Friday, September 11, 2015

The Chasm between Jesus and Paul

One of the key issues in my book Closing the Circle is the chasm between Jesus and Paul, which has been recognized by many in the course of history, in different ways. I do feel that understanding the timeline of the Thomas gospel, and how it relates to the rest of the New Testament absolutely conclusively demonstrates the chasm between Paul and Jesus in the clearest possible terms. However a reader just sent me a summary of some of the more prominent recent authors who have commented on this issue, and it is worth considering. Thomas Jefferson in his day was definitely "on" to this issue, and there were a lot of thinkers in the time of the enlightenment who were, but there have been an impressive list of more recent commentators as well. Here follows the summary:
In Christ or Paul?, by Rev. V.A. Holmes-Gore: "Let the reader contrast the true Christian standard with that of Paul and he will see the terrible betrayal of all that the Master taught. . . . For the surest way to betray a great Teacher is to misrepresent his message. . . . That is what Paul and his followers did, and because the Church has followed Paul in his error it has failed lamentably to redeem the world. . . . The teachings given by the blessed Master Christ, which the disciples John and Peter and James, the brother of the Master, tried in vain to defend and preserve intact were as utterly opposed to the Pauline Gospel as the light is opposed to the darkness." 
The great theologian Soren Kierkegaard, in The Journals: "In the teachings of Christ, religion is completely present tense: Jesus is the prototype and our task is to imitate him, become a disciple. But then through Paul came a basic alteration. Paul draws attention away from imitating Christ and fixes attention on the death of Christ The Atoner. What Martin Luther, in his reformation, failed to realize is that even before Catholicism, Christianity had become degenerate at the hands of Paul. Paul made Christianity the religion of Paul, not of Christ. Paul threw the Christianity of Christ away, completely turning it upside down, making it just the opposite of the original proclamation of Christ" 

The brilliant theologian Ernest Renan, in his book Saint Paul: "True Christianity, which will last forever, comes from the gospel words of Christ not from the epistles of Paul. The writings of Paul have been a danger and a hidden rock, the causes of the principal defects of Christian theology." 

Will Durant, in his Caesar and Christ: "Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ. . . . Through these interpretations Paul could neglect the actual life and sayings of Jesus, which he had not directly known. . . . Paul replaced conduct with creed as the test of virtue. It was a tragic change." 

Robert Frost, winner of the Pulitzer prize for poetry in 1924,1931,1937 and 1943, in his "A Masque of Mercy": "Paul he's in the Bible too. He is the fellow who theologized Christ almost out of Christianity. Look out for him." 

James Baldwin, the most noted black American author of this century, in his book The Fire Next Time: "The real architect of the Christian church was not the disreputable, sun baked Hebrew (Jesus Christ) who gave it its name but rather the mercilessly fanatical and self-righteous Paul." 

Martin Buber, the most respected Jewish philosopher of this century, in Two Types of Faith: "The Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount is completely opposed to Paul." 

The famous mystic, poet and author, Kahlil Gibran, in Jesus the Son of Man: "This Paul is indeed a strange man. His soul is not the soul of a free man. He speaks not of Jesus nor does he repeat His Words. He would strike with his own hammer upon the anvil in the Name of One whom he does not know." 

The famous theologian, Helmut Koester, in his The Theological Aspects of Primitive Christian Heresy: "Paul himself stands in the twilight zone of heresy. In reading Paul, one immediately encounters a major difficulty. Whatever Jesus had preached did not become the content of the missionary proclamation of Paul. . . . Sayings of Jesus do not play a role in Paul 's understanding of the event of salvation. . . . Paul did not care at all what Jesus had said. . . . Had Paul been completely successful very little of the sayings of Jesus would have survived." 

Renowned English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, in his Not Paul But Jesus: "It rests with every professor of the religion of Jesus to settle within himself to which of the two religions, that of Jesus or that of Paul, he will adhere." 

The eminent theologian Ferdinand Christian Baur, in his Church History of the First Three Centuries: "What kind of authority can there be for an 'apostle' who, unlike the other apostles, had never been prepared for the apostolic office in Jesus' own school but had only later dared to claim the apostolic office on the basis on his own authority? The only question comes to be how the apostle Paul appears in his Epistles to be so indifferent to the historical facts of the life of Jesus. . . . He bears himself but little like a disciple who has received the doctrines and the principles which he preaches from the Master whose name he bears." 

