Discover Jesus Without Dogma
In this chapter, we debunk the false dogmas superimposed by Christianity on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. We also introduce you to present-day people who have been channeling Jesus and his teachings in a direct and dogma-free form. The sections are as follows:
Note: Unless otherwise specified, all dates are CE (Common Era). The biblical scripture is from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). Of the scriptural verses quoted in this chapter, only three reflect what we believe align with Jesus’ teachings. We identify these verses when we quote them.
The historical existence of Jesus is believed by virtually all scholars. According to the New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman, modern critical scholars of the Bible reject the opinion that Jesus did not exist. Ehrman points out, however, that the mythical Jesus is not the historical Jesus: the former is, for example, the Jesus of the stained-glass window or second-grade Sunday school class, while the latter is the historical person in Palestine. Ehrman emphatically states, “Jesus did exist, whether we like it or not,” excerpted from his book, Did Jesus Exist?
However, Jesus wasn’t the founder of the Christian religion. His life and teaching were not about religion. They were fundamentally about love, forgiveness, peace, healing, and the Presence of God (Love) dwelling within each and every one of us.
Note: Jesus of Nazareth (Jeshua ben Joseph) is known to Christians as Jesus Christ or less commonly Christ Jesus. Christ is not part of his name, rather it is a title attributed to him in the New Testament.
There is convincing non-Biblical historical evidence that Jesus did not die for our sins. The Romans crucified Jesus for being an enemy of the state. Next to the Bible, the chief source for the history and antiquity of ancient Palestine is the work of Titus Flavius Josephus (37-ca. 100), a Roman citizen, who was a 1st century Romano-Jewish historian. Josephus, writing as a Roman for a Roman and Greek audience, wrote of the crucifixion of Jesus in his Antiquities of the Jews (ca. 94), “…and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross… [our emphasis].” This indicates that Pilate was acting on behalf of the Roman Empire.
Cornelius Tacitus, generally considered one of the greatest Roman historians, wrote in The Annals (ca. 116) about the crucifixion of Jesus, “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.” Scholars generally consider this reference to the execution of Jesus as genuine. The record shows that Jesus was crucified, yet there is little evidence as to why. However, scholars generally concur that the Romans considered Jesus a threat. Opinions by various experts include that he was found guilty of sedition, treason, or instigating rebellion against Rome.
There are incriminating reports of Pontius Pilates’ animosity toward the Jews. According to Elaine Pagels (in The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics), “Even Josephus, despite his Roman sympathies, says that the governor [Pontius Pilate] displayed contempt for his Jewish subjects, illegally appropriated funds from the Temple treasury, and brutally suppressed unruly crowds. Another contemporary observer, Philo, a respected and influential member of the Alexandrian Jewish community, describes Pilate as a man of ‘ruthless, stubborn and cruel disposition,’ famous for among other things, ordering ‘frequent executions without trial.’” Pagels continues, “The historian Mary Smallwood observes that rounding up and killing troublemakers was a routine measure for Roman forces stationed in Judea. During the 1th century, the Romans arrested and crucified thousands of Jews charged with sedition.”
Given the political nature of Jesus’s crucifixion, where did the idea that “Jesus died for our sins” originate? There is no evidence that Jesus said that he was going to die for our sins. This motivation was devised by the Apostle Paul, who never met Jesus of Nazareth. Most Christians learn that Paul was a zealous Jew who persecuted Christians soon after the death of Jesus. Paul claimed that he had experienced a vision of the ascended Jesus when he was traveling on the road to the city of Damascus to persecute more Christians. This vision led to his “conversion” to a zealous follower of Christ.
In around the year 55, the Apostle Paul wrote the following passage in a letter to the Corinthians:
…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, … (1 Corinthians 15:3)
This passage was eventually to become canonical scripture and a principal doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church; thus, Paul the Apostle may well be the most important founder of the Christian religion. However, despite Paul’s claim that this was “in accordance with the scriptures,” this passage is the only place in the Bible that asserts “that Christ died for our sins.”
