"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ
The only Son of God
eternally begotten of the Father
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made....."
(earliest version of the Creed)
"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, the only-begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father....And I believe in the holy Spirit."
(-Athanasian Creed (on 20 May 325 C.E. the Christian church officially acknowledged that God was one substance consisting of three emanations)
"I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven...."
According to tradition, this manifesto of twelve beliefs was penned by the twelve Apostles, each man contributing one article of faith; hence its name. But, actually, the creed came together piecemeal, springing from a list of questions converts had to answer in order to be baptized into the faith.
Typically, a bishop would ask a catechumen (person to be baptized): "Dost thou believe in God the Father almighty?"...."Dost thou believe Our Lord was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary?" The convert would respond: "I believe." In fact, an example of such interrogation used to baptize Romans about 200 C.E. is preserved in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus."
Sacred Origins of Profound Things
"The simple, indeed,-I will not call them unwise and unlearned-who always constitute the majority of believers, are startled at the dispensation (of the Three in One), on the ground that their very rule of faith withdraws them from the world's plurality of gods to the one only true God.....The numerical order and distribution of the Trinity they assume to be a division of unity.....They are constantly throwing out against us that we are preachers of two gods and three gods, while they take to themselves pre-eminently the credit of being worshipers of the one God."
Tertullian (about 200 C.E.) (Against Praxias 3)
"Who can understand the Trinity? And yet who does not speak about it, if indeed it is of it that he speaks? Rare is the soul who, when he speaks of it, also knows of what he speaks."
"....Where and how did the dogma of the Trinity begin? In the fourth century of the Common Era. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, persuaded a majority of his colleagues that Jesus Christ was God, a persuasion both unqualified and yet curiously subtle, since Christ was also man. But what sort of man? Was he a creature or not? The Jewish Christians, led by James the brother of Jesus, had insisted he was, as did Arius, the fourth-century opponent of Athanasius, but the Athanasian Creed won the contest, and Jesus Christ became more God than man, in practice if not quit in theory."
Jesus and Yahweh
"....Doing is the basis for salvation and membership in God's Kingdom. Not faith in Christ. Not baptism in the name of the Trinity. Not assent to creeds about Jesus. Kingdom membership and living require action. That is an interesting perspective. It is consistent with Jewish belief. It raises eyebrows, however, when compared with later Christianity, because it runs counter to what is conventionally expected. How did the message of Jesus get so turned around? That's the interesting story that will be probed shortly..."
-Barrie Wilson, Ph.D.
How Jesus Became Christian
"the city is full of workmen and slaves who are all theologians....if you ask a man to change money, he will tell you how the Son differs from the Father. If you ask the price of a loaf he will argue that the Son is less than the Father. If you want to know if the bath be ready you are told that the Son was made out of nothing."
-Gregory of Nyssa
"How can plurality consist with unity, or unity with plurality? To examine the fact closely is rashness, to believe it is piety, to know it is life, and life eternal."
-Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century Abbot)
"Our Lord made me comprehend in what way it is that one God can be in three persons. He made me see it so clearly that I remained as extremely surprised as I was comforted and now, when I think of the holy Trinity, or hear it spoken of, I understand how the three adorable persons form only one God and I experience an unspeakable happiness."
-Teresa of Avila
"I confessed that while I wholeheartedly believed in God, I found it hard to believe in the divinity of Christ. Immediately the storm blew up again. His eyes were twin points of furious will, boring into my mirrors, making for my soul. Stern as a patriarch, he warned me against the cardinal sin of pride and talked about the Holy Trinity, on and on, until he could see nothing for it but to ram the point home by punching air with the three-fingered salute used by Serb royalist Chetniks in the Second World War and by Serb fighters in the 1990s. 'Three persons in One God! he roared."
Why Angels Fall: A Journey Through Orthodox Europe From Byzantium to Kosovo
"Virtually no practical consequence can be drawn from the doctrine of the Trinity taken literally, if one seeks to understand it, and still less, once it is realized that it transcends all our concepts."
"Tell them that there can be no father and son in the Divinity, for the Divinity is indivisible and is one in ever aspect of unity unlike matter which is divisible. Tell them further that a father precedes a son in time and a son is born through the agency of a father. Now even though each of the terms "father" and "son" implies the other.....he who is called the father must undoubtedly be prior in time. Therefore with reference to this God whom you call Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that part which you call Father must be prior to that which you call Son, for if they were always coexistent, they would to be called twin brothers."
-Rabbi David Kimhi
"The only people who have ever claimed to understand the Trinity are of course Christian mystics. Jewish and Muslim mystics (however deep and ecstatic their trances) have so far failed to glimpse the Trinity, for God refuses to reveal his three-in-one secret to those who not believe in it in the first instance. Those that have succeeded in grasping the ungraspable, have not been helpful in explaining their discoveries to others....."
"No one sees with greater pleasure than myself the progress of reason in its advances towards rational Christianity. When we shall have done away the incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic, that three are one, and one are three."
"There is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die an Unitarian."
-Thomas Jefferson 1822
"Designers of computers of the future have found inspiration in a most unlikely source-the theological Doctrine of the Holy Trinity.*
Galileo and the Dolphins
*"The Doctrine represents a revolutionary form of logic which is ideal for new forms of computer systems."
William McLaughlin (Astrophysicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory ,Pasadena ,Ca. written in Spaceflight Journal of the British Interplanetary Society)
"The scriptural basis for Christian belief in the triune God is not the scanty Trinitarian formulas of the New Testament, but the thoroughgoing, unitary testimony of the cross; and the shortest expression of the Trinity is the divine act of the cross, in which the Father allows the Son to sacrifice himself through the Spirit."
The Dogma of the Cross. A Contribution to a Staurocentric Theology
"This gap between Yahweh and the Trinitarian God the father is another demonstration that Judaism is not Christianity's parent. Rather, Judaism and Christianity are enemy brothers, both stemming from Second Temple Judaism's, a truth most people of goodwill try to evade."
"To regard Christ as God, and to pray to him, are to my mind the greatest possible sacrilege."
"It is unnatural for Christianity to be popular."
"If I did not find God in Jesus, I would have to take God for the Devil."
"Christianity is completed Judaism, or it is nothing."
"it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."
-Pope Boniface VIII
"The true Church, loves the name Catholique. If one followed "Those universall, and fundamentall doctrines, which in all Christian ages, and in all Christian Churches, have been agreed by all to be necessary to salvation....then thou art a true Catholique."
"What Christians have despairingly called Gnostic and heretical sometimes turn out to be forms of Christian teaching that are merely unfamiliar to us-unfamiliar precisely because of the active and successful opposition of Christians such as John."
"That which is called the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist, from the beginnings of the human race until Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christianity."
"You might just as well pray to the devil if you have to have any God but Jesus"
"We should adopt as a sound interpretive principle "as James, so Jesus"-that is, that the best way of trying to grasp the Jesus of history is through his brother James, how he and his group and his successors understood the movement. That has the effect of privileging James, the Jesus Movement, and the Ebionites, a move long overdue. They saw him as human, Jewish, a teacher, and a potential Messiah. When beliefs stray from these attributes of Jesus. we begin to enter Christifier territory."
-Barrie Wilson, Ph.D.\
How Jesus Became Christian
"What have we, Sons of God, to do with law?"
-John Milton (1608-1674)
"Since Paul was, above all things, a communicator par excellence, he spoke to the people of his time in the mystical language they understood-the vernacular of the Mystery Religions....All his language about being "in Christ" or having "Christ in you" reflects the current Hellenic theosophy and philosophy. It is really Orphic-Platonic-Mystery cultism, almost pure Hindu or Vedic yoga mysticism, with no immediate reference to the Gospel life of Jesus at all."
The Pagan Christ
"What we have in Christianity today is Paulinity. It is the religion envisaged and vigorously promoted by Paul and given a respectable history by the Book of Acts. It is a Hellenized religion about a Gentile Christ, a cosmic redeemer, and its through that perspective that the later gospels are read. It is not the religion of the Jewish Jesus, the Messiah claimant and proclaimer of a Kingdom of God. That religion the religion of the Jesus Movement and the Ebionites-eventually died out."
Barie Wilson. Ph.D.
How Jesus Became Christian
"I used to think that pagans in far-off countries were lost-were going to hell-they did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that....I believe there are other ways of recognizing the existence of God-through nature, for instance-and plenty of other opportunities, therefore of saying yes to God."
-Billy Graham McCall's 1978
"Thesis 20: But he is rightly called a theologian who understands that part of God's being which is visible and directed towards the world to be presented in suffering and in the cross. That part of God's being which is visible and directed towards the world is opposed to what is invisible, his humanity, his weakness, his foolishness....For as men misused the knowledge of God on the basis of his works, God again willed that he should be known from suffering, and therefore willed to reject such wisdom of the invisible by a wisdom of the visible, so that those who did not worship God as he is manifested in his works might worship him as the one who is hidden in suffering (I Cor.1.21). So it is not enough and no use for anyone to know God in his glory and his majesty if at the same time he does not know him in the lowliness and shame of his cross...Thus true theology and true knowledge of God lie in Christ the crucified one."
"Ours is....the most rational of all religions.....Those who talk about it as merely.....emotional simply do not know what they are talking. It is.....all the modern religions, that are merely emotional.....We alone are left accepting the action of the reason and the will without any necessary assistance from the emotions. A convinced Catholic is easily the most.....logical person walking about the world today."
"Every Christian believer I know, here or abroad, has her or his own Jesus. St. Paul admitted that he himself had become all things to all men: that may be the single authentic affinity the great Apostle had with his savior."
Jesus and Yahweh
"It is certainly correct, therefore, to call Jesus' death-or in fact the death of any martyr-a sacrifice, but substitution and suffering are not the point of sacrifice. Substitutionary atonement is bad as theoretical Christian theology just as suicidal terrorism is bad as practical Islamic theology. Jesus died because of our sins, or from our sins, but that should never be misread as for our sins. In Jesus, the radicality of God became incarnate, and the normalcy of civilization's brutal violence (our sings, or better, Our Sin) executed him. Jesus's execution asks us to face the truth that, across human evolution, injustice has been created and maintained by violence while justice has been opposed and avoided by violence. That warning, if heeded, can be salvation. Was it heeded by Jesus' own first followers? Yes (as we will see in chapter 4) and no (as we will see in chapter 5)."
-John Dominic Crossan
God and Empire
"Christianity, with its doctrines of humility, of forgiveness, of love, is incompatible with the State, with its haughtiness, its violence, its punishment, its wars."
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.....Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
"Origen, the greatest of the early exegetes of Christianity, freely admitted that even he had, on one occasion, grievously misinterpreted the Bible. Reading the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 19, verse 12, he had taken rather too literally the phrase "and there be eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it," and castrated himself. In terms of his career this was bad enough, as his admission to the priesthood was repeatedly questioned on account of this self-mutilation; in terms of his scriptural hermeneutics, it was an embarrassing lapse into reading as verbatim a text that was deeply allegorical, anagogical, metaphorical, and mystical in its import."
The book of lost books
"In a word, the Christian is characterized by composure, tranquility, calm, and peace..."
"I set myself on fire and people come to watch me burn."
"The trouble with some of us is that we have been inoculated with small doses of Christianity which keep us from catching the real thing."
-Dr. Leslie D. Weatherhead
"Jesus spoke once in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. While there, he read from the glorious opening passage of Isaiah 61:
'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord (verses 1-2)
Putting the scroll down, Jesus announced, "Today this passage has come true in your hearing."
The Truth About Jesus and the "Lost Gospels"
"God lets himself be pushed out of the world on to the cross. He is weak and powerless in the world, and that is precisely the way, the only way, in which he is with us and helps us. Matt.8.17 makes it quite clear that Christ helps us, not by virtue of his omnipotence, but by virtue of his weakness and suffering....Only the suffering God can help....That is a reversal of what the religious man expects from God. Man is summoned to share in God's sufferings at the hands of a godless world."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer (written from prison, shortly before his execution)
"What is certain is merely that he was crucified by the Romans, and thus suffered the death of a political criminal. This death can scarcely be understood as an inherent and necessary consequence of his activity; rather it took place because his activity was misconstrued as a political activity. In that case it would have been-historically speaking-a meaningless fate."
"To the corruptions of Christianity, I am indeed opposed, but not the the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others', ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other.....I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while the.....(espouse) heathen mysteries beyond the comprehension of man, of which Jesus, were he to return on earth, would not recognize one feature."
"In this point of view we become sensible of the first defect of historical Christianity. Historical Christianity has fallen into the error that corrupts all attempts to communicate religion.....(it rests upon) an exaggeration of the personal, the positive, the ritual. It has dwelt, it dwells, with noxious exaggeration about the person of Jesus. The soul knows no persons. It invites every man to expand to the full circle of the universe."
"....Scholars oddly do not see that the spirit of Jesus stands forth most clearly in the Epistle of James, composed by one of the Ebionites, or Jewish Christians, who survived the judicial murder of James and the subsequent sack of Jerusalem. Luther hated the Epistle of James, and wanted it expunged from the New Covenant. But in it we hear the voice of the Prophets in the wilderness, of Elijah and John the Baptist, and the voice of Jesus himself, for once abandoning his formidable irony."
Jesus and Yahweh
"Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith" (James 2:18)
"Because of its content, the Letter of James wasn't a popular writing, at least not among Gentile Christians. It definitely didn't convey the message they wanted to hear. It was shunned just as the members of the Jesus Movement were. Two centuries later, Eusebius spoke of the Letter of James as one of the "disputed writings," (Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Chapter 25, Section 3), not high on the list for inclusion in the New Testament. Eventually, though it was included, although it has always sat tucked at the back of the book, vastly overshadowed by the more popular and more numerous writings of Paul. At the Reformation, Martin Luther, a devoted follower of Paul's perspective, proposed that it be dropped from the Protestant New Testament, referring to it in his Preface to the New Testament as an "epistle of straw." It wasn't. Simply put, the Letter of James represented an important and insightful warning that went unheeded. It stands as a monumental challenge to the simplistic views of Paul. Bit it was clearly "off strategy" for the evolving Christ Movement and its successors, the Proto-Orthodox."