The great Mahatma Gandhi, the prophet of nonviolence who won freedom from England for India in an essay titled "Discussion on Fellowship": "I draw a great distinction between the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus and the Letters of Paul. Paul's Letters are a graft on Christ's teachings, Paul's own gloss apart from Christ's own experience." 

Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, in his essay "A Psychological Approach to Dogma": "Saul's [Paul's name before his conversion] fanatical resistance to Christianity. . . . was never entirely overcome. It is frankly disappointing to see how Paul hardly ever allows the real Jesus of Nazareth to get a word in." 

George Bernard Shaw, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925; in his Androcles and the Lion: "There is not one word of Pauline Christianity in the characteristic utterances of Jesus. . . . There has really never been a more monstrous imposition perpetrated than the imposition of Paul's soul upon the soul of Jesus. . . . It is now easy to understand how the Christianity of Jesus. . . . was suppressed by the police and the Church, while Paulinism overran the whole western civilized world, which was at that time the Roman Empire, and was adopted by it as its official faith." 

Albert Schweitzer, winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, called "one of the greatest Christians of his time," philosopher, physician, musician, clergyman, missionary, and theologian in his The Quest for the Historical Jesus and his Mysticism of Paul: "Paul. . . . did not desire to know Christ. . . . Paul shows us with what complete indifference the earthly life of Jesus was regarded. . . . What is the significance for our faith and for our religious life, the fact that the Gospel of Paul is different from the Gospel of Jesus?. . . . The attitude which Paul himself takes up towards the Gospel of Jesus is that he does not repeat it in the words of Jesus, and does not appeal to its authority. . . . The fateful thing is that the Greek, the Catholic, and the Protestant theologies all contain the Gospel of Paul in a form which does not continue the Gospel of Jesus, but displaces it." 

William Wrede, in his excellent book, Paul: "The oblivious contradictions in the three accounts given by Paul in regard to his conversion are enough to arouse distrust. . . . The moral majesty of Jesus, his purity and piety, his ministry among his people, his manner as a prophet, the whole concrete ethical-religious content of his earthly life, signifies for Paul's Christology nothing whatever. . . . The name 'disciple of Jesus' has little applicability to Paul. . . . Jesus or Paul: this alternative characterizes, at least in part, the religious and theological warfare of the present day" 

Rudolf Bultman, one of the most respected theologians of this century, in his Significance of the Historical Jesus for the Theology of Paul: "It is most obvious that Paul does not appeal to the words of the Lord in support of his. . . . views. when the essentially Pauline conceptions are considered, it is clear that Paul is not dependent on Jesus. Jesus' teaching is -- to all intents and purposes -- irrelevant for Paul." 

Walter Bauer, another eminent theologian, in his Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity: "If one may be allowed to speak rather pointedly the Apostle Paul was the only Arch-Heretic known to the apostolic age." 

H.L. Mencken, called one of the most influential American writers of the first half of the 20th century, in his Notes on Democracy: "Is it argued by any rational man that the debased Christianity cherished by the mob in all the Christian countries of today, has any colourable likeness to the body of ideas preached by Christ? "The plain fact is that this bogus Christianity has no more relation to the system of Christ than it has to Aristotle. It is the invention of Paul and his attendant rabble-rousers--a body of men exactly comparable to the corps of evangelical pastors of today, which is to say, a body devoid of sense and lamentably indifferent to common honesty. The mob, having heard Christ, turned against Him. His theological ideas were too logical and plausible for it, and His ethical ideas were enormously too austere. What it yearned for was the old comfortable balderdash under a new and gaudy name, and that is precisely what Paul offered it. He borrowed from all the wandering dervishes and body-snatchers of Asia Minor, and flavored the stew with remnants of Greek demonology. The result was a code of doctrines so discordant and so nonsensical that no two men since, examining it at length, have ever agreed upon its precise meaning. Paul remains the arch theologian of the mob. His turgid and witless metaphysics make Christianity bearable to men who would otherwise be repelled by Christ's simple and magnificent reduction of the duties of man to the duties of a gentle-man."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Docetism revisited after the Course

The other day my reading of The Book of Andrew caused a sort of a flash of recognition of the meaning of docetism post ACIM, simply because the details of the story are a bit at odds with the Gary Renard material, but internally the teaching is very consistent with A Course in Miracles. The form of our experience of Jesus is a function of our mind, the content is the Holy Spirit's... and for that docetism is merely a somewhat dated, overly theological explanation.