What prompted Paul to postulate “that Christ died for our sins?” As a Pharisaic Jew, Paul was well aware of early Judaism’s legalistic practices requiring blood sacrifice rituals. He used this “sacrifice” analogy to interpret Jesus’ crucifixion as an act of obedience to God to atone for the sins of humanity.
But what prompted Paul to postulate that humanity had some sin that required atonement? Paul relied on the story of Adam and Eve in the Hebrew book of Genesis to explain the origin of sin and death. The Adam and Eve story is a myth (see our Original Sin chapter). In his letter to Romans (Romans 5:12), Paul wrote, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned.” However, in modern times, science has demonstrated that the biblical Adam and Eve never existed. Therefore, Adam’s sin never existed. This alone proves that Jesus didn’t die for our sins.
Moreover, there is logical evidence that Paul’s theory doesn’t hold water. By virtue of the Christian dogma of the Trinity, Jesus is God. Since God is eternal, Jesus is eternal. The earthly body of Jesus “died”, but God-Jesus didn’t die, couldn’t die. How could there be a “sacrifice” of God’s “only begotten son”, when Jesus is God—who could never die?
How Credible Was Paul?
Since Paul’s theology of “Jesus died for your sins” is central to Christian doctrine, it is important to investigate Paul’s credibility. He had no God-given authority to speak; claiming to see an apparition didn’t qualify him to speak for God. Moreover, in his epistles, he contradicted himself. An example of this is his writing three separate, conflicting accounts of his “conversion” (in Acts 9:7, Acts 22:9, and Acts 26:12-18). Paul’s credibility is further in doubt because he made promises of things that didn’t happen, particularly, the second coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), which Paul was convinced would occur in his lifetime.
Early church leaders did not view Paul as an absolute authority, rather they were selective about which of his beliefs they embraced. Even though Paul’s “Christ died for our sins” theory was adopted by the Church as dogma, others were ignored. Paul did not believe in the immortality of the soul. In fact, he believed that people do not have souls. Bart Ehrman states, “As for Paul, there will indeed be a resurrection. It will be bodily. It will be a spiritual body, a perfect dwelling for life everlasting.” (Heaven and Hell)
In 1 Corinthians 15:9, Paul claims to be an apostle, though he never knew Jesus when Jesus was alive. Paul did not seem to know much about the life of Jesus as described by the Gospels, since he didn’t write about it. Also, there is no evidence that he even knew anything about Jesus’ teachings, since he didn’t write about those either. One may wonder if Paul was really interested in Jesus’ life, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way” (2 Corinthians 5:16).
Human Suffering Caused by the False Dogma that “Christ Died for Our Sins”
After Paul’s epistles were circulated, his “Christ died for our sins” dogma took hold. Early Christians began to consider Jesus to be the first Christian martyr (even though he wasn’t a Christian). Based on their misperception that he died for their sins, some early Christians were willing to die for their beliefs and become martyrs at the hands of the Romans, thereby, emulating Jesus’ persecution.
In accord with Paul’s belief that Jesus sacrificed his body, the Catholic Church developed a doctrine of mortification of the flesh, also based on Paul’s epistles. Paul wrote in Romans 8:13, “for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” The Church considers mortification of the flesh (literally, “putting the flesh to death”) to be a worthy spiritual discipline.
Mortification was commonly practiced inside of monasteries, though it was not limited to monastics. Monasticism began to develop early in the history of the Church. Monastics typically lived cloistered and ascetic lives dedicated to Christian worship. Communities of virgins who had consecrated themselves to God are found at least as far back as the 2nd century.
Examples of mortification include self-flagellation and the wearing of a course cloth called sackcloth or stiff fabric called haircloth. Self-flagellation—the devotional or disciplinary practice of flogging oneself with whips or other instruments that inflict pain—has often been done as a penance or to share in the sufferings of Jesus, in hopes of bringing the flagellant’s focus to God. Sackcloth or haircloth, traditionally made with horse hairs, was used to make clothing designed to irritate the skin. This clothing was worn by people who were repenting for their sins or wrongdoings and were seeking forgiveness from God.
