I agree with you GenSek that the bible is a mixed bag and that today there are many better sources of spiritual truth. Yes there are distortions in the bible and if you're not careful you really could get messed up trying to tell the difference between lies and truth and of course the misinterpretations which christians perpetuate.
I tend to think that the Christians are the victims here, not the perpetuators/perpetrators. At least, most of them are the victims.
Your Quote... "I AM the way the truth and the life"... is not as simple as it appears to you at first glance.
But how is an ordinary person supposed to tell the difference? How does one get to the true meaning?
The christians have misinterpreted and misrepresented this and countless other statements by Jesus and others.
Again, I think it is the other way around - the Bible has led many people astray by claiming its exclusivity and by making radical statements that demand absolute loyalty.
Once you have seen enough of the authentic interpretations of what Jesus meant by his statements then if you did read the bible again you would see it all much differently. The bible wouldn't be such a minefield for you. I've been interpreting these statements (and discovering the interpretations of others) and including them in my posting on various threads here at NR for about 9 months. Maybe you came across some of them?
At this stage you may be completely disinterested in the subject and that would be understandable but if you remain curious at all you can find some of these authentic interpretations in many of my posts but three NR threads come to mind now:
1) The Science of the Spoken Word SOUND - spirituality section
2) George washington - history section
3) Debunking Jesus - spirituality section?
I don't doubt your sincerity, nexus, and thank you for the pointers there. I'll surely check them out. The question is - why would I consider these interpretations authentic?
Jesus is a brother to emulate, not a God to worship. Jesus taught this himself but his true teaching was distorted for the purposes of mind control.
That is exactly my point. If there was a Jesus, whatever is left of his teaching is purely a mind control tool. And I would not even try searching for hidden pearls of wisdom inside the pile of shit that we call the Bible, because there is NO way to tell which part of the Bible is truth and which is a lie. The bible seems to be a complete system which doesn't tolerate picking and choosing what feels right and rejecting what doesn't. At least, I am unable to see how one can hold some things from the Bible as true and others as false. I would think there has to be some objective criterion to go by.
Christians have reduced salvation to a simple formula of belief in Jesus in order to get to "heaven" yet Jesus taught that "the kingdom of heaven is within you". ie. "the consciousness of God is within you" and by developing the inner- spirit we too can be spiritually transformed and ascend as Jesus did.
If you read the Bible carefully, you will see that it, in fact, teaches that simple formula. Abraham became god's friend because he believed the promise and acted upon it by leaving his country and going to the promised land. He is made the primary example of what true biblical faith should be like. Then, Apostle Paul says the following -
If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
I don't see anything here about developing the inner spirit and ascending with Jesus as a brother. Just a simple utterance and an inner conviction that do the trick. In fact, the biblical concept of salvation was so basic that many disciples never changed their lives despite claiming to be true believers, for which Apostle James had to rebuke them in his epistle. IT IS, IN FACT, JUST A SIMPLE FORMULA!
There is much more to it and once you start to uncover the real Jesus you begin to appreciate that he is one of the best ancient examples you will find, teaching what we almost take for granted today about our selves and our quest for spiritual truth. That a path of self- mastery has been taught for millenia by Adepts of the spirit is a wonderful thing to discover and it's been right under our noses all along... right within us and right within the pages of scripture east and west.
Christians are bamboozled by Jesus true teaching and they almost always deny it when they are confronted by it. Some people would rather a watered down christianity than the true Christ.
I am afraid you are talking about a New Age sort of Jesus. And I am talking about the biblical one. We might be talking about different persons here. And I don't see any connection between the two.