Okay, now I have read the entire thread. SO much was discussed by folks who know so much more about it than I do. SO, I just wanted to say thanks for the discussion. This was so long ago probebly none of the posters will see this, but it was certainly something I needed to read toight.
The relationship you have with God is the most important and surrender the rest. Talk to God often like you do without the religious "stuff" to get in the way of your relationship with God.. Maybe you connect with the term spiritual instead of identifying with a religion that tells you how to believe. Just a thought...but keep asking questions it the way to receive the answers you need.
I consider myself a Christian because I follow the teachings of Jesus (even though it sucks sometimes).
I don't know if he was the son of God. I don't know for sure that there is a heaven or a hell. I don't know for sure if it's true that Jesus is the only way to God. To me, that is where faith comes in. If for some reason not 100 percent believing these things means I will go to hell (if it exists) so be it. I still do not regret following the teachings of Jesus. I personally feel that it's far more likely there are going to be some pretty (momentarily let's hope) butthurt Christians up in in heaven when they look around and see a lot of people who do not share their theological beliefs that our church has murdered people in the name of purity over (such as trinitarian doctrine, ect.)
I think there is room for personal doubt in the practice of faith.
Who was it that first got to touch Jesus after the resurrection? The ones who claimed pure faith? No. Thomas was invited to touch, because of his doubt, and comforted. Jesus loved him, did not cast him out (a lesson IMO the church might do well to emulate), and he died a martyr just like everyone else. Obviously doubts do not preclude faith. It makes me sad that these days people act as if they are mutually exclusive.
They are not.
Technically the answer would be no. I was raised Christian myself but have since come to the conclusion that Jesus is no more or less the son of God than all the rest of God's children. In spirit we are all sons of God but in the flesh sons of man.
I don't know if this thread is still being followed, and I haven't read any of the other replies, but as soon as I read your post, Learning_Mum, I thought "Oh, she's a Muslim!"
I believe that you can be a Muslim follower of the Sunnah (or tradition/life) of Jesus, peace be upon him. "Muslim" literally means "One who submits to God" and Islam literally means "Submission/Surrender to God," or, to attempt to live in alignment with God's Will, and so as Muslims we believe that Jesus taught Islam and was a Muslim. He was a great and beloved Prophet.
Muslims believe in all of the same Prophets that Christians and Jews believe in, additionally believing that Muhammad was the last, the "Seal" of the Prophets. We don't call ourselves "Muhammadans" because we believe really strongly in not associating partners with God. So we try to emulate the lifestyle and values of our Prophets, peace be upon them all, but we acknowledge that we are Submitters to God (Muslims) only.
People get really caught up in thinking Islam is this very foreign, distinctly Arab religion, but that is a very narrow view of it. The feelings and beliefs you are describing are Islam--something that is very universal. We do believe that Muhammad gave us the most updated, uncorrupted instructions/guidance and we perform ritual worship in the tradition of the way he taught us, but none of that is in conflict with what Jesus taught. I am a white Midwesterner with a German/English heritage and I know many other converts like myself. We do believe that the Christian and Jewish scriptures have some remnants of the original teachings but that they have been corrupted and are not in their original, complete form. You might be interested in reading the Qur'an and what it says about Jesus' teachings. I would recommend Muhammad Asad's translation or this one: http://www.amazon.com/The-Quran-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/0199535957/ref=pd_sim_b_34, if you are interested.
May God's blessings and peace be with you while you're on this journey. :)
Muslim convert attachment mama to 2, stepmama to 3 more. Married to a Warrior Spirit.
"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." ~Mother Teresa of Calcutta
I just came across this and haven't read the whole 7 pages, but I thought I would throw my 2 cents in. The trinity is seen throughout the entire bible- ot and nt. When Jacob wrestles with God- that was Jesus, when Abraham sees the LORD it was Jesus, etc. Then David many times talks about God not taking his spirit from him.
Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. He is the "photograph" of God. It was like God took a poloroid of himself and sent it to earth. Then The Holy Spirit is the breath of God. He is the whisper of God himself. It would be like my breath is part of me but separate.
At John 8:58, the King James Version has Jesus using the expression “I am” in connection with himself, saying, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” But here the expression is quite different from the one used at Exodus 3:14.
Actually, he did not quote from Exodus 3:14
If you are very serious about having or finding truth
You will find this extremely interesting
I apologize that I don't think I'll have time to read through all the replies anytime soon -- but I recently checked out a really fascinating book from the library on mystic Christianity. It's A Series of Lessons in Mystic Christianity by Yogi Ramacharaka.
My reading of this book actually wasn't my first time of hearing the idea that Jesus studied and was strongly influenced by Eastern philosophies. I've heard from other sources that many of Jesus' famous teachings, such as the Sermon on the Mount, echo Buddhist philosophy.
As I understand it, the basic premise of Mystic Christianity is that Jesus, like Buddha and some other Spiritual leaders, was able to tune in to the higher realities and help mankind evolve into a higher spirituality,
I personally no longer see God as a separate entity. I see God as the life-force, awareness, or spirit that flows through everything and everyone. From that standpoint, I guess you could say I believe that we are all a part of God -- some of us are just more highly-conscious of God than others.
I definitely respect the teachings of Jesus, just as I respect many of the Eastern teachings. But I also recognize that the Gospels were written a long time after Jesus' time as a man here on Earth. Plus, since I believe the Spirit is flowing through me and giving me wisdom, I simply don't read any teaching and assume that it's all word-for-word true. I just see others' teachings as helps to me on my spiritual journey -- and as my knowledge is continually evolving, I allow my "teachers" the same room that I allow myself to be "in process" and not to have everything down pat.
I honestly can't recall the last time anyone asked me what my religion was, but I think the topic does come up more frequently among younger people, especially teenagers. I guess if someone asks me, depending on the situation and how interested the person seems to be (presumably, if they're asking, they must really want to know, right?), I might just say I'm Unitarian Universalist and leave it at that, or I might go more in-depth and share my current, but ever-evolving, perceptions of life and the Universe.
And if someone asks me if I believe in Jesus, I'll be frank and say that I do not believe that faith in Jesus is the only way to salvation, nor do I believe that a loving God sends his children to hell (or, for those who like to twist it around and say "God doesn't send anyone to hell -- they send themselves by not believing the prescribed formula," I'll take it a step further and say that I don't believe there's a hell prepared for anyone because God is love, and there's no room for hell in a universe of love.)
As far as the Christian holidays, they were all built upon Pagan traditions, and they're definitely part of Western secular culture, so it seems to me that each individual and family is free to celebrate them in any way they choose.