Barrie Wilson, Ph.D.
How Jesus Became Christian
"You see, I am one of the religious right, and I don't like us. Our ranks are filled with arrogant know-it-alls who wear the label "evangelical" like some kind of medal: people who think "right" refers not to their political stance but to their level of correctness. If you are not a member of the club, you probably know what I mean. As soon as they figure out your label, you will get the distinct impression that you have dog doo on your shoes."
Kevin Feldotto (article in Colorado Springs Independent Sept 14-20 2006)
"The Christian is a perfectly free man, lord of all things, subject to no one.
The Christian is a serf, servant in all things, subject to everyone."
-Martin Luther The Freedom of a Christian addressed to Pope Leo X 1520 C.E.
""The Lord did lead me gently along, and did let me see his love, which was endless and eternal, and surpasseth all the knowledge that men have in the natural state, or can get by history or books."
"When all my hopes...were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, then, Oh then, I heard a voice which said, 'There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition,' and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy."
"We, who used to take pleasure in immorality, now embrace chastity alone; we, who valued above everything else the acquisition of wealth and possessions, now bring what we have into common ownership, and share with those in need; we, who hated and destroyed one another, refusing to live with those of a different race, now live intimately with them."
"And so ye living in the unchangeable Life and Light, ye see Christ, that does not change, but ends all changeable things, types, figures, shadows....Therefore in the power of the Lord God....live in which is the perfect fellowship which was before imperfection was."
"Lift up your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars surround it. The star that leads the way is your star."
(attributed to Jesus) Gospel of Judas
"We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed."
"To take up the theology of the cross today is to go beyond the limits of the doctrine of salvation and to inquire into the revolution needed in the concept of God. Who is God in the cross of the Christ who is abandoned by God?
To take the theology of the cross further at the present day means to go beyond a concern for personal salvation, and to inquire about the liberation of man and his new relationship in the reality of the demonic crisis in his society. Who is the true man in the sight of the Son of Man who was rejected and rose again in the freedom of God?
Finally, to realize the theology of the cross at the present day is to take seriously the claims of Reformation theology to criticize and reform, and to develop it beyond a criticism of the church into a criticism of society. What does it mean to recall the God who was crucified in a society whose official creed is optimism, and which is knee-deep in blood?
The Crucified God
"And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And He was buried and rose again; the fact is certain because it is impossible."
"Christ's passion, His death, His resurrection and ascension, and all of those wonderful works which He did during His stay upon earth, in order to confirm mankind in the belief of His being God as well as man."
-Robert Boyle (1627-1691)
"A Christian finds his guide in the Word of God, and commits the keeping of his soul into the hands of God. He looks for no assurance beyond what the Word can give him, and if his mind is troubled by the cares and fears which assail him, he can go nowhere but in prayer to the throne of grace and to Scripture."
-Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
".....People flocked to him, not merely because his healing was effective, but because they believed that within the experience of healing, they had come to understand the love of their Creator. That is why Jesus, in common with other healers, proclaimed the forgiveness of the sick person's sin. The Pharisees objected to this on more than one occasion, and those who cling to the belief that Jesus was the Second Person of the Trinity, or the gruesome idea that human sin could only be forgiven by the death of Jesus on the Cross must miss the point of such Gospel stories. Their Heavenly Father had forgiven them. That was of the essence of Jesus 's teaching and this was what caused scandal to those, like the Pharisees or the Essenes, who believed that forgiveness could only be offered to the pure..."
-A .N. Wilson
Jesus: A Life
"The study of Jesus' life is like the tar baby; touch any part of it and one immediately becomes entangled in controversy over semantics and sources, Jewish history and theology, Roman imperialism and the jurisdiction of the temple authorities, Old Testament prophecies and New Testament purposes, and the equally sticky issue of Jesus' motives and whether he actually regarded himself as the Messiah. Wherever one turns, the questions issue forth in never-ending ranks, as militantly arrayed in scholarly vestments as the mind of man can devise. Little wonder, then, that in the nineteenth century alone some sixty thousand biographies of Jesus were published."
Lacey Baldwin Smith
Fools, Martyrs, Traitors: The Story of Martyrdom in the Western World
"Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we (Christians) so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return."
-Annie Dillard, Teaching A Stone To Talk
"It is a thing equally deplorable and dangerous, that there are as many creeds as opinions among men, as many doctrines as inclinations, and as many sources of blasphemy as there are faults among us; because we make creeds arbitrarily, and explain them arbitrarily. The Houmoousion is rejected, and received, and explained away by successive synods. The partial or total resemblance of the Father and of the Son is a subject of dispute for these unhappy times. Every year, nay, every moon, we make new creeds to describe invisible mysteries. We repent of what we have done, we defend those who repent, we anathematize those whom we defended. We condemn either the doctrine of others in ourselves, or our own in that of others; and reciprocally tearing one another to pieces, we have been the cause of each other's ruin."
Hilary Bishop of Poitiers (4th Century A.D. )
"Christians, it is needless to say, utterly detest each other, they slander each other constantly with the vilest forms of abuse, and cannot come to any sort of agreement in their teaching. Each sect fills the head of its own with deceitful nonsense and makes perfect little pigs of those it wins over to its side."
-Celsus 178 C.E.
"The great tragedy of Christian history is not the conversion of Constantine, followed by the corrupting union of church with state. From a religious point of view, there have surely been three greater tragedies: the alienation of Judaism from Christianity (and the subsequent and more horrendously consequential alienation of Christianity Christianity from Judaism): the gradual fracture of Christendom into warring "churches"; and the division of Christians into professionals and amateurs, clergy and "faithful." ....
Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe
"We-who out of every race of people, used to worship Bacchus the son of Semele, and Apollo the son of Latone, who in their love affairs with human beings did such things as are shameful to mention, and Persephone and Venus, who were driven insane by love of Adonis, and whose mysteries, too, you celebrate-we have now, through Jesus Christ, learned to despise those gods, although we be threatened with death for it. We have dedicated ourselves to the unbegotten, impossible God, of whom we are persuaded that he was never goaded by lust for Antiope, and for Ganymede....We pity those who believe such things, and we know that those who invented them are demons."
-Justin (c.110 C.E.
"The proliferation of Christian sects is no new phenomenon.....
In 1827 the fifteenth edition of A Sketch of the Denominations of the Christian World was published, shortly after the death of its author, John Evans. After running through 'Christian Sects, According to the Person of Christ' (eight),' According to the Means and Measure of God's Favor' (five) and 'According to the Mode of Church Government' (nineteen), Evans lists a further 'Twenty-four Miscellaneous Sects, not reducible to the above three-fold Division .
This list is fascinating. A few have continued to the present day, in the main as respected denominations; but for most we can only ask, 'Where are they now?'-and smile at some of the names.
These are Evans' "Twenty-Four Miscellaneous Sects';
Quakers; Methodists (plus Lady Anne Erskine, Character of); New Methodists; Primitive Methodists, or Ranters; Bryanites; Jumpers; Universalists; Destructionists; Sabbatarians; Moravians; Sandemanians; Hutchinsonians; Shakers; Dunkers; New American Sect; Mystics; Swedenborgians; Haldanites; Freethinking Christians; Joanna Southcott, Muggletonians, and Fifth Monarchy Men; Seceders from the Church of England; Sauds, or Saadhs, jerkers and Barkers; and Millenarians.
These were all Christian sects, each worshipping in its own way and recruiting new members early in the nineteenth century. There were no doubt others as well."
David V. Barrett
The New Believers
"At the start of their movement they were very few in numbers, and unified in purpose, Since that time, they have spread all around and now number in the thousands. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are divisions among them-factions of all sorts, each wanting to have its own territory. Nor is it surprising that as these divisions have become so numerous, the various parties have taken to condemning each other, so that today they have only one thing-if that- in common: the name 'Christian".
"Taking its root in the lower classes, the religion continues to spread among the vulgar: nay, one can even say that it spreads because of its vulgarity and the illiteracy of its adherents. It thrives in its purer form among the ignorant."
-Celsus 178 C.E.
"Christianity can be condensed into four words: admit, submit, commit, and transmit."
"What I have to do to please God is to confess that I am a sinner instead of trying to prove that I am good."
"Christianity is a battle, not a dream."
"...That something was Dissenting Protestantism itself. Oh, it had once been quite strong and very much alive! The passion-the exhilaration!-of those early days was what no one could any longer recall. To be a believing Protestant in a town such as Grinnell in the middle of the nineteenth century was to experience a spiritual ecstasy greater than any that the readers of Main Street or the viewers of American Gothic were likely to know in their lifetimes."
"One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the most commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized."
My Utmost for His Highest
"To know and to serve God, of course, it's why we're here, a clear truth that-like the nose on your face-is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through. What else will do except faith in such a cynical, corrupt time? When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word."
"Faith must Trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees it must put out of sight, and wish to know nothing but the word of God."
"Others might take pride in having faith but then fail to do any good deeds. James mocked those, for instance, who would unfeelingly tell the naked and hungry "go in peace" (James 2:16) but not lift a finger to help meet their material needs-food, clothing, shelter, and the like. Faith can amount to nothing more than empty sentiments, as this example illustrates, making no difference at all in people's lives. Such talk is cheap ,but worse than that, it can be tremendously cruel and highly insensitive. True religion requires effort, action, and results, not just pious rhetoric."
James went on the attack, challenging his opponents. "Show me," he said, "your faith, apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith" (James,2:18). If religion makes no difference in behavior, what good is it? It amounts to nothing. Even more significantly, without good works, how can one tell a person who has faith from one who does not."
-Barrie Wilson, Ph.D.
How Jesus Became Christian
"WE never have followed the advice of the great teachers. Why are we likely to begin now? Why are we more likely to follow Christ than any of the others? Because He is the best moral teacher? But that makes it even less likely that we shall follow Him. If we cannot take the elementary lessons, is it likely we are going to take the most advanced one? If Christianity only means one more bit of good advice, then Christianity is of no importance. There has been no lack of good advice for the last four thousand years. A bit more makes no difference."
"God cannot use you as He wishes until you come into the fullness of his Glory. Don't get alarmed, friend, when doubts creep in. That is Old Satan. Pray, pray, pray. Neither be cast down or afraid if perchance you seem to wander from the path. This is sure to come if you trust too much in self."
(letter from George Washington Carver)
"In the eyes of the empire, Christians violated traditional Roman response to religion, which for most people was rooted, not in some inner closet of the soul, but in the physical and public observance of those rituals that linked the routine of family and business to the cosmos and that garbed the trivia of daily life with higher meaning. Christians seemed to challenge the gods by their scoffing disrespect, daring them to punish humanity for permitting such impiety, thereby bringing down upon the earth that divine retribution and apocalyptic terror of pestilence, war, and death which they expected under any circumstances. Tertullian attempted to refute with laughter the argument that Christians were the cause of all human and environmental disasters. "If the Tiber rises as high as the city walls, if the Nile does not rise to the fields, if the weather will not change, if there is earthquake, famine or plague-strait way the cry is heard, "Toss the Christians to the Lion!"
Possibly the Christian might have survived the brand of atheist, bigot, and traitor without experiencing persecution, but the final label-domestic troublemaker-struck the Roman world at its most tender and fundamental point: family and generational ties that held society together. "They get hold," wrote the Platonic philosopher Celsus, "of children in private and some stupid women with them" and "they let out some astonishing statements as, for example, that they must not pay any attention to their fathers) and school-teachers, but must obey them," claiming that Christians alone "know the right way to live." Under such circumstances, Christians were undoubtedly enemies of humanity, and they deserved to die by whatever lingering vengeance society could contrive. If Christians wanted to believe that "the longer is your strife, the loftier will be your crown," Rome was perfectly willing to indulge them. Pliny the Younger, the second-century governor of Bithynia, a Roman province on the Black Sea, might have worried whether "the mere name of Christian" was sufficient reason to persecute Christians even without specific evidence of violating imperial law, but everyone agreed with him that "their stubbornness and unshakable obstinacy ought not to go unpunished."
Lacey Baldwin Smith
Fools, Martyrs, Traitors: The Story of Martyrdom in the Western World
"there is no buying and selling of any kind in what belongs to God. On a certain day, each one , if he likes puts in a small gift, but only if he wants to do so, and only if he be able, for there is no compulsion: everything is voluntary."
"If Christians wish us to believe in their redeemer, why don't they look a little more redeemed?"
"A true Christian is in all countries a pilgrim and a stranger."
"(for) the people called Christians....contempt of death is obvious to us every day, and also their self-control in sexual matters.....they also include people who, in self-discipline.....in matters of food and drink, and in their keen pursuit of justice, have attained a level not inferior to that of genuine philosophers."
"The husband....casts the wife out of his house: the father.....disinherits the son; the master commands the slave to depart from his presence: it is a huge offence for anyone to be reformed by this hated name (Christian).
"The fundamental principles of Christianity have to be proved by reasoning and by no other method."
- Albert Schweitzer
"Faith must trample underfoot all reason."
"Christianity is not a patent medicine. Christianity claims to give an account of facts-to tell you what the real universe is like. ....If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be: if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all."
"Man or Rabbit?"
"Christianity is saying that a donkey can go before all the horses in the world when it is really going to the temple."
