Today being Good Friday, I thought it appropriate to share my own thoughts on the Crucifixion. As most Christians still believe, I used to think about it with sorrow, gratitude, and anger: sorrow that a beautiful soul would ever have to endure such agony, gratitude that Jesus did it to save me, and anger at the people who put him to death. I don’t think that way any more, thanks to A Course in Miracles (ACIM).
(One of my most difficult challenges is not to think attack thoughts when I think of how Christianity has interpreted the Crucifixion. I want to file most of Christian dogma under “Stupid Theology”. However, ACIM/Jesus tells us that attack is not possible and so I do not have grounds for thinking attack thoughts.)
In a nutshell, here is what I believe ACIM (Jesus) is telling us about the Crucifixion: the message is to “Teach only love, for that is what you are.” (Ch.6.I.13.2) It’s not that Jesus died to save us. He was and is the same as we are: children of God. He died so that we’d know this world we’ve invented for ourselves does not have the power to kill us, either while we’re alive or after we’re dead. If that sounds blasphemous and/or doesn’t make any sense, then either read the below or dive into ACIM yourself!
ACIM excerpts re: the crucifixion of Jesus
Ch.6 I. The Message of the Crucifixion
1.3. The only emphasis laid upon it so far has been that it was not a form of punishment. […] There is a positive interpretation of the crucifixion that is wholly devoid of fear, and therefore wholly benign in what it teaches, if it is properly understood.
2. The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example. Its value, like the value of any teaching device, lies solely in the kind of learning it facilitates. It can be, and has been, misunderstood. This is only because the fearful are apt to perceive fearfully. I have already told you that you can always call on me to share my decision, and thus make it stronger. I have also told you that the crucifixion was the last useless journey the Sonship need take, and that it represents release from fear to anyone who understands it.
5. I have made it perfectly clear that I am like you and you are like me, but our fundamental equality can be demonstrated only through joint decision. You are free to perceive yourself as persecuted if you choose. When you do choose to react that way, however, you might remember that I was persecuted as the world judges, and did not share this evaluation for myself.
7.6. My brothers slept during the so-called “agony in the garden,” but I could not be angry with them because I knew I could not be abandoned.
15. These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, although its gospel is really only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted me as saying, ‘I come not to bring peace but a sword.’ This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught. Nor could they have described my reactions to Judas as they did, if they had really understood me. I could not have said, ‘Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’ unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not. The ‘punishment’ I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?