Saul/Paul vs. the Prodigal Son
Now, so far this “Being Born Again” or “Saved” theme is great stuff for those who never ever heard or dwelled on the notion of a God or an afterlife. If you are completely uneducated in the true nature of our human existence, the prior information will prove to be invaluable. However, there are a great many “Believers”, who were born into Christian families, and have worked all their lives to fulfill God’s Will without ever experiencing the rush of emotion or the fire of the Holy Spirit. They never fell to the floor in a fever of realization that Christ was their Savior and that they should begin thinking of themselves as a new creature on the earth.
No, instead they were baptized as a baby and spent the remainder of their childhood and later life learning about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. From the first innocent questions they asked about the world, the Celestial Deities name was automatically attached to “why the sky is blue” or “where did grass come from”. The uniform answer is always spoken in a reverent and factual voice, “Because God made it that way.” This is the natural intended way for us to grow up and to learn about the Holy One, His presence within us, His Will and our place in the greatest church ever made. Unfortunately, there are a great many “Born Again” Christians that just don’t want to acknowledge a few inherent truths even the Bible itself presents about the purpose of Getting Saved mid-life vs. Growing up Christian.
Let’s see, throughout the Holy Gospel, Christ repetitively says the only way to heaven is to be “saved”. (Or more exactly – the only way to heaven is through me!) However, many in today’s times stringently stick to this “Saved” notion and adamantly argue this point, lest their immortal soul be cast into the flaming belly of the beast. And in all honesty, by reading the scriptures, they have some good reason to believe that being “saved” is the only way to get to heaven.
These “Born Again” first Christians are also fiercely inspired by the Saul to Paul conversion. I mean really, God was down one disciple. (Judas killed himself after Christ was nailed to the cross.) This left one spot open in the disciple roster. So, God just picked up one on the side of the road. (so to speak) The Saul\Paul conversion story further empowers the evangelical, Baptist Christians into believing that “saving” is truly the ONLY way to heaven and divine wisdom.
Now let’s be fair, at the time God came to earth – there were NO Christians. Absolutely everyone was a heathen except the Jews. (And they had their 613 laws and sacrifices to get them to Heaven.) Furthermore, there were not any Christian families, raising Christian children. There weren’t any Baptisms of small children – claiming their souls for God. Thus, granting them immediate entry in to heaven. This was the State of the Union.
So, at the immediate time Christ came to earth – YES, the only way to salvation WAS to be “saved”. However, only after Christ died, rose and ascended, there began the initial families being started by “saved” parents, who were having babies. Babies can’t be “saved” in the traditional “I see the light” manor. Additionally, 1\4 of the children born in those times and in the upcoming Dark Ages - simply didn’t live. These children died long before they could ever get close to seeing the light and being formally “Born Again”. So, following in the footsteps of the Holy Master, as was written in scripture – the church began baptizing babies as the way to “save their souls” for Jesus\God. Thus, assuring these unfortunate little one’s a place in Heaven.
Unfortunately, the evangelicals, various Baptists, Holy Rollers just to name a few, don’t want to acknowledge the Holy power of Baptism. These guys will argue with you till they are red in the face and fists clenched. Swearing up and down that a baby’s baptism just doesn’t count and they MUST be “saved” at some later time in their lives to get to Heaven. Which, by the by, flies in direct contradiction to how Jesus did things. In the order the Holy Master himself did things. He was baptized by John the Baptist FIRST. Then we have the temptations in the desert, the healings of the sick, the preaching in the streets and the raising from the dead. However, No miracles occurred until AFTER the Baptism of Jesus. That’s right, baptism first, everything else second. This is not hard to understand. However, because of the way events had to happen in history, trying to understand why the Saving method isn’t primary can get a bit squirrelly.
When God as Jesus came to our earthly reality - in the beginning, the secondary “Being Saved” method had to be used first, due to the lack of any proper Christians. Then, the original, natural, primary way of Born, Baptized and raised in a Christian Family had to come second in the Bible. Jesus had to save people first to create the families of Christians. Once the Christian family “ball got rolling”, getting baptized as a baby, while living in a Christian family, would became the preferred Natural Order of Human Living here on the earth. The “Getting Saved” method is reserved for those folks who don’t know about their full God\Self\Spirit and need to be educated about it. Sadly though, various branches of Christianity stubbornly refuse to accept the validity of this. This is not only very disheartening, but it also creates a small climate of division and confusion in the Christian religion.
Consequently, we have part of the Christians proclaiming that “Born Again” is the only way to heaven and everyone else is going to Hell. Then, there is another part of the Christians proclaiming that they are going to heaven because of their Baptisms validity. This leaves the rest of the world, who are looking at ALL Christians, scratching their heads in confusion wondering what the truth is. And the truth is: you can’t get anyone to convert to, listen to or even believe in your religion as long as that religion can’t get its “S_ _T Together!” There are multitudes of children who have grown up knowing they were baptized and are 100% Children of God. As young adults, they go to college or other Christian churches and are being adamantly told by other “Children of God” that they are going to hell because they weren’t saved. It’s no wonder young people don’t stay in church very long – churches are confusing.
So, the Saul to Paul conversion\Saving really doesn’t apply so well to these Family Born Christians. This is why Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist churches tend to NOT dwell on the getting-your-soul-saved theme. Instead, they focus on the “I-had-it-all-, I-blew-it-all, –I’m-repenting-shamefully” theme. This is why the Prodigal Son parable is so popular with these Family Born Christian churches. These Family Born Christians grow up with the knowledge that they were baptized, all Sin was removed and staying “pure and clean” is now; always has been and always will be - entirely up to them.
They understand that they have this thing called Free Will. They can choose to Sin or Live fully Christian. They are at liberty to go off to college (Bible in tow), become Buddhists, live in bald headed poverty for years, get sick of drinking goat’s milk and finally come crawling home crying “I’m sorry God… I was W-R-O-N-G”. And make no mistake about it, there are a great many Catholics who do just that very thing – well… minus the Buddha part.
I suppose my point here is that being born into Christianity is the natural way to live, learn and love God, life and yourself. But since that doesn’t always happen, there is the other “Being Saved” approach, for all those folks who did not get the luxury of being born into a Christian home. And ideally, after they have been Born Again, these folks will procreate and raise Christian children, in a Christian home learning about themselves and God the natural way.
Truthfully, both points of view have a place in our contemporary times. However, it would be nice if every denomination of Christianity would get on the same page concerning the two processes of being the Children of God. We are all physical\Spirit entities, how we come to understand that natural, unfailing fact is what happens in one of two ways.
Your either born learning about it OR you discover it later in life.
But the bottom line is: we all are the same Children of God.