I was speaking with a close family member when the topic of religion and spirituality entered the scene. In explaining my beliefs I stated that I do believe Jesus to have been an amazing individual with a divine message of the truth that God lies within. I also stated that I don’t believe Jesus to be someone I need to call on as my savior in order to go to a place called heaven in the afterlife. After explaining this belief, I received the often-heard comment “well I may not be practicing [as a Christian] but I do still believe.”

If you’re New Thought and from a Christian background you may have experienced hearing similar statements. I have many family members–all of whom I love dearly–that have commented on my new spiritual status, and lack of personal savior, in one way or the other. To them it seems, if you don’t have Jesus the Christ as your personal savior, you don’t have anything at all.

So what are we to do then? Even in the Bible, where verses often seem contradictory, we are encouraged to “judge not, that ye be not judged” and to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” While both pieces of advice are logical and seem ideal, it often seems harder for humans to put into practice. The domination of Christianity seems to be so deeply woven into the framework of American society that anyone who dares to stray from this belief system is immediately discarded into the “going to hell” pile or is subjected to endless attempts to “save their soul”.

I honestly don’t believe that anyone should be condemned for their spiritual beliefs. I believe that we all connect with God the best way we know how. And that the very search to be closer to God, that commitment–in whatever form it takes–is to be celebrated and honored.

What do you think? Was Jesus just more in tune with his divine nature as a child of God than the rest of us? Or was Jesus a savior that we must accept and surrender to before we can truly make God happy?

Joy Brownridge

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