Cults, Religions and the Occult: How Do They Compare? – Session 3

Christianity & Cults

  1. Christianity & Cults

    1. Jehovah’s Witnesses

      1. Authority:
        All authority is vested in the Governing Body, including the authority to understand and teach the Bible. “We acknowledge as the visible organization of Jehovah on earth the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and recognize the Society as the channel or instrument through which Jehovah and Christ Jesus give instruction and meat in due season to the household of faith. (The Watchtower, June 1, 1938: 169)

        They [Witnesses] must adhere absolutely to the decisions and scriptural understanding of the Society because God has given it this authority over his people. (The Watchtower, May 1, 1972: 272)

        Also, preferential treatment is given to the New World Translation over other translations, claiming that “The evidence is, therefore, that the original text of the Christian Greek Scriptures has been tampered with.”

      2. God:
        Is Jehovah a Trinity—three persons in one God? No! Jehovah, the Father, is “the only true God” (John 17:3; Mark 12:29). Jesus is His firstborn Son, and he is subject to God (1 Cor. 11:3). The Father is greater than the Son (John 14:28). The holy spirit is not a person; it is God’s active force (Gen. 1:2; Acts 2:18) (What Does God Require of Us?, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1997, electronic version).

      3. Christ:
        “The true Scriptures speak of God’s Son, the Word, as ‘a god.’ He is a ‘mighty god,’ but not the Almighty God, who is Jehovah” (The Truth Shall Make You Free, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1943, 47).

        “In other words, he was the first and direct creation of Jehovah God” (The Kingdom Is at Hand, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1944, 46–47, 49).

        “Thus, for example, the Bible shows that there is only one God, the Most High, the Almighty. And that the Son, as the First-born, the Only-begotten and `the creation by God,’ had a beginning” (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, p. 164).

        Jesus lived in heaven as a spirit person before he came to earth. He was God’s first creation, and so he is called the “firstborn” Son of God. (Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14) Jesus is the only Son that God created by himself. Jehovah used the prehuman Jesus as his “master worker” in creating all other things in heaven and on earth (Prov. 8:22–31; Col. 1:16–17). (Martin, Kingdom of the Cults, p.99)

        Jesus was only a perfect man, not God in flesh. (Reasoning from the Scriptures,
        1985, p. 306)

      4. Man:
        The spirit of a man has no existence apart from the body. At death the spirit dissipates.
        God retains only the memory of the one who has died. The soul does not live on after the death of the body. (Reasoning From the Scriptures, p. 383, 333; 136-137, 382)

        No descendant of Adam is free from sin: all inherit it from the first man. All are born in sin (imperfect with wayward tendencies). (Make Sure of All Things, 1965, p.456, 458)

      5. Salvation:
        “The primary purpose of the Son of God in coming to earth was to meet and decisively answer Satan’s charge that God cannot put on earth a creature who will keep his integrity and abide faithful till death under the test of persecution from the Devil and his demons…. By keeping his integrity under the most fiery tests Christ Jesus would vindicate His Father’s name and would prove his worthiness to be the Seed or King of God’s capital organization, Zion.” (What Has Religion, 240-255)

        “John showed (John 1:29, 36) the secondary purpose for which the Son of God came to earth, namely, to die as a holy sacrifice to Jehovah God in order to cancel death’s condemnation, that they might gain eternal life in the righteous new world which God has promised to create.” (What Has Religion, 240-255)

        “Yet we know that Jesus came to earth to provide a corresponding ransom by His perfect human life. The ransom, therefore, must be equal to the thing lost, namely, perfect human life as Adam had it in Eden.” (What Has Religion, 105)

        A person has “to do more than merely accept the Kingdom message in order to be saved.” (From Paradise, 249) He must take in knowledge, believe in Jesus Christ, repent, dedicate himself to Jehovah, recognize the Watchtower Society as God’s organization, conduct his life in harmony with the teachings and activities of the Watchtower Society, maintaining integrity to Jehovah and to his earthly organization, and endure faithfully to the end. (From Paradise, 242-246)

        In Watchtower soteriology, there are two classes of the saved:

        a. “The Congregation of God” [“144,000,” “Anointed,” “Remnant”]. These are the “little flock” of Luke 12:32 and the “faithful and discreet slave” of Matthew 24:45. They have a heavenly calling; their hope is to live and reign with Christ in heaven. They may partake of the bread and the wine at the Memorial [communion].

        b. The “Great Crowd” [“Great Multitude,” “Other Sheep”]. These are the “other sheep” of John 10:16 and the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9. They have an earthly hope; their hope is to live on a restored paradise earth. At the Memorial, they are merely observers.

      6. Right/Wrong:
        If we are to walk in the light of truth we must recognize not only Jehovah God as our father but his organization as our “mother.” (The Watchtower, May 1957: 274)

        Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect. (The Watchtower, October 1, 1967: 591)

        The Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as a whole, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind. (The Watchtower, October 1, 1967: 587)

        We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the scriptural guidance we need outside the “faithful and discreet slave” organization. (The Watchtower, February 15, 1981: 19)

      7. The End:
        The return of Christ occurred invisibly in the fall of 1914.
        Christ will not leave heaven and come to earth. Christ will not have a visible return to earth. (Aid to Bible Understanding, pp. 551, 1336; Reasoning from the Scriptures, pp. 95, 314, 343; Make Sure of All Things, p. 451)

        The majority of true Christians alive today, or 99.7% of Jehovah’s Witnesses, are members of the great crowd. Members of the great crowd will pass through the great tribulation and enter directly into everlasting life on earth. The “earthly hope” is the only valid hope for the majority of true Christians alive on earth today. (Watchtower, 1/1/86, p. 23, Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 356, 136-137)

        Who are those 144,000? …they are faithful followers of Jesus Christ specially chosen to rule in heaven with him. …Since the days of the apostles, God has been selecting faithful Christians in order to complete the number 144,000.” —What Does the Bible Really Teach?, 2005, p. 78-79

        It was at the “1935 convention in Washington, D.C.” that the leaders of the Watchtower publicly proclaimed to the Jonadab class they were to inherit an earthly paradise as their eternal reward (Jehovah’s Witnesses In The Divine Purpose, p. 140).

        “Logically, the calling of the little flock would draw to a close when the number was nearing completion, and the evidence is that the general gathering of these specially blessed ones ended in 1935.” (Watchtower 1995 Feb 15 p.19)

        Eternal nonexistence is the eventuality of those who are cast into gehenna, or the lake of fire. (Make Sure of All Things, p. 146)

    2. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

      1. Authority:
        “By the standard works of the Church is meant the following four volumes of scripture: The Bible, Book fo Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price… These four volumes of scripture are the standards, the measuring rods, the gauges by which all things are judged. (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., pp. 764-5)

        “…acceptance of the Bible is coupled with a reservation that it is true only insofar as translated correctly… The other three, having been revealed in modern times in English, are accepted without qualification.” (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., pp. 764)

      2. God:
        “How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods.” (Brigham Young, Journal of discourses 7:333)

        The God of Earth [Elohim], our heavenly Father, is an exalted man who has a tangible human body. He came to be God through what is called “eternal progression.” Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a school of earth life similar to that through which we are now passing. He became God—an exalted being—through obedience to the same eternal Gospel that we are given opportunity today to obey (Hunter, Gospel 104).

        God our heavenly Father is married to a multitude of wives, one of which is Jesus’ heavenly Mother.

        There are many gods in other planets and in other universes. If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we shall find that there are more gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds (Journal 2: 345).

        The Trinity [Father, Son, and Holy Ghost] consists of three separate and distinct gods. Three distinct personages and three gods (Smith, Teachings 370).

        The Holy Ghost is distinct from the Holy Spirit The Holy Ghost is a spirit child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother. He does not yet have a body. The Holy Ghost is yet a spiritual being and waiting to take to himself a body as the Savior did or as gods before them took bodies (Lundwall, Discourses 73).

        The Holy Spirit is God’s impersonal force by which he governs His dominions. The chief agent or agency by which the Holy Ghost accomplishes his work is usually spoken of as the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God. It is a universe-filling medium or influence (Widtsoe, Evidences 62).

      3. Christ:
        In heaven, Jesus was the firstborn spirit child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly mother. He is our elder brother. His name was Jehovah. He is also the brother of Lucifer, who became the devil. (Pearl, 4: 1-4).

        All men lived in a pre-existent estate before they were born into this world; all were born in pre-existence as the spirit children of the Father. Christ was the Firstborn Spirit Child (What the MORMONS think of CHRIST, 35-36).

        On earth, Jesus was the product of a sexual relationship between God and Mary. When the virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him… He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who was the Father? …Jesus our eldest brother was begotten in the flesh by…our Father in heaven (Journal 1: 50-51).

        Conceivably, Jesus was married [to fulfill one of the requirements for exaltation] and had children. He was married “both to Mary and to Martha, whereby he could see his seed before he was crucified” (Hyde, Seer 159; cf. Journal 2: 82).

        Jesus was resurrected physically from the dead. He ascended visibly into heaven and will return visibly to earth one day. Jesus is our prototype. What Jesus was, we were [spirits procreated by the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother]. As Jesus became a god, so male Mormons can become gods. Jesus became a God and reached His great state of understanding through consistent effort and continuous obedience to all the Gospel truths and universal laws (Hunter, Gospel 51).

