One of the things that gets me excited is when someone comes along and says something really outrageous. And I don't mean outrageous because it's just rude - but rather because it's controversial. And of course anyone can come along and talk any old rubbish - but what I'm talking about is the carefully considered controversial statement which is controversial just because not many of us have ever thought about it carefully - and it comes along and rocks our little world.
One such statement is "Jesus Never Existed" - wow! Now when somebody comes along and tells you this, the first instinct is to throw up all the barriers and drag out all the old traditional arguments from the closet - including the favourite "because the Bible told me so".
However, provided one can resist the temptation not to listen, if you start to ask questions with an open mind, this sort of statement makes your eyes open a bit wider. And you find when you trot out all the old traditional arguments against such a statement, not many of them appear to have much basis in truth and history. You see - you cannot use the Bible to prove it's own validity - if it contains truth, this has to be verifiable through other historic records - and these are plentiful, especially around in the centuries immediately BCE and CE. There were many serious historians around this period of history. So why aren't huge parts of the bible story historically verified?
And how do you start to unravel the truth from the fiction? Well, the way we did it, was to literally sit down in front of the keyboard and google "who am I" , and take it from there, with an earnest desire to find out more. We didn't start with malice-aforethought to trash the biblical account of Jesus. It just kinda happened. Made me wander around for about a week, alternatively feeling a bit deserted, and than feeling angry that I had been lied to for a huge portion of my life. Just goes to show - you never can tell, can you?
Then we went to a bunch of other gnostic and philosophical sites, and these led to other sites etc. And it all turns out that in fact Christianity and the Bible never cornered the market on truth. It has all been said and done long long before modern Christianity and the Bible ever came into existence - courtesy of those "other religions" we were taught were so naughty and sinful. If you can keep an open mind, you can go and look at Islam, Hinduism, and a bunch of other Eastern religions - just follow the links- they're all there. It won't take long for you to see the parallels with what has been written in the Bible - except that the historic documentary evidence proves who wrote it first.
And there is no shortage of godmen who came to Earth, born of virgins, with followers, persecution, death and resurrection etc. - the whole trip. And there is even a Jesus (a common name at the time) who was crucified, according to the historic record - but he was an anti-Roman agitator and it wasn't Jesus Christ - it was Jesus ben Stada.
And that's where the claim of "this is the only true religion" falls to pieces. It's really quite arrogant if you think about it - people discover a truth and then find some other people to believe the same as they do. And then they find 2 friends and they find 2 friends etc. etc. and pretty soon you have everyone having a really happy time believing exactly what everyone in their group believes, without exception. (Cloneliness is next to Godliness, right?) STOP! Put on the brakes!!!! We have to set some rules to make sure everyone continues to do exactly as they're told and nobody strays off the path. And this my dears, is called Doctrine (with a capital D). People live by it, people die by and for it (countless numbers of them have died for it), and more ominously people kill other people for it. Look at all the major conflicts in the world. There are only 2 underlying causes - money and religion.
So there we are - we have our original bit of light (call it a truth) that we received, and we stopped there and put a roof and walls around it, and we sanctified it and worshipped it and made rules and doctrines - and that's where it stopped, permanently. And then we pointed fingers at everyone outside of our box, and called them fools, and called them "in error" and called them "wrong" and "sinners". And we look at how many are in our box and we are filled with pride.
But if we start to count all the people outside our box, we discover that there are always many more of them than there are of us. So we comfort ourselves by thinking that we are the "chosen few". We don't think that maybe God (or the Eternal, or the One Spirit - or whatever you want to call it) also inspired these other people and that maybe they also have truth? Who spoke to the Native American Indians before somebody pushed in and shoved a bible down their throats? They are a spiritual people - more spiritual I suspect than many so-called Christians today. Or the "savages" of South America who had to be enslaved and "educated" by the colonial powers?
You know what? Since we started really searching with an open mind, we find there are a huge number of people who have found a truth /some truth for themselves and who are finding more everyday. And almost none of these people (other than Christian fundamentalists) accuse anyone else of being in error. Because the search for truth is infinite - it's like picking up little hidden treasures in the sand on a beach. Sift through the rubbish and find the gem. Then move on and find another gem. Truth is like that - it is a journey, not a destination. And when you find truth, don't stop and make a doctrine out of it - pick it up and carry on looking. You will find many truths - but don't ever think you've found "The Truth" - that's eternal and infinite.
Don't expect to find infinite truth in a finite box.
And if you like what I'm saying - for heaven's sake don't join me and believe what I do. The search for truth is as individual as your own destiny - nobody can do it for you. And don't agree with me; I don't want to stop searching and erect a doctrine.
"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered : The point is to discover them" - Galileo Galilei