"What Jesus is saying is truly revolutionary: Follow your calling in life (even if it means turning against your parents). Take your chances. Forget about being good; you can't buy your way through life with good behavior. It won't get you anywhere. Make your mistakes (sins) and when you know better you'll repent. Have Mercy. Trust God (fate), have faith and cultivate your talents."
Communion ed by David Rosenberg
"The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness."
"A Christian is a man who feels himself a stranger even in his own house, in his own city; for our fatherland is on high. There we shall not be aliens; but here below everyone feels himself a foreigner, even in his own house."
"We, out of every tribe of people....who used to take pleasure in promiscuity, now embrace chastity alone; we who once had recourse to magic, dedicate ourselves to the good God; we, who valued above everything else acquiring wealth and possessions, now bring what we have into a common fund, and share with everyone in need; we who hated and killed other people, and refused to live with people of another tribe because of their different customs, now live intimately with them."
"We are called monsters of evil, and accused of practicing a sacred ritual in which we kill a little child and eat it; in which, after the feast, we practice incest, while the dogs, our pimps, overturn the lights and give us the shameless darkness to gratify our lusts. This is what people constantly charge, yet you take no trouble to find out the truth....Well, you think the Christian is capable of every crime-an enemy of the gods, of the emperor, of the laws, of good morals , of all nature."
"Men who look for a vague and comfortable faith will not find it in Christianity, any more than they will find comfort and vagueness in the desert itself. Christianity is something definite and dogmatic and must be from its very nature, be- cause it is concerned with this man, this woman, this place, and not that other man or place."
"The illusion is that there is such a 'thing' as Christianity, or that any 'thing,' be it creed, history, code or organization can be Christian. Only the subjective individual can be a Christian."
"...There is no such thing as the Christian religion because Christianity, at its heart, is not a religion. Rather, it's the announcement by God in Christ that whatever it was that the religions of the world were trying to do and couldn't (make God think kindly of you, win wars, end poverty, get the crops to grow, stop your brother-in-law from drinking too much at your parties), the whole rigmarole has been canceled. In Jesus, God has put up a "Gone Fishing" sign on the religion shop. He has done the whole job in Jesus once and for all and simply invited us to believe it-to trust the bizarre, unprovable proposition that in him, every last person on earth is already home free without a single religious exertion: no fasting till your knees fold, no prayers you have to get right or else, no standing on your head with your right thumb in your left ear and reciting the correct creed-no nothing. All you need is faith that the entire show has been set to rights in the Mystery of Christ-even though nobody can see a single improvement. Yes, it's crazy. And yes, it's wild, and outrageous, and vulgar. And any God who would do such a thing is a God who has no taste. And worst of all, it doesn't sell worth beans. But is Good News-the only permanently good news there is-and therefore I find it absolutely captivating."
Robert Farrar Capon
The Romance of the Word
"How very hard it is/ To be a Christian!"
"Christianity is not an abstract religion, it is not a theory that has been fashioned by philosophy, but is based on real happenings in the real world. "
- Amaury de Riencourt
"Is this not a joyous exchange-the rich, noble, pious bridegroom Christ takes this poor, despised, wicked little whore in marriage, redeems her of all evil, and adorns her with all his goods?"
"It is not a view of history that appeals to us today. The colors are too harsh and the teaching is too harsh; the angel with the sword of fire turning Adam and Eve out of Eden, blood and death and the devil defeated on Calvary, the damned cast into an eternity of pain. Yet in its very violence it gives a pattern and a meaning to history, and to each individual ' s life. The individual is no longer the victim of chance and fate; Christianity is a religion of choice; Adam chose to disobey God, and so do we; it is by our own selection and desire that we will go to hell. If, today, we think of hell-fire as an outworn sanction, it is because we do not understand this matter of free-will."
- Amaery de Riencourt
Christianity, according to Hegel, is the one absolutely true religion not because its figurative expressions, such as creation, heaven, the fall, etc, can be taken literally, but because the inner meaning and thought-content of these will be found to be identical with the principals of true philosophy .
'Christianity is not just a theory but is tied up with a series of Historical Events."
"Modern writers say most men are fools - Christianity says all men are fools. Some call this the doctrine of original sin. It's actually the doctrine of equality."
"Orthodoxy was the source of the death of Jesus . To interpret the Bible literally has to the bloody doctrines of infant damnation, of a hell of fire and brimstone, and of the thought that the saint in heaven would be so much sublimated that he will enjoy the burning of the sinner in hell! "
"There came a moment when , blissfully overwhelmed, I dared say to myself; I have comprehended the Highest. In truth, such a thing is not vouchsafed to many in each generation. .But almost in the same instant something new came crashing down on me; the Highest, after all, is not to comprehend the Highest, but to be it.
- Soren Kierkegaard 1848
"I had sometimes thought it an odd thing that Western Christianity, alone of all the religions of the world, exposed its mysteries to every observer. . .At Debra Lebanos I suddenly saw the classical basilica and open altar as a great positive achievement, a triumph over darkness consciously accomplished, and I saw theology as the science of simplification by which nebulous and elusive ideas are made intelligible and exact. And I began to see how these obscure sanctuaries had grown, with the clarity of the Western reason, into the great open altars of Catholic Europe, where Mass is said in a flood of light, high in the sight of all, while tourists can clatter round. with Baedekers, incurious of the mystery. "
For even with my clear knowledge of it I am still not a Christian. Yet I still cannot help feeling that despite the abyss of nonsense in which we are stuck, we shall all of us be saved. This is the result of my having been fed directly opposite brand of Christianity as a child. However , my position is sufficiently difficult. I am not a heathen to whom an apostle, briefly and pithily, expounds Christianity; no, I am a man who, so to speak, must discover Christianity by himself, dig down to make it emerge from the perverted state it has sunk to. "
Diary of Kierkegaard
"Away , with the fictions and workings of discursive reason, either for or against Christianity! They are only the wanton spirit of the mind, whilst ignorant of God and insensible of its own nature and condition. . .For neither God , nor heaven, nor hell , nor the devil, nor the flesh can be any other way knowable in you or by you , but by their own existence and manifestation in you. And any pretended knowledge of any of those things, beyond and without this self-evident sensibility of their birth within you, is only such knowledge of them as the blind man hath of the light that has never entered into him. "
- William Law
"Why does he do it? And why, if he has to become a man at all, does he choose to become the unlikely man he becomes? When the lion behaves like a lamb, there is certainly every reason for incredulity. God's power was such that, in his prime, he annihilated in minutes the mightiest army in the world. More than once, he compared himself to a great marauding beast. Why does he become a defenseless peasant who, when the authorities sentence him to death, offers no resistance and ends his life a convicted criminal? Does the Incarnation not begin to seem, as Nietzsche might have put it, the greatest misfortune ever to befall the Lord God of Hosts? Rather than a further development of God's character, does Jesus, the Lamb of God, not seem its terminal collapse?
Yes, he does, and the condition for a literary appreciation of the New Testament is a willingness on the part of the reader to see this ending as a horrifying or ludicrous surprise. God the Son is not at all the kind of man one would expect God the Father to become. ..."
Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God
"Last term I had to make the following remark to a room full of Christian undergraduates: -'A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness, and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely 'higher' state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride. "
(extract from a letter written to Dom Bed Griffiths 16 April 1940) by C.S. Lewis)
" (Jesus) a man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act."
"For almost twenty centuries the moral sense of the Western world has been blunted by a theology which teaches the vicarious atonement of sin through Christ, the Son of God.....All men and women are the sons of God....Christ's giving of his life....is no unique event in history. ....To build these two statements therefore-That Christ was the Son of God and that he died for man's salvation-into a dogma, and then to make salvation depend upon believing that dogma, has been the great psychological crime....it is a psychological crime because it places responsibility for redemption on something external to the self; it makes salvation dependent on belief in the divinity of another person rather than on self-transformation through belief in one's own intrinsic divinity."
"This is perhaps the best-kept secret in the entire New Testament. Jesus' own brothers were among the so-called Twelve Apostles. This means they were the muted participants in all those many references to the "Twelve." They were with Jesus at the "Last Supper" and when he died he turned his movement over to his brother James, the eldest, and put his mother in James's care. James is none other than the mysterious "beloved disciple" of the gospel of John.
It seems that the one thing people think they know about the brothers of Jesus is that they did not believe in him. This spurious opinion is based on a single phrase in John 7:15 that many scholars consider to be a late interpolation. Modern translation even put it in parentheses. Once we realize that the brothers are part of the Twelve, and that James is the "beloved disciple," then many things begin to make new sense. There are two passages in Mark that some have taken as downplaying the importance of Jesus' family, but they have been misread based on the false assumption that the brothers did not believe in Jesus. It is amazing what firm opinion have been built upon such shaky foundations."
-James D. Tabor
The Jesus Dynasty
"We believe in Jesus and we use his name, so we think we are Christians; but, of course, we are not, until we have revised everything in our selves-all our beliefs, all our prejudices, all our ideas."
"I note in the evangelistic mode of today the stress in the phrase: Do you accept Christ as your personal savior? The stress on personal may be securely orthodox since Jesus himself did not preach to institution, clan, or tribe, but to the individual convert. On the other hand, the Jesus who said, Noli me tangere, to Mary Magdalene when he appeared outside the tomb is nowadays transmogrified into a tousled, stocking-footed house companion. The bearded ascetic is in the kitchen of a morning, in the afternoon showing preference in the Little League game, forever hearing briefs for parole from the consequences of ordinary mistakes in judgment. He is urged to further wishes for advantage in the mingiest uncertainties of a moment almost two thousand years beyond his own time. Thank you, Jesus! rings out as one of the television evangelists slaps someone on the head and in a hurried miracle pronounces his arthritis or cancer abated. Instead of making us more like Jesus, the evangelists want Jesus ever to be shaped in our own image: foolish, greedy, shallow, trapped in the mundane, there to be beseeched as a partisan in the most vagrant aims of citizen and nation. In God We Trust and even God Bless America are suitable locutions, but the austerity, the loneliness, the mystery of the biblical Jesus is curdled by many of the overheated practices of the contemporary Protestant."
"It was St. Paul who invented the religion of salvationism that depended on self-torment, and that thrived on hysteria and emotionalism. It happened to fit the need of the human race at that point in evolution for rejecting the "lower self that lives and dies like an animal. It is arguable that St. Paul's 'crosstianity' was one of the greatest disasters that has ever befallen the human race."
The Occult: A History
"Look out for the dogs! Look out for the evil-workers! Look out for those who whack off the flesh! For we are the true circumcision who worship God in spirit and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh."
Paul (Philippians 3:2-3)
"At a time when a large part of mankind is beginning to discard Christianity., it may be worth while to try to understand why it was accepted in the first place. It was accepted as a means of escape from the brutality and unconsciousness of the ancient world. As soon as we discard it, the old brutality returns in force, as has been made overwhelmingly clear by contemporary events. "
Symbols of Transformation
"Christianity is a message about existence. That is why each generation must start on it anew; the accumulated erudition of preceding generations is essentially superfluous, yet not to be scorned if it understands itself and its limits, but extremely dangerous if it does not."
-Soren Kierkegaard 1848
"If this religion is true, then there is only one Savior, only one narrow path to life. Christianity cannot live in peace with any other religion."
"Christianity means: practice what you preach; a character task."
- Soren Kierkegaard
"Nowhere does (Jesus) demand of his hearers that they shall sacrifice thinking to believing."
"We are in the most anti-intellectual period in the history of the church. People don't want to hear that stuff. They want to be entertained. They want the quick and easy answer."
"We can rail at Christianity all we please, its childish, or rather should we say its primitive, conception of nature, its antagonism to science, its intolerance of open-minded inquiry-yet it has given us a heritage and a very great one , in the concept of unselfishness, of other-worldliness, of concern for the lives and futures of other people." . "
- Albert Edward Wiggam
"I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I have founded empires. But upon what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love, and at this hour millions of men would die for him."
"For a twenty-first-century person with genuine spiritual insight the absence of the literal fulfillment of Jesus' belief in the arrival of the Kingdom in his time does not count as a failure. Nor does it detract in any way from the fundamental truth that no religious attitude is real without an all-pervading sense of urgency which converts ideas into instant action. And death, which is never far distant from any human being, is a sufficient reason for anyone to feel constantly under pressure on account of the shortness of the allotted time."
The Authentic Gospel of Jesus
"If Christ were here now there is one thing he wouldn’t be-a Christian."
"Christianity has made of death a terror which was unknown to the gay calmness of the Pagan."
"No, Christianity is not, as it is sometimes presented and sometimes practiced, an additional burden of observances and obligations to weigh down and increase the already heavy load, or to multiply the already paralyzing ties of our life in society. It is, in fact, a soul of immense power which bestows significance and beauty and a new lightness on what we are already doing."
William W. Meissner S.J.
Foundations For A Psychology of Grace
"The true understanding of Jesus is the understanding of will acting on will. The true relation to Him is to be taken possession of by him. Christian piety of any and every sort is valuable only so far as it means the surrender of our will to His."
From My Life and Thought
"Blessed souls-whether Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius or Muhammad-were the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity. How can we deny such irrefutable proof? How can we be blind to such light? How can we dispute the validity of Christ? This is injustice. This is a denial of reality. Man must be just. We must set aside bias and prejudice. We must abandon the imitations of ancestors and forefathers. We ourselves must investigate reality and be fair in judgment."