In parallel, I was working on the translation of Margot Krikhaar's The Great Liberation, specifically the final part of Chapter 6, where she talks about the meaning of Jesus in the Course in the context of the two levels. Margot discusses the issue very much in line with what Ken Wapnick has said about Helen Schucman's experience in this regard, in Absence from Felicity,his biography of Helen. Ken's favorite expression for this phenomenon is: "Jesus is a What that looks like a who, as long as you think you're a who," or in the words of the Course, Jesus is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. In terms of our individual experience what this means is that Jesus always seems very familiar, sometimes in surprising ways, but his presence comes with a deep awareness of authenticity and authority, that is beyond question because at some deeper level we recognize our own. Here is what Margot says:
 The ‘paradox’ of the person of Jesus who is so important in the context of a non-dualistic teaching, can newly be explained on the basis of the two levels on which the Course is written. You could say that ‘Jesus’ belongs on level two of the Course—the practical level where the Course meets us in our present experience of ourselves as a person in relationship with other persons. As a result the in and of itself completely abstract love can appear to us as a person. As one who for many in the Western world has become the personification of complete and boundless love: Jesus.
Metaphysically (on level one of the Course) this Jesus is only symbolic. As a ‘person’ he is part of the dream. But as we saw earlier (see paragraph 3.3) in fact everything in the dream is a symbol, and what matters is what the symbol points to, to fear (ego) or love (God). Jesus is a powerful symbol that points directly towards the Love of God. In other words: the form ‘Jesus’ is purely a symbol and not real in and of itself, but the ‘content’ is altogether real. And exactly because of that content is the symbol so powerful and effective.
From a metaphysical point of view, hearing Jesus’ voice means that someone’s mind (like that of Helen Schucman) is able to reach so high that it reaches the very highest levels of consciousness that is possible within the realm of perception. That is the level that lies just below the truth. This level of consciousness therefore is also the highest level of perception, right before it is transformed into knowledge. Knowledge, or Heaven, is not consciousness, but a pure and completely loving ‘being’ or oneness. (Margot Krikhaar, The Great Liberation, Chapter 6.7)
It all boils down to understanding the relationship of content and form, of a non-dualistic reality versus a very dualistic world of perception that we think we live in. The ancient theological struggles over the divinity of Jesus, which rested on such passages as the discussions of the apostles in the Acts of John, about how different their respective experiences of Jesus were (post the resurrection), gave rise to the construct of docetism. Predictably, it was roundly rejected by the church, because it was closer to the truth than the mythology they created about Jesus, as the person who died on the cross, and then experienced a bodily resurrection, in which case he would only have one body and look the same to all. Having said that, the modern explanation based on the metaphysics of the Course contains a way of reconciling both, to a degree which was never before possible. The key insight is the notion that duality is metaphor--everything in this world of appearances is only... an appearance, a perception, and never the truth. Thus the appearance is colored by the mind of the perceiver, as it does not have objective reality of any kind, but the abstract truth that is expressed is the same everywhere regardless of the appearance.

This is how at one point Helen had a dream of Jesus, in which she found that he looked like Bill Thetford. When she expressed her surprise, Jesus responded: "Who else would I look like?" I.e. of course he would appear "somehow familiar" to us. This is the same in the discussion in the Acts of John, he looks different to all of them, but completely familiar and authentic at the same time.
Helen Schucman's Jesus was an ace in advanced statistics, knew his King James Version, was a student of Shakespeare, and for the sake of Bill he also knew the Bhagavadgita very well. He spoke English. After all if Jesus really is who he is, why wouldn't he speak your language? Learning to recognize his voice in whatever form is part of our learning process in the Course in developing our relationship with our own inner teacher.

Through these experiences, and by accepting these differences in form, we learn to tune into content more than form, which is essential to learning to follow the guidance of our own inner teacher, and learning to distinguish his voice from the voice of the ego.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Book of Andrew and docetism 21st century style.

