The Christ Test
Should the new Christ teach Christianity?
When asked which commandment is the most important, Jesus replies that loving God with all of your heart, soul and mind is the greatest and that the second is love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:29-31). Where this is taught, the Word of God is taught. Where it is lived the Word of God lives. Yet, there are many who echo this same message. For instance, Meher Baba offers this same message and is a living example. In this greatest of similarities, there is no disagreement that the new Christ must teach the most essential elements of Christianity. Meher Baba goes on to emphasis that the path to salvation is not exclusive to one religion, and the path is no easier in one religion or another, thereby confirming the Truth of Christianity as well as other religions. I believe that no matter who the new Christ may be, that the message He brings must transcend the barriers of worldly religions.
Christian and Sufi Conflicts
There are significant elements of Christian doctrine that are not in agreement with Sufism, a central focus of Meher Baba’s teaching and the belief of many of his followers. To be a Christian one must surrender to and seek salvation through Jesus Christ. What often goes unrecognized by Christians is that the personal surrender, love and dedication to God are the means to salvation within many religions. Just as Christianity claims an exclusive path to salvation and God, so do Islam, Hinduism and other great religions. The exclusive road to salvation and the teaching that surrounds it is one of the most powerful aspects of any faith, for it is necessary to focus on one way in order to find salvation in loving of God. The absolute devotion and blind faith that is required is something that is done without specific guidance (from scripture and a teacher) except in the most rare of circumstances, and without the support of a spiritual community it is all but impossible.
In John 14:6, Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father, but through me.” This provides precedence for the exclusive claim Christians have on salvation (the opportunity to become one with God). In this way Christians are willing to share God with other religions, but not salvation. While Jesus teaches to love thy neighbor as thyself, Christian doctrine is prejudice against those who are not Christian and not saved through Christ as being unequal in the eyes of God. This kind of tolerance demands a conditional love while total acceptance of others is unconditional love -- a brotherly love and the love of the God in us all. This barrier or a rejection in accepting the validity of all other religions is difficult for outsiders to embrace and prevents most Christians from ever completely obeying Christ’s commandments. The differentiating concept of “us and them” runs very deep in most religions and societies.
Exclusive Salvation and True Love
Exclusivity to salvation also requires that Christians spread their religious faith, even in the face of resistance, in order to offer salvation to non-Christians (also true of other evangelistic religions). While many Christians do not impose their belief on others, they must always differentiate those that are and are not saved and welcome the opportunity to introduce those who show any interest to their faith and belief. At the same time this doctrine prevents Christians from agreeing with the Sufi tenant that all major religions offer a true path to salvation, and that Sufism itself is one of many ways. This is one point that Sufism differs from Islam even though Sufism is usually considered part of Islam. In fact, various denominations of Sufism disagree on this point just as Christian denominations do. This universal acceptance is critical if one is to truly love thy neighbor as thyself -- accepting everyone as equally loved by God and passing no judgment of spiritual worth before God’s judgment. That is not to say that everyone should be trusted, but everyone should be loved and appreciated as being an element of God. Meher Baba goes further to place love of God and love of others above all doctrine.
I believe that teaching the self-righteousness of any one person; group of people or religion goes against the very grain of the teachings of Jesus in The Bible and cannot be the true message of The Christ. The most devoted Christians, those who are recognized by their acts and devotion, overcome this conflict by their love of God and the Grace necessary to avoid the urge to judge others. Yet, with doctrine that reinforces the exclusivity of salvation there are many Christians who find themselves unable to completely surrender judgment to Christ and cling to the sin of self-righteousness.
Absolute Faith and Love Above All
People must have absolute faith in God to find salvation, no matter which path they follow. This requires that each individual embrace a singularity of belief. This means that believing that only one religion offers unity with God can be spiritually helpful - allowing one to come to God as a child without questioning the righteousness of the way. It is not so much that Sufism is right and Christianity is wrong about other religions since leaving the choice of finding the “right way” to the individual makes the spiritual journey all that much more difficult. Following more than one religion with the absolute devotion generates so many conflicts that faith is necessarily compromised. Even when someone benefits from the teachings found in multiple religions, the deepest core of faith must be rooted in only one. The deepest roots are all fed from the same source, but too many beliefs makes it more difficult to grow deep roots.
To be a Christian and believe in Meher Baba as the new Christ is to straddle two worlds, each tugging at the other. Balance is achieved by standing firmly in one place and then reaching out, either from within Christianity, Sufism or another religion. In the end, each person must find his or her own way to realizing God. You cannot join a group and collectively find God. It is an individual experience. Yet, the support of a community and a religion is almost universally critical in keeping ethical and moral alignment in the personal quest for salvation and the Love of God. The teachings of Jesus or a new Christ must therefore transcend the limits of any particular religion, allowing the individual to remain in balance and on track while benefiting from a new spiritual awareness.
The Christ Test Main Page
Should the new Christ perform miracles?
Should the new Christ be Christian?
Are you crazy if think you are Christ?
Should the new Christ teach Christianity?
Can the new Christ unite the doctrine of world religions?
Should the new Christ teach something new?
Should the new Christ begin a new religion?
Should everyone know the new Christ?
Should the new Christ be my personal Savior?
Should the new Christ be a man who
lives as God, teaches as God, loves as God and works as God?