"The Gospels are an extremely unreliable historical source, a statement which many devout Christians will find profoundly disturbing. However, one noted scholar has made even more provocative allegations. Andrew Welburn, a Fellow of both the Warburg Institute of the University of London and New College, Oxford, states bluntly that ‘Forgeries of many sorts can be found in the New Testament. For example, words are put into Jesus’ mouth that make him a propagandist for the Church and its powers.’ One example is to be found in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus is alleged to have said to the disciples: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ As Jesus was a devout Jew with a profound respect for the Law, who had no intention of founding a new religion, this statement is unthinkable. His true orthodox feelings are clearly expressed the same Gospel:' Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' We are also told that Jesus described the Gentiles as ‘dogs’ to whom he had nothing to say.
"And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel Then came she and worshipped him saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs."
Marilyn Hopkins Graham Simmans & Tim Wallace-Murphy
"As C. S. Lewis has truly pointed out, such statements rule out completely any notion that Jesus was merely a superlatively good man - a belief in which I was brought up, but which seemed to me even as a child singularly flaccid and unconvincing. It made Jesus a sort of super-Emerson or proletarian Marcus Aurelius, but took no account of the drama that , even before I could understand it, held my fascinated attention. 'A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said' , Lewis writes, 'would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. ' Lewis was right: we have to make this choice, recognizing that Jesus was either, as he claimed, the Son of God, or a megalomaniac to the point of being demented, and, consciously or unconsciously, a fraud. 'You can shut him up for a fool' , Lewis goes on; 'you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not hear any patronizing nonsense about his being a. great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to'."
"Observe and imitate the admirable Scotch nation. They joke about their religion; but they never joke about their golf. You cannot be too solemn about golf to be a good golfer you can be a great deal too solemn about Christianity to be a good Christian."
"Christianity, even humanly considered, was the immense repentance of Roman Europe. It was somewhat of a death-bed repentance. It was necessary bit it was morbid."
"The later pagan had worshipped himself. The earlier Christian had been forced to revile himself. When he had begun to revile himself he began to forget himself. When he had begun to forget himself he began to enjoy himself."
"The Kingdom of God is at hand. That is Christ's message. Everyone who seeks it can find it. No special preparation is needed, no special belief in this or that. Only to turn away from darkness to light, only to start in that direction. That is repentance, the one essential to entering upon the way. Then the light will shine more and more and the Kingdom come nearer and nearer. "
Witness to the Truth
"To the soul overburdened with all the heaviness of earth, the Christ says, "Arise, for your home is in Heaven!-But in order to believe in Heaven and in order to reach Heaven, prove Heaven here on earth in your work and in your love! "
The Great Initiates
"Terrible things are happening to me. The 'Spirit or 'Real I ' is showing an alarming tendency to become much more personal and is taking the offensive, and behaving just like God. You'd better come on Monday at the latest or I may have entered a monastery. "
(extract from a letter written to Owen Barfield from C. S.Lewis)
Letters of C. S. Lewis
Edited by W. H. Lewis
Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
"Can you imagine Our Savior dying for all of us, yet we have to argue over just whether he didn't die for us personally, and not for you. Sometimes I wonder if his lessons of sacrifice and devotion was pretty near lost on a lot of us."
"The life which leads to heaven is not a life withdrawn from the world, but one lived in the world; a life of piety without a life of charity (i.e. good-will to others)- which is only possible in the world-does not lead to heaven; but a life of charity, which consists in acting sincerely and justly in every duty, engagement, and work, from an interior, that is, from a heavenly origin; and such an origin is in that life when man acts sincerely and justly because it is agreeable to the Divine Laws. Such a life is not difficult, but a life of piety alone without charity is difficult, and yet it leads away from heaven as much as it is commonly believed to lead to heaven. "
Heaven and Hell , No. 535
"Since salvation is the attainment of spiritual health, it is evident that eternal rewards and punishments cannot be arbitrarily bestowed. Before we can go to heaven, heaven must have come to us; and no one will go to hell, who has not first received hell into his soul."
"The states of the interiors make heaven, and that heaven is within every one, and not out of him. It can in no case be said that heaven is out of any one, but that it is within him. . .This plainly shows how much he is deceived who believes that to come into heaven is only to be elevated amongst angels, and without any regard to the quality of the interior life, and thus that heaven may be conferred on any one by an act of unconditional mercy; when the truth is, that if heaven is not within us, nothing of the heaven which is around can flow in and be received."
"The Cross on Golgotha is the mystery cult of Antiquity epitomized in a fact."
"What is now called the Christian religion already existed among the ancients and was not lacking at the very beginning of the human race. When Christ appeared in the flesh, the true religion already in existence received the name of Christian."
St. Augustine (around 387 A.D.)
. The first Cause of Being, as He manifests Himself in Nature, is to us always something impersonal. But to the First Cause of Being, who becomes revealed to us as Will-to-Love , we relate ourselves as to an ethical personality. Theism does not stand in opposition to pantheism, but emerges from it as the ethically determined out of what is natural and undetermined.
My Life and Work
"The whole Christian religion shows how we fell from unity into variety and how we may return to the former state. "
"If anyone could prove to me that Christ is outside the truth, and if the truth really did exclude Christ, I should prefer to stay with Christ and not with truth. "
"He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth will proceed by loving his own sect of church better than Christianity and end in loving himself better than all."
"The final battle for Christianity will be over the money problem, and until that is solved there can be no universal application of Christianity."
Henry de Balzac
"Christianity, the traditional religion of Western civilization, faces the reality of guilt, provides an adequate explanation for it, and offers a resolution of the anxiety to which it inevitably gives rise. Each man is guilty merely by being a man, because the entire human race, in the person of its progenitor, committed a supreme crime. The exact content of this crime, or sin, is obscure; but its infinite measure is known from the fact that it was done in defiance of the Will of the infinite Being who is Creator at once of the world and of man himself. Every man is therefore born with this guilt; and, since it is infinite, neither any man nor all men together can, fix it solely by their own efforts, wipe it out. God Himself, however, freely chose the only possible solution, if there was to be a solution: that He, the infinite Being, should Himself become incarnate as man, and sacrifice Himself, so that through this infinite sacrifice man, and men, might be redeemed from their infinite guilt. The sacrifice having been carried out, men may be released from the guilt by being baptized in His name, believing in Him and doing His will."
Suicide of the West
"Of what great news was he the bearer,-the already famous Essene who came from the shores of the Dead Sea to his Galilean homeland , there to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom? How was he to change the face of the world? The thinking of the prophets had reached a climax in him. Richly endowed in his being, he came to share with men this Kingdom of Heaven which he had conquered in his meditations and his struggles, in his infinite pain and boundless joy. He came to tear away the veil that the ancient religion of Moses had cast over the afterlife. He came to say:
"Believe, love, act, and may hope be the soul of your actions. Beyond this earth is a world of souls, a more perfect life. I know it; I come from there, and I will lead you to it. But it is not enough to aspire to it. In order to reach it, one must begin by bringing it about here below, first within yourselves, then in mankind. With what?-With love, with active charity."
The Great Initiates
"In the year 1738, on the twenty-fourth day of' May, at a quarter before nine, during the reading of Luther' s preface to Melanchthon's 'Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans' ,Wesley experienced the new birth. In one of his sermons, he compared the birth in the spirit to the birth in the flesh. Prior to physical birth one is not dead, but the unborn babe, having eyes sees not, having ears hears not. Even so, before the new birth there is no knowledge of the things of God. But when 'the eyes of his understanding are opened' ,then he feels ' the love of God shed abroad in his heart' ; and now he may properly be said to live. From hence it manifestly appears, what is the nature of the new birth. It is that great change of God, when it is 'created anew in Christ Jesus' "when the love of the world is changed into the love of God; pride into humility; passion into meekness; hatred, envy, malice, into a sincere, tender, disinterested love for all mankind. In a word, it is that change whereby the earthly, sensual, devilish mind is turned into the 'mind which was in Christ Jesus' . This is the nature of the new birth: 'So is everyone that is born of the Spirit."
John Wesley ' s Sermons
Vol. I, Sermon XLV, Sections 4-5, pp. 402-03
Taken from Christendom vol II
Roland H. Bainton
Harper Colophon Books
One day , as he was driving over the Pont de Neuilly, the four horses took fright, and plunged over the parapet into the Seine. The carriage almost followed them; fortunately the reins broke, and the coach hung half over the edge. Pascal and his friends emerged, but the sensitive philosopher, terrified by the nearness of death, fainted away, and remained unconscious for sometime. On recovering he felt that he had had a vision of God. In an ecstasy of fear, remorse, and gratitude he recorded his vision on a parchment which henceforth he carried sewn in the lining of his coat: The year of grace 1654,
"from about half past six in the evening to half an
hour after midnight. The late
God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,
not of the philosophers and the scholars.
Certainty, certainty, feeling, joy, peace
God of Jesus Christ. ..
He is not to be found except by ways taught in the Gospel
Grandeur of the human soul.
Just Father, the world has never known you, but I have know you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy...
My God, will you abandon me?
Jesus Christ /
Jesus Christ. . . . .
I was separated from Him, I fled him, renounced Him,
May I never be separated from Him. . .reconciliation sweet and complete.
The Age of Louis IV
" "But Christianity is a religion of hope; when tongues shall have ceased and knowledge shall have vanished away, hope is one of the three that abide. The Christian hope IS for a kingdom of God on earth in which dwells righteousness. But the Christian hope looks also beyond the ultimate frontier, where history is no more, to that city that has no need of the sun by day nor of the moon by night, for it is lighted by the glory of the Lord, and in the City there is a river clear as crystal proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb , and on either bank grows a tree of life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. "
Christendom Vol. II
Roland H. Bainton
Harper Colophon Books
"It was not as a child that I learnt to believe in Christ and confess his faith. My Hosanna has burst forth from a huge furnace of doubt. "
"Suddenly and unexpectedly, a presence, power, and glory, not of me, descended on me and apparently had possession and full use of me. 'The whole body, as well as mind and soul, share in the wonder. . . .my arms began to go out and my body began slowly to rise, and while I did not realize it at first my body was becoming or taking the form of a cross, a cross of life, of honor, of bliss, and glory....when my body was apparently in the form of a perfect cross the glorified Jesus manifested Himself immediately in front of me. .. .quickly he breathed or infused HIMSELF from within. I.... said to myself, this is the fulfillment of John 14: "at that day (when he gives the other Comforter) you shall know that I AM in the Father and you in me and I in you."....it was made known that the kind of union that Jesus has with the Father is precisely the kind of union that He is seeking for us to have with Him.... I had asked for the truth about the Cross...It was apparent that there was a glory side to the Cross that had been almost unseen in most of Christian history.
"The Cross is a way of life; the way of love meeting all hate with Love, and evil with good, all negatives with positives."
"As the year 2000 approaches, Christianity is recognizably at a watershed, with the position of the Roman Church as precarious as at any time in the past. The religious scene that presents itself in the West today contains many parallels with that of first-century Judea, and that of the Palestine of the First Crusade. Inter-faith tolerance is at a stage typical of the millennial cycle. The moderate elements in the three main Jerusalem faiths-Christianity, Judaism and Islam-are over-shadowed by the fanaticism which exists on their periphery."
Richard Andrews & Paul Schellenberger
The Tomb of God
"We do better to adore the mysteries of Deity than to investigate them. The Lord God Almighty clothed his Son with flesh that he might draw us from contemplating his own majesty to a consideration of the flesh, and especially of our weakness.....Therefore there is no reason why we should labour so much on those exalted topics such as 'God', 'The Unity and Trinity of God', "The Mystery of Creation', and 'The Manner of the Incarnation'....To know Christ means to know his benefits, and not as they teach, to reflect upon his natures and the modes of his incarnation....In his letter to the Romans when he was writing a compendium of Christian doctrine, did Paul philosophize about the mysteries of the Trinity, the mode of incarnation, or active and passive creation? ....He takes up the law, sin, grace, fundamentals on which the knowledge of Christ exclusively rests."
-Melanchthon 1521 Loci communes
"The Fundamentalist movement first saw the light of day in Protestant America under the name "the Princeton theology," At Princeton, Professor Benjamin Warfield taught that the Bible conveyed five basic truths as immutable as, and more powerful than, Darwin's laws of evolution. These alleged truths-the inerrant accuracy of Scripture, jesus' birth from a biological virgin, his literal miracles, his offering of his blood in payment for the sins of the world (in the way that Anselm, rather than the Bible, taught), and his physical resurrection in the same flesh in which he died-came to be called "the Fundamentals." These ideas are modern dogmas, not ancient teachings agreed upon throughout the Church, and at each point both the New Testament and Patristic literature offer alternative ways of conceiving of Christian faith.
But Fundamentalists mastered the modern media of radio, television, cable stations, and the World Wide Web, falsely claiming that their ideology was exactly the traditional, incontrovertible faith of Christianity. Many millions of Christians, particularly in the United States have embraced these claims, making Fundamentalism the fastest growing religious influence in the country during the twentieth century, and confusing Fundamentalist dogma with what the Bible and Christian tradition actually say.
The idea, suggested by a living Princeton professor (Bernard Lewis), that we should interpret Islam in the light of a theological fad based on what a dead Princeton professor (Benjamin Warfield) said about Christianity a hundred years ago used to strike me as almost funny in its comic-book reductionism. But the stakes involved in coming to grips with Islam are too high for me to see any humor in the situation now. Attempts to stigmatize Muslim cultures have become as dangerous as they are persistent. Those who conflate Islam as such with reactionary, militant excesses within their own religious traditions not only stand in the way of genuine understanding; they also contribute-indirectly but inexorably-to the rising level of religious intolerance and violence that threatens civilized peoples all over the world. Understanding Islam, along with the other most influential religions in the flow of current events, has become a matter of civic duty, and perhaps of survival."
