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A Reply to the New Vatican Document about "New Age" Spirituality

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Duluth, MN (OpEdNews) February 25, 2010

In the spirit of circling the wagons for the sake of a more effective defense against an attack, the male chauvinists in the Vatican have issued a risible new document to help conservative Roman Catholics defend themselves from possible temptations of so-called "New Age" spirituality. The document is titled JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE: A CHRISTIAN REFLECTION ON THE "NEW AGE."

But the title itself is risible because the conceptual construct "Jesus Christ" is a myth, not a fact. It's time for Christians to stop perpetuating this myth and to start living in historical time and space, instead of living in mythic time and space.

The historical Jesus was not the messiah, so Christians should stop using the Greek-derived term "the Christ" to refer to Jesus. The Greek-derived term "the Christ" is used to render the Hebrew term that is translated into English as "messiah." It is simply a myth to refer to Jesus as the Christ (or the messiah); it is not an historical fact.

The historical Jesus was crucified under the authority of Pontius Pilate at the time of the Passover festival in Jerusalem. But Pontius Pilate most likely ordered his crucifixion as a way to control the crowd so that there would be no protest rallies around Jesus. In any event, Jesus did not die for the sins of the world. That's a myth. In short, Jesus' death did not result in anybody being saved. That's a myth, not an historical fact.

Moreover, Jesus did not rise from the dead. Reports about apparitions of Jesus after his crucifixion were based on hallucinations. So the claim about his alleged resurrection is a myth, not an historical fact.

In addition, the claim about his supposed divinity is a myth, not an historical fact. He was a holy man, but he was not God, he was not divine, but fully human. As a result, the claim about the supposed divine trinity is a myth.

However, certain positive psychological developments may appear as the result of believing the myth about the supposed Jesus Christ. When we believe this myth about the supposed Jesus Christ, we may use our imaginations very actively to suppose a suitable male figure that we can regard as Jesus.

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When we use our imaginations in this way, we may learn how to draw on the energies of the archetypes of maturity at the archetypal level of our psyches. In a series of five books published in the 1990s, Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette detailed a complex account of the four masculine archetypes of maturity at the archetypal level of the male psyche. (There are also four corresponding feminine archetypes at the archetypal level of the female psyche.)

By using their imaginations actively to imagine a suitable male figure to be referred to as Jesus, Christians may learn how to draw on the energies of the archetypes of maturity at the archetypal level of the human psyche. In this way, Christians may grow and develop psychologically, just as non-Christians may grow and develop psychologically by learning how to draw on the energies of the archetypes of maturity at the archetypal level of the psyche.

Figuratively speaking, learning how to draw on the energies of the archetypes of maturity may be characterized as experiencing the water of life. But Christians do not have a monopoly on the water of life. Non-Christians also have access to the water of life.

In any event, the important thing is for all people to learn how to be suitably inner-directed.

For readers who are interested in reading more about the historical Jesus, I would recommend two books by the New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan: (1) JESUS: A REVOLUTIONARY BIOGRAPHY (1994) and (2) WHO KILLED JESUS? EXPOSING THE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE GOSPEL STORY OF THE DEATH OF JESUS (1995).

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For readers who are interested in the five books by Moor and Gillette, here are the titles: (1) KING, WARRIOR, MAGICIAN, LOVER (1990), (2) THE KING WITHIN (1992), (3) THE WARRIOR WITHIN (1992), (4) THE MAGICIAN WITHIN (1993), and (5) THE LOVER WITHIN (1993). In 2007, Exploration Press in Chicago published a revised and expanded edition of THE KING. WITHIN.


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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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