      4. Man:
        “Life, intelligence, mind, the ‘light of truth’, or whatever name one gives to the center of the personality of man, is an uncreated, eternally existent, indestructible entity. In the first stage, man was an eternally existent being termed an intelligence. The next realm where man dwelt was the spirit world. There in the spirit world they were reared to maturity, becoming grown spirit men and women prior to coming upon this earth. (The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 127)

        “Jesus is man’s spiritual brother. We dwelt with Him in the spirit world as members of that large society of eternal intelligences, which included our Heavenly Parents.” (Ibid, p.21)

        Following his stay in the spirit world, man comes on earth in a probationary state preparatory to the eternal existence beyond the mortal confines of this world. Mortal death comes upon all. The eternal spirit goes to the spirit world to await resurrection and judgment” (Ibid, p.128)

        Man can become god. As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be (Talmage, Articles 430).

        [the Christian world] “has been long taught that Adam and Eve were great transgressors. We the children of Adam… should rejoice with them, that through their fall and the atonement of Jesus Christ, the way of eternal life has been opened up to us.” (Articles of Faith, p.476)

      5. Salvation:
        If there had been no atonement, temporal death would have remained forever, and there never would have been a resurrection. The body would have remained forever in the grave.

        Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible for all men of every age to be resurrected. It is not sufficient to pay the price for all sin. There is not a man or woman who violates covenants made with their God that will not be required to pay their debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. Your own blood must atone for it; the judgments of the Almighty will come sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for their covenant (Journal 3:247; cf. 4: 219-220).

        The Mormon doctrine of salvation involves not only faith in Christ, but baptism by immersion, obedience to the teaching of the Mormon Church, good works, and “keeping the commandments of God (which) will cleanse away the stain of sin” (Journal of Discourses, 2:4).

        1. LDS salvation can be divided into two categories:
        a. Unconditional or general salvation = Resurrection. All, with the exception of the sons of perdition, will be physically resurrected.

        b. Conditional or personal salvation = Exaltation. The requirements for exaltation include:

        (1) Faith in Jesus Christ.
        (2) Repentance.
        (3) Baptism–The beginning of the process of moving toward godhood; when one is born again.
        (4) Laying on of hands–The ceremony for conferring the priesthood, indicating a transfer of authority and power.
        (5) Church membership–One cannot be saved [attain exaltation] outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
        (6) Keeping the commandments (Ten Commandments, Word of Wisdom, tithing, gaining knowledge, being fruitful and multiplying, doing good works in general, and obeying all commands and directives given by the leaders of the Mormon Church).
        (7) Accepting Joseph Smith, Jr. and his successors as “God’s mouthpiece.”
        (8) Temple work–Marriage, genealogical work, and saving ordinances (proxy baptism, sealings, ordination, and endowments). (Bjornstad)

      6. Right/Wrong:
        found in the “Four Standard Works” – KJV (insofar as correctly translated), Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Book of Mormon – but the Bible is always subject to the others.

      7. The End:
        Upon death, Mormon salvation provides admittance, through resurrection, into one of three kingdoms:
        a. Telestial kingdom–The lowest of the three kingdoms where an endless host of people will dwell, including murderers, adulterers, and thieves
        b. Terrestrial kingdom–The second of the kingdoms where those who were “honorable” people, but who did not accept the Mormon gospel in this life, will dwell.
        c. Celestial–The highest of the three kingdoms is reserved for Mormons in good standing. There are three levels in this kingdom and only those who have been completely obedient to Mormon teaching, including marriage in a Mormon temple, may have part in the highest heaven. They will enter it in family units and become gods. (Bjornstad)

    3. Church of Christ, Scientist
      For decades Christian Science was the matriarch of the Mind Science family. With a large and growing membership, secular and religious respect, and great wealth, the Mother Church predominated the Mind Science movement and was more important in almost all respects than Unity School of Christianity, Mind Science, Religious Science, Divine Science, and their other siblings.
      Kingdom of the Cults

      1. Authority:
        The manifest mistakes in the ancient versions; the thirty thousand different readings in the Old Testament, and the three hundred thousand in the New—these facts show how a mortal and material sense stole into the divine record, with its own hue darkening, to some extent, the inspired pages (Science & Health, 139).

        Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is the “first book” which has been “uncontaminated by human hypothesis.” (The First Church 115; Science 99, 139, 456-457) Christian Scientists feel that her book offers the complete spiritual meaning of the Bible. They believe that this full meaning could not have been available to them without Mrs. Eddy’s discovery.

        Christian Scientists have no problem adding Eddy’s book to the Bible as having equal divine authority: Humanity had the Bible for close to two millenniums without fully understanding Christ Jesus did. To arrive at that kind of understanding, humanity needed to comprehend the Bible on a deeper level. They needed to “unlock” the Bible, so to speak. It was the specific mission of Science and Health to give the world this “key” to the Scriptures—to open up their treasures and enable everyone to use them.

      2. God:
        “The Jewish tribal Jehovah was a man-projected God, liable to wrath, repentance, and human changeableness” (S & H, 140).

        “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-All.” (Miscellaneous Writings, 21)

        “(1) God is All-in-all. (2) God is good. Good is Mind. (3) God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter. … GOD: Divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind” (S & H, 113, 115).

        Since God is “All-in-All,” anything that is not God does not exist. “Nothing possesses reality nor existence except the divine Mind and His ideas.” (Science and Health, 331)

        “the theory of three persons in one God (that is, a personal Trinity or Triunity) suggests polytheism, rather than the one ever-present I AM” (Science and Health, 256).

        “Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune Person called God” (S & H, 331).

        The Trinity – “Triply divine Principle.” The Godhead does not consist of three Persons. (Science and Health 256) The Trinity is “a triply divine Principle.” “Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune Person called God—that is, the triply divine Principle, Love. They represent a trinity in unity, three in one—the same in essence, though multiform in office: God the Father-Mother; Christ the spiritual idea of sonship; divine Science or the Holy Comforter. These three express in divine Science the threefold, essential nature of the infinite.” (Science and Health 331)

      3. Christ:
        “The Christian who believes in the First Commandment is a monotheist. Thus he virtually unites with the Jew’s belief in one God and recognizes that Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared, but is the Son of God” (S & H, 361).

        “The spiritual Christ was infallible; Jesus, as material manhood, was not Christ” (Miscellaneous Writings, 84).

        He is Jesus the Christ. “Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ.” (Science 473)

        He was conceived by the Virgin Mary’s spiritual thoughts. “Jesus, the Galilean prophet, was born of the Virgin Mary’s spiritual thoughts of life and its manifestations.” (The First Church 361)

        He was fallible. “[Jesus] knew the mortal errors which constitute the material body, and could destroy those errors; but at the time when Jesus felt our infirmities, he had not conquered all the beliefs of the flesh or his sense of material life.” (Science 53)

        His ministry consisted of correcting erroneous beliefs. “Jesus cast out devils, mediating between what is and is not until a perfect consciousness is obtained. He healed disease as He healed sin; He treated them both, not as in or of matter, but as mortal beliefs to be exterminated.” (No 40-41)

        His death was not real, only apparent. “Our Master fully and finally demonstrated divine Science in his victory over death and the grave . . . Jesus’ students, not sufficiently advanced to understand fully their Master’s triumph, did not perform many wonderful works until they saw Him after His crucifixion and learned that He did not die.” (Science 45, 350-351)

      4. Man:
        “Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. … Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science. Man is idea, the image of Love; he is not physique.” (Science and Health, 475)

        “Man is the offspring and idea of the Supreme Being whose law is perfect and infinite. In obedience to the law, man is forever unfolding the endless beatitudes of Being; for he is the image and likeness of infinite Life, Truth, and Love” (Miscellaneous Writings, 82)

        “Man is the ultimate of perfection and by no means the medium of imperfection. … If God is upright and eternal, man as His likeness is erect in goodness and perpetual in Life, Truth, and Love. … The spiritual man is that perfect and unfallen likeness, coexistent and coeternal with God.” (Miscellaneous Writings, 79)

      5. Salvation:
        Jesus did not atone for our sin by shedding His blood on the cross. “The real atonement–so infinitely beyond the heathen conception that God requires human blood to propitiate His justice and bring mercy–needs to be understood.” (No 34)

        “The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin, when it was shed upon ‘the accursed tree,’ than when it was flowing in His veins, as He went daily about His Father’s business.” (Science 25)

        He did not rise physically from the dead. (Science 339) He did not ascend into heaven. “The eternal Christ and the corporeal Jesus manifest in the flesh, continued until the Master’s ascension, when the human, material concept, or Jesus, disappeared, while the spiritual self, or Christ, continues to exist in the eternal order of divine Science.” (Science 334)

        He is not returning physically to earth. “The second appearing of Jesus is, unquestionably, the spiritual advent of the advancing idea of God, as in Christian Science.” (Retrospection 70) He is the “Way-shower.” “Jesus taught the way of Life by demonstration. There is but one way to heaven, harmony, and Christ in Divine Science shows us the way.” (Science 242)

        He is relatively unimportant to Mrs. Eddy. “If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me. I should still know that God’s spiritual ideal is the only real man in His image and likeness.” (The First Church 318-319)

        Salvation is by correcting erroneous beliefs. “To get rid of sin through Science, is to divest sin of any supposed mind or reality, and never admit that sin can have intelligence or power, pain or pleasure. You can conquer error by denying its verity.” (Science 339)

      6. Right/Wrong:
        “Hence, evil is but an illusion, and it has no real basis. Evil is a false belief. God is not its author. The supposititious parent of evil is a lie.” (Science and Health, 48).

