Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Search is On

Do all spiritual roads lead to God? In trying to understand the different religious thought in the world is an impossible task for me. Trying to explain what I think I understand might be like a third or fourth year med student trying to explain the complex makeup of DNA, or an astronomy student explaining the make up of a black hole. The only thing I will attempt is to touch on some basic ideas and teachings of differing faiths and compare them to Judeo-Christian thought. Remembering that the need for faith is based on the experiential recorded in history.

Many of the religious teachings today goes back before Christ. One of the strands that is apparent in the faith blanket is the distinction between the spiritual world and the material world. Much of that thought begins in the Persian Empire and Babylon in particular. The gnostic belief system is very complex with divisions in teaching. The main idea behind the Gnostic's was, material is evil and the spirit is good and is divine. That is a rather simplistic sentence. The gnostic thought the material world was not created by god, but by a lesser being and is corrupt and evil. God created the world of spiritual beings, hence they are good.

Many sources today equate early Christianity with Gnosticism. Such an error is why the Apostle John very explicitly about the physically earthbound life of Jesus during his ministry. The gnostic would have people believe that Jesus was a spiritual emanation from God and not a human being. The implication in this teaching is so far reaching as to negate the very possibility of personal salvation. The teachings on redemption, atonement, in fact the entire Old Testament sacrificial system point to the requirement for the perfect blood sacrifice. Such sacrifice is only to be found in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle john wanted it to be very clear that Jesus was a man that had substance, a body that could be touched, that required rest and nourishment, that, displayed a whole human being. Such teaching from an eyewitness was given to shed the light of truth on the growing acceptance of the Gnostic's.

On of the more remarkable facts in looking at the different faith teachings is their overall acceptance of Jesus Christ. Now, only the Christian faith embraces the Christ of the New Testament and His place in the Triune Godhead. Many teachings in the Eastern Mystical group have given Jesus Christ the title of, Cosmic Christ. In fact the name, Cosmic Christ, is interchanged with, Buddha Nature, with little explanation. It is believed that His emanation moves through the cosmos and enlightens true followers. This idea again is in sharp contrast to New Testament teaching and the witness of millions who have experienced the reality of Jesus Christ.

I know that all of this seems very simplistic, it is. As Jesus seems to be a central figure in almost all faith teachings and systems, He must me examined and understood. Is he the character portrayed in the New Testament, and as foretold in the Old Testament? Now, we are in the midst of a diversity tornado, even concerning Jesus. Mystics talk about Jesus being a cosmic emanation. Hindus and Buddhists have beliefs and teaching about Jesus. Far East teachings place Jesus on the level with their great teachers, such as Confucius. Muslims accept Jesus as on of the great prophets.

It is not my intention to label religious teachings as true or false. There is plenty of incorrect dogma in the Christian Church as well. It is my contention that ALL religious thought and teaching must be examined in the light of who the historical and revealed life of Jesus Christ, the Word and character of the Eternal One.

The following pieces will try to point out truth that will either illuminate Christ as the truth or the biggest hoax and liar pulling the wool over the eyes of mankind.

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