Yesterday my Facebook friend Michael Peck publicly commented on my Bible blog post, and I appreciate his thoughts SO much! He said a lot, but one section of his comment is a great lead-in to the BIG topic for today:
“I really appreciate your heart in this. I feel like you are trying to set people free from religion, people being trapped into a box that is not what God intended.
I am interested in you sharing more about the journey of wrestling with your faith as a Christian, it is really good stuff. I think most Christians will be more receptive to the journey you have been through if you do not draw a line in the sand between you and followers of Jesus because you are a follower of Jesus as well.
If I am mistaken that you no longer believe Jesus is your salvation please correct me.”
I’m gonna be vulnerable and let you all know that this topic is equally SCARY and EXHILARATING for me to write about.
This question of “Is Jesus the only way to heaven?” has defined so much of my life on this earth, and I feel as if my entire journey through childhood, trauma, depression, joy, addiction, divorce, spiritual awakening, Christianity, my Bible degree, decades of seeking God – all of it has led to this moment.
If you’ve read all my blog posts, you know that as a child, from the moment I fully understood the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, I took to the streets as a young Christian evangelist.
I am an EVANGELIST through and through – it is a big part of my identity.
I have always known, that if I ever fully KNEW that something was real and true and life-changing, I would be willing to shout it from the mountain tops and give my life away in order to inspire the world with the treasure I’d found.
And that is precisely why I have struggled so much with Christian theology. Since I was a little girl and first learned this story of Jesus coming to earth to save us from our sins, there has been a part of me that has been in conflict. This conflict is not new to you, if you have lived with this religion and Christian story for any amount of time.
It’s the inner conflict of “How can my loving Father let some of His children suffer in hell forever?”
And more importantly,”If I REALLY believe this is true, then why am I not filled with energy and JOY to go tell everyone I know that they need to accept Jesus in their heart or they will go to hell when they die?”
I can tell you with every cell of my being and every beat of my heart, that after taking these questions honestly and repeatedly to my Father God and to Jesus, seeking within, letting go of every hindrance so I can understand what I truly know and believe, that this conflict is now resolved.
To have the inner peace of finally knowing that my experience of LOVE is greater than my fear of the unknown, is a JOY beyond description.
So here are my thoughts:
1. I do not think humans are currently, nor EVER have been, in ANY danger of eternal punishment in a place called Hell.
Jesus, from what I can deduct from the Bible and other writings, talked a lot about heaven being RIGHT NOW. We are so focused on heaven and hell as being in the future, (which is completely fueled by our FEAR of death), that we fail to see that heaven and hell are TODAY.
My life continually becomes more heavenly, just as I see several people I know who are choosing a daily reality of hell. This points back to Part 1 of this series, where I said that we are powerful. We are powerful, because we have the power to create heaven or hell in our lives RIGHT NOW.
2. I know that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were EXTREMELY powerful and important, but I do NOT think that he died in order to save us from going to hell. This is where we miss the point of Jesus altogether, because we are looking at him through the eyes of the people who wrote the Bible, and we are looking at his life through the eyes of the churches we’ve attended, and we’re not looking at him through our OWN eyes.
This is why I had to let go of the Bible and Christianity before I could really SEE him and have a REAL relationship with the eternal Spirit who on the earth was known as Jesus.
I have a relationship with Jesus, my brother who is my greatest hero because of everything he said and did, but mostly because of who he is to me today – I feel his power because of the high level he attained in his human potential and for the insanely inspirational message and life he lived, unlike any other person in history so far.
He daily inspires me to rise to my own potential and to write my own inspiring story.
3. I think Jesus physically appeared on earth after his death, so that we would:
- understand that we are all eternal spirits
- stop identifying with and focusing on our physical bodies
- stop being afraid of death!
Through the Christian lens, his death was a sacrifice for our sins, and we need to accept this gift in order to escape hell. This story perpetuates the fear of death (if not for ourselves, than for everyone else), and causes us to stay focused on the future, rather than on the heaven or hell we can choose today. And it alienates us from everyone who does not believe in Jesus as the only way to heaven.
4. Death is a transition – there is nothing to fear about it, except the natural healthy ‘fear’ of the unknown – the excitement of not knowing for sure what’s next in this eternal adventure. It’s thrilling!
Imagine what the world would look like if people weren’t so afraid of death.
Everything I have experienced in my life so far teaches me to trust in my God (LOVE) for everything I have yet to experience, including my transition into the next adventure in my life (death).
This is such a HUGE topic. What part of it do you want me to expand on or to hear about next?
Let me know your questions regarding Salvation, Heaven and Hell and I will dedicate the next blog post to answering them!
I love you all!