        “There never was a moment in which evil was real.” (No and Yes, 24).

        The standard is the Golden Rule and a commitment to be merciful, just and pure.

      7. The End:
        “The only reality of sin, sickness, or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise. They are not true, because they are not of God.” (S & H, 472).

        “Sin, sickness, and death are to be classified as effects of error. Christ came to destroy the belief of sin.” (S & H, 473).

        DEATH. An illusion, the lie of life in matter; the unreal and untrue; the opposite of Life. Matter has no life, hence it has no real existence. Mind is immortal. The flesh, warring against the Spirit; that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal Life. Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual facts of being (S & H, 584).

    4. Unity School of Christianity

      1. Authority:
        the Bible, BUT, as interpreted by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. There is an apparent literal meaning that hides (covers over) an underlying metaphysical meaning.

        “When the Jesus ego first appears in the subconsciousness, it is a mere speck of light, a ‘star in the east’. The East is the mystical and occult realm where great wisdom and rich presents await the one who is born ‘King of the Jews’.” (Unity, Vol. 72, No. 1)

        “Galilee represents the life activity or soul energy of man acting in conjunction with substance. Nazareth, a city of Galilee, means a sprout, a small thing held of slight significance, hence a term of reproach. It typifies the commonplace mind of man; but it is in the commonplace mind actuated by the soul energy of true substance that the Christ idea takes root and grows up in consciousness.” Ibid.

      2. God:
        “The author of Genesis was evidently a great metaphysician. He described Being as God, Lord God, and Adam. We would express the same truth in the terms Mind, Idea, and Manifestation… But Mind, Idea, and Manifestation are one. Manifestation rests upon, and is sustained by the Idea, and the Idea is encompassed by the Mind that conceives it; therefore the Real of Adam is the Lord God, and the Omnipresent Fount of the Lord God is the One God.” (Fillmore, Christian Healing, 133)

        “We believe that creative Mind, God, is masculine and feminine, and that these attributes of Being are fundamental in both natural and spiritual man… Almighty Father-Mother, we thank Thee for this vision of Thine omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, in us and in all that we think and do, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.” (Unity’s Statement of Faith, Article 16, 32)

        God, then, is an impersonal pantheistic Principle, a universal intelligence.

      3. Christ:
        “Jesus represents God’s idea of man in expression: Christ is that idea in the absolute.” (Unity, Vol. 72, No. 1)

        “The Bible says that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, but the Bible does not here refer to Jesus of Nazareth, the outer man; it refers to the Christ, the spiritual identity of Jesus, whom he acknowledged in all his ways, and brought forth into his outer, until even the flesh of his body was lifted up, purified, spiritualized, and redeemed. Thus he became Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. And we are to follow him into this perfect state and become like him for in each of us is the Christ, the only begotten Son.” (Unity, Vol. 57, No. 5)

      4. Man:

        “In his true estate man is the Christ, the head of the body.” (Unity, Vol. 48, No. 2)

        Statements for the Realization of the Son of God:
        “I am the Son of God, and the Spirit of the Most High dwells in me. I am the only begotten Son, dwelling in the bosom of the Father. I am the Christ of God. I am the Beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased. Of a truth I am the Son of God. I and my Father are one.” (Christian Healing, 26)

        As the oak is in the acorn, so God is in man.

      5. Salvation:
        “There is no sin, sickness or death.” (Unity, Vol. 47, No. 5)

        “As we explore the mental realm, we find it filled with a whole legion of narrow beliefs, foolish, ignorant beliefs, selfish beliefs, and discordant beliefs. These we have lumped together and denominated ‘mortal mind’ or carnal mind.’ It is here we first do our ‘raising of the dead’. Each of these beliefs of mortality is a sin.” (Christian Healing, 164)

        “The atonement is the union of man with God the Father, in Christ, …the at-one-ment or agreement or reconciliation of man’s mind with Divine Mind through the superconsciousness of Christ mind. …A living faith in the atoning grace of Jesus Christ will prepare the way to an understanding of His mission and will open the consciousness to the saving Christ power, which alone can, here and now, make the transformation of the soul and body that is called redemption.” (What Practical Christianity Stands for, 5)

        Salvation is Christ-consciousness, conscious unity with God. “By his redeeming work Jesus Christ is forming and establishing a new consciousness into which all may enter. He went first into the interior spiritual realm of consciousness, and thus opened and prepared the way for all to follow Him and enter with Him into the realization of a perfect union with the Father-Mind.” (What Practical, 11)

      6. Right/Wrong:
        Sin is our separation from God, the Good, in consciousness. Salvation is now–not something that occurs after death. It happens whenever we turn our thoughts from fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt to thoughts of love, harmony, joy, and peace. The “fall” takes place in consciousness whenever we fall into negative habits of thinking. Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, not geographical locations. We make our own heaven or hell here and now by our thoughts, words, and deeds.(http://www.unity.org/aboutunity/whoWeAre/faq.html)

        The Bible is Unity’s basic textbook. Scripture comes alive when it is understood as a clear and helpful guide for today’s experiences. (Ibid)

        The five basic ideas that make up the Unity belief system are: 1) God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere. 2) We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good. 3) We create our life experiences through our way of thinking. 4) There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God. 5) Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them. (Ibid)

      7. The End:

        “Dissolution of spirit, soul, and body, caused by death, is annulled by rebirth of the same spirit and soul in another body here on earth. We believe the repeated incarnations of man to be a merciful provision of our loving Father to the end that all may have opportunity to attain immortality through regeneration, as did Jesus.” (Statement of Faith, Article 22)

 

Christianity & Cults

  1. Christianity & Cults

    1. Jehovah’s Witnesses

      1. Authority:
        All authority is vested in the Governing Body, including the authority to understand and teach the Bible. “We acknowledge as the visible organization of Jehovah on earth the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and recognize the Society as the channel or instrument through which Jehovah and Christ Jesus give instruction and meat in due season to the household of faith. (The Watchtower, June 1, 1938: 169)

        They [Witnesses] must adhere absolutely to the decisions and scriptural understanding of the Society because God has given it this authority over his people. (The Watchtower, May 1, 1972: 272)

        Also, preferential treatment is given to the New World Translation over other translations, claiming that “The evidence is, therefore, that the original text of the Christian Greek Scriptures has been tampered with.”

      2. God:
        Is Jehovah a Trinity—three persons in one God? No! Jehovah, the Father, is “the only true God” (John 17:3; Mark 12:29). Jesus is His firstborn Son, and he is subject to God (1 Cor. 11:3). The Father is greater than the Son (John 14:28). The holy spirit is not a person; it is God’s active force (Gen. 1:2; Acts 2:18) (What Does God Require of Us?, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1997, electronic version).

      3. Christ:
        “The true Scriptures speak of God’s Son, the Word, as ‘a god.’ He is a ‘mighty god,’ but not the Almighty God, who is Jehovah” (The Truth Shall Make You Free, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1943, 47).

        “In other words, he was the first and direct creation of Jehovah God” (The Kingdom Is at Hand, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1944, 46–47, 49).

        “Thus, for example, the Bible shows that there is only one God, the Most High, the Almighty. And that the Son, as the First-born, the Only-begotten and `the creation by God,’ had a beginning” (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, p. 164).

