You'd think that something so important to one's eternal future as to the who, where, when, how and why's of Jesus, would be more easily understood and clearly known. Some would say it is, as all you need to do is read the Bible and do what it says. Of course, millions do that and manage to come up with thousands of ways to be or not be, and things to do or not do based on the same text. Let's face it. Where two or three who want to do what Jesus wants' them to do are gathered together, there is confusion and arguments. It has been that way since Judas kissed Jesus in the Garden between those who speak for Jesus.
One thing is sure. We will look back on the Da Vinci Code as a movie that was not really entertainment, but rather, an open door to question what so many suspect but dare not say or think. By the many, I mean the average church going seeker.Theologians have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to the who and what of Jesus life and times, and the Church history that followed. Careers have been made on showing that Jesus was a sage, a prophet, an intinerent healer, a Rabbi, a Pharisee, a mystic. His death has been described as real, faked, imagined or symbolic.
He either did or didn't survive the crucifixion. If he did survive, he either went to India or died in Japan. If he didn't, he was eaten by dogs, resurrected to heaven, or buried on a hill in Galilee where his brother James then took over the family business and started a church.
mostly Jewish in nature.In the New Testament, we have to admit that the supposed twelve men who spent time with Jesus, ate with, and were instructed by him, never wrote much about him, if at all. Most theologians tell us that the Gospels were not written by the men whose names they are defined by. I believe this is probably true. Seems strange that the taught would not pass on the teachings of the teacher. But then again, enough other, yet unacceptable Gospels to the Church, have been discovered to where maybe they did, but most don't want to hear about it as Jesus did indeed kiss Mary too often according to one.
According to another, Judas was really the best friend of Jesus and did nothing wrong, and yet another tells us that Jesus spent all night naked with a young man iniating him into the mysteries.On the other hand, we are stuck with the realization that most of the New Testament doctrine, rules on what God wants or doesn't want, Jesus role in our salvation and such, comes from a man, Paul, who never met Jesus. He never spent one minute with him in real time and was not taught by Jesus personally. Paul rarely if ever quotes Jesus, knows nothing of his birth or physical death, tells nothing of his healings or miracles and repeats none of his teachings. We labor under the advice of this man, who was never married, gives to the married.
We let this man tell us how to raise children, yet he had none. We allow him to define how relationships must be, yet he had none that we know of. And last but not least, we allow him to define Jesus and the entire plan of salvation to us because he met Jesus as a bright ball of light in his head and heard a voice making him Jesus spokesman on earth to mankind.
On the other hand, while that is how Luke describes his calling and meeting with Jesus, Paul himself never tells that story in his own writings and says he was simply called from the womb. Confusing huh?.We have personality conflicts. Paul withstands Peter to the face for not eating with Gentiles when James shows up. Peter gets to have the Church built upon himself, depending on how you read the passage. Paul doesn't like Peter, James and John and calls them men "who seem to be Pillars" but then admits they added nothing to his Gospel.
John runs with Peter to the empty tomb of Jesus but Peter doesn't get it, yet John does because, after all, he is the disciple who Jesus loved, or not depending on who you believe. The Jewish Church hates the Gentile one of Paul and Paul thinks everyone but him needs to be accursed and castrated if they are going to insist on circumcisn. Youch!.Sometimes we think Jesus is just Jewish and pro Sabbath with adjustments to practicing it, and sometimes we think he trashed it all. Paul is either for the "holy, righteous, just and good" law or he thinks it is a slave master and those who keep it are stupid and ignorant of the true God. Then we find Paul keeps it around those that do and doesn't around those that don't because he wants to be all things to all men, which means you can never really know what the man believes! Paul promises James to tell the gentiles not to eat meat offered to idols and then goes and tells him James is full of bull and the idol is nothing.
James tells us that faith without works is dead and Paul says works are useless and faith is everything, whatever Faith is. We are told to "just believe" and we shall be saved, and that the wages of sin, which is the breaking of the law, is death, even though the law is done away. Whoa momma.can't we all just get along!.If there ever was a book written that spiins the mind of man in a hundred contradictory directions at once, it has to be the Bible.
The proof of this is the hundreds of denominations and thousands of church types all claiming to accurately represent the practices and beliefs of the New Testament Church, and yet of course, all practicing differently, including which days and holidays to keep or not keep in Jesus name.Christianity by nature is devisive as is monotheism. Let's face it, if one knows the one and true god, all others are doomed to be either persecuted, marginalized or converted like it or not. It's all divisive and spins our need to find a workable spirituality round and round, endlessly looking for the "true church." One can never be confident they have found it, nor sure that their truth is the truth. That's the nature of religion and organizational and group beliefs.
In the New Testament, Paul had his beliefs, James had his, Peter had his, John had his and they all differed, even if we think they did not.In my own experience with the Worldwide Church of God and it's change from a more Jewish and James like Church to the more acceptable Gentile and Paul like Church, the fact that humans simply can't agree is evident. The WCG experience is exactly what happened between James and Paul to the original believers in Jesus. They tore each other apart in the name of their champion Jesus as each perceived him.
There never was a true church under James AND Paul. It was James OR Paul and is to this day. Those two men, one a brother of Jesus who probably at least knew Jesus perspectives best, and the other a maybe, maybe not former Pharisee or Temple thug who met Jesus in his head, vying in the New Testament for control.
James finally got written out of the story. Paul won and the rest is the rather confused Christianity we have today. The problem the Church has to day is thinking that somehow, Paul and James believed the same about Jesus and what the early Church really was to be and do.
Ministers, to this day spend hours making sermons makes sense trying to include both perspectives in their teachings as if they agreed. They are wrong. They probably hated each other with a vengeance.So back to the Da Vinci Code. It's just one perspective which may to some be true, but to most not. There are many others.
Would it not have been nice if God and Jesus had been more clear and not left things up to men to pass on? Maybe we'd have been better off if Jesus had been 900 feet tall as Oral Roberts said once! And that we all got to see that as he walked around the earth making it clear he really was Jesus and the 950 foot being next to him was really God the father! No such luck. We're stuck with a God and Jesus as defined by men who may or may not alays have had our best interest in mind. One Pope was reported to have said "what a great profit this myth of Jesus has brought us." Others say he never said that. Who knows.We are entering a time of questioning and it's ok to ask questions.
I think and hope we will see more "movies" that really will cause us to think and question everything from our origins, to our meaning and purpose. They might be accurate or they might be baloney. At least they will cause us to think and maybe outgrow the need to be right, while we believe everyone that does not see the world as we do, are wrong and needs to be converted or eliminated..
By: Dennis Diehl