Happiness Academy Online

A Blog about Psychology (Jungian), Spirituality and Happiness, By Roberto Lima Netto.

Is Jesus God?

Is Jesus God?
Art: Nicole Lanza

Versão em português

Is Jesus God? When I was seven, being  prepared for First Communion, I had a discussion with the priest. I couldn’t agree with him that a baby dying in the midst of Africa, without any access to Christianity, could not go to heaven.

“Whoever is not baptized cannot go to heaven,” said the priest in a matter-of-fact tone, but I could not agree with such injustice.

Presently, the Catholic Church admits that a person can be saved, even if he didn’t know Christ, through Christ. There is a minority current inside the Church that thinks this requisite – through Christ – is not a necessary condition. A Buddhist could go to heaven through Buda.

In fact, the issue hinges on believing or not that Jesus was God. Let’s see how the subject was treated at the initial centuries after Christ.

The three synoptic Gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke – never stated clearly that Jesus was God. They called Him Messiah and Son of God. Messiah, meaning anointed, and Son of God were epithets given to the kings of Israel. In fact, many of Jesus followers expected Him to be the king that would liberate the Jewish people from the Roman dominance.

Only the Gospel of John says that Jesus is God. Contrary to this position, the Gospel of Thomas, one of the documents found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945, containing 114 sayings of Jesus explicitly says:

Gospel of Thomas – Saying 108

Jesus says: “Whoever will drink from my mouth will become like me. I myself will become he and what is hidden will be revealed to him.”

Evidently, since we are not going to turn into gods, we have to understand that we can become illuminated. That is what Jesus was, an illuminated Rabbi, the most illuminated human being that lived on Earth.

Illuminated human beings exist around the world. We don’t know all because they don’t go around proclaiming their condition. But we can mention Buda, several Christian saints (not all), some Buddhist and Indian monks, and many others we never heard of spread around the world.

The Catholic Church requires, for our salvation that we believe in the Catholic Creed that claims Jesus was born from a virgin and resurrected in body, not in spirit.

Rather than believing this and other dogmas, we should strive to follow Jesus teachings. The Catholic Church claims infallibility for the Popes. Is that true?

Did ever Jesus said that women are inferior beings that cannot officiate like priests? Is the Christian religions, whatever denomination,  true to Jesus, or fabrications of later followers?

The New Testament was written many years after Jesus death. The teachings were originally transmitted orally, and written years later. The copies that survived are not the original ones. Did you know that some of the copyists of the early years did not know how to read? That they copied the drawings of the letters? This may have caused many involuntary mistakes.

Worse, the study of the Bible shows that some parts of the Bible were voluntary introductions to prove a point. Bart Ehrman, PhD, in theology by Princeton University and author of several books about the Bible, shows, based on linguistic studies, that the Gospel of Mark stops at verses 16: 8 and that 16: 9 thru 20, that mentions the visit of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples was introduced by a later copyist. This was not an involuntary error but had implications for discussions of Jesus being a God or not, one of the topics of the Nicene Council in 425 A.D.

Some say that, if Jesus were to come back today, most of the Christian denominations would not accept Him, would call him a fraud. After all, His preaching is so different from what the churches practice that it would be impossible to have Him accepted.

Back to the question that serves as title to the article: Is Jesus a God?  We presented the Church position, and some contrary arguments but, to tell the truth, this issue is not important.

In my humble opinion, the important issue is not Jesus being God or an illuminated prophet. If humanity would follow, even partially, His teachings, we would have a much better world today. We might be living in a Garden of Eden.

I am Roberto Lima Netto, and I believe that our objective in life is to be happy and that Spirituality and Jungian psychology, my main areas of interest, can help us in this search for happiness. I am a writer. Some of my books are “The Little Prince for Grown-ups“, “The Jungian Bible“, “The Amazon Shaman” and “In Search of Happiness“. I invite you to visit my blog and leave your comments at:  
www.HappinessAcademyOnline.org.

Versão em português

Jesus é Deus? Ou um ser iluminado?

Jesus era um pensador muito profundo e alguns dos seus ditos mais enigmáticos são difíceis de entender. Já mencionamos alguns neste blog, explicando-os com a ajuda da psicologia junguiana, uma ferramenta que não estava disponível nos primeiros séculos.

Na minha modesta opinião, os dogmas da Igreja foram concebidos para atrair seguidores, e tem mais a ver com São Paulo e Santo Agostinho do que com as ideias de Jesus.

Quando eu tinha sete anos, assistindo a uma aula de preparação para a Primeira Comunhão, o padre disse que se um bebê morrer sem ser batizado não poderia ir para o céu.