        Jesus lived in heaven as a spirit person before he came to earth. He was God’s first creation, and so he is called the “firstborn” Son of God. (Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14) Jesus is the only Son that God created by himself. Jehovah used the prehuman Jesus as his “master worker” in creating all other things in heaven and on earth (Prov. 8:22–31; Col. 1:16–17). (Martin, Kingdom of the Cults, p.99)

        Jesus was only a perfect man, not God in flesh. (Reasoning from the Scriptures,
        1985, p. 306)

      4. Man:
        The spirit of a man has no existence apart from the body. At death the spirit dissipates.
        God retains only the memory of the one who has died. The soul does not live on after the death of the body. (Reasoning From the Scriptures, p. 383, 333; 136-137, 382)

        No descendant of Adam is free from sin: all inherit it from the first man. All are born in sin (imperfect with wayward tendencies). (Make Sure of All Things, 1965, p.456, 458)

      5. Salvation:
        “The primary purpose of the Son of God in coming to earth was to meet and decisively answer Satan’s charge that God cannot put on earth a creature who will keep his integrity and abide faithful till death under the test of persecution from the Devil and his demons…. By keeping his integrity under the most fiery tests Christ Jesus would vindicate His Father’s name and would prove his worthiness to be the Seed or King of God’s capital organization, Zion.” (What Has Religion, 240-255)

        “John showed (John 1:29, 36) the secondary purpose for which the Son of God came to earth, namely, to die as a holy sacrifice to Jehovah God in order to cancel death’s condemnation, that they might gain eternal life in the righteous new world which God has promised to create.” (What Has Religion, 240-255)

        “Yet we know that Jesus came to earth to provide a corresponding ransom by His perfect human life. The ransom, therefore, must be equal to the thing lost, namely, perfect human life as Adam had it in Eden.” (What Has Religion, 105)

        A person has “to do more than merely accept the Kingdom message in order to be saved.” (From Paradise, 249) He must take in knowledge, believe in Jesus Christ, repent, dedicate himself to Jehovah, recognize the Watchtower Society as God’s organization, conduct his life in harmony with the teachings and activities of the Watchtower Society, maintaining integrity to Jehovah and to his earthly organization, and endure faithfully to the end. (From Paradise, 242-246)

        In Watchtower soteriology, there are two classes of the saved:

        a. “The Congregation of God” [“144,000,” “Anointed,” “Remnant”]. These are the “little flock” of Luke 12:32 and the “faithful and discreet slave” of Matthew 24:45. They have a heavenly calling; their hope is to live and reign with Christ in heaven. They may partake of the bread and the wine at the Memorial [communion].

        b. The “Great Crowd” [“Great Multitude,” “Other Sheep”]. These are the “other sheep” of John 10:16 and the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9. They have an earthly hope; their hope is to live on a restored paradise earth. At the Memorial, they are merely observers.

      6. Right/Wrong:
        If we are to walk in the light of truth we must recognize not only Jehovah God as our father but his organization as our “mother.” (The Watchtower, May 1957: 274)

        Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect. (The Watchtower, October 1, 1967: 591)

        The Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as a whole, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind. (The Watchtower, October 1, 1967: 587)

        We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the scriptural guidance we need outside the “faithful and discreet slave” organization. (The Watchtower, February 15, 1981: 19)

      7. The End:
        The return of Christ occurred invisibly in the fall of 1914.
        Christ will not leave heaven and come to earth. Christ will not have a visible return to earth. (Aid to Bible Understanding, pp. 551, 1336; Reasoning from the Scriptures, pp. 95, 314, 343; Make Sure of All Things, p. 451)

        The majority of true Christians alive today, or 99.7% of Jehovah’s Witnesses, are members of the great crowd. Members of the great crowd will pass through the great tribulation and enter directly into everlasting life on earth. The “earthly hope” is the only valid hope for the majority of true Christians alive on earth today. (Watchtower, 1/1/86, p. 23, Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 356, 136-137)

        Who are those 144,000? …they are faithful followers of Jesus Christ specially chosen to rule in heaven with him. …Since the days of the apostles, God has been selecting faithful Christians in order to complete the number 144,000.” —What Does the Bible Really Teach?, 2005, p. 78-79

        It was at the “1935 convention in Washington, D.C.” that the leaders of the Watchtower publicly proclaimed to the Jonadab class they were to inherit an earthly paradise as their eternal reward (Jehovah’s Witnesses In The Divine Purpose, p. 140).

        “Logically, the calling of the little flock would draw to a close when the number was nearing completion, and the evidence is that the general gathering of these specially blessed ones ended in 1935.” (Watchtower 1995 Feb 15 p.19)

        Eternal nonexistence is the eventuality of those who are cast into gehenna, or the lake of fire. (Make Sure of All Things, p. 146)

    2. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

      1. Authority:
        “By the standard works of the Church is meant the following four volumes of scripture: The Bible, Book fo Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price… These four volumes of scripture are the standards, the measuring rods, the gauges by which all things are judged. (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., pp. 764-5)

        “…acceptance of the Bible is coupled with a reservation that it is true only insofar as translated correctly… The other three, having been revealed in modern times in English, are accepted without qualification.” (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., pp. 764)

      2. God:
        “How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods.” (Brigham Young, Journal of discourses 7:333)

        The God of Earth [Elohim], our heavenly Father, is an exalted man who has a tangible human body. He came to be God through what is called “eternal progression.” Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a school of earth life similar to that through which we are now passing. He became God—an exalted being—through obedience to the same eternal Gospel that we are given opportunity today to obey (Hunter, Gospel 104).

        God our heavenly Father is married to a multitude of wives, one of which is Jesus’ heavenly Mother.

        There are many gods in other planets and in other universes. If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we shall find that there are more gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds (Journal 2: 345).

        The Trinity [Father, Son, and Holy Ghost] consists of three separate and distinct gods. Three distinct personages and three gods (Smith, Teachings 370).

        The Holy Ghost is distinct from the Holy Spirit The Holy Ghost is a spirit child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother. He does not yet have a body. The Holy Ghost is yet a spiritual being and waiting to take to himself a body as the Savior did or as gods before them took bodies (Lundwall, Discourses 73).

        The Holy Spirit is God’s impersonal force by which he governs His dominions. The chief agent or agency by which the Holy Ghost accomplishes his work is usually spoken of as the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God. It is a universe-filling medium or influence (Widtsoe, Evidences 62).

      3. Christ:
        In heaven, Jesus was the firstborn spirit child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly mother. He is our elder brother. His name was Jehovah. He is also the brother of Lucifer, who became the devil. (Pearl, 4: 1-4).

        All men lived in a pre-existent estate before they were born into this world; all were born in pre-existence as the spirit children of the Father. Christ was the Firstborn Spirit Child (What the MORMONS think of CHRIST, 35-36).

        On earth, Jesus was the product of a sexual relationship between God and Mary. When the virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him… He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who was the Father? …Jesus our eldest brother was begotten in the flesh by…our Father in heaven (Journal 1: 50-51).

        Conceivably, Jesus was married [to fulfill one of the requirements for exaltation] and had children. He was married “both to Mary and to Martha, whereby he could see his seed before he was crucified” (Hyde, Seer 159; cf. Journal 2: 82).

        Jesus was resurrected physically from the dead. He ascended visibly into heaven and will return visibly to earth one day. Jesus is our prototype. What Jesus was, we were [spirits procreated by the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother]. As Jesus became a god, so male Mormons can become gods. Jesus became a God and reached His great state of understanding through consistent effort and continuous obedience to all the Gospel truths and universal laws (Hunter, Gospel 51).

      4. Man:
        “Life, intelligence, mind, the ‘light of truth’, or whatever name one gives to the center of the personality of man, is an uncreated, eternally existent, indestructible entity. In the first stage, man was an eternally existent being termed an intelligence. The next realm where man dwelt was the spirit world. There in the spirit world they were reared to maturity, becoming grown spirit men and women prior to coming upon this earth. (The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 127)

        “Jesus is man’s spiritual brother. We dwelt with Him in the spirit world as members of that large society of eternal intelligences, which included our Heavenly Parents.” (Ibid, p.21)

        Following his stay in the spirit world, man comes on earth in a probationary state preparatory to the eternal existence beyond the mortal confines of this world. Mortal death comes upon all. The eternal spirit goes to the spirit world to await resurrection and judgment” (Ibid, p.128)

        Man can become god. As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be (Talmage, Articles 430).

        [the Christian world] “has been long taught that Adam and Eve were great transgressors. We the children of Adam… should rejoice with them, that through their fall and the atonement of Jesus Christ, the way of eternal life has been opened up to us.” (Articles of Faith, p.476)

      5. Salvation:
        If there had been no atonement, temporal death would have remained forever, and there never would have been a resurrection. The body would have remained forever in the grave.

        Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible for all men of every age to be resurrected. It is not sufficient to pay the price for all sin. There is not a man or woman who violates covenants made with their God that will not be required to pay their debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. Your own blood must atone for it; the judgments of the Almighty will come sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for their covenant (Journal 3:247; cf. 4: 219-220).

        The Mormon doctrine of salvation involves not only faith in Christ, but baptism by immersion, obedience to the teaching of the Mormon Church, good works, and “keeping the commandments of God (which) will cleanse away the stain of sin” (Journal of Discourses, 2:4).

        1. LDS salvation can be divided into two categories:
        a. Unconditional or general salvation = Resurrection. All, with the exception of the sons of perdition, will be physically resurrected.

        b. Conditional or personal salvation = Exaltation. The requirements for exaltation include:

        (1) Faith in Jesus Christ.
        (2) Repentance.
        (3) Baptism–The beginning of the process of moving toward godhood; when one is born again.
        (4) Laying on of hands–The ceremony for conferring the priesthood, indicating a transfer of authority and power.
        (5) Church membership–One cannot be saved [attain exaltation] outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
        (6) Keeping the commandments (Ten Commandments, Word of Wisdom, tithing, gaining knowledge, being fruitful and multiplying, doing good works in general, and obeying all commands and directives given by the leaders of the Mormon Church).
        (7) Accepting Joseph Smith, Jr. and his successors as “God’s mouthpiece.”
        (8) Temple work–Marriage, genealogical work, and saving ordinances (proxy baptism, sealings, ordination, and endowments). (Bjornstad)

      6. Right/Wrong:
        found in the “Four Standard Works” – KJV (insofar as correctly translated), Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Book of Mormon – but the Bible is always subject to the others.

