I have a personal relationship with Jesus - Christianity is not a religion.
For both of the following answers, let's get one thing out of the way. By any real definition, Christianity IS a religion. I covered my take on the topic in this post, Not a religion? a few months ago. So now let's look at the 'relationship with Jesus' part of the above claim.
Some Christians tell me that they know Jesus. They are in contact with him on a daily basis. They don't believe that this is just in their minds but they can't explain how they can do this when there is no doubt that it is not managed by a great number of other Christians.
I'm genuinely interested to hear something that might make me understand this claim a bit more, and compare this with testimonies from other people who talk to me about different spiritual experiences.
Just this week a friend from a Portuguese Catholic background explained to me how she is aware of spirits in the world, told me how she interacts with them and how she has learned to drive them away. (I tend to think that these can't be Catholic spirits by the way.)
Also this week, an Muslim colleague has talked to me about 'djinn' - spirits of the Islamic world. I think she was surprised that I knew something about the idea.
I have to treat both claims with the same amount of respect as that of having a relationship with Jesus. It doesn't mean that I necessarily have to believe any of them, however much I like the people who tell me about their experiences.
I don't see how these three claims are mutually compatible, and I don't see why I should treat one of them with greater favour.
However, I'm still listening if you have a good answer. I'm not holding my breath though.
I like evidence. If I see evidence I tend to accept things much more easily.
So if we break this down to the basics:
- You claim that there was a Jesus - and yet the only 'reliable' evidence for his existence is in the bible and the non canonical texts that failed to make it to the bible. The documents that we do have are mutually inconsistent, were written decades after he is supposed to have lived and are impressively unclear what Jesus might have been like.
- You claim to be in contact with him, with enough certainty that you not only know him but have a two way conversation with him. Yeah right! Get back to me if you can provide evidence for that surprising claim.
Last week: The banana
Next week: Atheism is the thing you do when you are being rebellious.