By Robert Lido
Mr. Lido, 30, is a writer and student who lives in Upstate New York. He grew up in a Christian household. He enjoys cooking, history, philosophy, issues of religion, and the ups and downs of life.
The meaning of Christianity is this: we are all Christs. Jesus, a Jew, never would have wanted himself to be worshipped as a god. Nevertheless, he knew that he was made in the image of G'd.
Being a Christ is realizing that humankind is made in the image of G'd and acting appropriately. In this way, Jesus is not unique. Seen as an exemplary teacher, Jesus should be seen in the same way that Jews see Moses: as a man, but a man who was close to G'd.
Jesus saw himself as a teacher and a guide, a man who had been sent into the world to "bear witness to the truth." G'd is One, Jesus himself said this, but why does not Christianity take its spiritual master at face value?
Mark 12:28-29 tells the story of an encounter between Jesus and a fellow Jew, who had a very important question for him:
"One of the teachers of the Law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our G'd, the Lord is One.'" (Mark 12:28-29, NIV)
Ideally, Christian Noachism would be the religion of the Gentiles. It would unite the best aspects of the Gentile and Jewish worlds in terms of religion and philosophy. Currently, Christianity is stuffed with idolatry of Jesus, Mary, the saints and angels, and even the Devil (who seems, in the Christian mind, to be more powerful and influential than G-d Himself). This is wrong.
I see Christianity as going wrong right from the start, when the Christians began to see Jesus as a substitute for G'd and not merely a gifted teacher. I also see a truer interpretation of Christianity as being the only way the Gentile world can recover its religious foundation.
Christianity is the daughter of Judaism. Gentiles brought their own ideas, some of them correct and some of them incompatible with biblical religion, to Jesus' way of life. There is no reason why Aristotle or Plato can't be compatible with a biblical outlook. (Maimonides considered Aristotle to be the greatest of the philosophers.) But the fundamental truth of the Torah is that G'd is One. Neither is there any reason why Jesus can't be highly exalted; Jews exalt and honor Moses and the Prophets, but without turning them into divine beings. Anything that contradicts the essence of G'd is One is incompatible with monotheism.
The life, death, and teachings of Jesus are powerful: the Heavenly Father is One, the One G'd of all mankind. He cares for everyone and His first and only command are for humans to treat each other with love and consideration. Does this make Jesus a divine being, for saying these things? No, because men like Hillel, a Jewish rabbi and great sage, were saying the very same things before Jesus lived and died. In the Gentile world, men like Socrates taught in much the same way.
No one would consider Hillel or Socrates to be a god, so why is Jesus special? Let me answer: Because of 2,000 years of misunderstanding Jesus and the essence of Judaism.
A Christian can honor Jesus without worshipping him. A Christian should worship only G'd, the Heavenly Father. Any question of the trinity or Jesus being co-equal with G'd is irrelevant to monotheism, the essence of which is contained in Israel's great statement of faith, the shema Deuteronomy 6:4):
"Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One."