      7. The End:
        Upon death, Mormon salvation provides admittance, through resurrection, into one of three kingdoms:
        a. Telestial kingdom–The lowest of the three kingdoms where an endless host of people will dwell, including murderers, adulterers, and thieves
        b. Terrestrial kingdom–The second of the kingdoms where those who were “honorable” people, but who did not accept the Mormon gospel in this life, will dwell.
        c. Celestial–The highest of the three kingdoms is reserved for Mormons in good standing. There are three levels in this kingdom and only those who have been completely obedient to Mormon teaching, including marriage in a Mormon temple, may have part in the highest heaven. They will enter it in family units and become gods. (Bjornstad)

    3. Church of Christ, Scientist
      For decades Christian Science was the matriarch of the Mind Science family. With a large and growing membership, secular and religious respect, and great wealth, the Mother Church predominated the Mind Science movement and was more important in almost all respects than Unity School of Christianity, Mind Science, Religious Science, Divine Science, and their other siblings.
      Kingdom of the Cults

      1. Authority:
        The manifest mistakes in the ancient versions; the thirty thousand different readings in the Old Testament, and the three hundred thousand in the New—these facts show how a mortal and material sense stole into the divine record, with its own hue darkening, to some extent, the inspired pages (Science & Health, 139).

        Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is the “first book” which has been “uncontaminated by human hypothesis.” (The First Church 115; Science 99, 139, 456-457) Christian Scientists feel that her book offers the complete spiritual meaning of the Bible. They believe that this full meaning could not have been available to them without Mrs. Eddy’s discovery.

        Christian Scientists have no problem adding Eddy’s book to the Bible as having equal divine authority: Humanity had the Bible for close to two millenniums without fully understanding Christ Jesus did. To arrive at that kind of understanding, humanity needed to comprehend the Bible on a deeper level. They needed to “unlock” the Bible, so to speak. It was the specific mission of Science and Health to give the world this “key” to the Scriptures—to open up their treasures and enable everyone to use them.

      2. God:
        “The Jewish tribal Jehovah was a man-projected God, liable to wrath, repentance, and human changeableness” (S & H, 140).

        “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-All.” (Miscellaneous Writings, 21)

        “(1) God is All-in-all. (2) God is good. Good is Mind. (3) God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter. … GOD: Divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind” (S & H, 113, 115).

        Since God is “All-in-All,” anything that is not God does not exist. “Nothing possesses reality nor existence except the divine Mind and His ideas.” (Science and Health, 331)

        “the theory of three persons in one God (that is, a personal Trinity or Triunity) suggests polytheism, rather than the one ever-present I AM” (Science and Health, 256).

        “Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune Person called God” (S & H, 331).

        The Trinity – “Triply divine Principle.” The Godhead does not consist of three Persons. (Science and Health 256) The Trinity is “a triply divine Principle.” “Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune Person called God—that is, the triply divine Principle, Love. They represent a trinity in unity, three in one—the same in essence, though multiform in office: God the Father-Mother; Christ the spiritual idea of sonship; divine Science or the Holy Comforter. These three express in divine Science the threefold, essential nature of the infinite.” (Science and Health 331)

      3. Christ:
        “The Christian who believes in the First Commandment is a monotheist. Thus he virtually unites with the Jew’s belief in one God and recognizes that Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared, but is the Son of God” (S & H, 361).

        “The spiritual Christ was infallible; Jesus, as material manhood, was not Christ” (Miscellaneous Writings, 84).

        He is Jesus the Christ. “Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ.” (Science 473)

        He was conceived by the Virgin Mary’s spiritual thoughts. “Jesus, the Galilean prophet, was born of the Virgin Mary’s spiritual thoughts of life and its manifestations.” (The First Church 361)

        He was fallible. “[Jesus] knew the mortal errors which constitute the material body, and could destroy those errors; but at the time when Jesus felt our infirmities, he had not conquered all the beliefs of the flesh or his sense of material life.” (Science 53)

        His ministry consisted of correcting erroneous beliefs. “Jesus cast out devils, mediating between what is and is not until a perfect consciousness is obtained. He healed disease as He healed sin; He treated them both, not as in or of matter, but as mortal beliefs to be exterminated.” (No 40-41)

        His death was not real, only apparent. “Our Master fully and finally demonstrated divine Science in his victory over death and the grave . . . Jesus’ students, not sufficiently advanced to understand fully their Master’s triumph, did not perform many wonderful works until they saw Him after His crucifixion and learned that He did not die.” (Science 45, 350-351)

      4. Man:
        “Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. … Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science. Man is idea, the image of Love; he is not physique.” (Science and Health, 475)

        “Man is the offspring and idea of the Supreme Being whose law is perfect and infinite. In obedience to the law, man is forever unfolding the endless beatitudes of Being; for he is the image and likeness of infinite Life, Truth, and Love” (Miscellaneous Writings, 82)

        “Man is the ultimate of perfection and by no means the medium of imperfection. … If God is upright and eternal, man as His likeness is erect in goodness and perpetual in Life, Truth, and Love. … The spiritual man is that perfect and unfallen likeness, coexistent and coeternal with God.” (Miscellaneous Writings, 79)

      5. Salvation:
        Jesus did not atone for our sin by shedding His blood on the cross. “The real atonement–so infinitely beyond the heathen conception that God requires human blood to propitiate His justice and bring mercy–needs to be understood.” (No 34)

        “The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin, when it was shed upon ‘the accursed tree,’ than when it was flowing in His veins, as He went daily about His Father’s business.” (Science 25)

        He did not rise physically from the dead. (Science 339) He did not ascend into heaven. “The eternal Christ and the corporeal Jesus manifest in the flesh, continued until the Master’s ascension, when the human, material concept, or Jesus, disappeared, while the spiritual self, or Christ, continues to exist in the eternal order of divine Science.” (Science 334)

        He is not returning physically to earth. “The second appearing of Jesus is, unquestionably, the spiritual advent of the advancing idea of God, as in Christian Science.” (Retrospection 70) He is the “Way-shower.” “Jesus taught the way of Life by demonstration. There is but one way to heaven, harmony, and Christ in Divine Science shows us the way.” (Science 242)

        He is relatively unimportant to Mrs. Eddy. “If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me. I should still know that God’s spiritual ideal is the only real man in His image and likeness.” (The First Church 318-319)

        Salvation is by correcting erroneous beliefs. “To get rid of sin through Science, is to divest sin of any supposed mind or reality, and never admit that sin can have intelligence or power, pain or pleasure. You can conquer error by denying its verity.” (Science 339)

      6. Right/Wrong:
        “Hence, evil is but an illusion, and it has no real basis. Evil is a false belief. God is not its author. The supposititious parent of evil is a lie.” (Science and Health, 48).

        “There never was a moment in which evil was real.” (No and Yes, 24).

        The standard is the Golden Rule and a commitment to be merciful, just and pure.

      7. The End:
        “The only reality of sin, sickness, or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise. They are not true, because they are not of God.” (S & H, 472).

        “Sin, sickness, and death are to be classified as effects of error. Christ came to destroy the belief of sin.” (S & H, 473).

        DEATH. An illusion, the lie of life in matter; the unreal and untrue; the opposite of Life. Matter has no life, hence it has no real existence. Mind is immortal. The flesh, warring against the Spirit; that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal Life. Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual facts of being (S & H, 584).

    4. Unity School of Christianity

      1. Authority:
        the Bible, BUT, as interpreted by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. There is an apparent literal meaning that hides (covers over) an underlying metaphysical meaning.

        “When the Jesus ego first appears in the subconsciousness, it is a mere speck of light, a ‘star in the east’. The East is the mystical and occult realm where great wisdom and rich presents await the one who is born ‘King of the Jews’.” (Unity, Vol. 72, No. 1)

        “Galilee represents the life activity or soul energy of man acting in conjunction with substance. Nazareth, a city of Galilee, means a sprout, a small thing held of slight significance, hence a term of reproach. It typifies the commonplace mind of man; but it is in the commonplace mind actuated by the soul energy of true substance that the Christ idea takes root and grows up in consciousness.” Ibid.

      2. God:
        “The author of Genesis was evidently a great metaphysician. He described Being as God, Lord God, and Adam. We would express the same truth in the terms Mind, Idea, and Manifestation… But Mind, Idea, and Manifestation are one. Manifestation rests upon, and is sustained by the Idea, and the Idea is encompassed by the Mind that conceives it; therefore the Real of Adam is the Lord God, and the Omnipresent Fount of the Lord God is the One God.” (Fillmore, Christian Healing, 133)

        “We believe that creative Mind, God, is masculine and feminine, and that these attributes of Being are fundamental in both natural and spiritual man… Almighty Father-Mother, we thank Thee for this vision of Thine omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, in us and in all that we think and do, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.” (Unity’s Statement of Faith, Article 16, 32)

        God, then, is an impersonal pantheistic Principle, a universal intelligence.