The doctrine of mortification persisted throughout the ages. Before becoming the father of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther (1483-1546) had been indoctrinated in mortification as a Catholic Augustinian monk (see our Kingpins of Christianity chapter). In the monastery he pushed his body to extreme measures of austerity. He sometimes slept without a blanket in freezing weather, flagellated himself, and fasted for three-day intervals. Luther lamented, “If I had kept on any longer, I should have killed myself with vigils, prayers, reading and other work.”
Today, these kinds of activities are viewed as self-abuse and are recognized as psychologically damaging, so fortunately, the practice of mortification is now uncommon. However, Christians in contemporary society who believe that Jesus died for their sins can experience guilt and shame for erroneously thinking they are responsible for their savior’s death, which is also psychologically damaging. What kind of an organization would promote this belief? It seems to be the opposite of Jesus’ life of love and healing.
The belief that a bodily resurrection powered by spirit had restored life to a transformed body led to the establishment of Christianity. The earliest reference to the burial and resurrection of Jesus is in Paul’s 1 Corinthians 15:4, “…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,…” [our emphasis] (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
This epistle was followed by the four canonical gospels—Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, which all conclude with a narrative of Jesus’ arrest and trial, crucifixion and burial, and empty tomb and resurrection. These four gospel accounts all differ from one another. Most scholars find that the most probable account of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial is the portrayal in the oldest canonical gospel—the Gospel of Mark (Mark 15:21–42).
The origin and historicity of the resurrection of Jesus has long been the subject of research, debate and discussion among both Christian theologians and critics of Christianity. The Gospel accounts, including the empty tomb and Jesus’ appearances to his followers, have been analyzed and interpreted in diverse ways. These have been alternatively viewed, among other interpretations, as: historical accounts of a literal event in which God raised Jesus’ bodily; factual accounts of visionary experiences; non-literal doctrine about the end times; and fabrications of the early Christian writers.
What seems clear is the certainty of the Church of the literal interpretation—that God raised (resurrected) Jesus bodily. Scientifically, however, it is impossible for a person who has been executed by crucifixion, as Jesus was, to come back to life after death in the same, extremely damaged body that was executed. The only logical explanation for Jesus’ followers thinking that he returned in his physical body is that they mistakenly believed that an apparition of Jesus was a physical body.
Apparitions occur more often than most people realize. Raymond Moody, M.D., Ph.D., who researched and coined the term “near-death-experience”, also researched apparitions. In his Reunions: Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones, Moody writes, “A number of studies published in medical journals and other scholarly sources have established that a high percentage of bereaved persons have visions of the deceased. Studies suggest that as many as 66 percent of widows experience apparitions of their departed husbands.” In another study, Erlendur Haraldsson, Ph.D., completed an extensive study of Europeans who confirmed that they had a personal experience in a waking state with the deceased; 67% of them said they had visual sightings (The Departed Among the Living: An Investigative Study of Afterlife Encounters). This phenomenon is covered by some of the books that we feature in our Death and Dying chapter.
Mediumship has a long history. Pamela Rae Heath and John Klimo have combined over 200 years of published material on the afterlife from the great religious and spiritual teachings of the world, including mediumship and channeling. In their book Handbook to the Afterlife, they explain that “For at least 2,500 years, and across virtually all countries, cultures, and peoples, one can find thousands of stories and reports of individuals who claim, or have had claims made of them, that they are receiving messages from spirits who exist on some kind of level of reality other than our own here on physical earth.” Their book also includes information on apparitions.
Note: We estimate there are thousands of non-fiction books that have been written about communication with spirits. We feature a small fraction of these, which we have vetted, in our Mediumship, Near-Death Experiences, Out-of-Body Experiences, and Death and Dying chapters.
Christians Have Been Forbidden to Seek Out Mediums—Why?
