Judaism, Christianity and Jesus Christ

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From lecture 19, JESUS CHRIST:

There need never have been a split between Judaism and Christianity. This was never meant to happen by God or by the spirit world. And that it has happened is the fault of humankind. You have invented labels to which you attach special implications. For us, labels like Judaism and Christianity do not mean anything. Why Christ was born as Jesus at that particular time and among those particular people had its good reasons; it was intended that one and the same truth should expand and grow, and that no splitting should occur. Splitting is chaos; splitting is the nature of the Fall of the angels, or the result of the Fall with all its miseries and hatreds. Splitting is separation from God, and this initial tragedy, which took place long before the earth existed, keeps repeating itself in the course of time until the disease will be cured forever. Union with God, which is the goal, is the opposite of splitting and separation. The splitting between Judaism and Christianity after the life of Jesus was another fault grown out of the same bad root of the initial splitting from God. There should have been oneness between Judaism and Christianity, one wholeness and one completion.

From lecture 247, THE MASS IMAGES OF JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY:

Strong reactions to the reality of Jesus Christ must be considered on two very specific and well defined levels: the personal and the collective.

Let us begin with individual Christians who feel a strong reaction against Jesus Christ. They rebel against their early upbringing and the values their parents stood for. Christ has been presented to them as a meek, passive, sexless figure who demands the same kind of distorted self-denial from all those who are to follow in His footsteps. They react to the identification of Jesus Christ with rigid morality that denies feelings, sexuality, autonomy and the strong energy that creates positive aggression and self-assertion.

Thus a very confusing mixture in perception, understanding and consciousness comes about. On the one hand, Christ is depicted as embodying love, truth, wisdom, salvation, goodness and service to the Creator and His plan, and on the other as demanding a self-defeating denial of intrinsic human values, energies and expressions. This is the mass image of Christianity.

The admixture of truth and falsehood about Jesus Christ is impossible for children to disentangle. So there are only two choices. The first alternative is to submit to the totality of what is conveyed. In this case they will grow up accepting the traditional concept of what it is to be a Christian. They will fear their feelings, deny their sexuality, and put reins on their aggression, which they identify with evil. Underneath this restraint, strong impulses exist, but they are very threatening. Such “submitting Christians” feel themselves to be sinners whenever they register unallowed feelings. They also rebel, of course, but the fear of expressing the rebellion openly is much too threatening.

So, the rebellion, too, must be repressed and denied, only to create more guilt, more of a feeling of secretly being sinners. Such people will use any kind of doctrine to reinforce these denials. They will flock to orientations that take the Bible in a very literal and doctrinaire sense. They feel safe only in a rigid, life-denying structure.

The other alternative the child has is to openly and consciously rebel against the strictures that deny its very being. Such children become the “rebelling Christians” we are concerned with on this path. The “submitting Christians” I first spoke of would never enter such a path as this. That would be totally in opposition to the safety valves they have created.

The “rebelling Christians” need reinforcement for their rebellion, for underneath it they carry some doubts about its legitimacy. The truth is that they should indeed deny the prohibition of feelings, positive aggression, sexuality, self-responsibility and autonomy. But they certainly should not deny the truth of Jesus Christ in His love, His power, His presence, and the need to take Him into their own lives.

“Submitting Christians” suffer from the same confusion, the same false fusion of truth and error. However, they would need to learn to do exactly the opposite of what “rebelling Christians” need to do. They must question the tradition as handed to them, whereas the rebels need to accept the truth in the tradition.

All children need parents who are strong and right. This gives them a sense of security. A weak and “wrong” parent is no protection against a frightening world. “Submitting Christians” accept their parents’ doctrine unquestioningly also because they cannot bear the thought that their parents may have been mistaken.

“Rebelling Christians”, on the other hand, find security in totally rejecting their parents’ values, at least in this particular respect. They grow up with a sense of superiority, considering their denial of Christ as more evolved. Here again confusion exists. It is indeed “more evolved” to deny the false denials, but it is not more evolved to deny the truths that are also in the tradition.

In the consciousness of such people there exists a tremendous fear of finding out that perhaps, after all, their parents were right. In the childish consciousness everything is always either/or. You know that. All images come from the inability to differentiate truth from falsehood because the image conclusion is always based on total right versus total wrong. Being right means being good, acceptable, having the power to create a safe life, deserving happiness. Being wrong means being bad, unacceptable, having no power to create safety and not deserving happiness.