      3. Christ:
        “Jesus represents God’s idea of man in expression: Christ is that idea in the absolute.” (Unity, Vol. 72, No. 1)

        “The Bible says that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, but the Bible does not here refer to Jesus of Nazareth, the outer man; it refers to the Christ, the spiritual identity of Jesus, whom he acknowledged in all his ways, and brought forth into his outer, until even the flesh of his body was lifted up, purified, spiritualized, and redeemed. Thus he became Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. And we are to follow him into this perfect state and become like him for in each of us is the Christ, the only begotten Son.” (Unity, Vol. 57, No. 5)

      4. Man:

        “In his true estate man is the Christ, the head of the body.” (Unity, Vol. 48, No. 2)

        Statements for the Realization of the Son of God:
        “I am the Son of God, and the Spirit of the Most High dwells in me. I am the only begotten Son, dwelling in the bosom of the Father. I am the Christ of God. I am the Beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased. Of a truth I am the Son of God. I and my Father are one.” (Christian Healing, 26)

        As the oak is in the acorn, so God is in man.

      5. Salvation:
        “There is no sin, sickness or death.” (Unity, Vol. 47, No. 5)

        “As we explore the mental realm, we find it filled with a whole legion of narrow beliefs, foolish, ignorant beliefs, selfish beliefs, and discordant beliefs. These we have lumped together and denominated ‘mortal mind’ or carnal mind.’ It is here we first do our ‘raising of the dead’. Each of these beliefs of mortality is a sin.” (Christian Healing, 164)

        “The atonement is the union of man with God the Father, in Christ, …the at-one-ment or agreement or reconciliation of man’s mind with Divine Mind through the superconsciousness of Christ mind. …A living faith in the atoning grace of Jesus Christ will prepare the way to an understanding of His mission and will open the consciousness to the saving Christ power, which alone can, here and now, make the transformation of the soul and body that is called redemption.” (What Practical Christianity Stands for, 5)

        Salvation is Christ-consciousness, conscious unity with God. “By his redeeming work Jesus Christ is forming and establishing a new consciousness into which all may enter. He went first into the interior spiritual realm of consciousness, and thus opened and prepared the way for all to follow Him and enter with Him into the realization of a perfect union with the Father-Mind.” (What Practical, 11)

      6. Right/Wrong:
        Sin is our separation from God, the Good, in consciousness. Salvation is now–not something that occurs after death. It happens whenever we turn our thoughts from fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt to thoughts of love, harmony, joy, and peace. The “fall” takes place in consciousness whenever we fall into negative habits of thinking. Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, not geographical locations. We make our own heaven or hell here and now by our thoughts, words, and deeds.(http://www.unity.org/aboutunity/whoWeAre/faq.html)

        The Bible is Unity’s basic textbook. Scripture comes alive when it is understood as a clear and helpful guide for today’s experiences. (Ibid)

        The five basic ideas that make up the Unity belief system are: 1) God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere. 2) We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good. 3) We create our life experiences through our way of thinking. 4) There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God. 5) Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them. (Ibid)

      7. The End:

        “Dissolution of spirit, soul, and body, caused by death, is annulled by rebirth of the same spirit and soul in another body here on earth. We believe the repeated incarnations of man to be a merciful provision of our loving Father to the end that all may have opportunity to attain immortality through regeneration, as did Jesus.” (Statement of Faith, Article 22)

 

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Christianity & Cults

  1. Christianity & Cults

    1. Jehovah’s Witnesses

      1. Authority:
        All authority is vested in the Governing Body, including the authority to understand and teach the Bible. “We acknowledge as the visible organization of Jehovah on earth the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and recognize the Society as the channel or instrument through which Jehovah and Christ Jesus give instruction and meat in due season to the household of faith. (The Watchtower, June 1, 1938: 169)

        They [Witnesses] must adhere absolutely to the decisions and scriptural understanding of the Society because God has given it this authority over his people. (The Watchtower, May 1, 1972: 272)

        Also, preferential treatment is given to the New World Translation over other translations, claiming that “The evidence is, therefore, that the original text of the Christian Greek Scriptures has been tampered with.”

      2. God:
        Is Jehovah a Trinity—three persons in one God? No! Jehovah, the Father, is “the only true God” (John 17:3; Mark 12:29). Jesus is His firstborn Son, and he is subject to God (1 Cor. 11:3). The Father is greater than the Son (John 14:28). The holy spirit is not a person; it is God’s active force (Gen. 1:2; Acts 2:18) (What Does God Require of Us?, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1997, electronic version).

      3. Christ:
        “The true Scriptures speak of God’s Son, the Word, as ‘a god.’ He is a ‘mighty god,’ but not the Almighty God, who is Jehovah” (The Truth Shall Make You Free, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1943, 47).

        “In other words, he was the first and direct creation of Jehovah God” (The Kingdom Is at Hand, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1944, 46–47, 49).

        “Thus, for example, the Bible shows that there is only one God, the Most High, the Almighty. And that the Son, as the First-born, the Only-begotten and `the creation by God,’ had a beginning” (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained, p. 164).

        Jesus lived in heaven as a spirit person before he came to earth. He was God’s first creation, and so he is called the “firstborn” Son of God. (Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14) Jesus is the only Son that God created by himself. Jehovah used the prehuman Jesus as his “master worker” in creating all other things in heaven and on earth (Prov. 8:22–31; Col. 1:16–17). (Martin, Kingdom of the Cults, p.99)

        Jesus was only a perfect man, not God in flesh. (Reasoning from the Scriptures,
        1985, p. 306)

      4. Man:
        The spirit of a man has no existence apart from the body. At death the spirit dissipates.
        God retains only the memory of the one who has died. The soul does not live on after the death of the body. (Reasoning From the Scriptures, p. 383, 333; 136-137, 382)

        No descendant of Adam is free from sin: all inherit it from the first man. All are born in sin (imperfect with wayward tendencies). (Make Sure of All Things, 1965, p.456, 458)

      5. Salvation:
        “The primary purpose of the Son of God in coming to earth was to meet and decisively answer Satan’s charge that God cannot put on earth a creature who will keep his integrity and abide faithful till death under the test of persecution from the Devil and his demons…. By keeping his integrity under the most fiery tests Christ Jesus would vindicate His Father’s name and would prove his worthiness to be the Seed or King of God’s capital organization, Zion.” (What Has Religion, 240-255)

        “John showed (John 1:29, 36) the secondary purpose for which the Son of God came to earth, namely, to die as a holy sacrifice to Jehovah God in order to cancel death’s condemnation, that they might gain eternal life in the righteous new world which God has promised to create.” (What Has Religion, 240-255)

        “Yet we know that Jesus came to earth to provide a corresponding ransom by His perfect human life. The ransom, therefore, must be equal to the thing lost, namely, perfect human life as Adam had it in Eden.” (What Has Religion, 105)

        A person has “to do more than merely accept the Kingdom message in order to be saved.” (From Paradise, 249) He must take in knowledge, believe in Jesus Christ, repent, dedicate himself to Jehovah, recognize the Watchtower Society as God’s organization, conduct his life in harmony with the teachings and activities of the Watchtower Society, maintaining integrity to Jehovah and to his earthly organization, and endure faithfully to the end. (From Paradise, 242-246)

        In Watchtower soteriology, there are two classes of the saved:

        a. “The Congregation of God” [“144,000,” “Anointed,” “Remnant”]. These are the “little flock” of Luke 12:32 and the “faithful and discreet slave” of Matthew 24:45. They have a heavenly calling; their hope is to live and reign with Christ in heaven. They may partake of the bread and the wine at the Memorial [communion].

        b. The “Great Crowd” [“Great Multitude,” “Other Sheep”]. These are the “other sheep” of John 10:16 and the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9. They have an earthly hope; their hope is to live on a restored paradise earth. At the Memorial, they are merely observers.

      6. Right/Wrong:
        If we are to walk in the light of truth we must recognize not only Jehovah God as our father but his organization as our “mother.” (The Watchtower, May 1957: 274)

        Make haste to identify the visible theocratic organization of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. It is essential for life. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect. (The Watchtower, October 1, 1967: 591)

        The Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as a whole, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind. (The Watchtower, October 1, 1967: 587)

        We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the scriptural guidance we need outside the “faithful and discreet slave” organization. (The Watchtower, February 15, 1981: 19)

      7. The End:
        The return of Christ occurred invisibly in the fall of 1914.
        Christ will not leave heaven and come to earth. Christ will not have a visible return to earth. (Aid to Bible Understanding, pp. 551, 1336; Reasoning from the Scriptures, pp. 95, 314, 343; Make Sure of All Things, p. 451)

        The majority of true Christians alive today, or 99.7% of Jehovah’s Witnesses, are members of the great crowd. Members of the great crowd will pass through the great tribulation and enter directly into everlasting life on earth. The “earthly hope” is the only valid hope for the majority of true Christians alive on earth today. (Watchtower, 1/1/86, p. 23, Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 356, 136-137)

        Who are those 144,000? …they are faithful followers of Jesus Christ specially chosen to rule in heaven with him. …Since the days of the apostles, God has been selecting faithful Christians in order to complete the number 144,000.” —What Does the Bible Really Teach?, 2005, p. 78-79

        It was at the “1935 convention in Washington, D.C.” that the leaders of the Watchtower publicly proclaimed to the Jonadab class they were to inherit an earthly paradise as their eternal reward (Jehovah’s Witnesses In The Divine Purpose, p. 140).

