary. The dictionary not only contains words and their definitions, it is a giant social contract. The entire English speaking world is built upon English words and their definitions. Therefore, the Oxford and Harvard dictionaries are sacred and the definitions should not be altered without thorough discussions and careful consideration. Changing words haphazardly is irresponsible and potentially destructive to our society as a whole. Protect the dictionary at all costs! Remember, Freedom of Speech requires proper and agreed upon definitions of words. If these definitions are altered or the meanings become ambiguous, then the entire language becomes diluted, communication breaks down, and Freedom of Speech dissolves into nothing.
These sacred books should be protected with your life.
Common Christian: We should be grateful every week, on Sundays when we go to church.
Aesential Christian: We should be grateful every day. We should give thanks for the miracle of life every morning when we wake up. Give thanks for the sun rising in the east. Give thanks that we have a home to live in, surrounded by family. We should give thanks every time we eat, and be grateful that we have enough food to eat, and that it is safe to eat. Do not take any of this for granted! The more we have, typically the less grateful we become because we get accustomed to being surrounded with abundance. Stay modest and give thanks often. Give thanks that you are healthy and can contribute to society. Give thanks that you made it through the day safely, without harm or injury. Give thanks for comfort and joy, Give thanks for a productive and love filled day.
Give thanks for all of the people who make positive contributions to society on a daily basis. They are helping you and others you care about directly or indirectly. Give thanks to the elderly people in your community, for building the world that you get to enjoy. Return the favor by maintaining that world, and improving it for your children and their grandchildren. Give thanks to the people who put their lives at risk every day so that you may live: law enforcement, emergency forces and the military. They serve and protect your freedoms on a daily basis. Also give thanks to the people who lost their lives protecting that freedom. Veterans and casualties of war. Like Jesus, they died so that you may live. Be gracious, always. Never take anything for granted.
If you are struggling with Christianity, we hope to provide you with guidance on your journey.
Question: What colour was Jesus' skin?
Aesential Christian: Jesus the man is a descendant of the ancient Hebrews who spent a few hundred years as captives in Egypt. According to historians and bible scholars, Jesus was from Nazareth, in the area of Galilee, and people in that area, at that time had brown skin. We don’t know for certain how dark Jesus’ skin was, but he definitely was not white. Images portraying Jesus as a white man became popular in Rome & Florence (modern day Italy) during the Renaissance in the 1400 and 1500’s. Those images are still popular today. They depicted Jesus as being a white man, because the artists and people in people were light skinned. They wanted Jesus to look like one of them. Not surprisingly, in other parts of the world, Jesus looks just like the people in the local community. In India, Jesus looks Indian. In China, Jesus looks Chinese. The theory is: the more people can relate to Jesus, the more they will want to be like Jesus. How may white people want to follow a black Jesus or a Chinese Jesus? Shouldn't the historically accurate version of Jesus it take precedence? In Revelation 1:14-15 Jesus had hair "white like wool... and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace" that dos not sound like the typical depiction of Jesus, does it? Additionally, according to forensic anthropologist Richard Neave, a best estimate image of Jesus can be seen in the 2001 BBC documentary Son of God. The images are shown above and in the link below.
Image Reference: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35120965
Question: What colour and race is God?
Aesential Christian: God is not a human being. If a person wants to imagine God as a human, then they are free to do so. Historically, God has been presented to Western society as being an old white man in the sky, with a long white beard. This comes directly from Michelangelo’s painting of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican / Rome (an image is shown below). This fresco has been the most popular image of God for 500 years. It is a cultural icon. It is the image that people hold in their minds whether they want to or not. We are never taught any differently. The Christian churches have never given us any other options. “God the Father is an old white man” has been passed along as “truth” for hundreds, or even thousands of years in western culture. But what if God was black or brown? What if God is Japanese, or Native Dakota? Who are we to say, with certainty, that God is or is not any of these? What if God is a woman? What if God is a lot younger than we imagine him/her/it/them to be? Growing up, I was always amazed and intrigued by the voice of James Earl Jones. His voice was made famous as Darth Vader in the original three Star Wars movies. Even though Darth Vader was the epitome for evil, James Earl Jones' voice was so powerful, that it resonated with me. It shook my soul. For me, the deep and powerful male, African voice is the sound that represents God’s voice. If there are other voices that better represent the voice of God for you, then roll with it. Your image of God is personal to you and you alone. If you want God to have a female Spanish voice, then just let it flow. There are no boundaries here. God looks and sounds any way you want. Because at the end of the day, God is everything, everywhere, all the time, so limiting God to just one look or voice, is a purely human thing to do. We need to “humanify” God to make it relatable. Because our human minds are small and limited. When I first saw the movie Bruce Almighty, I was impressed during the scene when Morgan Freedman admits that he is God. What perfect casting… Nailed it! Imagine this: if God is black, and judgement day happens tomorrow, think about how many white people will be in BIG trouble. If a black God was judge, how many white folks would be going to heaven, and how many would be going to hell? Keep this in mind on a daily basis.
