My parents raised me a Roman Catholic. Like them, I got indoctrinated with their belief since birth, and adopted that as a consequence. I even became an altar boy at age 9, and managed to stay that for 3 years
By the time I was expected to take Holy Communion, I had lost all faith but just went along as to not let my parents down - so I played that part
Why did I lose faith under these ideal circumstances? Because of all the conflicting messages. God created us after his own image, meaning that we are perfect. Yet, Adam and Eve ignored his order and got expelled from the Garden of Eden, causing all of us to be sinners from birth. Yet, Christ died for all our sins, so that should have made us back to square one, right?
So, with all those questions and no answers, I did my own research: I read the Bible. It meant that I picked my own version of the Bible, not the kid's one, and started reading.
Apparently, God created man and woman after his image. If you read the Bible, you'll see that he did do this in Genesis 1:27:
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them
Regardless of that fact, another creation was achieved:
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man
This is taken from the books of Genesis, the start of the old Testament, which is also known as the Pentateuch to Jews - to that point, Jews and Christians share the exact same stories.
Now, the question arises: if we take just the first and second chapter of the very first Book, and read this, what keeps us from wondering about the contradictions?
The answer: your local priest (at best)
Fast forward 30 years. I'm still looking for the meaning of life, and stumble upon the Gospel of Thomas.
I have a copy of that on my blog for those that like to read it, and it opened my eyes and made me finally understand the message of Jesus. I started inquiring the origin of the New Testament, and learned that Irenaeus of Lyons was responsible for censoring all other opinions on Jesus around the year 200 and only allowing the four Gospels that we now know of
The Jesus of Thomas is clearly an entirely different person than the Jesus the Church has shown us for the past 2,000 years. If he only knew how the Church made him a martyr for their movement, he'd surely turn around in his grave. Thomas's Jesus is a rebel, speaking in metaphorical riddles while poking people, pharisees and priests and challenging their beliefs and mental models
Some of that even made it into the Gospels. My favourite is Jesus telling the pharisees that the Kingdom of God is within them - imagine that
What did Jesus mean by that? Simple. You are God, we all are God, there is no need to revere anything or anyone and wait for Judgment Day to hear from someone unknown how you did - you are here in this life and that's all there's to it.
Why? Lawd knows. You are here to make the best of your life, have fun, play, embrace yourself and everyone and everything around you, and live in Love.
If you want to live in Fear, that's a choice you can make too - but it's a choice you make. Live in fear, listen to the pharisees, the priests, believe you're a sinner and have to make up for -what really? What did you do wrong? When? How? And if you believe that, don't you want to know how you can make up for that, and when the scale swings back into balance?
Where are the rules to this game, really? Did you ever accept these terms in writing? Did you sign them with your signature in blood? Did you ever agree to these unwritten rules? If so, why? And do you have any regrets?
Jesus was a rebel. He acted against all this. He took the piss out of the institutionalised church back then, by saying things like:
If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty
Jesus called onto the people, not to break the Rules, but to start questioning the Game. The crucifixion of Jesus? Maybe a historical fact. The resurrection of Jesus? A lie. Jesus wasn't talking about physical resurrection, he meant a mental one
Whenever Jesus spoke of the dead, he meant mentally dead. People indoctrinated from birth with complicated belief systems that they self-sustained ever since, not questioning anything of that but everything that contradicts it - when I ask my Protestant Reformed neighbour what faith she'd adhered when born in China, she answers: God had a plan with me
I tell you: God doesn't exist, only in your imagination. God is your imaginary friend, letting you down most of the time, without giving a reason why. You can talk to God, but he never talks back. You can see the Hand Of God everywhere if you like, but if you're honest, you'll have to admit that you only perceive that Hand Of God in situations that meet your agenda
I am enlightened. I am God. I am in Love. I know no Fear. I don't need anyone to tell me how to live my life, it's my life. I live by the rules of the society I participate in. I say what I want to say, when I want to say it
I resurrected myself in 2009. I followed Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's advice:
In order to find out who you are, you must first find out who you are not
I wasn't Martijn the people-pleaser. Neither was I Martijn the over-achiever. Nor was I Martijn with the negative self-image. Many, many more Martijns passed along, and I was neither. How did I find out? Easy. I asked every Martijn why he was there, and what gave him the right to control (part of) my life. I never got an answer
At some point, I got scared. Really frightened. It occurred to me that I had filled my whole life living up to other people's expectations. I was different Martijns depending on the occasion, and never my Self - then again I had no clue of my own Self. But that day came, and I was shocked. I felt alienated to the entire world and myself. I saw the edifice I had been building since birth, the mental models forced upon me, the complicated structure - it was suffocating to all extent
Ever since, I'm at peace. In Love. All the voices in my head have gone silent, because no one's listening to them anymore. One great remark from Don Miguel Ruiz is this:
If you're the voice in your head, then who's listening?
Think about that. Think hard. There's only one conclusion: resurrect yourself, now. Free yourself from the spiritual death you've been undergoing for your entire life