        “Logically, the calling of the little flock would draw to a close when the number was nearing completion, and the evidence is that the general gathering of these specially blessed ones ended in 1935.” (Watchtower 1995 Feb 15 p.19)

        Eternal nonexistence is the eventuality of those who are cast into gehenna, or the lake of fire. (Make Sure of All Things, p. 146)

    2. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

      1. Authority:
        “By the standard works of the Church is meant the following four volumes of scripture: The Bible, Book fo Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price… These four volumes of scripture are the standards, the measuring rods, the gauges by which all things are judged. (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., pp. 764-5)

        “…acceptance of the Bible is coupled with a reservation that it is true only insofar as translated correctly… The other three, having been revealed in modern times in English, are accepted without qualification.” (Mormon Doctrine, 1977 ed., pp. 764)

      2. God:
        “How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods.” (Brigham Young, Journal of discourses 7:333)

        The God of Earth [Elohim], our heavenly Father, is an exalted man who has a tangible human body. He came to be God through what is called “eternal progression.” Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a school of earth life similar to that through which we are now passing. He became God—an exalted being—through obedience to the same eternal Gospel that we are given opportunity today to obey (Hunter, Gospel 104).

        God our heavenly Father is married to a multitude of wives, one of which is Jesus’ heavenly Mother.

        There are many gods in other planets and in other universes. If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we shall find that there are more gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds (Journal 2: 345).

        The Trinity [Father, Son, and Holy Ghost] consists of three separate and distinct gods. Three distinct personages and three gods (Smith, Teachings 370).

        The Holy Ghost is distinct from the Holy Spirit The Holy Ghost is a spirit child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother. He does not yet have a body. The Holy Ghost is yet a spiritual being and waiting to take to himself a body as the Savior did or as gods before them took bodies (Lundwall, Discourses 73).

        The Holy Spirit is God’s impersonal force by which he governs His dominions. The chief agent or agency by which the Holy Ghost accomplishes his work is usually spoken of as the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God. It is a universe-filling medium or influence (Widtsoe, Evidences 62).

      3. Christ:
        In heaven, Jesus was the firstborn spirit child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly mother. He is our elder brother. His name was Jehovah. He is also the brother of Lucifer, who became the devil. (Pearl, 4: 1-4).

        All men lived in a pre-existent estate before they were born into this world; all were born in pre-existence as the spirit children of the Father. Christ was the Firstborn Spirit Child (What the MORMONS think of CHRIST, 35-36).

        On earth, Jesus was the product of a sexual relationship between God and Mary. When the virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him… He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who was the Father? …Jesus our eldest brother was begotten in the flesh by…our Father in heaven (Journal 1: 50-51).

        Conceivably, Jesus was married [to fulfill one of the requirements for exaltation] and had children. He was married “both to Mary and to Martha, whereby he could see his seed before he was crucified” (Hyde, Seer 159; cf. Journal 2: 82).

        Jesus was resurrected physically from the dead. He ascended visibly into heaven and will return visibly to earth one day. Jesus is our prototype. What Jesus was, we were [spirits procreated by the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother]. As Jesus became a god, so male Mormons can become gods. Jesus became a God and reached His great state of understanding through consistent effort and continuous obedience to all the Gospel truths and universal laws (Hunter, Gospel 51).

      4. Man:
        “Life, intelligence, mind, the ‘light of truth’, or whatever name one gives to the center of the personality of man, is an uncreated, eternally existent, indestructible entity. In the first stage, man was an eternally existent being termed an intelligence. The next realm where man dwelt was the spirit world. There in the spirit world they were reared to maturity, becoming grown spirit men and women prior to coming upon this earth. (The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 127)

        “Jesus is man’s spiritual brother. We dwelt with Him in the spirit world as members of that large society of eternal intelligences, which included our Heavenly Parents.” (Ibid, p.21)

        Following his stay in the spirit world, man comes on earth in a probationary state preparatory to the eternal existence beyond the mortal confines of this world. Mortal death comes upon all. The eternal spirit goes to the spirit world to await resurrection and judgment” (Ibid, p.128)

        Man can become god. As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be (Talmage, Articles 430).

        [the Christian world] “has been long taught that Adam and Eve were great transgressors. We the children of Adam… should rejoice with them, that through their fall and the atonement of Jesus Christ, the way of eternal life has been opened up to us.” (Articles of Faith, p.476)

      5. Salvation:
        If there had been no atonement, temporal death would have remained forever, and there never would have been a resurrection. The body would have remained forever in the grave.

        Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible for all men of every age to be resurrected. It is not sufficient to pay the price for all sin. There is not a man or woman who violates covenants made with their God that will not be required to pay their debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. Your own blood must atone for it; the judgments of the Almighty will come sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for their covenant (Journal 3:247; cf. 4: 219-220).

        The Mormon doctrine of salvation involves not only faith in Christ, but baptism by immersion, obedience to the teaching of the Mormon Church, good works, and “keeping the commandments of God (which) will cleanse away the stain of sin” (Journal of Discourses, 2:4).

        1. LDS salvation can be divided into two categories:
        a. Unconditional or general salvation = Resurrection. All, with the exception of the sons of perdition, will be physically resurrected.

        b. Conditional or personal salvation = Exaltation. The requirements for exaltation include:

        (1) Faith in Jesus Christ.
        (2) Repentance.
        (3) Baptism–The beginning of the process of moving toward godhood; when one is born again.
        (4) Laying on of hands–The ceremony for conferring the priesthood, indicating a transfer of authority and power.
        (5) Church membership–One cannot be saved [attain exaltation] outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
        (6) Keeping the commandments (Ten Commandments, Word of Wisdom, tithing, gaining knowledge, being fruitful and multiplying, doing good works in general, and obeying all commands and directives given by the leaders of the Mormon Church).
        (7) Accepting Joseph Smith, Jr. and his successors as “God’s mouthpiece.”
        (8) Temple work–Marriage, genealogical work, and saving ordinances (proxy baptism, sealings, ordination, and endowments). (Bjornstad)

      6. Right/Wrong:
        found in the “Four Standard Works” – KJV (insofar as correctly translated), Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Book of Mormon – but the Bible is always subject to the others.

      7. The End:
        Upon death, Mormon salvation provides admittance, through resurrection, into one of three kingdoms:
        a. Telestial kingdom–The lowest of the three kingdoms where an endless host of people will dwell, including murderers, adulterers, and thieves
        b. Terrestrial kingdom–The second of the kingdoms where those who were “honorable” people, but who did not accept the Mormon gospel in this life, will dwell.
        c. Celestial–The highest of the three kingdoms is reserved for Mormons in good standing. There are three levels in this kingdom and only those who have been completely obedient to Mormon teaching, including marriage in a Mormon temple, may have part in the highest heaven. They will enter it in family units and become gods. (Bjornstad)

    3. Church of Christ, Scientist
      For decades Christian Science was the matriarch of the Mind Science family. With a large and growing membership, secular and religious respect, and great wealth, the Mother Church predominated the Mind Science movement and was more important in almost all respects than Unity School of Christianity, Mind Science, Religious Science, Divine Science, and their other siblings.
      Kingdom of the Cults

      1. Authority:
        The manifest mistakes in the ancient versions; the thirty thousand different readings in the Old Testament, and the three hundred thousand in the New—these facts show how a mortal and material sense stole into the divine record, with its own hue darkening, to some extent, the inspired pages (Science & Health, 139).

        Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is the “first book” which has been “uncontaminated by human hypothesis.” (The First Church 115; Science 99, 139, 456-457) Christian Scientists feel that her book offers the complete spiritual meaning of the Bible. They believe that this full meaning could not have been available to them without Mrs. Eddy’s discovery.

        Christian Scientists have no problem adding Eddy’s book to the Bible as having equal divine authority: Humanity had the Bible for close to two millenniums without fully understanding Christ Jesus did. To arrive at that kind of understanding, humanity needed to comprehend the Bible on a deeper level. They needed to “unlock” the Bible, so to speak. It was the specific mission of Science and Health to give the world this “key” to the Scriptures—to open up their treasures and enable everyone to use them.

      2. God:
        “The Jewish tribal Jehovah was a man-projected God, liable to wrath, repentance, and human changeableness” (S & H, 140).

        “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-All.” (Miscellaneous Writings, 21)

        “(1) God is All-in-all. (2) God is good. Good is Mind. (3) God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter. … GOD: Divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind” (S & H, 113, 115).

        Since God is “All-in-All,” anything that is not God does not exist. “Nothing possesses reality nor existence except the divine Mind and His ideas.” (Science and Health, 331)

        “the theory of three persons in one God (that is, a personal Trinity or Triunity) suggests polytheism, rather than the one ever-present I AM” (Science and Health, 256).

        “Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune Person called God” (S & H, 331).

        The Trinity – “Triply divine Principle.” The Godhead does not consist of three Persons. (Science and Health 256) The Trinity is “a triply divine Principle.” “Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune Person called God—that is, the triply divine Principle, Love. They represent a trinity in unity, three in one—the same in essence, though multiform in office: God the Father-Mother; Christ the spiritual idea of sonship; divine Science or the Holy Comforter. These three express in divine Science the threefold, essential nature of the infinite.” (Science and Health 331)

      3. Christ:
        “The Christian who believes in the First Commandment is a monotheist. Thus he virtually unites with the Jew’s belief in one God and recognizes that Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared, but is the Son of God” (S & H, 361).

