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Yes, Virginia...

Following the last two meditations in this series, with their discussion of the Christian myth, I feel the need to do some clarifying.

Everyone knows the story of the young girl named Virginia who wrote the New York Post in 1897 asking if there really was a Santa Claus. Her father had assured her that the Post would tell her the truth. An editor, by the reassuring name of Church, wrote back the classic response, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." Just because something is a myth doesn't mean it isn't true.

Our previous discussions about the fact that Christianity is a myth mean only one thing - the story is not literally true. The facts are not accurate history. But people who are disturbed by this assertion are missing the point. There is a God; there is a Jesus; there is a Holy Spirit; there is a heaven; and there is an ultimate truth. And the religion we call Christianity is a metaphor for the relationship between God and each one of us, a spiritual narrative about how we move from sin to righteousness.

Jesus came to teach us that religion and the law leads us away from God. He wanted to tell us that the Kingdom had come, that God was accessible to everyone, and that the time for religion had ended. The last thing he wanted to do was start a new religion. He would be horrified to see what well-meaning people have done in his name. He told us that his Kingdom is not of the earth. But the church, and especially that branch known as the Roman Catholic Church, has rejected Jesus' spiritual message and used his name to establish the greatest earthly kingdom in human history.

We have been created by God with a dual nature - spiritual and physical. Jesus' message was directed to our spiritual consciousness. Yet, our physical nature is so dominant that we corrupt that message and make it fit our physical view of reality. When the church demands that believers accept the Christian myth as literal history, it is functioning out of its physical perceptions. That is the opposite of what Jesus had in mind.

Those who see the Christian myth as literal truth are called orthodox. Those who see the myth, correctly, as metaphor are often labeled as heretics. Of course, Jesus was also labeled a heretic, which is why they killed him. It is very difficult to rise above our physical limitations to see the higher truth which Jesus came to teach us.

The mission of the Christian faith is to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. That will only happen when we learn that that kingdom is not a physical but a spiritual one. To get to that level of understanding, we will have to read the Bible in a whole new way. Seeing Jesus as the Son of God is an indication that we are all children of God. The resurrection is the promise of a new birth for each one of us. When Jesus promises us that we will do greater things than he did, we need to understand that God created us for transcendence rather than sin and death.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Jesus. The myth which has grown up around him has put him in a prison of human tradition and fear. Let us liberate him, and ourselves, by working to learn the larger spiritual truth of Jesus' mission.

 

Posted 6-20-06

Copyright: John W. Sloat 2006