Was Jesus Religious?

The On Faith site says it’s a conversation about religion. I ask: “Was Jesus religious?” Some respond with that no-brainer: … Continued

The On Faith site says it’s a conversation about religion. I ask: “Was
Jesus religious?” Some respond with that no-brainer: “Is the Pope Catholic?”
My question about Jesus is not so easily dismissed.

Jesus responded to his critics by asserting that he had not come to pull
down, but fulfill, the moral code and prophecy. He was an outsider,
an itinerant rabbi, but he spoke with authority. His words healed people.
This was acknowledged by insiders and adversaries alike. Two whom he
healed, the Magdalene and Bartimaeus, even called him Rabboni
– a term reserved for the president of the Temple. Yet he counseled his
followers (Matthew 23) not to allow anyone to call them Rabbi, Father,
Teacher, Leader, Director, or Master. (These English words are in
evidence in the Greek.) Is this being heeded by clergy and believers
today? Pew-sitters rarely hear anything from this chapter!
Yet it is worthy of close reading, and alarming in its severity.

Perhaps religiosity is the problem. And perhaps the sticking point is
found where our own faith stories collide with that of this man, whom many
regard as the central character of history. Most are taught to worship
Jesus. Yet Jesus says ‘call no man good, but one, who is our Father in
heaven.’ (-see also John12:44.) He claimed to come, not seeking to
be worshipped, but to serve; and he was ever seen pointing to Our Father.
Religion, contrarily, enthrones him. Yet he said “the kingdom of God is
within you” (Luke 17:21) and “you are the light of the world” (Matt
5:14).

Jesus was not interested in religiosity. He deeply wished that we
know the other ‘rel’ word — ‘relationship’ (in God’s family).
Those who dare appear to downplay Jesus’ stature risk being reviled;
yet his own focus was not on himself, but on his “siblings.”

His parody of the authorities — riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, made
such a mockery of their parades of power and pomp, even while he
foreknew the result: crucifixion. Sadly, this was the only way he could awaken us.
Sadder yet is the misunderstanding that persists over his place in the
history of consciousness. He wasn’t kidding when he said the kingdom is
within. Oz-like, we are to “Pay no attention to that man behind the
curtain” for it is only a Rabbi/Father/Teacher/Leader/ Director, or ego.
Look inside. The Father’s kingdom is at hand if we, with faith, are
ready to let go of our own religiosity, and do business with the Divine. This does
not preclude worship, for the preacher needs your help in releasing that burden, too.

Eric Chaffee is a long-time student of Christian Science. He has been
elected to conduct worship by various memberships of that denomination,
but does not purport to represent fellow members’ views. He also writes for
[email protected] and may be found in the
archives of nonduality.com.

About

  • Frank

    From what i can understand, this article is fascinating, thought provoking. I look forward to reading more of his writings.

  • Bill Lang

    Eric, are you really that limited on scripture, or do you intentionally twist?Jesus on the donkey was an example of royalty! In Rome{and other empires}, when a conquering general marched into Rome with his booty, he rode in on a donkey showing his glory. Jesus rode in on a donkey that had never before been riden.Jesus didn’t say don’t call me good, but pointed out that only God could be called good, showing he is God {I and the Father are one}.Calling no one rabbi was refering to people seeking God like status for themselves {Paul refered to himself as father 1Cor 4:14-16}. Jesus didn’t say don’t worship him, he drew people to understand he is God {before Abraham was I am Jn 8:58-59; and they shall call him Emanuel, mean God is with us Mt 1:22-23; Timothy said “my Lord and my God” Jn 20:28-29 to name a few}

  • candide

    It all depends on what you mean by religion. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Hebrews among others saw in religion the ties that bound a society together. But under the influence of Persian mystical thought, Platonism, and other religious and philosophical traditions the emphasis came to be placed more on salvation — particularly in Christianity. Jesus was a product of the Second Temple Judaism and undoubtedly was obsessed with salvation. Did he teach religion? I guess he did. Not a particularly desirable sort of religion at that.

  • Bill Lang

    Jacob Jozevz, people have been making such claims about the Catholic Church for 1000 years and now they’re long gone as will be these christian scientists as will your eclaty thing. I’m not being mean, just speaking from history!

  • Nancy Dargle

    Names,words, titles, have little meaning beyond what the individual perceives it to mean. That is why even the term, “Christian Science”, is so puzzling to so many. What matters is the light of truth that is revealed through whomever. That truth is what some call “Christ” – the Son of God, the anointed one or the true man in God’s likeness as stated in Genesis l. Jesus bore that title because he embodied the Christ idea better than any other individual. It could also be the truth about man and God which the human Buddha taught to his followers, or other great leader/teacher. The fact is that since God is spiritual, He can only be understood through spiritual sense as Spirit and words have no more meaning that what we give them.

  • Nancy Dargle

    Names,words, titles, have little meaning beyond what the individual perceives it to mean. That is why even the term, “Christian Science”, is so puzzling to so many. What matters is the light of truth that is revealed through whomever. That truth is what some call “Christ” – the Son of God, the anointed one or the true man in God’s likeness as stated in Genesis l. Jesus bore that title because he embodied the Christ idea better than any other individual. It could also be the truth about man and God which the human Buddha taught to his followers, or other great leader/teacher. The fact is that since God is spiritual, He can only be understood through spiritual sense as Spirit and words have no more meaning that what we give them.

  • Christopher W. Chase

    It is greatly heartening to see voices from Christian Science represented in this discussion. Far too often CS (and other theological offshoots of the 19th century) goes unnoticed as a theological and ethical voice in the contemporary U.S. religious landscape. As far as Jesus being “religious,” much of that might be in the eye of the beholder. Since the original term “religio” meant “to link up” or “to join together” in Latin, any unique combination of attitudes, practices and beliefs that situates humans in their environment might be said to be religious. Being called into relationship with the sacred Power(s) of the Universe might be said to be religious, just as Jesus could also be seen as the prototypical healer–one who brings clarity of mind and the realization of spiritual truth in Christian Science.

  • Bill Sweet, amateur parapsychologist

    I too was not aware that Jesus Christ gave the strong recommendation that leaders in religious groups ought not be put into categories voiced and called “Rabbi, Father, Teacher, Leader, Director, or Master.” Apparently I too missed this advice of Jesus found in Matthew 23. It’s a bit of a shock to find that out.

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