Updated 16 September 2023
Sometimes the best path is a new one.
Love works when nothing else does.
It has always been a mental wrestling match with me that people seem to compete between religions and even within a same religion for who’s the most “right”.
Finding a common ground point is something I’d always wanted and struggled with since I was young. I wasn’t finding it at my church. The Bible was confusing. I finally narrowed my focus to God’s words. Especially Jesus’s words. Yet still gave credence, but a lot less credence to the Bible’s human writers.
The Bible teaches and inspires us as God’s inerrant Word. But could the humans that assembled the Bible canon ever have been wrong about certain writings? Could it be that our prideful human ‘god aspirations’ distort our thinking?
Some say that if ANY part of the Bible is in error then the entire Bible is invalid. That’s self centered irrational thinking. God didn’t PHYSICALLY write the Bible… inspired humans did. God “breathes” on everyone that loves and seeks Him! God knows that we fully humans are prone to making mistakes. Scripture contains God’s messaging and it also contains fully human mistake prone writings. see Luke 8:21
Taken literally, John 3:16-18 indicates that only believing in Jesus Christ allows us to be with God in Heaven.
John was a man… a fully human man. John and Jesus had a special relationship. Jesus’s death and the way he died would have hurt John especially deeply. Understandably, there’s a great deal of emotion in John’s writings. He had just cause to be hurt and angry about his friend being taken from him as if a criminal.
I believe that John wrote Truth. I also understand that he was subject to his own emotions, like we all are. I don’t see a conflict in John’s writings. I see love, fully human love, for his dear friend Jesus.
Jesus taught in parables. He said that we would not enter Heaven except through him. He taught that if we love, we will be with the Father and that if we didn’t, we would not. Simple as that. Love is what Jesus taught. His “rules” were the parables in which He taught proper thinking and behavior. His “rules” were basically ONE rule.
People can love without the Bible. Not everyone is exposed to Christianity. Even if they are exposed, many do not believe it’s truth.
The Message from Jesus is that we should follow God’s command in our mind and heart. People can be following Jesus’s teaching in their thoughts and behavior without being a “Christian”. We do better to follow Jesus’s teachings and not John’s.
We can appreciate John’s writings just as we appreciate all the writers of the Bible. Their work frames God’s messaging. But our “rules” should only come from God.
Jesus taught in common sense terms and only had one primary and fundamental rule to live by:
Jesus didn’t teach us doctrines. He taught us to love. He taught us to love others. He taught us how to love ourselves.
Religion should not be a competition. Man’s invented doctrines are subject to error as evidenced by the number of different man-made rule sets. It’s God’s simple command to LOVE. Even agnostics and atheists are a religion when they love themselves, others, and realize Nature as a mysterious source of Love. Our BEHAVIOR and THOUGHTS are what matters most. Hate will get us closer to Hell. Love will get us closer to God.
Choosing to be a Christian is not the ONLY way to Heaven. It’s just the only way, according to John.
I believe that Love is the only way to Heaven, according to God.
It finally seems exquisitely simple and perfect. When we love, we are as one. No matter what the religion. Don’t you feel it when you meet a stranger and become friends? Your new friend could be any “religion” or “religious denomination”. We only get into trouble when we stray from love.
We should recognize that all of us can have the common denominator of LOVE in how we interact with ourselves, others and our un-caused Creator of Creation (Nature).
LOVE is the foundation that Heaven is built on… not man’s doctrines.