I was raised a Catholic — not a Christmas/Easter (Chreaster) Catholic — but a devout, attend-church-at-least-once-a week-Catholic. I had a wonderful relationship with Jesus, but there was always a nagging doubt in the back of my mind.
In adulthood I went full blown atheist for a few years, but that didn’t feel right either. Eventually, I settled more into belief in a universal consciousness, practicing a lot of the teachings of Buddhism and the Yoga Sutras. It just felt more relatable.
This article has helped me understand why: the Jesus I was taught about in Church can’t possibly understand me. He doesn’t know what it is to be called a “sewer rat” throughout all of seventh grade. He doesn’t understand the pain that comes from being emotionally abandoned by his entire family. He can’t relate to the distress of being only valued by romantic partners for his sexuality or his friendship, but not both by the same person. He can’t possibly fathom the annihilation of self-confidence that comes from being in a relationship with a narcissist. He can’t empathize with how difficult it is emotionally to be a 34-year-old childless woman (fuck hormones!) who doesn’t actually want kids at this point in her life, but is terrified her body will give up on her by the time she is ready. Of course the Divine Jesus could choose love at all costs; he didn’t know these pains
The Jesus you describe gets it: how difficult it can be to just be a human. And yet he still chose non-violence and love.
The quote I highlighted in particular is a glaring reminder that all religious paths point to the same place. When viewed from the perspective I have gained from yoga and Buddhism, it’s now so blindingly obvious that The Kingdom of God isn’t something we have to stand ideally by and wait for. It’s not something that happens externally. The Kingdom of God is merely a state of mind — no different than Samadhi (bliss) in Yoga or Enlightenment in Buddhism. It’s achieved through work on the self and acceptance of the human condition.
If the Bible had been translated in more modern times (or rather, if it hadn’t been so badly butchered and corrupted over the years) perhaps Christianity would have resonated more with me as an adult. It’s a shame really; Jesus was indeed a pretty cool dude.