Perhaps the main reason why clerics forbid their followers to avoid mediums is that the act of communicating with a deceased spirit or soul disproves the doctrine of an eternity in heaven or hell. Not being confined to a heaven or hell, the souls of the deceased are free to communicate with their loved ones on Earth. Such communication can include information about the wide variety of experiences among deceased spirits that naysay Christian ideas of heaven and hell. Hence, the departed souls are labeled demons or the devil or other undesirable descriptions.
Some Christian clerics have drawn upon the (Old Testament), to justify forbidding consultation with mediums. This despite the fact that only three verses, all from the Book of Leviticus, discourage turning to mediums. The most widely quoted of these three verses is:
Do not turn to mediums or wizards; do not seek them out, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:31)
Christian clerics quote this ancient verse to try to prevent their followers from seeing mediums. Less often. they quote the second of the three verses:
If any turn to mediums and wizards, prostituting themselves to them, I will set my face against them, and will cut them off from the people. (Leviticus 20:6)
The last of these three verses is an example of clerics choosing inappropriate verses from the Bible to control their followers. We cannot imagine that any cleric would use it:
A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned to death, their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:27)
These are but three of the 613 commandments in the Hebrew Bible and are the only ones that condemn mediumship.
As noted above, many Christian clerics are quick to quote Leviticus 19:31 to keep their followers from going to mediums, but how many of them quote Leviticus 20:27. Christian clerics don’t tell their followers to stone mediums to death, since it is morally wrong and also in direct conflict with the “Do not kill” commandment.
Verse 10 in this 20th chapter of Leviticus also commands killing:
If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.
What kind of a God would command such a thing?
The punishments recommended by these verses are contrary to the essence and teachings of Jesus. Obviously, it is not the God of love that is commanding violence and murder. But who was it, and why was this written? The Book of Leviticus is one of the five “Books of Moses” in the Torah of the Hebrew Bible, which, as we have discussed previously, became the part of the Christian Bible known as the Old Testament.
Leviticus was revised and greatly expanded during the Babylonian exile by Judean priests to preserve and strengthen the Judean (Jewish) national identity about 2,500 years ago. The instructions of Leviticus emphasize legal, ritualistic practices. These instructions were designed by Jewish religious writers to unite and control the Jewish population. In order to get their message across with authority, the Jewish authors knew that their own words wouldn’t be nearly as convincing as would words issuing from the mouth of God as a directive to the Jewish people. For more information, see our Hebrew Bible chapter.
These directives certainly weren’t written for people alive today. Still, in the 21st century, many in the Christian clergy are repeating these same words, implying authority when there is no authority whatsoever. However, like the ancient Judean priests who wanted their people to remain true to Judaism, Christian leaders quote the first two verses about mediums to bind their followers to their churches. To keep their followers away from mediums, some clerics use words like demons, sin, hell, Satan, or the devil when referring to mediums. Anyone who sincerely wonders whether the ancient biblical verses against mediums have any bearing on life in the 21th century should consider reading Leviticus in its entirety.
Jesus Was a Medium
According to scripture, Jesus himself was a medium:
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matthew 17:1-4)
According to this verse, the spirits of Moses and Elijah, who had died many hundreds of years before, appeared to Jesus. In communicating with the spirits of Moses and Elijah, Jesus was acting as a medium between the living and the dead. He gave his disciples proof that the spirits of the departed can communicate to people on Earth. Of course, clerics don’t point to this evidence that Jesus acted as a medium.
Our focus here is channeled communication from the being that we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Channeling, or the gift of clairaudience, is a way that people have communicated with those in higher dimensions throughout time. Channeling is the way Jesus can communicate with humanity today. Most fortunately, his words today are in a form that we can easily understand. They are spoken in present day speech for readers in Western cultures.
When Jesus incarnated over 2,000 years ago, He came to teach humanity about love and forgiveness. His message is essentially the same today. A common denominator among all information channeled from Jesus is the nature of the messages. They are about love, forgiveness, peace, healing, and the presence of God within each and every person. How in the world could any Church or cleric in good conscience condemn their followers for receiving messages about love, peace forgiveness, healing and the presence of God within each and every person?
