The gestural appellation “The Only Begotten Son of God”, which is ascribed to Jesus Christ is one of the numerous hoaxes in the literature of Judeo-Christian theology. Firstly, and rather unfortunately, it places Jesus on a humanly unattainable pedestal thereby psychologically incapacitating and defeating the faithful in the spiritual quest for oneness with God (whoever or whatever He, She, They, or It may be). Pedestalizing Jesus beyond human reach negates the essence of his ministry; it is, therefore, counterproductive. In the history of organized religion, Horus, Dionysus, Zeus, Mithras, and other messianic figures who preexisted Jesus with no less than 500 years were also known by that gestural name and more. Other commonalities in the epics of the messianic figures are: (1) mysterious birth (born of virgins), (2) born on December 25, (3) visited at birth by three star-guided wise men, (4) survived infanticide, (5) child prodigy at twelve, (6) had twelve followers, (7) known by the same gestural names such as “Lord of Lords”, “Prince of Peace”, “Savior” etc., (8) performed wondrous works, and ((9) was killed, buried and resurrected on the third day. The truth is that the epic of ALL the messianic figures is the same reenactment of the astrotheological account of the sun’s annual journey on the equinox, the Winter Solstice. It is all about sun worship, which man has indulged in from when he became conscious of his environment and began to gaze into the velvety night skies for answers to the mystery and bewilderment of his existence, His observations of the visible cosmos informed speculations and conjectures that gave birth to his beliefs. The realization that the sun gave light and life to man, his neighbors in this animal kingdom, the trees, and crops gave rise to the veneration of that most visible heavenly body, hence the worship.
The spiritual truth is that every man, woman, boy, and girl, irrespective of color, creed, situation, and location, is at a rung of the ladder of life, which is, essentially, the spiritual process of being begotten. We are all sons and daughters of God. By consistently referring to himself as the Son of Man, Jesus was explicit on this issue; he furthered it in John 14:12 when he said thus: “Truly…I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do”. To appreciate the phrase “whoever believes in me”, we must understand the inferred meaning of “belief” and “me” in the context of the phrase. The word “me” is not used in self-reference; rather, it refers to his gospel, which is the spiritual template for humanity to achieve at-one-ment (atonement) with God. Regarding “belief”, it is assumed that when you believe in something you commit to it. In other words, those who commit to the spiritual template of Jesus will do exploits that will dwarf his works. Note that Jesus also rejected being called “good”, saying that “none is good but the Father” (Mark 10:18). A deadly armed robber or the more systemically devastating “pen robber” goes to church with part of his loot; keeping a holier-than-thou face, the priest lays a hand on him, blesses him, and prays that his source should continue to yield fruitage and the congregation of the hoodwinked thunders AMEN! He goes home believing that old things have passed away and that he is a new creature. In his knack for not taking responsibility for his actions, man has farmed out his spiritual responsibilities by touting the potency of the blood of Jesus in the foolhardy permissive philosophy of vicarious remission of sins. The reader is enjoined to incisively study (not read) Gal 6:7 and Rev 22:12 and endeavor to find a place for vicarious remission of sins. The journey towards oneness with the Divine is arduous and it’s fraught with pitfalls and Herculean tasks; it’s like climbing a steep ladder hence some call it the Ladder of Life. We are all at various rungs of the same ladder; and in that spiritual venture, our deeds, not our beliefs, determine our ascendancy, stagnation, or descent on the mysterious ladder. In that process, there is no forgiveness of sins: you reap what you sow (Gal 6:7) and you are rewarded in accordance with your works, not faith or beliefs (Rev 22:12).
The American philosopher, Thomas Paine (1736-1809), advocated a humanity in which the whole world would be everyone’s country and doing good is the universal religion. John Lennon imagined “a brotherhood of man where there’s nothing to kill or die for”. Santana saw “a future where children live in peace and harmony” while Sting reminds us that “we share the same biology regardless of ideology”. These postulates expressed musically constitute the philosophical foundation of Humanism. Being begotten has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the number of times you go to the Temple, Synagogue, Shrine, Church, Mosque, or Chursque to worship whatever or whoever you believe in. The gospel of Jesus Christ propagated universalism. It requires a universal consciousness that transcends the primordial sentiments of ethnicity, tribalism, religious bigotry, and all the natural differences and man-made fences that set a man against man; it also requires disconnecting from the inordinate quest for materialism.
If you ask me, I would say that I believe in God with all my heart. However, I don’t believe that God has only begotten a son; that would be exclusivist, which is certainly not Godly. My take is that we ALL are at various spiritual stages of being begotten in our collective sonship of God. By saying “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God”, Jesus brought himself down from the pedestal of humanly unachievable exploits. Sadly, in the shallowness of our thoughts, weakness of understanding, and our full freaking fanaticism, we either fail or blatantly refuse to see the collective sonship and universalism in the teachings of Jesus. Meanwhile, the gospel of Jesus was essentially geared towards the realization of the Divine sonship of all in humanity. We play the ostrich by the permissive belief that Jesus died for our sins. We commit heinous crimes against humanity and ask for forgiveness. A man should liberate his mind from the ossified creeds of institutional religion, especially the permissive philosophies of Abrahamic Religions. He should brace up and get back on track for the personal spiritual race towards oneness with his source; that is the process of being begotten. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Osai is a Professor of Development Studies at Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, NIGERIA. He can be reached via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com