An interesting new addition to the modern Jesus literature, connected to A Course in Miracles, has arrived on the scene. The full title is The Book of Andrew: A Past-Life Memoir, by Charles Cale Lehman, edited for print by Bruce Gregory. The interesting details include that Charles Lehman was at one time the partner of Bill Thetford, who with Helen Schucman was responsible for the recording of the Course. Later Bill Thetford and he remained life-long friends. As a child Charles sometimes said his name was Andrew, and when Ken Wapnick met him in the seventies, he had a visionary experience--uncommon for him--of seeing the name "Andrew" on his forehead. Bruce Gregory is a regression therapist, who was recommended to Lehman by Bill Thetford, and who was instrumental in guiding the regressions that ultimately led to the material for this book.

The book is a joy to read, and it is very consistent in content with A Course in Miracles, and in as much as it pertains to Lehman's past life memories of his lifetime as Andrew, a disciple of Jesus, at the same time it reminds me of the docetic paradox in writings such as the Acts of John, which have traditionally befuddled the Christian Church because it thought Jesus was the character in Palestine whose story was reported by Peter and Paul, to the notable exclusion of many of the other apostles. There are interesting discrepancies in the form of the story, which make it clear once again that individual people experience Jesus differently.

Jesus is a what that looks like a who, as long as you think you're a who
That is one of my favorite sayings of Ken Wapnick. It makes the point that we experience Jesus as a person, and we tend to think of him as someone we would recognize. Helen had a dream at one point in which Jesus figured, and she later asked Jesus how come he looked like Bill, and Jesus answered her: "Who else would I look like?" Clearly, Helen's mind was learning to see the face of Christ in all her brothers. Another similar experience was her subway experience. In the acts of John we have the accounts of different apostles all comparing notes and realizing they experience Jesus (post resurrection) in totally different ways. And now, in the form of the Book of Andrew, we have a modern memoir, a past-life recollection of Jesus, and some of the other apostles, which clearly differs from another account that still stands within the Course tradition, namely Gary Renard's Disappearance of the Universe trilogy. Gary's Judas is a drunk, and a very different character from what is described in the Book of Andrew, although Jesus reaffirms in both that Judas is a brother and a Son of God, and thus Jesus stays remarkably true to his Course, as Gary might quip. Mary Magdalen is not in evidence in the account in the Book of Andrew, and the apostle John shows up in a more traditional role as the favorite disciple. In other areas the two books confirm each other. In short, Charles Lehman and Gary Renard differ on the details, though both accounts are consistent in content with the teachings of Jesus as we learn them in the Course.

An interesting twist in the Book of Andrew is that Jesus tells Andrew he would have to write things down later, because Peter and Paul would distort his teachings, which is of course exactly what happened. It is called Christianity. Much like the Buddha was a Hindu, Jesus was a Jew, and neither one ever intended to instigate yet another religion, because they very much recognized that the truth is one. But for the ego, that's too simple, and it always wants to see truth as exclusive not inclusive. Yet Jesus, Buddha, and Krishna were all evidently teachers of a non-dualistic reality that transcends all worldly specifics, for the simple reason that only truth is true and everything else is of necessity a lie, so that any teachings that would proceed from separation and differences would necessarily be untrue. The problem always is that we have to grow up to embrace truth, we have to climb the mountain to get to the level of Jesus, Buddha or Krishna, instead of dragging them into this world to fix our self-created problems for us. If they were to do so, they would merely attest to the reality of problems designed to prove the ego right and them wrong. But Jesus taught his disciples to leave their familiar patterns behind and follow him where he was going.

Familiarity and remembrance
Reading a book like The Book of Andrew, or Gary Renard's Disappearance of the Universe trilogy is not about them learning to hear the voice of Jesus, but about us doing so. The only reason we recognize the voice of Jesus, when we do, without any hesitation is because it is totally authentic, namely because it is the voice of who and what we really are in truth. The more we recognize that, the easier we will let go of our ego, because that scratchy voice is completely false, fake, and not at all who we are. As long as we are identified with our ego, we will feel like we are here, and yet at the same time we will feel shut out, alone and like a stranger, the authenticity of the voice of our inner teacher draws us towards the truth and the love which is what we really are in truth, and in realizing that the world will lose all grip on us and fade away, even while we may still appear to be here for a while.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pursah's Gospel of Thomas released under CC BY 3.0 License by Gary Renard

Just ahead of his upcoming workshops in New York (Manhattan and Bronx), best-selling author Gary Renard has released the full text of Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License:
Creative Commons License
Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas by Gary R. Renard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

You can download the text here: - and soon it will be available also on Gary's site. It is also available in the files section of the DU Group on Yahoo.

