Ah, this issue has dogged humans for thousands of years.
Just for the record: I try to follow Christ, but I’m not a Christian.
I have no feeling whatsoever (and didn’t, even as a young Christian and Christian minister’s wife in my 20s) for much of Christian doctrine. I never “got,” for example, the ransom-for-our-sins business.
Rather, I believe Christ came (like other prophets) to teach people how to live without being materialistic, violent, sexist, and racist. Now that’s a goal worthy of God – to make humans thoughtful and considerate!
Running up against the Authorities trying (as always) to herd people into Their money-spending habits and into Their money-grubbing religions was what got him killed. He might have known it was probable or destined, but I don’t think our church-going habits of confessing “belief in him” to accept our soul-ransom by his death is what he intended. Seems like yet more Authorities gathering souls with little soul-development but (useable) obedience.
(I could be wrong, of course, in which case I’d still rather be with people striving to be conscious than people willing to be obedient to something so tepid.)
I’m trying to live his teachings as well as I can, but I have a very hard time walking into a church (though we sang in a progressive church last year, and that was the first time in decades I agreed to even be inside a church, and then I mostly enjoyed myself and liked the people we met there).
Extra-dimensionals (and extra-terrestrials) visit our planet regularly and always have, and among those beings, many prophets have visited and taught us many important lessons about how to live. I might have chosen any of them to follow. I wasn’t set on choosing the prophet followed by most Americans – actually, the opposite! I was intending to look at all the world’s religions and then choose.
But very quickly and continuing over the course of my life, I’ve had repeated experiences – to my surprise almost every time – with Christ! Not someone who said they were Christ or Jesus, or someone who “looked like” him (as if we know), but someone whom I simply knew immediately was both Christ and someone I’ve known very well for a very long time, many lifetimes. Someone who encouraged me that I was on the right path.
This picture? I’m not attached to it. But I like it because it busts a few stereotypes. It’s peaceful, and even feminine. It’s Hindu and Catholic. It reminds me that our spiritual world is complex. And we need to remember to seek inside. “Pray in private,” the Teacher said.
Okay. I will.