Jesus often teaches with analogy, or ‘parable’. There is a good reason for that. I will attempt to explain some things the same way.
Basically, when people turn to religion….why do they?
They are looking for “something”.
They have a feeling that gnaws at their mind, just below waking consciousness. The feeling that there is something else to life that they are not ‘getting’.
What is this “something else”?
Some people think they are a Christians because of the things they decide to do, such as go to Church, pray, read, feed the poor, etc…
Does spending a lot of time in a garage make you a car?
Can the constant reading of a book about playing the guitar give you the ability to play a guitar?
Does praying for the ability to play an instrument cause instant ability? No, but it could cause you to spill your coffee on a guitarist that you become friends with, and change the course of your personal reality.
What I am getting at is that religion is a practice, not a club to join. Muslim, Buddhist, and Christian…there are many flavors to choose from, just like Rock, Country, and R&B. But what is the real issue with “religion”? Simple.
We are born with the limited use of only five senses. These are relied on solely to experience reality. Religion is the path to that “something else”, that we are aware of, but can’t put our finger on. It is the path back to Christmas morning. The path to the rest of the boxes we have yet to open under the tree of life!
Christianity isn’t really much different than all religious teaching in it’s original form. If practiced, most religious teachings will bring you to the same realization…
that we are not limited to these five senses.
The difference, if you can call it that, is that Christ is the way….for Christians, while Buddha is the way for Buddhist people. There is another difference. Jesus has “prepared a place for you” that is not the place you will find yourself in if you follow another teacher. Many Christians see this as an opportunity to belittle another path, when Jesus teaches us to find a common ground instead.
An Analogy For Atheist
Christians claim to see things many others do not. Naturally, there is an argument. When a religion is “practiced”, there are very specific exercises that must be followed to the letter, and a level of discipline has to be adopted. The same thing applies when a guitar is practiced, and the same discipline is required. This is why Christians are called “disciples”, and Jesus was referred to as “Rabboni” (which means Teacher).
These ‘lessons‘ are designed to exercise areas of your brain you have always had, but have never “used”. Just as there are areas of the brain that allow you to see the things you now see, there are other areas that will allow different perceptions. You may think the nut that is talking to someone that isn’t really there has a “disorder”, when you may actually have one instead.
A guy that can play country music on a guitar can also play rock, or any other music he wants to listen to, but he will have to practice it first. The method you use to get from not being able to play Rock, to being able to play Rock, will be the same if you want to play R&B. No matter the genre, or religion, there is a very strict discipline you will have to follow, and a very strict regiment of practice if you want to see this evidence of the world we do see. You can no more ask for this evidence than you can ask BB King to “give you his knowledge of playing a guitar”. There will never be scientific proof of any of this, because science is also stuck in the same five senses you are, and relies on these five senses only. Religion is literally “over it’s head”.
Life, Reality, & Perception
Life is like waking up early on a Christmas morning, and you see many presents, pretty blinking lights, beautiful colors, and are overwhelmed by the spectacular moment. Then you spot the “Big Box” with your name on it, and you dive in. The rest is history, right?
Not exactly. Actually, the rest is your future.
You have been so fascinated with playing with this present (the life you experience with your five senses), that you have totally forgotten all the other presents under the tree. You are satisfied with the one, so much so that the others have disappeared altogether.
The hidden knowledge of the other presents was never completely forgotten. This is actually the gnawing sensation that there is “something else” that motivates people to seek out ways to “figure this out”, or find out what is missing, and find it. This is religion. The pursuit of ‘answers’ to these “questions”.
The practice of religion causes you to see these other presents again. Those that study hard will not only see the presents others can no longer see, but can start to open them, and play with them. They are not visible to those that will not stop looking at the first box. Naturally, those looking only at the “first Big Box they open” will think those that are talking about the world beyond the five senses are nuts. However, those that are using the other parts of their brain will not exactly care what anyone thinks about it.
So don’t be offended when they try to share their new toys with you. They are trying to wake you up.
“You’re focused on one small spot of reality…so much so, and so fascinated with it that you have to “wake up” to the realization that you are focusing on just one spot of an entire painting. Religion is training you to look somewhere else, and though it’s hard to look away, you pretty much have to sooner or later.”