Gary Renard’s upcoming workshops in NY, are:
  1. Love Has Forgotten No One, Manhattan 11/23/2013
  2. Love Has Forgotten No One, Bronx 11/24/2013
The text was originally published in Gary Renard‘s 2nd book, Your Immortal Reality, and by releasing it under a creative commons license, Gary has enabled the wider use of the text, which for many students of his work has become the “go-to” version of the Thomas Gospel.
This text of the Thomas Gospel reflects the notion that there must have been a “kernel” from ca 50 AD, when the Thomas Gospel would have been recorded. There has always been speculation that the initial version would have been shorter. Pursah, who appeared to Gary as an ascended master, and a reincarnation of the apostle Thomas, provided this text, which is remarkable because it removes many inner contradictions, and the end result also appears very consistent with the modern teaching we know as A Course In Miracles. Gary’s books explore that connection in-depth, and I myself wrote another book on the same topic, in which I delve a little deeper into the historical context (Closing the Circle: Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas and A Course in MIracles.)
Gary Renard’s upcoming workshops in NY, are:
  1. Love Has Forgotten No One, Manhattan 11/23/2013
  2. Love Has Forgotten No One, Bronx 11/24/2013

Your Immortal Reality and Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas (PGoTh)

In Gary’s first book, The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight Talk about Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness, the connection between the Gospel of Thomas and A Course in Miracles was introduced, but then in his second book Your Immortal Reality, the full text of Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas was provided for the first time. His third book in what has clearly become a trilogy, Love Has Forgotten No One, completes the picture, including fleshing out more of the early times with Jesus, when Thomas and Thaddeus were apostles and friends, as well as the context of how all this past life experience integrates into his own life, which includes studying A Course in Miracles in this present life time.
The fundamental argument is that the version of the Thomas Gospel which was found at Nag Hammadi, is of a rather late date, and that some of the sayings were added later, and others had been corrupted in the tradition, which is similar to what many scholars already thought. The difference in Gary’s book is that Pursah has past life recollection of being Thomas, and in that capacity renders the kernel of the Thomas Gospel, and that is the text provided in chapter 7 of Your Immortal Reality.
Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas provides a historical linkage to who Jesus was before he was bombarded into a Christian by posterity. In the context of A Course in Miracles this is also relevant, because in the Course there are numerous comments by Jesus that he was historically misunderstood, based on what was included in the Bible. Since the Thomas gospel is older than the New Testament gospels, the connection makes it very clear that historically, Jesus did speak and teach very differently, before he began being filtered through the Christian theology of St. Paul, who heavily influenced the later gospel writings.
Gary Renard’s upcoming workshops in NY, are:
  1. Love Has Forgotten No One, Manhattan 11/23/2013
  2. Love Has Forgotten No One, Bronx 11/24/2013

Gary Renard and A Course in Miracles

If the backdrop of this trilogy is both Gary’s current lifetime, and his growing recollection of his past lifetime as the apostle Thomas, the real content of these books is Gary Renard’s own learning of A Course in Miracles, as a student of that book in this current lifetime. This personal story is what is so helpful to the reader, for it makes A Course in Miracles accessible “in the vernacular,” of the day-to-day challenges of one student, who is easy to identify with.
Gary Renard’s upcoming workshops in NY, are:
  1. Love Has Forgotten No One, Manhattan 11/23/2013
  2. Love Has Forgotten No One, Bronx 11/24/2013

Closing the Circle – Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas and ACIM revisited