Abraham's Curse: The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Book: "Cross and Sword: An Eyewitness History of Christianity in Latin America" ed. H. McKennie Goodpasture
Book: "The Christian God" by Richard Swinburne
Book: "Rabbi Jesus" by Bruce Chilton
Book: "Rabbi Paul" by Bruce Chilton
Book: "Mary Magdalene" by Bruce chilton
Book: "The Whimsical Christian" by Dorothy Sayers
"A Guide for the Perplexed" by E.F. Schumacher
"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis
"Crossing the Threshold of Hope" by Karol Wojityla
"Christianity and History" by Herbert Butterfield
"The Christian Universe" by E.L. Mascall
"The Faith: A History of Christianity" by Brian Moynahan
"The River of God: A New History of Christian Origins" by Gregory J. Riley
"A New History of Christianity" by Vivian Green
"Theologically, Protestantism was either a recovery, or a development, or an exaggeration (it is not for the literary historian to say which) of Pauline theology. ..In the mind of a Tyndale or Luther, as in the mind of St. Paul himself, this theology was by no means an intellectual construction made in the interests of speculative thought. It springs directly out of a highly specialized religious experience; and all its affirmations, when separated from that contest, become meaningless or else mean the opposite of what was intended. . .The experience is that of catastrophic conversion. The man who has passed through it feels like one who has waked from nightmare into ecstasy; Like an accepted lover, he feels that he has done nothing, and never could have done anything to deserve such astonishing happiness. Never again can he 'crow from the dunghill of desert' . All the initiative has been on God' s side; all has been free, unbounded grace. . .His own puny and ridiculous efforts would be as helpless to retain the joy as they would have been to achieve it in the first place. Fortunately he need not. Bliss is not for sale, cannot be earned. 'Works' have no 'Merit' , though of course faith, inevitably, even unconsciously, flows out into works of love at once. He is not saved because he does works of love: he does works of love because he is saved. It is faith alone that has saved him: faith bestowed by sheer gift. From good resolutions, anxiety, scruples, and motive-scratching, all the Protestant doctrines originally sprang...."
C. S. Lewis
"Let us first look at the history of the Christian Church. At no time in its history has the Church as a social institution been what God would like to have had it be. It has never saved any culture with which it has been associated. It has always revealed in its life and ministry both divine grace and the actuality of sin. There is nothing either in the past or in its immediate present to indicate that, in the greatest crisis since the Christian era began, the Church is going to achieve a level of Christian commitment and consecration greater than it has ever had before."
Culbert G. Rutenber
"Christian Life consists in faith and charity."
"the Quakers are today perhaps the most widely respected "heretics' of all. Their basic belief is that each person should worship God in his or her own way; the authority of the Church-any church-is rejected; priests and sacraments, including baptism and the Eucharist are irrelevant. There is no creed, and not really any theology; the only authority is the Inner Light of Christ, or 'that of God', in the heart of each individual believer. Like the Unitarians and the Salvation Army, the Quakers are perhaps respected by outsiders more for their commitment to social issues-including prison reform and the abolition of slavery-than for their spiritual beliefs, though this social commitment stems from their inner spirituality."
David V. Barrett
The New Believers
"The Quakers, called by preference the Society of Friends, had their origin in the north of England. George Fox, their founder, had a profound experience of religion, 'Now I was come up through the flaming sword into the paradise of God. All things were made new, and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before , beyond what words can utter. " Fox began traveling about like a medieval friar, gathering an elect people. His message sounds sometimes like ultimate Puritan reductionism with regard to the remnants of Romanism, with no ministers, no liturgy, no sacraments, no music, and no sanctuary. There was a number of contributory motives. The appalling state of the parish churches in the north of England is enough to explain why FOX should talk of hireling priests, steeple houses, and money changers. His objection to music and sacraments goes only one step beyond Zwingli in decrying all external aids to religion. The exclusive reliance on the bible was common to all Puritan groups. But Fox would appeal to the Bible in support of a position adopted on other grounds. for example, he argues that since in the King James Bible all the characters addressed each other as thee and thou, so also should all Englishmen. The real point was to rebuke the pride of social station because, in his day, English had to modes of address like the continental languages at present. The polite form was 'you ,and the familiar form 'thou' , used for intimates or for inferiors. Fox insisted on the practice, then highly offensive, of addressing even the king in the same term as a servant. The effect, of course, was social equalitarianism and, curiously, Fox won his point in reverse. Today, English is the only European tongue that does not have the two modes of address. The polite 'you' has become universal, whereas the familiar 'thou' , except in prayer, survives only as a sign of intimacy among the Society of Friends.
The Journal of George Fox
ed. John L. Nickolls
Christendom Vol II
Roland H. Bainton
Harper Colophon Books
"You may break in upon them, hoot at them, roar at them, drag them about; the meeting if it is of any size essentially goes on till all the component individuals are murdered. Throw them out at the doors in twos and threes, and they but re-enter at the window and quietly resume their places. Pull their meeting-house down, and they reassemble next day most punctually amid the broken walls and rafters. Shovel sand or earth down upon them, and there they sit, a sight to see, musing immovably among the rubbish. This is no description from fancy; it was the actual practice of the Quakers all over the country. They held their meetings, regularly, perseveringly, and without the least concealment, keeping the doors of their meeting-houses purposely open that all might enter, informers, constables, or soldiers, and do whatever they chose. In fact the Quakers behaved magnificently. By their peculiar method of open violation of the law and passive resistance only, they rendered a service to the common cause of all the Nonconformist sects."
(about the Quakers-Masson's Life of Milton)
"Now , although I am so devoid of Gottesbewusstein (God-consciousness) in the directer and stronger sense, yet there is something in me which makes response when I hear utterances made from that lead by others. I recognize the deeper voice. Something tells me, "Thither lies Truth'"-and I am sure it is not old theistic habits and prejudices of infancy.....Call this, if you like, my mystical germ. It is a very common germ. It creates the rank and file of believers."
Letters of William James II
" The only solution to the problem of the world is in 'Jesus Christ!"
"The parallels are striking. Replying to an acquaintance attracted to that philosophy, Epictetus warns him that when you become a Cynic you have to change your life. First of all you have to recognize the all-pervasive role of God in the universe; for only if the divine power looks favorably on your new endeavor-if in fact you an "elected" Cynic will you succeed. You cannot "pretend" to this high calling, which demands that you consider the body and its pains as nothing. Nor must exile mean anything to you, for God is everywhere. You will endure beatings and reviling, love your enemies, feel no rage, no envy,. Since all will despise you, you will have only your self-respect for comfort. You will only look to overcome what is called "good" or "evil" which are within you. You will be alone "Where will you fine me a Cynic's friend?". You will have no wife nor children-all humans are your family. You will in fact be God's spy, going about in adversity with a clean and oiled and smiling countenance. For the Cynic exhibits the qualities of his soul-"even his squalor ought to be cleanly attractive." He is "free" in the sense that the heroes of all existentialists literature are free ....."
Paul Q. Beeching
"On the other hand, Catholicism and some of the more old-fashioned though less influential types of Protestantism have a real doctrine of the meaning of human life, namely that man' s true end is union with God in the contemplation of the Beatific Vision. Of all ideas as to the ultimate destiny of man this alone, quite apart from any question of its truth, gives us a real end, a point beyond which the question of further purpose cannot be asked, because the enjoyment of God is an infinite good."
The Supreme Identity
"Christ founded his church at a symbolic moment on a shuffler, a snob, a coward, in short, a man. That's why it has out- lasted Kingdoms founded on strong men -- no chains stronger than its weakest link."
G. K. Chesterton
"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried."
G. K. Chesterton
"The most important man on earth is the perfect man who is not here. '
"The only ultimate disaster than can befall us is to feel ourselves at home on this earth."
"It is therefore of the highest importance that the Modern mind be made aware of the fact that Catholic and traditional Christianity is principally significant not much as history but as symbol, and as a symbol not merely of moral virtues but of metaphysical reality that may be actually known."
The Supreme Identity
"By realizing that Christianity will bring forth from its depths an increasing flow of new and more living creations, we enhance its greatness. Those who are always saying: 'That is not in the Bible, that is not true Christianity' and those who maintain that it is, are heretics; must be reminded that Christ also said: 'I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now' . He did not say this in order to indicate that he wished to withhold anything from men, but that from epoch to epoch He would bring them new revelations. And this he will do through those who are willing to understand Him. Those who deny that there can be no new words do not understand Christianity. For they have no ears for what is important. I say this to you - but prepare yourselves in order that you may be able hear it and understand it' ."
"We should ask nothing and refuse nothing, but leave ourselves in the arms of divine Providence, without wasting time in any desire, except to will what God wills of us."
St. Francis De Sales
"I am no dreamer he told them, nor do I believe in a utopia. But I do believe and have known the true and living God who gives me courage, strengthens and guides me in what I should do and why. Please listen to me and try to commit yourselves to the will of God and you will feel the divine power working in you, regarding you and making you able to face the hard problems of your toilsome, yet honest life. Do not grumble nor yield to hopelessness, but be certain we are laboring for a noble, unselfish and worthy purpose and, despite all the adversities that we encounter, we must look with confidence and unshakeable faith to our righteous Lord who cares for us and protects us...."
"Modern parallels are always to some extent misleading. Yet it may be useful to compare the influence of Calvin on that age with the influence of Marx on our own; or even of Marx and Lenin in one, for Calvin had both expounded the new system in theory and set it going in practice. This will at least serve to eliminate the absurd idea that Elizabethan Calvinists were somehow grotesque, elderly people, standing outside the main forward current of life. In their own day they were , of course , the very latest thing. Unless we can imagine the freshness, the audacity, and (soon) the fashionableness of Calvinism, we shall get our whole picture wrong. It was the creed of progressives, even of revolutionaries. It appealed strongly to those members that would have been Marxist in the nineteen-thirties. The fierce young son, learned lady , the courtier with intellectual leanings, were likely to be Calvinists. When hard rocks of predestination outcrop in the flowery soil of the 'Arcadia ' or the ' Faerie Queene' , we are apt to think them anomalous, but we are wrong. The Calvinist is as modish as the shepherds and goddesses. . .Youth is the taunt commonly brought against the puritan leaders by their opponents: Youth and cocksureness.
As we recognize the type we begin, perhaps, to wonder less that such a work as the 'Institutio' should have been so eagerly welcomed. In it Calvin goes on from the original Protestant experience to build a system, to extrapolate, to raise all the dark questions and give without flinching the dark answers. It is, however, a masterpiece of literary form; and we may suspect that those who read it with most approval were troubled by the fate of predestined vessels of wrath just about as much as young Marxists in our own age are troubled by the approaching liquidation of the 'bourgeoisie' . Had the word ' sentimentality' been known to them, Elizabethan Calvinists would certainly have used it of any who attacked the Institutio as morally repulsive."
"Christianity became the greatest moral and political revolution in the history of the human race. It...preached the equality of human souls-the true basis of all other equalities, political, social and economic . "
"What good is it to me if Mary gave birth to the Son of God fourteen hundred years ago and I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and in my culture? "
- Meister Eckhart
"Nothing could be more unauthoritative than the parables of Jesus. Their whole purpose is to enable the listener to discover something for himself. They are not illustrations of revealed doctrines they are works of art which reveal or uncover the truth about life. "
"Puritanism was essentially and primarily a religious movement; attempts to prove it to have been a mask for money-making are false as well as unhistorical. In the broadest sense Puritanism was a passion for righteousness; the desire to know and do God's will."
Samuel Eliot Morison
Vol I The Oxford History of the American People
"They-(the puritans) were deeply impressed by a story that their favorite church father, St. Augustine, told in his Confessions. He heard a voice saying, 'Tolle et lege', "pick up and read." Opening the Bible, his eyes lit on Romans xiii:l2-l4: "The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in debauchery and lust, not in strife and jealousy, but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. "
Samuel Eliot Morison
"In response to the light of conscience and the written word, the Puritan yearned to know God and to approach him directly without intermediary. If the Puritan rejected the ancient pageantry of Catholic worship, it was not because of any dislike of beauty. He loved beauty in women and children and, as his works prove, achieved beauty in silverware, household furniture, and architecture. He rejected ritual as a distorting screen erected by man between him and his maker. Stained glass windows, images of the saints, organ music, and Gregorian chants, he thought, threw a jeweled, sensuous curtain between the worshippers and the almighty."
Samuel Eliot Morison
"I remember hearing a marvelous talk by Daisetz Suzuki in Ascona, Switzerland. It was, I think, his first talk there at the Eranos Foundation, and here was this group of Europeans in the audience and there was a Japanese man (he was about ninety-one years old at the time), a Zen philosopher. He stood with his hands on his side, and he looked at the audience and said: "Nature against God. God against nature. Nature against man. Man against nature. Man against God. God against man. Very funny religion."
As quoted in The Hero’s Journey
"The church (now understanding by that term the organized sects) is not willing to "lose its life" that it may "gain" others; hence it is the weakest, and, humanly speaking, the most despicable institution which men are now tolerating. It is afraid of amusement; it is afraid of heresy; it is afraid of contamination; it is afraid of sinners; it is afraid of the devil. All this must come from a low of condition of vitality. It shuts itself up within thick walls, sings its hymns, hears its periodical platitudes, and then skulks into the common streets, as if afraid lest the multitude should know what it had been doing. Nothing can be more un-Christ like that is not positively devilish. The worst feature of this cowardly fear is that it is often expressed in a bad spirit, venom being mistaken for strength."
Ecce Deus (1867)
"The great personalities that shaped Christianity would fare badly in the hands of psychiatric analysis; it takes great understanding not to see this as a bad reflection of either camp."
Sexuality & Homosexuality
"He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity, will revolutionize the world."
"Jesus’ most venomous opposition came from conservative groups in the synagogue: not from the indifferent, but from the strict, not from the backsliders, but from those who knew the law and fulfilled it to the letter, proud that they were more virtuous than their neighbors."
