Is that title inflammatory? lol
Blame it on the hour and a half preaching session I had with my well meaning father who was trying ever so hard to direct my behavior and save my soul by quoting scripture and offering to send me religious literature.
I have a friend who also writes a blog and in one of her blog posts she talked about Lot and his wife and how she became a pillar of salt. I read it and shook my head and said to my computer screen, "The author of that tale wasn't being literal!" And I sent a message to my friend telling her what I felt like the true meaning of that story was about. Lot's wife was told not to look back but she did and she became a pillar of salt. As a fellow writer, I use metaphors all the time when trying to explain something in terms that it might help others understand. The author of that passage was being poetic. He was saying that she shouldn't dwell in the past and focus on the fall of the city. But she did look back and her sorrow and grief consumed her. Everyone knows that tears are salty and by saying she became a pillar of salt simply means she cried a lot and was consumed with grief.
After I had that spontaneous "aha" moment, I wondered what other bible stories were likely metaphors and flowery writer's speech as opposed to literal? Well, quite likely most of the stories. Why would writers from all those years ago be all that different from writers today? I dare say they were not and they are likely smacking their heads from the other side at our literal interpretations of their words.
David and Goliath is likely about one small nobody taking out a powerful and famous adversary...not a literal giant. His reputation was giant only. Maybe the dude was larger in size than the kid with the sling shot. That would be a given.
Jonah in the whale is likely about facing great personal difficulty and inner turmoil. Going into the belly of the beast and coming out with renewed faith. How many times have I used the metaphor of being swallowed up when I am feeling consumed by my darkness? A lot, actually.
Daniel and the lion's den might be about facing a rich and powerful ruler/adversary and walking away unscathed even after voicing potentially death sentence worthy thoughts and opinions.
The list could go on and on.
I have been researching Yeshua (aka Jesus) and I think I have come to a pretty good understanding of who he actually was. I mean, hey, it is progress that I can even accept that he was a real person who lived once upon a time because, until very recently, I thought he was a fairy tale character.
Basically what I have come to understand is that Yeshua's thoughts and beliefs weren't very different from my own. What the bible leaves out from his story are the years between about 14 - 30. Ask yourself what Yeshua was doing all of those years. If you research it, you will discover that Yeshua was one of the greatest travelers and he went all over the world with his uncle. Each place he went he talked to the people and learned about all different faiths and he brought that all into himself and decided what he felt to be true. The people from his Jewish faith frowned upon the things he was teaching and telling people. They accused him of heresy.
What was Yeshua actually teaching? There was a lot that was left out from the bible but if you look to the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, and the Secret Book of John...as well as others...you will learn that Yeshua was talking to people about reincarnation, taking personal responsibility for everything manifested in your own life. He taught how thoughts and beliefs create. He spoke of how God is at the center of each and every one of us and all of us can access our God center. All of us are God's children...not him alone. He tried to teach people that EVERYONE is capable of performing the "miracles" he performed...if only they choose to harness it and access it. He promoted meditation and going within. He promoted being of service to each other. He encouraged forgiveness as a way of releasing karma. He tried to get people to remember who they really were because we aren't these bodies we have a physical experience in. He wanted people to know that we are eternal beings and we don't actually die.
Yeshua was charged with heresy and being blasphemous. He was executed for what he was trying to teach people. But the people of that time weren't ready for his messages back then. Yeshua doesn't have to come back because he got off the hamster wheel we call reincarnation, but he left a message letting people know he would be back.
This will be a hard pill for you staunchly religious folks, but Yeshua didn't die for our sins. He didn't die so that you can go "Jesus, please forgive me for my sins" and you are magically forgiven. The forgiveness he was promoting is more complicated and is about treating people the way you want to be treated. He was promoting forgiving others and ourselves. He promoted self-love and seeing every single person out there as an aspect of self. He wasn't about giving people a "get out of jail free card". He wanted people to take personal responsibility for themselves and adjust their behavior accordingly. There is no "Satan" making us do bad things...only our own shadow selves getting in the way of our own growth.
Yeshua died to show us how it could be done and that death is not the end. He forgave all who tortured, beat and betrayed him. He was trying to give us a blueprint for how to move up to the next level instead of staying in the constant cycle of reincarnation. We don't have to come back over and over again but it requires us waking up, remembering who we really are, making peace with who we have been, forgiving the past, forgiving those who wronged us and letting go of our attachment to the physical world. You can't move on to the next level if you are so attached to the physical world that you just keep coming back over and over.
I realize that this information will fall on deaf ears for people, like my father, whose minds are not open and they cannot even consider what I am suggesting. But, maybe, for those people like me who were force-fed religion (aka fear, shame, guilt, etc) and came to a point of feeling like it was a fairy tale, maybe it will shine new light on a great man who tried to share the same message we are trying to share.