This applies to the self and, by extension, to the parents. “Rebelling Christians” can deal with the possibility that their parents were totally wrong. They are then justified in denying all their parents stood for. On a very primitive, childish level the threat the “rebelling Christian” experiences now, when Jesus Christ is being reintroduced in the pathwork in a more dynamic way, can be expressed thus: “If my parents were right about the reality of Jesus Christ, then they must have also been right about my sexual feelings being sinful, my surge for individuality, autonomy and self-expression being sinful. I would never have the right to be angry and to express my energies in an aggressive way, for all aggression must be bad. I would also be guilty and bad for having denied Christ and my parents in the past. This I cannot bear, so I must turn against these ideas.”

The mass image of the “Christian rebel” harbors underneath it the possibility of the “Christian submitter,” and vice versa. “Christian rebels” fear that if they recognize, challenge and dissolve their image, they will have to become “Christian submitters.” And “Christian submitters” are equally afraid to let go of their own image, for that would seem to mean they must become “Christian rebels” who throw out the beautiful truth of Jesus Christ along with the falsehoods.

I would like to discuss the Jewish mass image. A mass image must always start with a personal image that is multiplied often enough to create a collective image. So we shall start with the feeling of being threatened if Jesus Christ is indeed a manifestation of God. Like the “submitting Christian,” Jews who deny Christ feel immensely threatened about their parents being wrong. If they are wrong in this all-important question about life, the world, God, how can they be trusted in anything? The ground seems to slip away from under the feet of the child/adult. This fear touches those who outwardly rebel against their parents and disagree with them on many issues. It applies just as much to those who are overtly in agreement with their parents about almost all the important issues of life.

So, on one level, this mass image is a personal/psychological issue which parallels that of the “submitting Christian.” The part of the soul which has not grown up cannot accept that the parents can be wrong about anything, because this implies they must then be wrong in everything.

Behind this personal/psychological level of reacting lies a whole world of history, of tradition, both in its true and in its distorted form. Let me try to examine this aspect as much as is possible at this time, and for the specific purpose under discussion.

There was a time when the Jews were the only ones who worshipped the Creator as the one God, and who were in touch with Him and attempted to follow His commandments and laws. This beautiful reality began to disintegrate when, as is inevitable in human nature, the lower self entered into the picture. It induced pride, arrogance and feelings of superiority toward those who did not belong to the Jewish community and faith. Jews looked down on pagans as inferior. They saw themselves as the aristocrats in the human family.

The reason why Jesus Christ was born as a Jew is obvious. Since He is a manifestation and incarnation of the true God, of divine reality, He could manifest only among those people who worshipped this God, rather than gods which were often spirits from quite undeveloped realms and sometimes even evil spirits.

This tremendous gift of the incarnation among the Jewish people was also a test. All gifts are tests, just as painful occurrences are tests. The test was to recognize Jesus for who He was. To do so would have meant overcoming personal pride, power drives, self-interest and self-serving opportunism. If this had happened, no such conflict as Judaism versus Christianity could have come about. Christianity would simply have become an extension in the development of Judaism, whether or not a new name would have been found to indicate this true way. Either of these two names could have been used in the spirit of combining and extending the truth of the past into the truth of the eternal now.

On the collective level, both Jews and Christians have failed the test. This is obvious. The general fear of admitting the failure is as irrational and distorted as your fear of accepting your personal imperfections and blindnesses. On this path you have learned that doing so is one of the most important aspects of growth, of self-liberation, of purification, of self-esteem. The defense against admitting a possible wrong perpetuates the wrong and creates secondary guilts that are much more severe and harder to eradicate. The longer and harder the resistance to truth, the more painful it is. The same holds true for collective processes and dynamics. The only way collective images can be dissolved and collective consciousness corrected so that it expresses the truth is through the commitment of a sufficient number of individuals who know the truth and have the courage to stand up for it.

The Jews in power felt threatened — unjustly so — by Jesus Christ. They were threatened only insofar as they wished to deny divine truth and divine guidance. Since the leaders prevailed on the majority, only a few courageous ones turned to Christ. The separation was enforced by those who refused to consider that He could indeed have been the promised Messiah, because they did not wish to abdicate their negative self-serving power.

Once the separation became a reality, more of the pagans turned to the New Message and embraced it. Their heart hungered for it. As time went on, more pagans than Jews turned to Christ. The pagans’ attitude to the Jews was to a large degree a response to the stamp of inferiority that was placed on them by the Jews who were supposed to carry God’s love and God’s word. Thus mutual enmity came into existence and became a vicious circle.