Tom Cain has been on a spiritual journey since 1984 and had a spiritual awakening in 2003. Most of the books that he read during his spiritual quest were based on Eastern mysticism, as was the wisdom that he received from the majority of spiritual teachers he saw. However, in recent years, Tom discovered books that were channeled from Jesus, and he considers these channeled books to be among the best sources of spiritual wisdom due to their fundamental truths, clarity, and comprehensiveness. Many of Jesus’ channelings by other individuals appear in the form of articles that are not included here.
Emanuel Swedenborg: A Christian Medium Who Communicated with Jesus
The oldest examples we have found of communication from Jesus that appear in writing since the New Testament are in the volumes by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). He was a Swedish Lutheran who was a theologian, philosopher, scientist and mystic. He had a spiritual awakening in which he received a revelation that Jesus had chosen him to write The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine (1758). In True Christian Religion, he designated himself as a “Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We recognize him as a medium for Jesus. The majority of the two dozen books he wrote were mostly theological, but there were also books on science and philosophy. He was very influential and prominent, and his books continue to be read to this day. When Jesus taught in human form, his teachings were geared to the level of consciousness of his followers; the same could be said of Swedenborg.
Authors of Recent Books Channeled from Jesus (aka Jeshua)
Jesus is still healing and changing lives today in the 21th century. We have identified seven exemplary modern mediums/channels through whom he has chosen to channel his teachings. Note that although Science-Based Awakening is featuring the works of these channels in this book, we receive no compensation from them.
These channels have authored a number of books containing Jesus’ channeled messages. They are listed here in alphabetical order by author:
- Judith Coates has been a channel for Jesus for over 25 years, and has published many books from Jesus, as well as others. In some cases, she has channeled for groups of people who receive information that is specific to individuals in the groups. She lives in Washington State.
- Glenda Green is an artist and author. She has taught art history at Tulane University and the University of Oklahoma. She is a leading portrait painter and realist; 20% of her work is now owned by museums such as the Louvre, Prado and the British Museum. Jesus has appeared to her, which led to several paintings of him and two books describing her experience and his teachings. She lives in Texas.
- Mercedes Kirkel is a spiritual teacher and multi-award-winning author. She also channels Mary Magdalene. Mercedes lives in New Mexico.
- Pamela Kribbe holds a doctorate in philosophy. She channeled The Jeshua Channelings (2008), which has been translated into seventeen languages. Pamela lives in the Netherlands.
- Gina Lake has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and has channeled over a dozen recent books from Jesus. She lives in Arizona.
- Helen Schucman was a professor of medical psychology at Columbia University. In 1976, She channeled A Course in Miracles (ACIM), which has been translated into twenty-seven languages. This is the earliest channeled material among the six mediums that are presented here.
- Tina Louise Spaulding has channeled several books from Jesus. She had spent many years studying The Course of Miracles before she began channeling him. She lives in British Columbia, Canada.
Although some of the words in the Bible that Jesus purportedly spoke were created by people who never knew him, many biblical passages do reflect what he actually spoke. In some of His channeled books, especially the ones channeled by Gina Lake, Jesus talks about the biblical passages that he actually spoke and explains their meaning.
A Note About the Course in Miracles (ACIM)
The Course consists of three sections: the Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers. Millions of copies have been sold. The A Course in Miracles Text contains 365 readings that are intended to be read once a day over a full year. Often, a person who is studying the course participates in a regularly scheduled study group facilitated by a course teacher.
Some people find the structure of the text difficult to read and comprehend. Several alternatives are available for those people. The most widely used of these are:
- Journey Through the Workbook of a Course in Miracles (2005, 2011). This is a 7-volume analysis and foundation for ACIM written by Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D., the original ACIM editor.
- A Year of Forgiveness: A Course in Miracles: Lessons with Commentary from Jesus (2020) channeled by Tina Louise Spaulding.
- 365 DAYS OF A COURSE IN MIRACLES offers subscribers the 365 daily lessons of Workbook read by Marianne Williamson.