And remember one thing: We are all brothers and sisters, children of God.
Question: Are men and women equal?
Aesential Christianity recognizes that all people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation are equal in the eyes of God. We are all God’s children and God loves us all equally. However, keep in mind that we are equal but not the same. We are all unique, distinct individuals. All of us have the potential to be ourselves and we all have different skills, gifts, opinions, feelings, and purposes in life that are specific to us. So please understand that the concept that we are equally loved but different (aka equality & diversity). Much like a parent who loves his/her children equally and recognizes that each child is different and has unique needs, wants, and desires. The parent must adapt to offer their child the best version of parenting that is customized for each specific child. Boys and girls have different needs and desires, as do men and women. On average, women are more emotional than men. On average, men take on more risk than women. Their comfort zones are different, so consequently their views of the world will be different and their roles in life will be different as well. There are physical, biological, and psychological differences between men and women. Men are typically physically stronger than women, so are better suited to do more demanding, physical work like construction or law enforcement. Keeping in mind that with augmented strength comes greater responsibility. As a person acquires more power over others, there a necessity to learn how to use that power responsibility. To bring about good, maintain peace, and push back evil. Many cultural stories portray men and women conducting heroic deeds where personal strength is used to combat infiltrating forces of evil.
Getting back onto the topic of men vs women…. I think Common Christianity as done a large disservice to women. The typical Christian’s interpretation of the bible is usually negative towards women. For example, sin came into the world through Eve (Genesis 3), women are servants to men (Genesis 2). Women are portrayed as being either virgins or prostitutes (Mother Mary & Magdalene), nothing in between. A sexual woman is evil. And any divorced woman is the lowest member of society (Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman in John 4). Where is the support for gender equality in popular Christianity?
What if we had different interpretations of the Creation Story and the story of Adam & Eve? Would that change our social norms? What if there were alternate stories that we could read and discuss? Stories that were more respectful to women.
For an alternate interpretation of the Adam & Eve story click on the photo:
Question: How do I know that God loves me?
Aesential Christian: There are two ways to know: 1) Having faith. If you truly believe that God loves you, then it will likely be so. 2) When you open your heart, love other people and respect all things, then God’s love (the Holy Spirit) flows from God, through you and into the world. You become the channel through which God’s love enters the world. When your heart is open in this way, you can feel God’s love flowing through you first hand. That is the proof. Another way is to “reflect” God’s love. Similar to the way the moon reflects the light from the sun. If you can imagine the sun is being the light of God, do your best to reflect that light to the dark places on earth, so that they may also be illuminated by God’s love. If you struggle to allow the light to flow through you, then at least do your best to identify the sources of light and divert it to the people and places in need.
Question: I am gay. Does God love me?
Aesential Christian: Yes, of course! God loves all of his children equally. There is no reason not to. God does not make mistakes.
Question: How can I be like Jesus if he is perfect? I know that I can never be perfect, so why even bother trying?
Aesential Christian: Common Christianity tells us several things that are incredibly discouraging. 1) Jesus was conceived directly by God, through his human Mother Mary by means of the immaculate conception. 2) Jesus was born perfect, without sin and lived a life without sin. 3) Jesus learned all of the holy scriptures by the age of 12, 4) Jesus became enlightened during his 40 days in the dessert, and started his ministry soon after. 5) Jesus performed many miracles during his lifetime, including walking on water, turning water into wine, filling nets with fish, and rising people from the dead.
So the main question is: How can any person live up to the life of Jesus? The bar has been set so high that there is no way any person can even come close to comparing their lives to Jesus, so why even bother? Jesus is essentially the boss’s son, who automatically gets special privileges, and special powers. No mortal person on earth can compete with that. This is why Aesential Christianity is different. We do not promote the transcendent nature of Jesus. We make a specific distinction between Jesus the man, and Christ the conduit.
Question: What is faith? What is belief?
Aesential Christian: Faith is a relationship that is secured by trust. When you have faith in God, you trust that God will be there for you in a time of need. You trust that God will be consistent and won’t change the rules without notice. Faith is a contract. As with all contracts, you trust that the other person/being will uphold their end of the contract, and in return you will do your best preserve the terms of the contract on your side.
When you have faith in another person, you trust that they will act a certain way, treat you a certain way, and be there in a supporting role when you need them. Whether your contract is verbal, written, assumed or implied, the strength of your relationship is dependent on how much you can trust that other person. The strength of your personal bond is the strength of your social contract.
In the Old Testament, contracts between people and God were called covenants.
Christianity is a belief system. Belief is a thinking or feeling that certain things are true without having any scientific or objective evidence. You act a certain way and things happen or unfold in your life for better or for worse. For example, if you give thanks once a day because it makes you feel better and you live a more fulfilling life as result, that is belief. There is no scientific reason or explanation why this is true, but it does appear to be true. Follow your heart!
Note: The word “faith” is also used to describe a belief system. Eg. Catholic Faith is actually the Catholic belief system. Faith is your trust in the system, and the belief that what they are teaching you and preaching to you is in fact true.
Jordan Peterson discusses God and Christ