A Necessary Schism in Christianity

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24 Jan 2012 23:35 #48483 by Star Forge
Before anyone gets riled up, I am not suggesting that Christian Jedi renounce their faith in Christ. Quite the opposite, actually. I myself am a Christian. However, I have at the same time come to the conclusion that I must leave Christianity.

What is Christianity? Well, in the broadest sense, it is the belief that Jesus Christ was the physical, earthly manifestation of God that that he came to earth to do several important things, among them, to establish the Church. There are countless theologies that argue over the meanings of his teachings, why he died, and what exactly his death means for us, but all Christians agree with the aforementioned definition.

I myself converted to Christianity (as in left the Christianity of my upbringing and established my own relationship with Christ) in 2010. After reading a lot of theology, as well as being influenced by Jediism and the Eastern religions I have studied, I decided that Universalism (the belief that all souls will be reconciled with God, rather than the exclusionist belief that non-Christians are tortured forever, seperated from God, annihilated, etc.) was the true path and I have maintained that conviction and belief ever since, and I will until my death, and even after that.

Now as to *why* we must leave. Mainstream Christianity today is not only horribly flawed, but is incompatible with both Jediism and the teachings of Christ. For one, the belief in eternal damnation. This shouldn't cause any controversy, because the beliefs of TOTJO reject this doctrine. The Temple Doctrine page states: "Jedi believe in eternal life. We do not become obsessed in mourning those who pass. Grieve as you will but take heart, for the soul and spirit continue in the netherworld of the Living Force." This statement completely opposes the belief in eternal death, damnation, or even the "moderate" Christian belief of annihilationism. The doctrine also states that we are to address evil influences in our own religions, and this is without a doubt the most evil and vile lie to infect the Church (by "Church," I mean Christianity as a whole).

Second, all Jedi, even non-Christian Jedi, understand the message of Christianity better than most Christians do. The main objective of Christianity is Theosis, which is a perfect union with God. This is identical to the Buddhist views of enlightenment (as well as achieving Nirvana after death), and can be compared the the concept of enlightenment in the other Dharmic religions. In Buddhist belief (as well as in original/true Christianity), mankind has fallen into a false reality, and to escape it, one must become enlightened. I know that, to some extent, the Eastern Orthodox and Methodist Churches of today teach a similar doctrine, but not the the extent that they should. On page 356 of Tale of the Bounty Hunters, Susejo explains this belief to Boba Fett while they hang in the Sarlacc:

"You and I, and everything else-we are merely a process, Boba Fett. A process that has named itself "I." Surely the Real exists, and we are an expression of it. But are you and I real? No. We are processes that have grown arrogant and broken apart from the Real. In time we shall be rejoined to it."

We seek enlightenment, theosis, deification, to be one with the Force. This is the ultimate destiny of all beings, and we cannot allow a heresy like the belief in Hell to invade Jediism.

Secondly, much of Christianity has become dualistic. This is mainly a problem in the evangelical/charismatic/"born again" Christianity here in the USA, but the belief in a very literal and active "Satan" exists, and a God/Satan dichotomy is drawn. There is only one Force. The Dark Side, as we call it, is not the opposite of the light, nor an opposing Force. This can be best summed up by Virgil's statement in The Divine Comedy, where he says that, the closer to perfection (Theosis) a person becomes, the more they feel of pleasure and pain. If one is strong in the Force, and they commit an evil act, their act has a very, very strong resonance within them. Remember that very, very few Sith in the SW canon were just Force Sensitive people that became Sith. Most of them were Jedi previously.

Third, Christianity has become political. Again, this may be just an American problem. You have the Christian Right (Nearly all Baptist demoninations, charismatics, pretty much all Evangelicals), a very strong Christian left (ELCA, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church of America, etc), and moderates as well (United Methodist Church). I am a strong supporter of both the seperation of church and state, as well as freedom of thought, so I am against this trend. I see no particular single political direction in TOTJO, and I believe God has no political leaning, so this is yet another reason why we should leave mainstream Christianity.

Any thoughts will be welcome.

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  • Hiro Protagonist
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25 Jan 2012 00:36 #48486 by Hiro Protagonist
Replied by Hiro Protagonist on topic A Necessary Schism in Christianity
I believe you are right about the need to leave Mainstream Christianity. I myself have not been following any specific "branch" or ideological sect of Christianity. More than once, I've sat down, thought over some thing I had heard preached or taught, and think,"Is this REALLY what Christ wanted? Is this his meaning?" I usually end up sitting in a cool, relaxing place, and just thinking upon it, and letting myself just -feel- what I believe is right or wrong. This has usually turned out well.

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25 Jan 2012 00:55 #48491 by Star Forge
I think the problem is dishonesty and cowardice. I think a good number of Christians don't believe in hell, or young-earth creationism, or that women should be subordinate to their husbands, but many sit silently, or even preach that garbage, to avoid trouble. That is one thing that I love about TOTJO and Jediism in general: freedom of thought.

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25 Jan 2012 08:08 #48525 by Planet of Chaos
I used to be at war with my past spiritual beliefs in Christianity because I never really felt at home in the teachings. It was merely forced on me with guilt. Being a southern baptist and attending a Christian school just confused me into somebody I wasn't. But in the light of the Force, I'm no longer at war with Christianity or the teachings of Christ. I don't defend myself against Christianity anymore, I accept it as a source of Force wisdom. The fundamentalists and the clergy will always annoy me but at least I can be at peace with the teachings as a whole.

"The ways of the Living Force are beyond our understanding… But fear not. You are in the hands of something much greater and much better than you can imagine." ―Qui-Gon Jinn
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25 Jan 2012 08:13 #48527 by Adder
At the end of the day I personally consider the entire landscape of most established religions only individual examples of how the subconscious mind can coherantly display a relationship to metaphysical/supernatural energies (to the conscious mind). Not necessarily representations of any single actual metaphysical or supernatural landscape. As a result, for me, all the talk of heavan and hell are constructs designed to teach people how to achieve some level of spirituality.

