Open our eyes…
I feel it is time for a frank, fresh look at what Jesus had to say about dogmatic religion. Dear Advance readers, enjoy your ride into a taboo territory.
Jesus exposed religious leaders at Matthew 23: 13, 15, 33, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. … Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. … You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”
Need second opinion? John the Baptist, addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees, said, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:7-9)
At the last public discourse by Jesus before his betrayal and crucifixion, talking about the temple, he said, “Not one stone here will be left on another. Your house is left to you desolate.” He essentially said, “Forget the building, forget your religion; neither me nor my Father has anything to do with you anymore.”
Jesus did not have problem with prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers or any other sinners — he set free those who sought him and they became his true disciples. Jesus, however, was constantly on a collision course with the religious elite, who were so greedy, corrupt and blind that not only did they turn him over to hated Roman oppressors for crucifixion, but also have been persecuting, imprisoning and murdering his disciples ever after.
Religion took away the Bible from the hands of ordinary people. When Guttenberg invented the printing press, religion did all possible to ban the Bible, burning all who dared to acquire, read or spread its message.
Even today, religion tells us that we need either their dogmatic glasses or their dogmatic leaders in order to read and understand the Bible for ourselves, and to live our lives based on the teachings and life of Jesus.
African natives recalled how they became “Christians”: “We were told to close our eyes and lift our hands toward the heavens in prayer. When we opened our eyes, we had their Jesus and they had our land.”
As Gandhi put it, “If I knew more Christians, I might become one.”
Religion has one problem and two enemies. The problem? It does not know the God of the Bible. The enemies? God and a sound mind. For those with a sound mind, please find your answers for your sake and for the sake of humanity.