The Condition of Man
"Moreover, while early Christianity, like all other religions, was an appeal to the broadly human feelings of mutual aid and sympathy, the Christian Church has aided the State in wrecking all standing institutions of mutual aid and sympathy and support which were anterior to it, or developed outside of it; and, instead of MUTUAL AID which every savage considers as due to his kinsman, it has preached charity which bears a character of inspiration from above, and, accordingly, implies a certain superiority of the giver upon the receiver."
"Happy is he who walks in the ways of the Apostles, takes neither office nor wife and has no possessions."
"I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion. When it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another kind of religion altogether."
Amusing Ourselves to Death
"Christ would never have made the impression he did on His followers if He had not expressed something that was alive and active in their unconscious. Christianity would never have spread through the pagan world with such astonishing rapidity had its ideas not found an analogous psychic readiness to receive them. It is this fact which also makes it possible to say that whoever believes in Christ is not only contained in Him, but that Christ then dwells in the believer as the perfect man formed in the image of God...."
Collected Works, Vol.11, p441
"And what is the true message of Christ! She declares, starring right into the camera. ‘That Christ is in every stranger you meet, the poor, the hungry, the sick, the people next door!"
Memnoch the Devil
(In 1973 A Theology of Liberation by Gustavo Guterrez proved to be the major theological manifesto in the 20th Century)
Liberation theology is founded on the conviction that God is capable of suffering. (How strange that Christian orthodoxy, itself inspired by the sight of a crucified Lord could ever have held otherwise!) The Christian deity, as a suffering God, naturally has sympathy for those human beings who also suffer. The liberation theologian ponders and meditates not in the detached setting of academia, but rather in the hurly-burly of ordinary life: his theology is therefore, spontaneously generated at grass (or rice)-roots level, inspired as it is by a direct knowledge, even experience, of the deprivations and tribulations of small, poor minorities professing the Gospel in the face of callous witness.
This religious movement has been dubbed 'poor theology'. It is an appropriately vague term that can be used descriptively, approvingly, or else pejoratively. it could be interpreted to mean a religious programme of liberating the powerless and right less masses of the Third World by exercising' a preferential option for the poor'. Alternatively, critics dismiss it as a theology that is unorthodox and inadequate, unfaithful to the unarmed Christ's teachings, a heretical theology that effectively baptizes socialism and legitimizes the use of force in political struggle."
The Final Imperative
The Universal Church is beginning to realize that it must not confine itself to representing the moral factor in the Christian message. It can never be an assembly of the righteous but must go out to find those in need of its healing and prophetic message."
Great men speak and write only about themselves becoming not being Christians.
"More than 1900 years later, a historian like myself, who doesn’t even call himself a Christian, finds the picture centering irresistibly around the life and character of this most significant man….The historian’s test of an individual’s greatness is ‘What did he leave to grow" Did he start men to thinking along fresh lines with a vigor that persisted after him? By this test Jesus stands first."
"…..If you peruse the academic books available at a seminary bookstore you may encounter Jesus as a political revolutionary, as a magician who married Mary Magdalene, as a Galilean charismatic, a rabbi, a peasant Jewish Cynic, a Pharisee, an anti-Pharisee essene, an eschatological prophet, a "hippie in a world of Augustan Yuppies." And as the hallucinogenic leader of a sacred mushroom cult. Serious scholars write these works, with little sign of embarrassment."
The Jesus I never Knew
"The Cross of Christ truly overcomes the world and leads a life of purity in the face of its allurements….let your industry and parsimony go no farther than for a sufficiency for life…The temperance I plead for is not only religiously but politically good….The country life is to be preferred, for there we see the works of God, but in cities little else but the works of men; and the one makes a better subject for our contemplation that the other."
The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system."
"There has never been a kingdom given to so many civil wars as that of Christ."
"Every stoic was a Stoic; but in Christendom, where is the Christian?"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
"I consider Christian theology to be one of the great disasters of the human race…it would be impossible to imagine anything more unChristlike than theology."
-Alfred North Whitehead
"Carry the cross patiently, and with perfect submission; and in the end it shall carry you."
-Thomas a Kempis
"The Gospel cannot be introduced with tumult, scandal and rebellion….the word of God is a sword, a war, a destruction, a scandal, a ruin, a poison."
- Martin Luther
"I’m a very narrow-minded, intolerant, reactionary, Bible-thumping fundamentalist….a zealot and fanatic….The reason the United States was once a great nation, besides being blessed by God, is because she was founded on Truth, Justice, and narrow-mindedness."
(In jail for bombing an abortion clinic)
"Let a wave of intolerance wash over you….Yes, hate is good….Our goal is a Christian nation….We are called by God to conquer this country….We don’t want pluralism."
(Founder of operation rescue) 1993
"Certainly, mankind without Christianity conjures up a dismal prospect. The record of mankind with Christianity is daunting enough….The dynamism it has unleashed has brought massacre and torture, intolerance and destructive pride on a huge scale, for there is a cruel and pitiless nature in man which is sometimes impervious to Christian restraints and encouragements. But without these restraints, bereft of these encouragements, how much more horrific the history of these last 2,000 years must have been!…In the last generation, with public Christianity in a headlong retreat, we have caught our first, distant view of a de-Christianized world, and it is not encouraging."
"Everything in Christ astonished me. His spirit overawes me, and his will confounds me. Between him and whoever else in the world, there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a being by himself….I search in vain in history to find the similar to Jesus Christ, or anything which can approach the gospel. Neither history, nor humanity, nor the ages, nor nature, offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or explain it. Here everything is extraordinary."
"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea."
"….Union with Christ is not some kind of spiritual happy hour. It is a war with the powers of evil that killed Jesus and that might kill us too, if we get in their way. Because we live in the human condition, the divine light is constantly being challenged by the repressive and regressive forces within us as individuals and within society, neither of which wants to hear about love, certainly not about self-giving love."
The Mystery of Christ
"There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration, never had any existence….This image has not been destroyed from without, it has fallen to pieces, cleft and disintegrated by the concrete historical problems which came to the surface one after another…."
The Quest for the Historical Jesus
"Anything in folklore that remains alive comes from before Christianity. –The same is true to whatever is alive in each of us."
- E.M. Cioran
"I remember reading years ago a little tract written by Frank Laubach, a great man of prayer, in which he described one of his prayer practices. When he is on a journey, even on a streetcar going a few blocks, he tries to spot somebody on the car who seems to him to be in distress, or perhaps just tired or lonely, and to direct his prayers toward that person as though the Divine possession were streaming out from him to this other person. This I believe to be the essence of the Christian life: that we act as purveyors of the very Spirit of God Himself to the world around us."
"If anyone, therefore, will not learn from Christianity to love himself in the right way, then neither can he love his neighbor….To love one’s self in the right way and to love one’s neighbor are absolutely analogous concepts, are at bottom one and the same….Hence the law is:" You shall love yourself as you love your neighbor when you love him as yourself."
"In our search to know God, I have come to believe that the life of Jesus Christ should be the focus of our efforts and inspiration. The reality of this life and His resurrection is the hope of mankind."
-Werner von Braun
"Many a sober Christian would rather admit that a wafer is God than that God is a cruel and capricious tyrant."
"Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?
"No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition that Paul boldly set it on its legs again in the name of Jesus."
- George Bernard Shaw
""The Christianity of the majority consists roughly of two notions: first of all the saying about the "little child," that one becomes a Christian as a little child, that of such is the Kingdom of Heaven; the second is the thief on the cross.
People live by virtue of the former-in death they reckon upon consoling themselves with the example of the thief. That is the sum of their Christianity; and correctly defined it is a mixture of childishness and crime."
"What needs deeper pondering, by all of us, is why women continue, today, to plead for egalitarian respect in reactionary churches that clearly, now and historically, have no interest in women as anything but followers and servants."
Monica Sjoo & Barbara Mor
The Great Cosmic Mother
"While we are watching a sunset or listening to a piece of good music or having a good meal, if, for some reason, we have the immanence of the Christ break in upon our consciousness and we feel a sense of oceanic love and oneness….it is easy to come up withal sorts of excuses about why we shouldn’t be feeling it. It is easy to deny it or, on the other hand, to think that since we are feeling this, therefore we must be a great realized master. Instead, we could be feeling that this is an experience of the most ordinary and natural state for a human being."
"Jesus has now been reduced to a mantra….Chanted mindlessly by followers, who have no idea of the relationship of doctrine to history and mythology."
- A.A. Snow
"Now the Christians pray that after their toil and strife here below they shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, and they agree with the ancient systems that there are seven heavens and that the way of the soul is through the planets. That their system is based on very old teachings may be seen from similar beliefs in the old Persian Mysteries associated with the cult of Mithras."
"Christians babble about God day and night in their impious and sullied way; they arouse the awe of the illiterate with their false descriptions of the punishments awaiting those who have sinned. Thus they behave like guardians of the Bacchic Mysteries."
"They postulate, for example, that their Messiah will return as a conqueror on the clouds, and that he will rain fire upon the earth in his battle with the princes of the air, and that the whole world, with the exception of believing Christians, will be consumed in fire. An interest idea-and hardly an original one. The idea came from the Greeks and others-namely, that after cycles of years and because of the fortuitous conjunctions of certain stars there are conflagrations and floods, and that after the last flood, in the time of Deucalion, the cycle demands a conflagration in accordance with the alternating succession of the universe. This is responsible for the silly opinion of some Christians that God will down and rain fire upon the earth."
"Taking its root in the lower classes, the religion continues to spread among the vulgar: nay one can even say it spreads because of its vulgarity, and the illiteracy of its adherents. And while there are a few moderate, reasonable, and intelligent people who are inclined to interpret its beliefs allegorically, yet it thrives in its purer form among the ignorant."
( C.E. 170)
"If a professional sharper who knows how to capitalize on a situation gets among them, he makes himself a millionaire overnight, laughing up his sleeve at the simpletons."
"Christianity is usually pictured as spreading rapidly, especially among the poor and dispossessed, until it was the dominant force in the ancient world, waiting to take its destined place as the religion of the Roman Empire. But this is complete fantasy, first cultivated by Tertullian (c.200), who makes the outrageous claim that: "Nearly all the citizens in nearly all the cities are Christians." Scholars now recognize that this is a ridiculous exaggeration. The more trustworthy Origen (c.240) admits that Christians were actually only a tiny fraction of the ancient world’s inhabitants."
Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy
The Jesus Mysteries
"The Christian philosopher Origen, writing in the middle of the third century, is equally uncomplimentary toward the Christian community, describing it as made up of men concerned about how to make money and women gossiping so loudly nothing could be heard. Origen sadly acknowledges that as Christianity became an established religion, so it became corrupt:
"I admit that at the present time perhaps, when on account of the multitude of people coming to the faith even rich men and person in positions of honor, and ladies of refinement, and high birth, favorably regard adherents of the faith, one might venture to say that some become leaders of the Christian teaching for the sake of a little prestige."
In the middle of the third century a wealthy woman called Lucilla actually paid to have her servant Majorinus made Bishop of Carthage! Paul of Samosata, Bishop of Antioch in 260 , is reported to have found the service of the Church a very lucrative profession. He extorted frequent contributions from the rich among his flock, a large part of which he pocketed for himself for his luxurious lifestyle."
Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy
The Jesus Mysteries
"Despite the creed of Nicaea, the Christian Church remained forever divided against itself, engaging in constant political in-fighting thinly disguised as theological debate. In the authoritarian atmosphere of the times, the losers were excommunicated and their views made anathema. Yet no one was secure. An "orthodox" point of view today could be "heretical " tomorrow. Toward the end of the fourth century Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, wrote despondently:
Every year, nay, every moon we make new creeds to describe invisible mysteries. We repent of what we have done, we defend those who repent, we anathematize those whom we defended. We condemn either the doctrine of others in ourselves, or our own in that of others; and reciprocally tearing one another to pieces, we have been the cause of each other’s ruin.
By now even Literalist Christians had begun to see the Roman Church no longer as the fulfillment of Christ’s plan but as the work of "the anti-Christ!"
Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy
The Jesus Mysteries
"Christianity did not arrive as a unique divine intervention. It evolved from the past, like everything else. There are no sudden breaks in history, only a continuum of change. The ancient Pagan Mysteries did not die. They transformed into something new-into Christianity. The spirituality of the West has been shaped by these two great traditions. The time has come to rediscover their common ground and claim all of our rich heritage.
Of course this will never be accepted by fundamentalists, but if Christianity bows to reactionary pressure to return to its authoritarian past it will be consigning itself to the dustbin of history. The modern world is simply too sophisticated to fall for the "It must be true because it says so in the Bible" routine. Already Christianity is no longer the dominant force it once was. With its demise our culture has been left desperately searching for a new spiritual direction. Only by returning to its mystical roots will Christianity play a role in the creation of a new spirituality for the New Age of Aquarius. Literalist Christianity is built on the unsteady foundations of historical lies. Sooner or later it must topple over. But mystical Christianity rests securely on the bedrock of timeless mythical truth and is as relevant today as it has always been."
Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy
The Jesus Mysteries
"Pat Robertson is associated with a form of Christian fundamentalism that is more extreme than Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority. The Reconstruction movement, founded by the Texan economist Gary North and his father-in-law Rousas John Rushdoony, is convinced that the secular administration in Washington is doomed. God will soon replace it with a Christian government run along strictly biblical lines. Reconstructionists are thus planning the Christian common-wealth in which the modern heresy of democracy will be abolished and every single law of the Bible implemented literally: slavery will be re-established, contraception prohibited, adulterers, homosexuals, blasphemers and astrologers will be executed, and persistently disobedient children stoned to death. God is not on the side of the poor: indeed, North explains, there is a 'tight relationship between wickedness and poverty'. Taxes must not be used for welfare since 'subsidizing sluggards is the same as subsidizing evil. The Bible forbids all foreign aid to the developing world; its addiction to paganism, immorality and demon worship is the cause of its economic problems. In the past, exegetes tried to bypass these less than human portions of the Bible or had given them an allegorical interpretation. The Reconstructionists seem to seek these passages out deliberately and interpret them ahistorically and literally. Where other fundamentalists have absorbed the violence of modernity, the Reconstructionists have produced a religious version of militant capitalism. "
"The historical criticism of the New Testament has, in sum, all the kick of nonalcoholic beer, and some who were once intoxicated by it have awakened with a sobriety hangover."
Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God
"The world was not predestined to be Christian. In fact, even after centuries of military and cultural domination. Christianity is neither the largest religion in the world (Buddhism is), nor the fastest growing major religion (Islam and Bahai are both growing faster) Nor has it come to power in any nation through conversion alone as has Buddhism in southeast Asia. Christianity has succeeded only where it has had the opportunity to suppress rival religions by force."
D. Jason Cooper
"What Christianity did do was to offer an easier path. Like Freemasonry, Mithraism seems to have believed in salvation through upright action and moral benefice. Christianity preached faith. It promised the murderer, the rapist, and the lecher that they could all enter heaven if only they believed. It was not a religion for the courageous or the stalwart, but for the desperate. And Rome was crowded with the desperate in the first four centuries of this era. Christianity’s triumph came when the western half of the Empire was already collapsing. In the ensuing disarray, high moral standards and virtue did not stand many in good stead."
D. Jason Cooper
"It is curious to realize that people like you and me, who set such store by being settled and secure, should worship a God whose revelation was to nomads and wanderers. We try to domesticate God, try to get God to settle down with us-but never succeed."
"W.W. (Walt Whitman) is the Christ of the modern world-he alone redeems it, justifies it, shows it divine."
-John Burroughs ,Entry in Journal 1892
"Being a Christian in America doesn't require a great cost. You can be a Christian and fully participate in the secular culture. I have a sense that, more and more, being a Christian in this country will require a choice. The Christian will have to be willing to make big sacrifices....Right now, in this culture, you can have your cake and eat it too. But that is an illusion. You cannot be a fat sprinter. If you want to sprint to the Kingdom, you had better be lean."
"Few people inside the churches seem eager to admit it, but in matters of human allegiance, loyalty, and priorities, Christianity is a nearly complete, unabashed failure. It has had little discernible impact in making the Sermon on the Mount (Pope John Paul II's "magna charta of Gospel morality"} remotely relevant in Christian life and lifestyles; it has provided no alternative sense of community capable of withstanding the absolutist claims of state, movement, and market; and it can offer nothing but an awkward embarrassed silence in response to the scandal of Christians slaughtering Christians (not to mention everybody else) in "just" wars blessed by hierarchs on all sides in slavish obedience to presumably more important loyalties.
The failures are so huge, the contradictions with the gospel so enormous, that they don't even register as subjects of concern in the churches. When forced to confront our hypocrisy and our obedience to other sources of meaning, we wring our hands, lament the sinfulness of the human condition, and pray for a human solidarity that would terrify us if it ever came to pass. And the institutions of death grind on in our world, with good Christians serving them efficiently, responsibly, and in ways indistinguishable from those who reject the premise that Jesus of Nazareth incarnated God's way for his people on earth."
Michael L. Budde
The Church as Counterculture
"I have come to see belief, the mere habit of faith, as being the most degrading passion of the species. There has never been a time in my life when I have not believed something ridiculous. I have been willing to believe almost anything, follow almost anyone, support almost any activity, succumb to almost any passion. It amazes me to contemplate how much the others have like myself and how there is so little evidence that we are going to change. Beliefs change, but the desperation for belief will most likely remain, fixing itself on one story then another on into the future until the final destruction of the race."
Bradley R. Smith
In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on Snow
In the bleak midwinter
God , heaven cannot hold him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign:
In the bleak midwinter
Stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But only his mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
with a kiss.
What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part
Yet what can I give him-
Give my heart.:"
-Christina Georgina Rossetti(1830-94)
"Ours is the one true path to salvation, leading men through faith to God and to the kingdom of heaven. Turn aside from worldly desires, be pure in body and soul, abstain from all shameful and unrighteous actions. Believe in God, fear God as your Lord, love God as Father, obey the rule of faith. Faith is everlasting salvation.
This, then, is the rule of our faith. First, God the Father, invisible, Creator of all things. Second, the Reason (Logos) of God, Christ Jesus our Lord, made manifest to the prophets; through him all things were created; he was made man among humans, visible and tangible, in order to abolish death and produce a union between man and God. He is Reason made flesh, so that flesh might lose its power. Third, the Holy Spirit, through whom the prophets prophesied and the fathers learned about God, and who was poured over us humans, so that God was renewed in us.
God made humans out of earth mixed with his own Spirit, in his own image. At first they were innocent of lust, but subject to God's rule, complete with free will and self-control, and fit to rule over the earth. But a wicked angel misled them into disobedience and sin. They were cast out of paradise, and the wicked angel became the Devil. Wickedness long ruled the earth. But God flushed it clean with a great flood, and then sent many prophets through the Holy Spirit as heralds of the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus, who preexisted with the Father and was begotten before all creation, was born on earth as man. Until then, all of us were bound to death by the disobedience of Adam. Jesus, the second Adam, and Mary, the second Eve, by their virtue released us from sin. The tree of disobedience was displaced by the cross of obedience. Jesus Christ our eternal king achieved our redemption, abolished death, and gave us life.
God is merciful, compassionate, tender, and good. He is just, without favor to the privileged or humble. he is God of all, Jews, gentiles, believers; he is our sustainer, nourisher, king, and judge. The disciples of Jesus Christ heard his teachings, witnessed his deeds, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension. he called men to fellowship with God. Turn from idols, fornication, greed; be cleansed by baptism, which is rebirth and the seal of faith. Believe in and love the Lord; through faith, love, and hope, practice holiness so that you may gain eternal life. For unbelievers, there is vengeance without pardon.
All that has come to pass was long foretold by many prophets. our faith is therefore well founded, and our tradition of preaching is true. The Word of God is law; but faith in the Son of God and love will ensure our salvation with a pure heart, let us call on Jesus Christ."
Irenaeus' Statement of the Christian Faith (Summary of the original-which runs twelve pages)
A World Full of Gods
"In fact, I indignantly reject, with horror and with loathing, the dark, ancient, vile and filthy lie that another man or God-Man can redeem us of our sins by his own suffering, or that we can purify ourselves and start over again by compounding our sins with more suffering, more ugliness more filth and gibbering faith."
"Many....live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction...."
"Incidentally, Christians may like to know that in Islam the full name and title of Jeshu is "Issa, Son of Mary, Word of God"
"Living for others is really the Christ life after all. Oh, the satisfaction, happiness and joy one gets out of it."
(Letter from George Washington Carver to Robert Johnson Mar 24,1925)
"...the breezes of Christ are still blowing; His light is still shining; His melody is still resounding; His standard is still waving; His armies are still fighting; His heavenly voice is still sweetly melodious; His clouds are still showering gems; His lightning is still flashing; His reflection is still clear and brilliant; His splendor is still radiating and luminous; and it is the same with those souls who are under His protection are shining with His light."
What would a society or culture be like that was actually based on the teachings of the Bible? C.S. Lewis described it this way:
"All the same, the New Testament, without going into details, gives us a pretty clear hint of what a fully Christian society would be like. Perhaps it gives us more than we can take. It tells us that there are to be no passengers or parasites: if man does not work, he ought not to eat. Everyone is to work with his own hands, and what is more every one's work is to produce something good: there will be no manufacture of silly luxuries and then of sillier advertisements to persuade us to buy them. And there is to be no "swank"* or "side"**, no putting on airs. To that extent a Christian society would be what we now call Leftist. On the other hand, it is always insisting on obedience-obedience (and outward marks of respect) from all of us to properly appointed magistrates, from children to parents, and (I am afraid this is going to be very unpopular) from wives to husbands. Thirdly, it is to be a cheerful society: full of singing and rejoicing, and regarding worry or anxiety as wrong. Courtesy is one of the Christian virtues; and the New Testament hates what it calls "busybodies."
If there were such a society in existence and you or I visited it, I think we should come away with a curious impression. We should feel that its economic life was a very socialistic and, in that sense, "advanced," but that its family life and its code of manners were rather old-fashioned-perhaps even ceremonious and aristocratic. Each of us would like some bits of it, but I am afraid very few of us would like the whole thing. That is just what you would expect if Christianity is the total plan for the human machine. We have all departed from that total plan in different ways, and each of us wants to make out that his own modification of the original plan is the plan itself. You will find this again and again about anything that is really Christian: Everyone is attracted by bits of it and wants to pick out those bits and leave the rest. That is why we do not get much further: and that is why people who are fighting for quite opposite things can say they are fighting for Christianity."
*'Swank'-Smartness in style or bearing
**'Side' affected superiority: arrogance
"Literalist Christianity is often credited with inspiring positive social reforms in Western society. But the truth is that the driving impetus for humanitarian change has come from humanists and non-conformists. The conservative forces of the established Churches have resisted every step towards greater compassion, from the ending of slavery to the abolition of the death penalty. In recent decades, unable any longer to simply bully us into submission, Literalist Christianity has developed a gentler, more attractive face. Yet its darker side continues to be a nefarious force in the world. A recent report estimated there are at least 8,000 'missionaries' active in Guatemala alone, many of whom openly collaborate with the brutal secret police and the military in their oppression of the indigenous people. Typifying the spirit of Christian Literalism throughout the ages, one preacher from the missionary group El Verbo justified this with:
'The army does not massacre Indians. It massacres demons and the Indians are possessed by demons."
Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy
Jesus and the Lost Goddess
"When we learn of the presence of an uncontacted group,' said the missionary, 'we move into the area, build a strong shelter-say of logs- and cut paths radiating from it into the forest. We leave gifts along these paths-knives, axes, mirrors, the kind of things that Indians can't resist-and sometimes they leave gifts in exchange. After a while the relationship develops. Maybe they are mistrustful at first, but in the end they stop running away when we show, and we get together and make friends.'
But the trail of gifts leads inevitably to the mission compound, and here, often at the end of a long journey, far from the Indian's sources of food, his fish, his game, it comes abruptly to an end.
' We have to break their dependency on us next,' Mr Halterman said. 'Naturally they want to go on receiving all those desirable things we've been giving them , and sometimes it comes as a surprise when we explain that from now on if they want to possess them they must work for money. We don't employ them, but we can usually fix them up with something to do on the local farms. They settle down at it when they realize that there's no going back.'
'Wouldn't something to do on a local farm sometimes amount to slavery?' I suggested.
He considered the word. 'No, not a slavery,' he said 'But the work can be hard. We do our best to check abuses. Sometimes they occur, but whatever can be done, we do.'
The Missionaries: God Against the Indians
"The Indians worked as slaves. They took me from my mother when I was a child. Afterwards I head that they hung my mother up all night....She was very ill and I wanted to see her before she died....When I got back they thrashed me with a raw-hid whip.....One day the IPS (Indian Protection Service) agent called a carpenter and told him to make an oven for the farmhouse. When the carpenter had finished the agent asked him what he wanted for doing the job. The carpenter said he wanted an Indian girl, and the agent took him to the (mission) school and told him to choose one. No-one saw or heard any more of her.....Not even the children escaped. From two years of age they worked under the whip.....There was a mill for crushing the cane, and to save the horses they used four children to turn the mill....They forced the Indian Otaviano to beat his own mother....The Indians were used for target practice.
There were missionaries within earshot when these things happened."
"The hostel was vast and gaunt with a stained and rancid bleakness of a special tropical kind. This must once have been an army post, with stalls for horses and barrack-rooms lined up around a square. The Indians had slung their hammocks everywhere over the urine and the vomit smeared on the cobbles. They were all drunk, and those on their feet were laughing and colliding with each other and falling in heaps. In the ordinary way Indians giggle softly, no more than that, but raw alcohol had taught these remnants from a half dozen different tribes to laugh uproariously in Western style. Crows hopped round them picking at unidentifiable messes. The men and women who taken refuge here were dressed in anonymous mission rags and only a single woman stood out as being a Panare, because he was half-nude in tribal style, and had managed to hold on to her blue and white beads. Her expression was one of desperation. These Indians had suffered to the full the processes of what is now spoken of as acculturation. They had walked with the Lord, and come to the end of the road. The nuns came and went, dodging silently through the shadows with averted faces. There was some sort of infirmary on the upper floors to which entrance was resolutely barred. We were told that Puerto Ayachucho was peopled with thousands of Indian derelicts existing in these conditions.
To the missionaries it was without importance. Nothing had any point of purpose but salvation and, once saved, a soul could never be lost. The Indians who picked through the refuse heaps in the slums of these towns, living otherwise on the prostitution of their womenfolk, had still 'grown in the Lord', while multitudes of the unreached, however blameless their existences, would burn forever in hell. Almost any means, therefore, justified the ends of conversion."
"A "Christianity" pugilist commented upon a recent article of mine, grossly perverting the spirit of my pen. Still I would not forget that the pale-faced missionary and the hoodooed aborigine are both God's creatures, though small indeed their own conceptions of Infinite Love. A wee child toddling in a wonder world, I prefer to their dogma my excursions into the natural gardens where the voice of the Great Spirit is heard in the twittering of birds, the rippling of mighty waters, and the sweet breathing of flowers. If this is Paganism, then at present, at least, I am a Pagan."
