Ravi Zacharias

Life without consequences

In May 2020, the famous Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, sadly passed away after losing his battle with cancer. Almost immediately, and somewhat inevitably, a host of women came forward to accuse the allegedly energetic septuagenarian Ravi of sexual misconduct. Since then, RZIM, his organisation, have been doing everything they can to distance themselves from their founder, including his daughter. Social media has suffered a tsunami of Evangelical Christians denouncing Ravi and explaining how they never liked him anyway.

This somewhat undignified and sordid spectacle is as repetitive as Christian predictions for the end of the world. Every year the Evangelical community raises yet another champion in between tearing down their last. This somewhat pagan cycle of rebirth and death highlights the fact that Christianity has spent the last 2000 years studiously ignoring everything the Jesus of History actually said. Among which was his advice about judging.

“Be merciful even as your Father is merciful. Don’t judge and you won’t be judged. For the standard you use (for judging) will be the standard used against you.”

Luke 6:36 and Matthew 7:1

Before we examine this ‘Logia’, it is important to note two things:

  1. What the teaching implies
  2. What it doesn’t say

What the teaching implies:

The Jesus of History is inculcating the idea that God is inherently merciful; God is his datum for all that is good. He is also saying that we share that essence of God.

The implication of this ‘Logia’ is that we must try to emulate the very nature of God and judge only ourselves.

What the teaching does not say:

What it does not say is that we can do just as we please in life without consequences.

‘The standard you use (for judging) will be the standard used against you.’

How many parents castigate their children for bullying their siblings and yet go to work and bully their secretaries? We judge other people constantly and mostly life seems to give us a free pass, but does it? In reality our own hypocrisy eats at our soul until we are eventually destroyed by the darkness within our deepest self.

Jesus’ students would have been familiar with the Judean phrase:

“…but in righteousness you shall judge your neighbour.”

Leviticus 19:15

Judge Me

It is evident from the phrasing of this Saying that the Jesus of History is making a beat against the accepted interpretation of the Law of Moses. It is obvious that anyone who judges believes that they are judging with righteousness.

Again, the Jesus of History is taking an external teaching and taking it to an inner level. This internalising and logical extrapolation is a keynote of the True Sayings of the Jesus of History.

The Kabbalah – the modern manifestation of the Nazarene tradition – explains the concept clearly.

Rav Michael Berg teaches in his seminal book, ‘The Way’.

“Kabbalah implores us to judge ourselves and our motivations with great care. One of our obstacles on our spiritual path, however, is the tendency to become judgemental about other people…”

His father, Rav Phillip Berg taught (I paraphrase)

“The moment we judge another, the universe pulls the trigger on us; we are judged by the force of our own judgement.”

This is a very deep teaching and not one to be discarded lightly. The words that we speak and think against another person opens a door for darkness to enter our life. This saying only makes sense in context of the following:

“For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

Ecclesiastes 12:14

The Kabbalists teach us that the moment we form a judgement in our mind of another, we separate ourselves from the ‘Light of the Creator’. We effectively create the darkness that will consume us.

Only God can look downAs an example, take a devout Christian who sees homosexual behaviour as the work of the devil. He will see homosexuals everywhere. When his best friend hugs him, in the back of his mind he can’t help suspecting that his friend might be homosexual. His judgement becomes a cancer in his life and ruins his friendship with his boyhood companion.

If he had, on the other hand, taken the Jesus of History’s advice, he would recognise the fact that his understanding of the world and of other people is limited and leave other people’s lives to them and God. He would have done better by concentrating on setting the best example he could of a good family man and father.

 

Taken from the book – “The True Sayings of Jesus: the Jesus of History vs. the Christ Myth

Read the Blog – “The Self of Now

Watch the Video – “The Dangerous Myth of Forgiveness

The True Sayings of Jesus

Love Your Enemy

Love Your Enemy

Consider the following sayings attributed to Christ, three of which may well be from the common source. In order to confirm our suspicion let’s examine the text for philosophical coherence.

“I am telling you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer your other cheek as well. If anyone grabs your coat, let him have your shirt as well. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone takes away your belongings, do not ask to have them back. As you want people to treat you, do the same to them.”

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?

Even Non-Jews love those who love them, do they not? And if you embrace only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Doesn’t everybody do that?”

If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?

Even wrongdoers lend to their kind because they expect to be repaid. Instead, love your enemies, do good and lend without expecting anything in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of God. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good; he sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Luke 6:27 and Matthew 5:43

Obviously, we have three ‘phrases’ that have been extensively elaborated on by the gospel writers. It is unlikely that each complex definition could be remembered. We must be very sceptical of these obvious embellishments on the ‘Golden Rule’ as being somewhat facile and illogical.

It is also a mistake to assume that the phrase ‘Love your Enemy’ is advocating passivity – it is not. This teaching is a discussion of the practical application of the concept of the ‘Restriction of the sense of self’.

When you learn to notice the ‘you’ that exists beneath your ‘idea’ of you – deep within the silence inside of yourself. You will see that most of our lives are lived on autopilot. We only love people who love us back. We give to people, if there is something in it for ‘me’. Anger and hatred are AUTOMATIC reactions to external stimulus. The Jesus of History is teaching us how to live ON PURPOSE – in the real world.

I'm OffendedMost people live their lives like dogs mindlessly barking into the night. We react without thought. In the modern world, we put the responsibility for our reactions onto someone else and demand that they give us a ‘trigger warning’ before speaking. The teachings of the Jesus of History suggest that it is precisely our control of our instinctive reactions that leads us to spiritual growth.

Rav Michael Berg says, “Resisting our self-serving nature in everyday life is an external act that awakens our own inner potential, and that of everyone (around us) as well.”

The Kabbalists teach ‘Living on Purpose’ and it is all about restricting our reactive nature. I suggest that the Jesus of History was serious when he said, “Love your enemy” but as a symptom of an inner reality rather than a conscious show of piety.

As our ego is slowly crushed, we begin to naturally react in different ways. Loving our enemy is not something you should have to try to do, it is a product of the changes that occur through practice. Instead of reacting we find that we can empathise with where the other person is coming from, we can share their pain.

That empathy and control gives us a power. Sometimes life, in the real world, demands that we have to sometimes do terrible things. I don’t hate a dog with rabies but if I were attacked by one in the street I would have no choice but to kill it.

That doesn’t mean that I hate the dog, nor do I have to see the dog as my enemy. In fact, my empathy and love gives me the power to give the dog a kind death. That is also true of war. People who believe that loving your enemy only leads to defeat have probably never even fought off a cold. The most efficient soldiers are those who truly understand and respect their enemy.

Sun Tzu

“If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. But, if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

Sun Tzu – The Art of War

 

 

This Blog is taken from the book – “The True Sayings of Jesus: the Jesus of History vs. the Christ Myth

Watch the video on Forgiveness – “The Dangerous Myth of Forgiveness

The True Sayings of Jesus