In this regard, (again this is all just my opinion!!) normal church's tend to be only introductory methodologies to give people awareness of spirituality rather then mastery of spirituality. That is why I like Jediism, because it goes beyond and is about actual self mastery.

That said though, if raised within a certain religion from a young age, then that spiritual symbology and landscape is probably already within your conscious and subconscious minds and so can serve as a pathway if you were to chose to believe that the metaphysical communicates via your subconscious - and as a result of that it might still have utility as a ground work for metaphysical pursuits. Just something to keep in mind (no pun intended).

So a Christian Jedi in my mind doesnt need to be a practising Christian, but rather could just be a Jedi who uses their exposure to Christianity as a means to a deeper relationship with the Force, but I'm getting into labels now :pinch:

I hope you dont read that like Im trying to change your mind, Im not, as I do also think people can let go of a religion and leave it behind if thats what they choose, without it undermining their progress forward. Congrats on making a decision though, that sort of decisive action is what really matters IMO.

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'The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed.'
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25 Jan 2012 09:47 #48533 by Star Forge
I never use the term "heaven" to describe the enlightenment that we should hope to achieve, and most educated Christians feel the same way. It just sounds childish. I'm a Christian and a Jedi, and I believe the two are not only compatible, but are one in the same. I am calling on all Christian Jedi to address the heresy and poisonous beliefs and trends that have infiltrated Christianity, eternal damnation being chief among them. Just because I have found a place within TOTJO and perhaps the larger body of Jediism does not mean that I will, or perhaps even should, turn my back on the Christians who are still suffering under false beliefs and blasphemies which bring out the worst in people. While we must leave corrupted churches and have our home within the Jedi religion, we still should try to enlighten our fellow Christians, and try to actually make Christianity the religion of Christ. I mean, really, imagine if all Christians ACTUALLY followed the teachings Christ. That would be an idyllic scenario. If we can facilitate that, then we have done something. Anyway, here's some reading that I think is necessary for all Jedi Christians: www.what-the-hell-is-hell.com/FromHellsEternalDeath.htm

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26 Jan 2012 09:06 #48610 by V-Tog
It is interesting to read what you have to say about Christianity - my view is that the teachings vary hugely depending on which Christian doctrine you adhere to. Being from the UK Anglican community I am part of the Church of England, which doesn't really teach about eternal damnation and such things, and I'm fairly sure that most CofE clergy would say that they believe that everyone will be welcomed in heaven (although I agree with you that 'heaven' is not necessarily the best word), regardless of how they live their lives on Earth.

I think that the key thing really is to form your own ideas of what parts of the Bible to take literally and when to say 'OK, that was written by some guy thousands of years ago and he clearly just made it up on the spot so I don't really have to take it that seriously'. That kind of reading of the Bible is pretty much encouraged in the Church of England, particularly regarding passages about things like hell, creation, male-dominated society, all of Leviticus etc. Basically as long as you believe in God (and perhaps the Trinity and the resurrection), you can call yourself a Christian, don't take any notice of people telling what you have to believe about all the rest of it.

On the other hand, I'm not one of those people who tells people what to believe, and therefore, if you feel that your beliefs are not in accordance with Christianity, then you might be better off cutting yourself off from it. I find that following your instinct, whatever that may be, is usually the best way forward on spiritual matters.
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26 Jan 2012 10:12 #48613 by LTK
Star Forge, I'll bet you know this quote: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." -- Mohandas Gandhi

I like what V-Tog has said on this topic and my views are similar. He was very eloquent in his response so I won't repeat what he said.

In my view, what's great about Jediism is that it allows each Jedi to take a religious buffet approach to all cultures, myths and teachings.

If a Jedi that is part of the Abrahamic rite doesn't believe in hell, more power to that Jedi and may the Force be with them. At this Temple, you don't have to believe in hell to be part of the Abrahamic rite. You can have a different definition of heaven, too, nobody is going to excommunicate you for that, haha.

MTFBWY,
LTK

Master: Jestor
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26 Jan 2012 12:14 #48636 by Star Forge
I hope it didn't sound like I myself am in opposition to Christianity. I am first and foremost a Christian and will remain so forever, I merely believe that the majority of sects/denominations have gone in blatantly false and wrong directions that are not in keeping with Jedi beliefs, and more importantly, Christian beliefs. I myself have begun attending a small (less that 10 people) study at a Baptist church, which is SO far removed from Southern Baptist doctrine that the majority of the church members would have us tarred and feathered if they knew what we were discussing. We mainly talk about what various religions have in common, for instance the fact that Buddhist and Christian morality are almost identical, or that Islam and Christianity have similar eschatologies, or the role of Jesus in Islam. Given my huge admiration for the philosophies of the Dharmic religions, I am glad that for once I am able to speak freely about them in a Christian setting. We even touched on Universalism, which is pretty much heresy in the SBC. Anyway, what I'm saying is that Christian Jedi should either reform their religious traditions, or leave them and fellowship with small groups of other Jedi, or just like-minded Christians. I'm personally doing the latter, but if any of you think you can be a reformer, that is admirable, because truth should never be obscured.

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26 Jan 2012 22:34 #48664 by Star Forge
I was going to post this as another thread, but I think it is most appropriate here. The link below is to Eternal Hope, by FW Farrar. Farrar was a minister in the Church of England during the mid-late 1800s and is considered to be one of the champions of Universalism (the belief that all will be reconciled with God). I suggest that every Christian here read at least part of it, it's not terribly long. www.lvulvu.us/pdf/farrar.pdf

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