Saturday, March 17, 2018

Thinking Less of Jesus

Even writing a title like this seems strange to me. That is because for me and for many others Jesus of Nazareth, the one about whom the four most likely authentic "Great Messages" by John, Luke, Mark, and Matthew are written, is one whom we consider a "holy" figure. But no one is required to call Jesus "holy," or "God," or "a god." Some claim he was only a human prophet; some believe he never existed; some say he existed only in the mind of God, or as God's "plan."

However you personally understand this Jesus from the biblical histories, when it comes to me, and the group I started, Christian Witnesses of Jah (CWJs), we believe Jesus was born through Mary as taught in biblical record (Luke 1:34-35). We believe God put Jesus’ prehuman consciousness into flesh (John 1:1, 14; Philippians 2:5-8), and he grew into a child (Luke 2:48-51), and then into a man.--Luke 3:23.

We believe this was done, in part, because God chose to carefully manage this transfer of Jesus' prehuman spirit consciousness into a specific human lineage that would provide the right body in which, we also believe, Jesus lived and died.—Luke 3:23-38; Matthew 1:1-16; Romans 1:3; Colossians 1:18-19; 2:8-9; Hebrews 10:5; 10:10.

No one today or to this point understands how this is done on the metaphysical to the physical plane. How could we, since no human today has a conscious understanding of metaphysics, or how things like this type of life or consciousness transfer from a spirit to a human could work. On the other hand, today we are, some might say, dangerously close to uploading our consciousness into another form. Therefore, it should hardly surprise anyone CWJs believe in Jesus' prehuman consciousness as a spirit being which was, in some sense we do not fully understand, "downloaded" into a real human being, one born of woman.

For these reasons, today CWJs' view of Jesus' prehuman and human life might not be so difficult to grasp on this plane. In any case, we do not speculate. CWJs base our views of Jesus on the histories which best contain his teachings, and those which precede his human life though they appear to speak about someone like him (Deuteronomy Chapter 18; Proverbs 8:21-31; Micah 5:1-4; Daniel 7:13-14; John 1:18; 8:58; Colossians 1:15-17; Revelation 3:14). Yet, even where it concerns these texts some who believe in the biblical documents, including these texts, do our share our view. 

I am not upset by this nor do I think less of people simply because they do not share my view of Jesus. Each adult must be accountable for his or her own views. Based on experience, I fully expect and I prepare for the likelihood that many if not most people I meet will not share my view of Jesus. At least not right now.

However, as I wrote in my CWJs and the Trinity article, I would prefer a belief in God that uses a Trinitarian metaphysic or an understanding of "God" which attempts to make sense of the teaching of monotheism, generally described as the belief in "one God" (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4), than I would accept views which take away from how Jesus is described in the biblical writings or, even more so, over views by non- or by anti-Christians which ignore or which actively disrespect his person or his name.

Yet, when it comes to Jesus this is an area where CWJs, Trinitarians, and other groups like the Watchtower get into areas of disagreement, though in such a situation CWJs and Jehovah's Witnesses would likely see eye-to-eye on most issues pertaining to "God," except for where it concerns allowances of views on the Holy Spirit. All three groups would be acceptable to CWJs in the sense in which they view "God." Still, this would not be the case when it comes to how most if not all Trinitarian groups and those in the Watchtower would view CJWs, that is, in terms of what you can or cannot accept about “God.”

Therefore, when I write (as I did) about others who, by comparison to CWJs, Trinitarians, and the Watchtower think "less" of Jesus, I mean those persons/groups, for example, Jews or Muslims, who do not share our view of Jesus in the sense in which he existed before becoming a man. In spite of this, I would not hesitate to work with Muslims, for example, if we were being attacked by Jews or by any other group because of our view of Jesus as a holy figure, or as a prophet of God.

Though CWJs and Muslims also do not share the same view of Jesus, we both accept him, at very the least, as a prophet of God. Non-Christian Jews who accept the biblical documents in their worship or religious practice do not accept Jesus as CWJs or as Muslims do, and they reject him as the Messiah. But even though I disagree with such a view of Jesus, CWJs and Jews have a lot in common otherwise, particularly when it comes to biblical history before Jesus. 

So there are circumstances when, for one reason or another, a person's view of a special figure or of God can more or less, bring otherwise divided people or groups together, such as for a common defense or to promote a shared view. Nothing I have ever written is meant to imply any kind of gathering together to harm any person or group. People and groups harm themselves by their own actions, or views, and how they handle the consequences. Still, I do feel a need to warn others about some of the dangers I believe all Christians face today due to our views of Jesus and God, at least potentially by some.

Defending one's self or group or teacher or God is an appropriate reason to work together with others who are similarly under attack, in spite of any other differences. But this is not meant to imply I or any other CWJ would or should, for example, view all atheists, Muslims, Jews, Wiccans, Luciferians (though here I believe there is reason for greater alertness, since Luciferianism appears to be anti-Christian, and so, discriminatory), or any other religious or non-religious person or group as a threat. Simply having a lesser view of Jesus would not change how I treat a person or a group. Not treating others the way I want to be treated, as a matter of practice, would run directly contrary to the third of CWJs' Three Things.--Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-28, 30-37; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8.

With this accepted, where it concerns being attacked, or appropriately defending ourselves or fighting back so evil people do not glory over unrighteousness to the detriment of righteousness, I would much prefer to do so with those who have a closer view of the one whom CWJs believe is God's Son, than I would spiritually trust others who have a lower view of Jesus in spite of having access to the same information I do. But I am talking here about working in defense or for a common religious cause, or helping those in need. I am not referring at all to how we should treat others we meet in life, or at work, or who do not attack us for our faith, or who simply have their own belief about Jesus and about life in general.

Just know this: CWJs have a view of Jesus, too. So if we can respect each other, including how we view so-called "holy" figures, whether it is how you view yourself or another religious figure, or God, I am sure we will all get along much better in spite of any differences, if we try and if we realize we do not have to agree on everything in order to co-exist without discrimination, for as long as God permits it.--Proverbs 16:7; Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18.