“Mas … se não houvesse sacerdote na área?” Eu insisti.

“Se ele não for batizado, ele não pode ir para o céu”, disse o sacerdote, dogmaticamente.

“Isso é injusto. Ele não viveu o suficiente para pecar.”

Na época, eu era jovem demais para argumentar que, sendo Jesus um Deus de amor, essa posição estava errada.

De qualquer forma, esse pensamento obtuso não prevalece mais na Igreja. Hoje ela reconhece que, mesmo se a pessoa não conhece Cristo, ela pode ser salva através de Cristo. Grande progresso.

Mas a evolução continua. Há uma minoria dentro da igreja católica, que afirma que você não precisa ser salvo através de Cristo. Eles afirmam que algumas pessoas iluminadas – por exemplo, Buda – podem ser colocadas em um nível paralelo a Jesus.

Tudo isso tem a ver com uma discussão muito antiga que estava quente nos primeiros séculos depois da morte de Cristo: É Jesus um Deus?

Os três Evangelhos sinóticos, Marcos, Mateus e Lucas, nunca mencionaram explicitamente a divindade de Jesus. Chamam-lhe “Filho de Deus” e “Messias”, termos que designavam o rei humano de Israel.

O Evangelho de João, escrito alguns anos após os evangelhos sinópticos, foi o primeiro a afirmar que Jesus era Deus.

Para entender a controvérsia, temos que analisar a situação dos anos que se seguiram a morte de Jesus. No Antigo Testamento, há muitos casos de profetas falando com Deus através de sonhos ou visões. Só para mencionar alguns, Jacob e sua luta com o anjo de Deus, Moisés, Isaías, Jeremias, Daniel e vários outros. No Novo Testamento, temos São Paulo na estrada de Damasco, e o autor do Apocalipse.

Javé era um Deus que você devia amar, mas era melhor temer. Jesus pregou o Deus de amor. Isso provavelmente deu coragem a muitas pessoas para buscar um contato direto com Deus. Era uma época em que proliferou o gnosticismo.

Não se pode fortalecer uma igreja com tantas interpretações diferentes. No interesse de consolidação, a Igreja reservou para si o monopólio de falar com Deus. Qualquer um que divergisse dos dogmas propostos pela linha dominante era marcado como herético ou gnóstico. Este ponto foi reforçado no século IV, com o apoio do imperador Constantino, quando, no Concílio de Nicéia, os bispos escolheram os livros para compor a Bíblia. Os chamados livros canônicos.

O Evangelho de Tomé não foi incluído. Pior, a Igreja decidiu queimar todos os livros que desviavam da linha oficial. Felizmente, algumas obras foram preservadas e encontradas em 1945 em Nag Hammadi, no Egito. Entre as muitas pérolas encontradas, estava o Evangelho de Tomé, um conjunto de 114 ditos de Jesus que divergem do Evangelho de João em um ponto fundamental: Jesus foi considerado um homem iluminado por Deus, mas não Deus. Jesus mesmo postulou que, com desenvolvimento adequado, todo ser humano pode ser igual a ele.

Não tenho espaço neste post para ir mais fundo neste assunto, mas, se você estiver curioso e quiser saber mais, sugiro que leia o excelente livro de Elaine Pagels: “Beyond Belief”.

Roberto Lima Netto, é autor de “O Pequeno Príncipe para Gente Grande” em sua quarta edição, e “Os Segredos da Bíblia”, livros junguianos recentemente editados nos USA e oferecidos pela Amazon.

 

I was involved in the business world, as an executive of large companies and university professor since recently. I was the president CSN, the largest steel-mill of Latin America and was responsible for its turn-around. My first encounter with the teachings of the Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung, one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th Century, was during my midlife crisis. Reading "Man and his Symbols" at that time, inspired me to go into Jungian analysis and to begin devouring the writings of Jung and his disciples. Since then, I've been studying psychology, especially Jungian psychology and, after reaching my seventies, I decided to become a full time writer, specializing on books on Jungian psychology and psychological thrillers. Every masterpiece of literature can be absorbed through multiple interpretations, and yield powerful insights for our daily lives. My first Jungian book, “The Little Prince for Grown-ups“, in its fourth edition in Brazil, was based on the famous book of Saint-Exupéry. The second, - “The Jungian Bible” - interprets some stories of the Old Testament and world myths. As I get older and, with a bit of luck, wiser, I want to pass on to the younger generations the lessons life has taught me. Jesus Christ taught that it was easier to sell ideas with stories. Following the Master, I published in English "The Amazon Shaman" and "In Search of Happiness", two psychological thrillers around the theme of happiness.

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