Philip Gulley explores the issues around our society’s view of Jesus and how his message has been distorted and used by many denomination claiming their way of worship as the exclusive means of achieving salvation. Gulley explores how different denominations have taken the gospels and twisted their meaning. They almost all claim to be the one “true” church.
However, the way in which the “reformed” church has interpreted the bible has strayed very far from the reality of who Jesus was and what his message was. By putting Jesus on a pedestal and claiming that he is fully divine many christians either strip Jesus of his humanity completely or present him with two very contradicting personas. With the greater amount of information coming to use every year about the actual history and life of Jesus, the more doubt we can place on the validity of many of the early churches assertions of his more miraculous side.
The negative effect of this portrayal of Jesus comes to life in the many people dissuaded from religion because of bible thumping, overly evangelical, and “better-than-thou” christians constantly spouting their views. People are increasingly less receptive to this type of severe preaching. Gully himself relays his own experience of how he was convinced as a youth that he had found truth, only to be repeatedly confronted by other “truths” that shook his religious views. If Gulley had been, from the start, told about the real life of Jesus he could have easily avoided straying down many shallower spiritual paths.
None of this is to say that Jesus isn’t still an amazing and wonderful human. He is a role model in a sense that few have come close to matching. He is respected and revered first because of his constant patience, kindness, and love for God. Jesus also encouraged his disciples and others to lower themselves and serve, but did this while setting the example with himself first.
Jesus was also inclusive and others-oriented, which many of his followers in contemporary society have forgotten, which is sad. If the Church were truly christian, the world would be a far more loving and accepting place, and religion might not have such a bad rap.