Living in the heart of the Bible Belt I am often asked why I am not a Christian. The answer is simple: I don’t believe in the essential doctrines of Christianity. What are these doctrines? According to Christian Research Journal there are fourteen:
(1) Human depravity, (2) Christ’s virgin birth, (3) Christ’s sinlessness, (4) Christ’s deity, (5) Christ’s humanity, (6) God’s unity, (7) God’s triunity, (8) The necessity of God’s grace, (9) The necessity of faith, (10) Christ’s atoning death, (11) Christ’s bodily resurrection, (12) Christ’s bodily ascension, (13) Christ’s present high priestly service, (14) Christ’s second coming, final judgment, and reign.
Let me briefly respond to each one.
HUMAN DEPRAVITY. I believe that people are the image and likeness of God. I believe that God embraces and transcends all opposites including good and evil (see Isaiah 45:7), and that on a lesser scale we do as well. We have an inclination for evil and an inclination for good. We must learn to embrace, harness, and transcend them both.
CHRIST’S VIRGIN BIRTH. Virgins don’t have babies. The notion of Virgin Birth is based on a mistranslation of Isaiah 7:14: “A young woman shall give birth…”
CHRIST’S SINLESSNESS. If Christ has no evil inclination he is not like me at all and thus cannot speak to my real spiritual struggle.
CHRIST’S DEITY. If all reality is God, as I believe, then Jesus, too, is God. But no more so than you and me.
CHRIST’S HUMANITY. If Jesus is born without an inclination for evil then he isn’t human. You can’t have it both ways.
GOD’S UNITY. God is not one rather than two; God is nondual. There is nothing other than God. If there were then God would be limited, and a limited god is not God.
GOD’S TRIUNITY. Just as H2O can manifest as liquid, solid, and gas so God can manifest as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But why stop at three? God also manifests as Mother, Daughter, Nature, Light, Dark, Good, Evil, humans, animals, plants, etc.
THE NECESSITY OF GOD’S GRACE. I agree that awakening to the Reality of God in, with, and as all things is an act of grace. I just cannot believe that God’s grace is limited to those who believe any specific doctrine. God’s grace is free. Either you accept it or not, but it is available to all.
THE NECESSITY OF FAITH. God desires no allegiance to doctrine or creed. God desires nothing, God is everything. Faith is an abstraction, reality is what matters.
CHRIST’S ATONING DEATH. Sin is rooted in ignorance. If we know that we are God manifest we naturally treat one another with kindness and respect. As history so clearly proves, the death of Jesus didn’t make us any less ignorant or sinful.
CHRIST’S BODILY RESURRECTION. Bodies don’t matter after death. Bodily resurrection, even if true, is irrelevant.
CHRIST’S BODILY ASCENSION. Where did he go? Up to Heaven? There is no “up” or “down” in the universe, only “in” and “out” of various gravitational fields. Heaven is not a place one goes, but a realization of God’s nonduality to which one awakes.
CHRIST’S PRESENT HIGH PRIEST SERVICE. I do not believe in priesthoods of any kind. We are all God; none are more God than others.
CHRIST’S SECOND COMING, FINAL JUDGMENT, AND REIGN. While I admit to longing for a time of universal peace, justice, and love, the return of Christ as it is told to me is a time of violence, torment, and death for billions of people on this planet. I’ll pass.
So that’s it. I am not a Christian because I cannot believe what Christians believe. But then I have the same problem with Jews, Moslems, Hindus, and Buddhists as well.