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Grace vs. Compassion

 

(The following is excerpted from Dr. Husfelt’s forthcoming book The Greatest Lie Ever Told - a Manifesto for a Religious Revolution and a New Consciousness)

Grace: a Christian theological term denoting divine gifts without which human salvation would be impossible.[i]

Christianity’s concept of ‘grace’ is the birth-child of the two F’s: Faith and Fear. Pure and simple, ‘grace’ is a paradigm of judgment flowing from a ‘wrathful father-figure deity’—the Christian God. Grace is an absurd immature religious concept that is supposed to help explain the mysterious events of life, which many times are tragic happenings. In reality, its prime purpose is to keep the ‘faithful’ in line and in fear.

Have you ever stood before a judge? I haven’t, but I would have to think that it is a little intimidating, with more than a touch of fear of the unknown thrown in. With ‘grace’ we have the ultimate ‘judge and jury.’ Taking this one step further, and based on the dogma of Christianity, your priest or minister is God’s representative—a very subtle and slimy way to generate respect and a bit of fear either consciously or subconsciously. And if you happen to be the Pope or a Bishop, well…. No wonder, a Shepard, leading their Sheep, is an appropriate symbol for Christianity’s Church Leaders—Catholic or otherwise.

There is another reason why I am so opposed to the concept of ‘grace.’ It spreads a message of separation while scattering a veil of fear over a legitimate, and most important, religious concept—compassion.

In my mind, the concept of Christian ‘grace’ robs people of a peaceful life and a compassionate spirit. Instead, people that accept ‘grace’ as truth; come to view life as a hostile environment. When reality becomes to us “hostile, indifferent, or ‘judge,’ then self-preservation becomes the first law of our being.”[ii]

Self-preservation as our first mode of being separates us from other human beings, and their suffering, and from all other things of the earth. We are symbolically in a constant state of war. Of course, this type of thinking provides the fertile soil where patriarchal institutionalized religions flourish. And this belief also keeps us locked away within our first chakra[iii] issues of security

Think for a moment about a scenario where children are trapped in a burning building—some survive by being rescued and others aren’t rescued and perish. And we hear a statement from the mother of the children who were saved: “by the ‘grace of god’ my children live.”

How about the children who died? With ‘grace’ as your belief, it means that your children were judged ‘not-worthy’ of life! How ludicrous a belief… but on the other hand, how dangerous a belief this is, as well as being totally destructive, to a person’s sense of self—emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Ironically enough, but telling as well, Jesus didn’t buy into a judgmental God that dispersed a ‘grace’ based on a salvation-condemnatory criteria. Jesus’ God was compassionate. When Jesus spoke, it was about the compassion of God as it flowed to all people and to all things of the earth:

This image of God is implicit in one of the most striking features of Jesus’ ministry, namely the meals which he shared with “sinners,”—that is, outcasts…. His acceptance of them would have been perceived as a claim that they were accepted by God. Implicit in the action is an understanding of God as gracious and compassionate, embracing even the outcasts, those whose mode of life placed them outside the boundaries of respectability and acceptance established by conventional wisdom….

 

The word Jesus used most often to identify this quality of God was “compassionate.” It has particularly rich resonances in Hebrew and Aramaic, where it is the plural of the noun “womb.” Thus “compassionate” bore the connotations of “wombishness”: nourishing, giving life, embracing; perhaps it also suggested feelings of tenderness. God is nourishing, life-giving, “wombish.”[iv]

Compassion and forgiveness were some of the basic principles that Jesus taught and practiced. Jesus did not teach ‘grace’ and never used the word ‘grace.’ He viewed compassion as a great round mirror of the heart and mind that perceived self and others not as distinct, but as merged identities. This was knowledge, wisdom and the realities of life based on oneness not an illusion of life centered on selective gifts from a ‘Man God.’

We must ask ourselves then (we must question) why ‘grace’ is one of the pillars of Christianity? In my heart and mind, the answer is obvious: power and control. Since Jesus never used the word ‘grace’ or taught the ‘way of a judgmental God,’ we have had put before us, once again, another example of the Church’s Greatest Lie Ever Told.


 

[i] Jonathan Z. Smith, The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion, p. 392

[ii] Marcus J. Borg, Jesus A New Vision, p. 103

[iii] If we were to ask the average New Age practitioner the meaning of chakra, the response would probably be: energy vortexes. That would be correct if we are talking about the exoteric meaning. But what many do not know is the original esoteric meaning. The original name meant ‘discus,’ as in the lethal throwing weapon, with the meaning of destroying the passions that hinder a person’s journey towards enlightenment. Passions mean anything that disrupts the tranquility of the mind. The 1st chakra is the Root Chakra. It is located at the base of the spine and deals with issues of security, basic needs, basic human survival, profane sex and inappropriate sexual activity and one’s connection to the earth. The color symbolism is red.

[iv] Ibid, pp. 101 – 102

 


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