Religion drives horrible lies deep into us.

For example, Jesus is not the theological second part of the Godhead. The issue of how Jesus can be both human and divine is irrelevant.

Now, I do not side with atheists or modernists. But a great lie is taught every Sunday by untold countless preachers, all relating to this.

Bible-Religious teaching roots itself in Christology, the philosophical and theological analysis of what Jesus should be and do. It has the false veneer of Bible study. Yet it is not. Instead, human reason, rationalism at its worst and institutional power replace the one thing that cannot be replaced – love. “We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God’s love live in God, and God lives in them. God’s love has reached its goal in us. So we look ahead with confidence to the day of judgment. While we are in this world, we are exactly like him {with regard to love}. No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn’t have perfect love. We love because God loved us first” (1 John 4:16-19 God’s Word).

Love – compassionate, respectful, generous, behaviour that pursues justice (fair, balanced and God-centred processes practiced openly) in an attitude of humility and overt submission to God and God’s Words, not denominational doctrine or congregational constitutions.

Jesus is real, can be seen and thrills to have a personal relationship with those who want it, at levels of awareness that religion teaches cannot happen.

Conversion of Paul by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (circa 1600)

Conversion of Paul by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (circa 1600)

Paul saw Jesus. Jesus spoke to Peter so audibly that he heard it with his ears. Jesus appeared to John so vividly that a whole book of the Bible, Revelation, records the series of visual encounters. Moses saw God. Elijah heard God distinctly, even though it came as a whisper. God’s visit to Job went even beyond the senses to touch him deep in his soul. Jacob wrestled with a messenger that, as the account concludes, turns out to be God.

Christology, theology, eschatology, doctrine and catechism are so irrelevant, so brutally limiting, that should it all be erased from our knowledge it wouldn’t cause a single ripple.

I can tell you my wife is one of ten children, and that she is a twin. She grew up in a Christian home. She has had several jobs, both for pay and volunteer.

But so what?

I love her, not because she can be described or limited to her own biography, but because I am in relationship with her. That makes it count. She is real, far more real than any historical, psychological or sociological analysis of her or her identity.

Jesus is no less. Indeed, Jesus is more, because Jesus cannot be limited by time or space.

So, here is a religious secret revealed. Jesus can be encountered for real by anyone.

“We love because God loved us first.”