The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict

Etiology of Guilt, Shame and Blame in Christianity:
But One Perspective

Peace be with you.
Seemingly there are two forms of Christianity. One that the historical Christ is said to have taught (love and forgiveness) and one that The Church (in its many manifestations) teaches (guilt, shame and blame). This bifurcation invites some to experience cognitive dissonance: "psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously."

The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict offer the following not as some form of dogmatic statement but solely for the reader's contemplation.

from Jesus Lived in India: His Unknown Life Before and After the Crucifixion, Holger Kersten. Massachusetts: Element Books, 1994. ISBN 1-85230-550-9.

"... what is today called Christianity is in any case not so much the Word of Christ but something else: Paulinism — for the (Christian) doctrine as we now know it rests in all its main points not on the message of Jesus, but on the totally different teaching of Paul. Modern Christianity only developed when Paulinism was promulgated as the state religion.

"Manfred Mezger cites the Swiss Protestant theologian Emil Brunner on the subject:

Emil Brunner has called the Church a misunderstanding. From a call, a doctrine was constructed; from free communion, a legal corporation; from a free association, a hierarchical machine. You might say it became, in all its elements and in its overall disposition, the exact opposite of what was intended.

"A person appears in a time of darkness, bringing a message full of hope, a message of love and goodness — and what do people do with it? They turn it into documentation, discussion, contention and commercialism! Would Jesus really have wished for everything that later happened in his name? Hardly. During his life in Palestine Jesus actually made his disaffection with (Jewish) Church officialdom quite evident, distancing himself from the Church's laws and scriptural authorities, its insistence on preserving verbal niceties with conflicting interpretations as required, its convoluted hierarchy, and the associated cultic worship and idolatry.

"Jesus sought to create an immediate link between God and humankind, not to set up bureaucratic channels to go through." (p. 4)

"Traditional Christianity has taught that one of its essential elements is "an element that alone can give hope and solace: redemption from sin (which causes the suffering in the world) by the vicarious sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, for all those who acknowledge his teaching. But it is precisely this form of the doctrine of salvation in traditional Christianity that rests almost exclusively on the work of Paul, and was never taught by Jesus. Paul taught that the whole function of Jesus centers on his sacrificial death, that through the shedding of his blood he has absolved the faithful of their sins and released them from chaos and the domination of Satan. In fact, Paul does not relay on a single syllable of the direct teaching of Jesus in his epistles, nor does he tell a single one of his parables. Instead he builds up a philosophy of his own on the basis of his own personal understanding (or misunderstanding) of Jesus' teaching.

"Paul insists that on account of the sin of Adam all people are subject to the wrath of God from the start (see Ephesians 2:3), and are lost without exception (Romans 5:18; 1 Corinthians 15:18), for all are subject to sin (Romans 3:9; Galatians 3:22; Colossians 2:14). God has given his judgment of condemnation against all people (Romans 5:16).

"Out of the Good News brought by Jesus, Paul has made news that is dark and threatening, from the menace of which only he could show the way out. And this way out was the salvation of humanity through the sacrificial death of Christ: 'Therefore as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life' (Romans 5:18). And in the letter to the Colossians he describes Jesus as 'Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross' (Colossians 2:14).

...."Most Christians are of the opinion that the greatness, the uniqueness, of Christianity stands and falls with this teaching. Yet it proves to be a fiction, far removed from the ideas of Jesus. Not even a hint of this so-called Christian doctrine of salvation is to be found in the Sermon on the Mount — the quintessence of Jesus' message —or in the Lord's prayer (Our Father), or in the traditional parables told by Jesus!

"Jesus was not concerned with constructing a philosophy that might be based on his life and on his message that might free people from the sufferings of earthly existence — he actually lived what he taught. Toleration at all times, care for the welfare and benefit of others (human and animal), giving and sharing, selflessness in helping others to carry of burden of their suffering, a universal and unconditional love for all —this is the way of perfection that Jesus demonstrated in his life." (pp. 232f)

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-10):

Seeing the crowds, he went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

How happy are the poor in spirit;
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy are the gentle:
they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure of heart:
they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
they shall be called children of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.*

*Text from The Jerusalem Bible.

Peace and Joy!.

White Robed Monks of St. Benedict

Foundation Document:Being Christ-like, Self-emptying
A Catholic Spirituality

White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
Post Office Box 27536
San Francisco CA 94127-0536 USA
Phone: 415-292-3228
Page URL:
Copyright © 1997 White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
Valid HTML 4.01