Closing the Circle, Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas and A Course in Miracles, published shortly after Gary Renard’s Your Immortal Reality, was my contribution to the renewed interest in the Thomas Gospel which followed Gary’s second book. In this book, I provided both running commentaries to the sayings of Thomas in Pursah’s rendering, as well as introductions to the material so that it is more accessible both for students from a Christian background, who know nothing about A Course in Miracles, as well as for students of A Course in Miracles, who may not always know much about early Christian history. Besides providing this historical framework, the book also includes a sidelight on the connection between the Jefferson Bible, and the gospel of Thomas.
Gary Renard’s upcoming workshops in NY, are:
  1. Love Has Forgotten No One, Manhattan 11/23/2013
  2. Love Has Forgotten No One, Bronx 11/24/2013

Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas, by Gary Renard, was just released for general distribution under a CC BY 3.0 License, making it available for widespread use; this version of the Thomas Gospel is the most consistent collection of sayings, leaving out some inconsistent texts, and in the process revealing the connection to A Course in Miracles.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How Caesar Domesticated Jesus

To anyone who really studies the early history of Christianity, and takes care to sort out the facts from the versions that are generally promoted by the Christian churches, it should be clear that there was a process of domestication that went on. This notion began to be formulated (again) around the time of the enlightenment, and in fact Thomas Jefferson was a proponent. He recognized that there was some heavy editing in what became the New Testament, courtesy of the influence of St. Paul, whom he regarded as an impostor and a fraud.

There have been countless alternative theories of who Jesus was and some are more outrageous than others, but several reflect the idea that somehow or other there was an active effort by the Roman Empire to coopt him. One fun book was Thijs Voskuilen's Operation Messiah which makes Paul out to be a Roman Spy. Now we have a new angle, Jesus was made up by the Romans altogether. This is the thesis of the book Caesar's Messiah, by Joseph Atwill. This seems to go even a step further. All of these speculations are possible only because so little of the New Testament is "historical" in the modern sense, and there is a dearth of verifiable information. A good place to find out more might be this review on The Raw Story.

What makes all these attempts so interesting is that they pick up on something that is immediately obvious if we study the extant material, particularly since we have the Thomas Gospel. Christianity was invented after Jesus, and for those of us who know A Course in Miracles, and in particular also the connection with the Thomas gospel as it is explored in Gary's books - it is incredibly evident that the church version of Jesus was the creation of late comers on the scene, and that his teachings were completely altered in the process. The signature comment in that process was perhaps the one by Paul, when he comes to the conclusion that the resurrection was an event of the body, not of the spirit, when all Jesus taught was that we were to first seek the Kingdom (i.e. Spirit), and all the rest would be given to us - so the primacy of the body is nowhere in evidence in Jesus' teachings, but since it is threatening to the ego, it speaks for itself that there would be an attempt to domesticate him by declaring that his resurrection was a bodily event, so that an idol could be made out of his body, and the crucifixion.

In Gary Renard's third book, Love Has Forgotten No One, we find yet more discussion of all the forms in which the same things go on with A Course in Miracles today. Or, as Gary recently pointed out humorously in a podcast, it might be refreshing if self-proclaimed Course teachers and events stuck to teaching A Course in Miracles. But, humor aside, it should not surprise us that the truth is so threatening to the ego, for the idea of separation is simply null and void if there is no separation, which is what the atonement teaches. If truth is one, there are no separate truths, and no individuality. This is incredibly threatening to the ego. Like everything else, when we become aware of that perceived threat, we can do two things with it. We can either project it outside and act on it, including changing the teaching that poses this threat, or, we can go inside and ask Jesus or the Holy Spirit to look at our upset (I'm never upset for the reason I think!), and change our mind about it.

It does not matter what version of historical events makes more sense to you, but the content is very clear. Jesus taught one thing, and Christianity taught something else, and in fact incorporated the whole ego teaching of sin, guilt and fear into the words of Jesus, changing them beyond recognition. On the rebound this leads to the phenomenon of the church not knowing what to make of the Thomas Gospel, for the Jesus of the Thomas gospel sounds more like a Buddhist (as Gary likes to express it) than like a Christian. The reason again is obvious: he never was a Christian, he was bombarded into one posthumously. This very point also makes it clear why we need a relationship with Jesus or the Holy Spirit to complete our journey, for the ego never ever would permit us to do the steps that would set us free, and keeps threatening us with death and destruction, when all we would find on the other side of that little gap would be peace and happiness. Only through the development of trust can we finally take the last steps, after which the last step is taken by God.