Christ on the Cross, Collage by Marcia
I've been learning about the word, gospel. Gospel means or used to mean "new order of things." I've come to find, throughout history, gospel has meant something that has been done, something completed and something new happening. It is not something you or I do. Christianity is the ultimate, best Gospel.
All religions, except true Christianity, require you and I to do many things to maybe go to heaven or be one with the universe where there is really no eternal place and peace with our Maker. It is all rather nebulous. The weight of our destiny depends entirely on us. There is no certainty in these religions. (Except, maybe that you'll have to try again in the next life.)
I am learning about Buddha in preparation to go to Cambodia. He lost his mom at birth. His dad sheltered him as he grew up, but once he went out four times in a row and saw all the evil in the world. This troubled Buddha, so he sat and thought how these ills could be avoided. He tried the path of total deprivation, almost starving himself to death. He then decided meditation was the way to find "enlightenment", and perhaps a peace he was searching for. This took him 49 days to figure out. He came up with four noble truths listed below.
Buddha had to learn his way of salvation, and others will have to learn it as well if they want oneness with the universe. Women have to learn more rules than men to acheive enlightenment, which seemed rather unfair. I wonder, as I read, if that is partially why they have low status in Cambodia .
And, one can bring bad karma or good karma on oneself and or family with various actions. It sounds exhausting and very, very tricky to me.
With Christianity, Heaven has been secured for us by our Savior. Jesus is the way of salvation. He has cut through everyone's karma. Jesus died to set us right with God. His death takes away the wrath of God for our own wickedness in our own hearts - and the out-workings of said wicked heart. All the work is done, completed. Gospel.
He is not our pet or mentor. Jesus is not a little something extra in our lives to give us a boost. He is our total and complete rescuer.
Some people say, often intellectuals, "I don't need a savior, I just need an example." However, the jig is up. I know their wicked hearts, where the real battle takes place, because I know my own wicked heart and its propensity for wrong and selfishness "thinking" or being. A list of dos and don'ts will not fix my propensity. The root issue will remain.
The Gospel of Jesus is my only hope. It is a hope of which I am certain.
The four noble truths
The first: suffering is the basic human condition—the mental, emotional and physical suffering we endure is a result of past karma.
The second: the cause of our suffering is our desire for transient things. We value people and material things too highly, but ultimately cannot depend upon them.
The third: suffering can be eliminated—if we stop desiring the temporary.
The fourth: the way to eliminate our desire is to follow the eight-fold path.
Right knowledge or understanding
Right way of living
Keeping to the eight-fold path is difficult and requires determination and commitment.