At this time of the year, when Nature is about to restore dormant life, our sense of renewal also quickens. We see the buds of the awaking flowers and trees, feel the squishy ground and smell the pungent odor of earth’s reawakening, hear the celebrating songs of the birds, and we understand that this is the time for renewed life.
Also embedded and well positioned within this reawakening time of year is the Christian celebration of Easter. It celebrates Jesus the Christ’s defeat of physical death, his resurrection, and his ascension into heaven. The Christians say, God the Father sent his only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ to Earth to become the divine link for the salvation of humankind. Jesus took on to himself the sins of the world in order to provide a way for Christians to follow to redemption and finally to salvation. I am not clear how Jesus took on the sins of the world, but I have heard that it is analogous to the ancient Jewish sacrificial tradition of the scapegoat. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest would confess the sins of the people over the head of a goat, after which the goat was allow to escape, usually in the direction of the enemy. The effect of Jesus the Christ as the scapegoat for the sins of the world was the reconciliation of God the Father with human beings. The reason reconciliation was necessary was because of Original Sin. Original Sin is the tendency towards sin and depravity that is inherent in humankind. This sinful position was occasioned by Adam and Eve’s sin of disobedience while in the Garden of Eden, and consequently led to the loss of the direct stream of God’s grace. By believing Jesus the Christ to be the savior, the conduit between God’s sanctifying grace and humankind is restored, thus allowing humankind a way to salvation. This is way Christians the world over, extend their hands high above their heads in prayer invoking and beseeching Jesus the Christ to forgive their sins, in the name of God the Father, so that they may repent and be saved.
In any particular point being made there are several cogent angles from which to view. Usually there are two basic views that appear: a literal, fundamental, orthodox, exotic view, and an expanded, esoteric, spirit of, view. For instance, in Law, there is the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of the law,” in Buddhism, there is the Eye Doctrine and the Heart Doctrine, in politics there are the liberals and the conservatives, etc. The view taken from the above explanation would be considered fundamental, because of the literal interpretation of the Bible. There is, obviously then a “spirit of view” of salvation. It has ancient roots and goes back before the solidification of Christian Doctrine. The basis of this view is the idea that all things ( human beings included) have at their core the spark of Infinite God, and salvation appears when one becomes aware of this spark, connects with it, and finally unites with it. The Buddha admonishes us, “Be lamps unto yourselves. Betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the truth as a lamp. Hold fast as a refuge to the truth. Look not for refuge to any one besides yourselves…Those who, either now or after I am dead, shall rely upon themselves only and not look for assistance to anyone besides themselves, it is they who shall reach the very top most height, but they must be anxious to learn.”
Ironically, if we look to the Bible there we will find an echo of the “spirit of view” relating to salvation. It is in the New Testament, St. Paul, 1 Colossians v 24-27, (fyi, the 13 letters of St. Paul make up a quarter of the whole of the New Testament) St. Paul writes, that his task is to …”fully proclaim His (God’s) message, which is the secret he (God) hid through all past ages from mankind but has now revealed to His people …And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God”… St. Paul didn’t present this New Testament secret in a manner that suggests that the historical Jesus is literally in us or can be some how imposed in us through some standard rituals or worships, but that the Christ principle exists in our living make up, here and now.
The word “Christ” isn’t a personal family name of Jesus, but an appellation granted and earned by spiritual achievements. Jesus is the Christ because he, through spiritual initiation and self-becoming united with the divine spirit, his Father within, “I and the Father are one,” to quote Jesus. The “Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father.” The name Christ is derived from the original Greek, christos, meaning literally, anointed. Jesus, because of his union with the Father becomes the Anointed One or the Christ, just as Gautama the Buddha, (Buddha-Sanskrit word meaning, “to awaken”) because of his union with Paramatman becomes the Awakened One or the Buddha.
Here we have two views on salvation. The literal or fundamental view says, salvation is gained by acquiring a belief, a faith, that the historical figure Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, was designated by God as the savior of humankind. Thus, if you desire salvation you must accept Jesus the Christ as your savior. Because of this faith you will reap eternal salvation during the “end of times,” when Jesus the Christ will reappear again on Earth, judge the purity of your belief, and on the Day of Rapture Jesus will raise all those truly faithful, into the Kingdom of Heaven. All non-believers will however, on that day be doomed to the fires of Hell for eternity.
The “spirit of” or esoteric view says, salvation is gained by recognizing, connecting, and uniting with your divine essence, with the Face of God, that which lies as the core of your being. ‘The kingdom of God is here and now, for those who have eyes to see, and ears to hear.’ All that is necessary is to turn inward and use your spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear your divine essence.
Which of these two views is the “good news.”