I listened to a podcast with someone who went from Christian fundamentalist to agnostic to taking the Jesus stories as a mirror.
It’s a nice illustration of some of the ways we can relate to religion and spiritual stories and mythology in general.
Do we take it as literal truth? If we do, we inevitably come up against logical inconsistencies. And by holding anything as any full, final, or absolute truth, we take a position not aligned with reality and this is inherently filled with conflicts, a need to defend and prop up our position, and discomfort.
Do we still think of it as a literal truth or not and say: I don’t know. I take an agnostic view.
Do we see the stories as useful metaphors for our life? As saying something universal about humans and ourselves?
Or do we go one step further and see the stories and mythologies as we would a dream? Do we see it all as reflecting parts and dynamics of ourselves? Here, it doesn’t matter so much if Jesus – or other religious figures – were historical persons or not, or whether or not the stories actually happened. What’s important is what they can show us about ourselves and our own process.
For instance, we can see Jesus as an image of the clarity and love we all have in us and ultimately are. Or the wholeness of our human self when it’s more healed and we are conscious of more of it. Or someone who lives from noticing his nature as capacity and what his world happens within and as.
We can see the virgin birth as an image of how the world, to us, happens within and as what we are. Our world – including this human self – is born from nothing, from virgin territory.
We can see the death & resurrection as the death of our beliefs and the resurrection on the other side of these beliefs. This can happen in smaller (and still significant) ways when we see through old beliefs and identifications and find a less limited and more receptive way of being on the other side. And it can happen in a more dramatic way when our identity as something within content of experience falls away and we find ourselves as capacity and what the world, to us, happens within and as.
We can see Judas as the dynamic in us abandoning truth, clarity, and love for the benefit of reactivity to fear and unquestioned stories.
And so on. Any story within religion and mythology can be explored in this way.
Or do we see it as useful metaphors for our life? Or even one step further and see the stories and mythologies as mirrors for ourselves? For what’s already here? For the dynamics and processes in us? For who or what we are?