In the consciousness of the Jews, the pagan and the Christian became one and the same. Jews considered both inferior and hostile. The hostility existed, but instead of asking themselves how they contributed to it and taking responsibility for the situation and seeing it as a mutual creation — just as you have learned to do on this path — they abdicated any responsibility and saw themselves as the victims of the pagans, that is, of the Christians, even while continuing to look down on them.

This old history is very relevant for those who are born into families who continue to harbor this attitude in their own souls. They can use existing family influences as a challenge and thus help dissolve the mass image. Or they can choose to further perpetuate it and with it the Jewish karma.

When you work on any personal issue where you, after much resistance, finally dedicate your being to wanting to see the truth, you sometimes go indeed through the pain of guilt. But when you do this in a spirit of life rather than death, in a spirit of faith rather than denial, you come to self-acceptance, self-forgiveness. Therefore you experience that God has already forgiven you all along. You then experience the light and the new strength of wholeness. Feeling the pain of real guilt is never a debilitating process. It is a life process, it is purification, and it leads to oneness with yourself, with others, with God.

Can you find within yourself the willingness to adopt the same attitude toward whatever universal issue comes up in your life? What do you have to fear if truth — God — is your major concern? By refusing openness, you express in no uncertain terms that truth is not the major issue for you, but being right is. No matter how you try to justify your antagonism toward Jesus Christ, you are not in truth when you refuse to pose this question in a sincere and open way and then allow for a period of gestation for the answer to evolve within your own mind and heart. How can you believe yourself to be free and liberated when anything within you is closed up tight? Can the justifying of your ancestors’ infallible rightness on this central question be more important than the truth itself?

The image of the “rebelling Christian” is: “If I embrace Christ, I must give up my vitality, my life energy, my sexuality, my body, pleasure, for all these are sinful.” Therefore “rebelling Christians” create a defense that shuts out Christ in order to affirm their sexuality. But shutting out Christ means shutting out an essential part of God’s world of truth, love, beauty and life. These individuals create a split and live in pain, hidden doubt and guilt. Instead of liberating their forces, they must be defiant about them. And you all know that defiance is nothing but an ill-advised attempt to shut out other voices within. Therefore, instead of becoming stronger, the “rebelling Christians” become weaker. They may cover up the weakness by a mask of strength, which deceives no one, least of all themselves. They feel like failures and frauds but do not know why. In fact they believe their weakness stems from having been influenced in childhood to accept Jesus Christ and from not having been sufficiently successful in rejecting Him. Yet the more one rejects a truth — any truth — the more one weakens oneself in some way, the more split off one becomes, the more conflict arises. So if you have the misconception that Christ intended you to deny your vital life-impulses, you will develop attitudes and reactions that, in the end, seem to bear out the original misconception.

The Jewish mass image is: “If my parents and forebears were wrong, and my ancestors killed in Jesus not only a good man but a man who manifested God on earth, then they were totally bad people. They can never be forgiven. I cannot face this possibility. I must deny this possibility in order not to be co-responsible with them.”

But did not Christ say, again and again, that God is forgiveness? Is He not always here with His mercy, understanding and love? Is this not one of the great messages He brought? He said, God does not punish mercilessly and unforgivingly, it is never “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Here we have a vicious circle: Believing totally in the old tradition of Judaism, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” makes admitting a sin impossible. The punishment is too terrible. Therefore the truth, or even the possibility that Jesus Christ may be the truth, must be denied.

Now how does this image work? The Jewish misconception is that Jesus was a false prophet, that He was a fake, that the pagans and Christians are lying, are deluded, are inferior and at the same time they are the victimizers, out to annihilate the Jews. The more firmly this belief was held, the more hatred and discrimination, separation and enmity grew in the consciousness of many individual Jews, thereby creating a mass image. The defense against this mass image, the fear of its coming true inevitably created more antagonism and actual persecution of Jews. So the misconception created a defense which, in turn, could not help but bear out the apparent truth of the misconception. As I have said before, you create your own reality, and the more unconscious your belief, the greater its consequence is.

The new-age society knows no Judaism, nor Christianity as they are known now. Yet it knows both. It takes the truth from both and expands it, filtering it through the newly evolving and expanding consciousness. The new-age person is so free that no word can trigger off emotional reactions, whether this word be “Jew” or “Christian,” “Jesus Christ” or “religion.”

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Thanks:

To my teacher Marieke Mars who taught me self-honesty. To my courageous and loving pathwork helper Dottie Titus.

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