First off, it is necessary to read the Old Testament, particularly the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, in order to understand why Jesus had to die for us, why the sacrifice was needed, why Jesus’ death and resurrection is the foundation of Christianity, and why it is the most important thing we need to know in order to receive salvation. It is actually necessary to read the entire Bible to know about the main teachings of the Holy Scriptures and how everything fits together the mystical chris. The belief that humans are inherently evil is a result of believing we are separate from God and comes from a deep fear that without our savior, we’re doomed. Paul contributed greatly to the creation of this mindset. He was convinced Jesus was his only hope of being saved from the deep agony he experienced on a regular basis (thanks again to his belief that he was a sinner and therefore, was in violation of God’s laws). His agony over a past that haunted him, and having no control over his bodily desires, nearly tore him apart on the inside, which explains why he wrote the following in Romans:
For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that i am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin. (Romans 7: 22-25)
These words tell us Paul believes his body is a slave to sin, but thanks to Jesus, he’s saved-so long as he remains a slave to his mind that is. In other words, so long as he continually reinforces within his mind this illusion that it made up. The truth is that he could have found the love he wanted right inside himself all along. He didn’t need Jesus to experience unconditional love. All he needed was to choose to love himself unconditionally. And yet, his upbringing had already convinced him he was a victim and therefore, incapable of loving unconditionally. A victim cannot afford to love unconditionally, that would blow its game. This is why Paul was attached to this victim role, as are most humans today.
What Paul didn’t understand was that it was his reaction to the law that caused him to feel he was a slave to it. He could have laughed at it and said, “there’s no way I’m going to be confined to someone else’s idea of what’s right for me. I’m going to follow my heart, not someone else’s rules. ” With such an attitude Paul would’ve lived very differently. Of course, his father would probably have beat the tar out of him if he’d openly proclaimed this but regardless, any time we cannot take responsibility for our own creations, we fall into the illusion we are a victim of something outside us and therefore, have a need for salvation in whatever form-also to come from outside ourselves. The truth is that Paul was willing to receive floggings for his belief in Jesus, but had he, earlier in life, stuck with a commitment to not be controlled by anything outside himself despite receiving floggings from his father, he would never have allowed himself to be used by the Roman authorities to hunt down, persecute and murder Christians. This is a choice he could have made but he didn’t. And I can totally understand why because in those days, had he been that rebellious, it’s likely he would’ve not just been flogged, but killed. What happened to Jesus tells me so.
We can all relate to the desires of the flesh, yet we were all told God expects us to control them. We were told living in poverty is better than being rich (I Tim. 6: 9-10). Paul told us it was better to be celibate then to marry (I Cor. 7: 1, 8). There are oh so many rules that religions have placed upon the human heart, keeping us living as victims. However, no one has ever understood where this mentality actually came from, nor has anyone understood what truly loving ourselves means. We’ve just simply maintained a victim mentality, allowed ourselves to be bound by the rules, and have reluctantly accepted this as our fate-and by the way, the beer companies have made out like a bandit as a result!