Christopher Isherwood gave an interview to a magazine once. In this story, he observed that religion is about people, not about philosophy. It is the person who introduces you to a religion that "converts" you, not the teachings of this belief system. He said, if I had met a Catholic who impressed me like the person who drew me to Vedanta, I might have become a Catholic. Instead, this key person was a Hindu, and that is the path I was drawn to. ( I offer my apologies for the lack of a verbatim quote. This does get the essence of his message.)
While I can hear the " you don't understand" comments already, I do agree with Mr. Isherwood. And , there are a couple of corollaries to this theorem. Just as a person will lead you to a religion with a good experience, another person will lead you away from a religion with a bad experience. This is especially true of religions like jesus worship, where a premium is placed on the conversion of non-believers, because of ideas about life after death.
Experience is why I can NEVER be a jesus worshipper. While there are exceptions, my negative experiences with jesus worship have been so intense as to make it impossible for any positive experience to overcome.
I look back on an incident in May of 1999. I was working closely with a professional jesus worshipper. This man shouted me down and humiliated me for jesus. And when it was over, he picked up the phone and told his friend, " I never felt better in my life"
That is the truth about jesus.
I was shouted down and humiliated for jesus.
He did it for jesus.
And when the professional jesus worshipper was through humiliating me for jesus, he picked up the phone, and told his friend " I never felt better in my life".
That is what jesus means to me.
Aside from the nasty things I have learned about jesus through his believers, there are numerous philosophical issues. These include:
The idea that the bible is "the word of god".
The idea that concern over life after death justifies verbal abuse.
The idea that jesus is the "son of god".
What do we mean by "god"?
Is god separate from man?
Is jesus worship right, and all other religions wrong?
These are the main issues. The concept of "god in a book" is the foundation of much of jesus worship, and if you pull that cornerstone out the house comes tumbling down.
So what do I believe?
I am not interested in your ideas about god, the bible, jesus, and life after death.
My opinions about god, the bible, jesus, and life after death, are none of your business.