        “The spiritual Christ was infallible; Jesus, as material manhood, was not Christ” (Miscellaneous Writings, 84).

        He is Jesus the Christ. “Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ.” (Science 473)

        He was conceived by the Virgin Mary’s spiritual thoughts. “Jesus, the Galilean prophet, was born of the Virgin Mary’s spiritual thoughts of life and its manifestations.” (The First Church 361)

        He was fallible. “[Jesus] knew the mortal errors which constitute the material body, and could destroy those errors; but at the time when Jesus felt our infirmities, he had not conquered all the beliefs of the flesh or his sense of material life.” (Science 53)

        His ministry consisted of correcting erroneous beliefs. “Jesus cast out devils, mediating between what is and is not until a perfect consciousness is obtained. He healed disease as He healed sin; He treated them both, not as in or of matter, but as mortal beliefs to be exterminated.” (No 40-41)

        His death was not real, only apparent. “Our Master fully and finally demonstrated divine Science in his victory over death and the grave . . . Jesus’ students, not sufficiently advanced to understand fully their Master’s triumph, did not perform many wonderful works until they saw Him after His crucifixion and learned that He did not die.” (Science 45, 350-351)

      4. Man:
        “Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. … Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science. Man is idea, the image of Love; he is not physique.” (Science and Health, 475)

        “Man is the offspring and idea of the Supreme Being whose law is perfect and infinite. In obedience to the law, man is forever unfolding the endless beatitudes of Being; for he is the image and likeness of infinite Life, Truth, and Love” (Miscellaneous Writings, 82)

        “Man is the ultimate of perfection and by no means the medium of imperfection. … If God is upright and eternal, man as His likeness is erect in goodness and perpetual in Life, Truth, and Love. … The spiritual man is that perfect and unfallen likeness, coexistent and coeternal with God.” (Miscellaneous Writings, 79)

      5. Salvation:
        Jesus did not atone for our sin by shedding His blood on the cross. “The real atonement–so infinitely beyond the heathen conception that God requires human blood to propitiate His justice and bring mercy–needs to be understood.” (No 34)

        “The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin, when it was shed upon ‘the accursed tree,’ than when it was flowing in His veins, as He went daily about His Father’s business.” (Science 25)

        He did not rise physically from the dead. (Science 339) He did not ascend into heaven. “The eternal Christ and the corporeal Jesus manifest in the flesh, continued until the Master’s ascension, when the human, material concept, or Jesus, disappeared, while the spiritual self, or Christ, continues to exist in the eternal order of divine Science.” (Science 334)

        He is not returning physically to earth. “The second appearing of Jesus is, unquestionably, the spiritual advent of the advancing idea of God, as in Christian Science.” (Retrospection 70) He is the “Way-shower.” “Jesus taught the way of Life by demonstration. There is but one way to heaven, harmony, and Christ in Divine Science shows us the way.” (Science 242)

        He is relatively unimportant to Mrs. Eddy. “If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me. I should still know that God’s spiritual ideal is the only real man in His image and likeness.” (The First Church 318-319)

        Salvation is by correcting erroneous beliefs. “To get rid of sin through Science, is to divest sin of any supposed mind or reality, and never admit that sin can have intelligence or power, pain or pleasure. You can conquer error by denying its verity.” (Science 339)

      6. Right/Wrong:
        “Hence, evil is but an illusion, and it has no real basis. Evil is a false belief. God is not its author. The supposititious parent of evil is a lie.” (Science and Health, 48).

        “There never was a moment in which evil was real.” (No and Yes, 24).

        The standard is the Golden Rule and a commitment to be merciful, just and pure.

      7. The End:
        “The only reality of sin, sickness, or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise. They are not true, because they are not of God.” (S & H, 472).

        “Sin, sickness, and death are to be classified as effects of error. Christ came to destroy the belief of sin.” (S & H, 473).

        DEATH. An illusion, the lie of life in matter; the unreal and untrue; the opposite of Life. Matter has no life, hence it has no real existence. Mind is immortal. The flesh, warring against the Spirit; that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal Life. Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual facts of being (S & H, 584).

    4. Unity School of Christianity

      1. Authority:
        the Bible, BUT, as interpreted by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. There is an apparent literal meaning that hides (covers over) an underlying metaphysical meaning.

        “When the Jesus ego first appears in the subconsciousness, it is a mere speck of light, a ‘star in the east’. The East is the mystical and occult realm where great wisdom and rich presents await the one who is born ‘King of the Jews’.” (Unity, Vol. 72, No. 1)

        “Galilee represents the life activity or soul energy of man acting in conjunction with substance. Nazareth, a city of Galilee, means a sprout, a small thing held of slight significance, hence a term of reproach. It typifies the commonplace mind of man; but it is in the commonplace mind actuated by the soul energy of true substance that the Christ idea takes root and grows up in consciousness.” Ibid.

      2. God:
        “The author of Genesis was evidently a great metaphysician. He described Being as God, Lord God, and Adam. We would express the same truth in the terms Mind, Idea, and Manifestation… But Mind, Idea, and Manifestation are one. Manifestation rests upon, and is sustained by the Idea, and the Idea is encompassed by the Mind that conceives it; therefore the Real of Adam is the Lord God, and the Omnipresent Fount of the Lord God is the One God.” (Fillmore, Christian Healing, 133)

        “We believe that creative Mind, God, is masculine and feminine, and that these attributes of Being are fundamental in both natural and spiritual man… Almighty Father-Mother, we thank Thee for this vision of Thine omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, in us and in all that we think and do, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.” (Unity’s Statement of Faith, Article 16, 32)

        God, then, is an impersonal pantheistic Principle, a universal intelligence.

      3. Christ:
        “Jesus represents God’s idea of man in expression: Christ is that idea in the absolute.” (Unity, Vol. 72, No. 1)

        “The Bible says that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, but the Bible does not here refer to Jesus of Nazareth, the outer man; it refers to the Christ, the spiritual identity of Jesus, whom he acknowledged in all his ways, and brought forth into his outer, until even the flesh of his body was lifted up, purified, spiritualized, and redeemed. Thus he became Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. And we are to follow him into this perfect state and become like him for in each of us is the Christ, the only begotten Son.” (Unity, Vol. 57, No. 5)

      4. Man:

        “In his true estate man is the Christ, the head of the body.” (Unity, Vol. 48, No. 2)

        Statements for the Realization of the Son of God:
        “I am the Son of God, and the Spirit of the Most High dwells in me. I am the only begotten Son, dwelling in the bosom of the Father. I am the Christ of God. I am the Beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased. Of a truth I am the Son of God. I and my Father are one.” (Christian Healing, 26)

        As the oak is in the acorn, so God is in man.

      5. Salvation:
        “There is no sin, sickness or death.” (Unity, Vol. 47, No. 5)

        “As we explore the mental realm, we find it filled with a whole legion of narrow beliefs, foolish, ignorant beliefs, selfish beliefs, and discordant beliefs. These we have lumped together and denominated ‘mortal mind’ or carnal mind.’ It is here we first do our ‘raising of the dead’. Each of these beliefs of mortality is a sin.” (Christian Healing, 164)

        “The atonement is the union of man with God the Father, in Christ, …the at-one-ment or agreement or reconciliation of man’s mind with Divine Mind through the superconsciousness of Christ mind. …A living faith in the atoning grace of Jesus Christ will prepare the way to an understanding of His mission and will open the consciousness to the saving Christ power, which alone can, here and now, make the transformation of the soul and body that is called redemption.” (What Practical Christianity Stands for, 5)

        Salvation is Christ-consciousness, conscious unity with God. “By his redeeming work Jesus Christ is forming and establishing a new consciousness into which all may enter. He went first into the interior spiritual realm of consciousness, and thus opened and prepared the way for all to follow Him and enter with Him into the realization of a perfect union with the Father-Mind.” (What Practical, 11)

      6. Right/Wrong:
        Sin is our separation from God, the Good, in consciousness. Salvation is now–not something that occurs after death. It happens whenever we turn our thoughts from fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt to thoughts of love, harmony, joy, and peace. The “fall” takes place in consciousness whenever we fall into negative habits of thinking. Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, not geographical locations. We make our own heaven or hell here and now by our thoughts, words, and deeds.(http://www.unity.org/aboutunity/whoWeAre/faq.html)

        The Bible is Unity’s basic textbook. Scripture comes alive when it is understood as a clear and helpful guide for today’s experiences. (Ibid)

        The five basic ideas that make up the Unity belief system are: 1) God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere. 2) We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good. 3) We create our life experiences through our way of thinking. 4) There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God. 5) Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them. (Ibid)

      7. The End:

        “Dissolution of spirit, soul, and body, caused by death, is annulled by rebirth of the same spirit and soul in another body here on earth. We believe the repeated incarnations of man to be a merciful provision of our loving Father to the end that all may have opportunity to attain immortality through regeneration, as did Jesus.” (Statement of Faith, Article 22)

 

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