number of people have been shocked by the title of my
recent book, Moving Beyond the Christian Myth. They
wonder how I, a former preacher, could call the Christian
religion a myth. Let me try to explain using a simple
Primitive societies were dependent upon nature to make
it possible for them to exist. But they were aware that
they had no control over the weather or the crops. They
were helpless in the face of the powers that affected
their lives. They gave names to these powers, and did
whatever they could to persuade them to be helpful and
One of the most glaring examples of this mentality is
the practice of human sacrifice in some primitive cultures.
There are descriptions of virgins being thrown into
volcanoes to calm down the vulcan gods, and this image
has influenced those who created the religious beliefs
with which we are familiar today.
Conservative Christians preach a God who hates sin and
the sinner, and who is prepared to cast them into eternal
suffering in hell. To avoid this fate, some sort of
intervention is necessary. In Christian theology, that
intervention still comes in the form of human sacrifice.
Jesus is the “pure one” who is thrown into
the volcano of God’s anger to restrain the one
who has the power to kill us all.
Christians see a two-faced God: one is the god who is
angry at human nature and who is prepared to kill his
own children to punish them; the other is the loving
merciful father who will do anything to save his children.
Since these two gods seem to cancel each other out,
what are we left with?
This whole image is a classic metaphor. We are afraid
of a god who is powerful and unreachable, so we imagine
an equal power, the son of this god but someone who
looks like us, to neutralize the god whom we fear. Then
we throw him into the volcano hoping that God will accept
our offering and become benevolent and loving toward
When you look behind the metaphor, you see that its
purpose is to describe a God who is positive and accepting.
That’s because we are part of this power we call
God; it is in us, and we are in it. It is our human
nature that sees this power as alien and fears it, and
which consequently believes that we need a savior. What
we really need is to be awakened to our spiritual nature
which sees this power as part of our own being and loves
There is no volcano, and thus there is no need for a
human sacrifice. What we are called to do is to move
from our physical perception of reality to a spiritual
There is no need to pacify or appease God. God is not
our enemy. This is what Jesus came to tell us, although
we perverted his message and turned it into another
religion which required a savior. God is the whole of
existence in which we find our consciousness. Therefore,
living in the presence of this creative power and love
can heal the fear that distanced us from God in the
first place, and make us realize that we are one with
God, with others, and with the universe.
Sept. 21, 2016
John W. Sloat 2016