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Thursday, July 20, 2023

After This Life

Perhaps because of my experience last week, I have been contemplating life here and what comes next.

Plato and Socrates played important roles in our foundations of thought, including in the formation of early Christian thought. What were their basic premises about what  happens after this life?

The basic idea was that possibly the soul and the body were two different things, and death was the soul leaving the body. Then the soul had to go through some purification to get ready to return to earth and try to do better or to go somewhere else.

Even if this were not the case, it is better to live a good and honest life and do one's best to be a good person.

In general, I think these possibilities make much more sense than what emerged centuries after Jesus of a violent and horrible deity that delighted in obscene tortures of those misguided souls who didn't march to some ignorant theologian's musings turned edicts.

Sometimes I feel upset for God for the horrible things made up about the One said to be pure unconditional Love. In what way does obscene torture speak of unconditional love, except in the mind of the psychopathic killer? I also feel sad for the people who actually believe the misguided men who made that all up as well as other fantastic and wild ideas that have nothing to do with Jesus and his life and teaching.

Mark is the oldest Gospel by far, written sometime after the destruction of the Jewish Temple and much of Jerusalem in 70 CE. It's not written during Jesus' lifetime of course, but at least 40 years later. It's not by an Aramaic speaker, but a Greek speaker. It's written somewhere in the Mediterranean area by an unknown author (the Gospels were given names sometime after 150). We don't have any original copies, only copies of copies of copies. But at this time, this is the best we have.

Try an experiment. Pretend you have not read the other parts of the New Testament, and just read Mark. Just read Mark for a month or two and let just Mark tell you what he understands about Jesus. Don't add details you might "know" from the other Gospels, written later by the way, between 85 and 100 or maybe 120 according to some scholars. Try to understand what this first Gospel that we have is saying on its own. Try to peel away the man-made theologies laid upon it by later men. 

I am very interested in seeking Truth, in trying to understand Jesus without centuries of misguided and sometimes evil people making up stuff about his teaching and him. I am seeking to believe Jesus rather than believe in the made up theologies. I am seeking to live according to his moral and ethical teachings. I am seeking to peel the layers away that obscure him. I hope you will join me. Maybe it's time we save Jesus.

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