Gertrude Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa) (1876-1938) author and activist (Yankton Sioux) from "Why I am A Pagan", 1902
"This doctrine of the universality of the Light was also based on Quaker experiences with non-Christians. Josiah Coale writes, "We found these Indians more sober and Christian-like toward us than the Christians so-called." George Fox, by questioning an Indian, proved to the governor of an American colony that the Indian possessed the "Light and Spirit of God." Elizabeth Newport, in visiting the Indians in the Cataraugus Reservation, found them divided into "Christians" and "Pagans." The "Pagans believed," she said, "in Quaker worship and the guidance of the Spirit while the Christians seek information of the missionaries."
Howard H. Brinton
Friends for 350 Years
"....Scholars oddly do not see that the spirit of Jesus stands forth most clearly in the Epistle of James, composed by one of the Ebionites, or Jewish Christians, who survived the judicial murder of James and the subsequent sack of Jerusalem. Luther hated the Epistle of James, and wanted it expunged from the New Covenant. But in it we hear the voice of the Prophets in the wilderness, of Elijah and John the Baptist, and the voice of Jesus himself, for once abandoning his formidable irony."
Jesus and Yahweh
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition and bigotry, and persecution....What influences, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of civil authority; in many instances, they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people."
James Madison (Memorial and Remonstrance)
"Take heart, I have conquered the world!"
"We belong to quite as many regiments as the German Kaiser. Our regiments are regiments that are embattled everywhere; they fight an unending fight against all that is hopeless and rapacious and of evil report. The only difference is that we have the regiments, but not the uniforms."
"As for Christianity, you must believe me on this point: never in my heart have I behaved basely toward it, and since my childhood I have tried very hard, deep within myself to share its ideal-but always with the final result that it was a sheer impossibility."
"You believe that Christianity is an unrivaled source of human goodness. You believe that Jesus taught the virtues of love, compassion, and selflessness better than any teacher who has ever lived. You believe that the Bible is the most profound book ever written and that its contents have stood the test of time and so well that it must have been divinely inspired. All of these beliefs are false."
Letters to a Christian Nation
"This claims our attention, that every man, remembering his own weakness, may earnestly resort to the assistance of the Holy Spirit; and, next, that no man venture to take more upon himself than what the Lord promises.
Believers ought, indeed, to be prepared for the contest in such a manner that, entertaining no doubt or uncertainty about the result and the victory, they may resist fear; for trembling and excessive anxiety are marks of distrust. but, on the other hand, they ought to guard against the stupidity which shakes of all anxiety, and fills their minds with pride and extinguishes the desire to pray....
For those who forgetting their weakness and not calling upon God, feel assured that they are strong, act entirely like drunken soldiers, who throw themselves rashly into the field, but, as soon as the effects of strong drink are worn off, think of nothing else than flight."
"But when I walked into the meeting for worship on oak floorboards that glowed with the patina of age; when I sat on one of the simple wooden benches arranged in a squared circle at the heart of a century-old stone barn; when I settled into the silence with thirty or forty people, a silence that flowed on for an hour or so, rippled only occasionally by soulful speech; and when as never before, I felt God's presence in the sunlight that came through the window and on the floor at my feet-then, what passed through me time and again was the peace that passes all understanding."
"The Christian practice of formal worship, when viewed in an objective light, looks very strange. Hymns of gross and transparent flattery abound, in which the worshippers inform the deity that he is the best possible and most powerful god-in a sense reassuring him that he is god. Historically, the Western god has been almost pathologically jealous of other gods, and continual praise is necessary lest his anger break loose and cause great harm to the world. It goes without saying that the deity already knows about his talents and virtues, so except for disciplining and controlling his followers, the adoration is unnecessary."
Vine Deloria Jr.
Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths
"Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always has existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has-by what I call "good infection." Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else."
"The doctrine of the kingdom of heaven, which was the main teaching of Jesus, is certainly one of the most revolutionary doctrines that ever stirred and changed human thought."
"My purpose alone must be God's purpose-to increase the welfare and happiness of His people. Nature will not permit a vacuum. It will be filled with something Human need is really a great spiritual vacuum which God seeks to fill....
With one hand in the hand of a fellow man in need and the other in the hand of Christ, He could get across the vacuum and I became an agent. Then the passage, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me," came to have real meaning.
As I worked on projects which fulfilled a real human need forces were working through me which amazed me. I would often go to sleep with an apparently insoluble problem. When I woke the answer was there.
Why, then, should we who believe in Christ be so surprised at what God can do with a willing man in a laboratory? Some things must be baffling to the critic who has never been born again.
By nature I am a conserver. I have found nature to be a conserver. Nothing is wasted or permanently lost in nature. Things change their form, but they do not cease to exist.
After I leave this world I do not believe I am through. God would be a bigger fool than even a man if he did not conserve what seems to be the most important thing he has yet done in the universe. This kind of reasoning may aid the young.
When you get your grip on the last rung of the ladder and look over the wall as I am now doing you don't need their proofs. You see. You know you will not die."
(A letter from George Washington Carver 1928)
"If my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14
"Oh , my friend, I am praying that God will come in and rid you entirely of self so you can go out after souls right, or rather have souls to seek the Christ in you.
This is my prayer for you always.
George Washington Carver (from a letter 1923)
"Oh how I wish the people would awake up from their lethargy and come out soul and body for Christ."
George Washington Carver (from a letter Aug 6, 1891)
"Stand fast in the Unchangeable Life and Seed of God which was before all changings and alterings were and which will remain when all that is gone."
"For this Light was before Time and is in Time."
"If Christianity cannot recover its mystical tradition, and teach it, it should simply fold up and go out of business."
"A human Jesus. This is not a modern invention. It is the original Jesus. That was precisely how his earliest followers-including his brother-understood him. It is only Paul, the Christifiers, and their successors who thought otherwise."
Barrie Wilson, Ph.D.
How Jesus Became a Christian
"As Jesus increasingly became viewed as a God-human, the charge that the Jews killed Jesus escalated into "the Jews killed God," Around 190, Bishop Melito of Sardis uttered this terrifying accusation in a sermon on the Passover and the sacrifice of Christ. Attacks in this vein continued for centuries. Somewhat later than Melito, John Chrysostom attacked "the Jews" as serving demons because "the slew God."
Barrie Wilson Ph.D.
How Jesus Became a Christian
"The Christian of the coming century will be a mystic or he will not be."
-Karl Bahner (in the last century)
"Give us your Christ and keep your Christianity."
"The Son, O how unlike the Father."
"I am dubious about the phrase "the Jewish-Christian tradition." Now it refers to a particular sociopolitical phenomenon, and seems part of the alliance between the United States and Israel."
Jesus and Yahweh: The Divine Names
"Yahweh is unknowable, however deeply we read in Torah and Talmud, and Kabala. Is Jesus-as contrasted with the Jesus Christ of theology-knowable? The American Jesus is known intimately, as friend, and comforter, by tens of millions. The American Jesus can be more Pauline that Gospel-oriented: The Southern Baptist moderates found themselves upon the Epistle to the Romans. Pentecostalists, burgeoning throughout the United States, pragmatically displace Jesus by their kinetic reliance upon the Holy Spirit. Mormons, most American and surprising of orientations, regard Joseph Smith's (or the Angel Moroni's) Book of Mormon as Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and yet have more surprising scriptures that their current hierarchy evades in Smith's The Pearl of Great Price and his Doctrines and Covenants. By now, Joseph Smith has ascended and transmuted into Enoch, and perhaps also into the greatest of the angels, Metatron or the Lesser Yahweh, a Kabalistic vision. I do not apprehend much this radiating now out of Salt Lake City, but Joseph Smith and Brigham Young believed in the doctrine that Adam and God ultimately were the same person. The human and the divine interpenetrate in Joseph Smith's vision far more radically than in the Catholic Church's insistence that Christ was both "true man" and "true God." It is because American religionists (including elite spirits like Emerson and Whitman) believed that the best and oldest parts of them were not natural but divine that Jesus can be conversed with so freely and so fully by many among us. That may well not be the "historical Jesus" of the scholarly questers, but he seems to me quite close to the "living Jesus" who speaks in the Gospel of Thomas."
Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine
"When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed."
"Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he is inconvenient to us
and opposes our actions;
he reproaches us for sins against the law,
and accuses us of sins against our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a child of the Lord,
He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;
the very sight of him is a burden to us,
because his manner of life is unlike that of others,
and his ways are strange.
We are considered by him as something base,
and he avoids our ways as unclean;
he calls the last end of the righteous happy,
and boasts that God is his father.
Let us see if his words are true,
and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
for if the righteous man is God's son,
he will help him,
and will deliver him from the and of his adversaries.
Let us test him with insult and torture,
that we may find out how gentle he is,
and make trial of his forbearance.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death,
for according to what he says,
he will be protected." (Wisdom 2-12-20)
Book: "How Jesus Became Christian" by Barrie Wilson ,Ph.D. * Editors choice
Book: In Search of the Birth of Jesus...by Paul William Roberts
Book: "The New Covenant: Commonly Called The New Testament" by Willis Barnstone
Book: "The Life of Our Lord" by Charles Dickens
Book: "The Road To Cana" by Anne Rice
Book: "The authentic Gospel of Jesus" by Geza Vermes
Book: "Jesus Through the Centuries" by Jaroslav Pelikan
Book: "Encyclopedia Of Christianity" Ed. by John Bowden
Book: "When Jesus Became God" by Richard E. Rubenstein
Book: "What The Gospels Meant" by Garry Wills
Book: "The Historical Jesus: A Scholarly View of the Man and His World" ed by Gaalyah Cornfeld
Book: "Jesus & Christian Origins Outside the New Testament" by F.F. Bruce
Book: "The River of God: A New History of Christian Origins" by Gregory J. Riley
Book: "The Work We Have To Do: A History of Protestants in America" by Mark A. Noll
Book: "The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity" by Phillip Jenkins
Book: "Training In Christianity" by Soren Kierkegaard
Book: "We Lay Down Our Crown: Sealed By The Spirit of God" by Gloria
Book: "Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew" by Bart D. Ehrman
Book: "The Jesus Papers" by Michael Baigent
Book: "Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity" by Walter Bauer (English translation eds. Robert A. Kraft and Gerhard Krodel
Book: "Messianic Mystics" by Moshe Idel
Book: "Christianity Incorporated: How Big Business is Buying the Church" by M.I. Budde R.W. Brimlow
Book:" Seers of God: Puritan Providentialism in the Restoration and Early Enlightenment" by Michael P. Winship
Book: "Against the Wind: Memoir of a Radical Christian" by Dorothee Soelle
Book: Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God..by Jack Miles
Book: "The Missionaries" by Norman Lewis
Book: "Son of Man: Great Writing About Jesus Christ" Ed. by Clint Willis
Book: "Jesus" by Walter Wangerin Jr.
Book: "The Jesus Controversy: Perspectives in Conflict" by John Dominic Crossan et al
Book: "Jesus against Christianity: Reclaiming the Missing Jesus" by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer
Book: "From Jesus to Christianity" by L. Michael White
Book: "Caesar's Messiah: the Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus" by Joseph Atwill
Book: "Jesus In America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession" by Richard Wightman Fox
Book: "Exposing Satan's "left Behind" by Robert M. Hamrick & Suzanne Basso Hamrick
Book: "A New Christianity For a New World" by John Shelby Spong
Book: "Beyond Belief" by Elaine Pagels
Book: "CHRISTIANITY: A Global History" by David Chidester
Book: "A Concise History Of The Catholic Church, Revised Edition" by Thomas Bokenkotter
Book: "The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God" by Robert Louis Wilken
Book: "The River of God: A New History of Christian Origins" by Gregory J. Riley
Book: "Our Man In Judea" by Janet Tyson
Book: "The Christians as the Romans Saw Them" by Robert L. Wilken
Book: "The Faith: A History of Christianity" by Brian Moynahan
Book: "The Gospels of Mary: The Secret Tradition of Mary Magdalene, the Companion of Jesus" by Marvin Meyer with E.A. de Boer
Book: "THE CHRISTIANS AS THE ROMANS SAW THEM" by Robert L. Wilken
Book:" A Global History of Christians: How Everyday Believers Experienced Their World" by Paul R. Spickard
Book: "Casting the First Stone: The Hypocrisy of Religious Fundamentalism and its Threat to Society" by R.A. Gilbert
Book: "The Soul of Christianity" by Huston Smith
Book: "Their Kingdom Come: Inside the Secret World of Opus Dei" by Robert Hutchinson
Book: "The Pope's Armada" by Gordon Uroquhart
Book: "Triumph: The Power and the the Glory of the Catholic Church-a 2000 year History" by H.W. Crocker III
Book: "A World Full of Gods: The Strange Triumph of Christianity" by Keith Hopkins
Book: "The Resurrection of the Son of God" by N.T. Wright
Book: "And Morning Came: Scriptures of the Resurrection" by Megan McKenna
Book: "Pilgrimage to the End of the World: The Road to Santiago de Compostela" by Conrad Rudolph
Book: "Shaking the World for Jesus: Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture" by Heather Hendershott
Book: "Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the global Balance of Power" by David Aikman
Book: "The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism and Western Success" by Rodney Stark
Book: "Paul: His Story" by Jerome Murphy-O'Connor
Book: "Saint Augustine's Conversion" by Garry Wills (trans)
Book: "Intersecting Pathways: Modern Jewish Theologians in Conversation with Christianity" by Marc A. Krell
Book: "Out of the Flames: The Remarkable Story of a Fearless Scholar, a Fatal Heresy, and One of the Rarest Books in the World." by Lawrence & Nancy Goldstone
Book: "The Second Coming Of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You; A revelatory commentary on the original teachings of Jesus" by Paramahansa Yogananda
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