20th of September, 2013
It would in fact appear that Jesus not only did not establish a religion, He indeed established an anti-religion.
When Jeremiah first spoke of the New Testament, he quoted God promising that, under the new covenant, “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord, ’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.”
Take pilgrimage, for instance. Jesus Christ did not establish any pilgrimage practice. He even mocked the empty pilgrimages to earlier saints’ tombs. Jesus established just two rituals: baptism on believing in Him, and the bread and wine when the believers meet.
Compare that with how elaborate the rites—pilgrimages and laws and observances—the founders of other religions adorn theirs with.
Jesus endorsed no house of worship. The one He found, the Temple, He put under a curse of total destruction—which it still lies under. Then His first martyr was stoned for ending a rant with “God does not dwell in temples made with hands!”
Of course, the Christians then went on to have church instead of ecclesia, and the houses of worship happened, as the religion happened.
Or consider how Muhammad dictated his Qur’an, and often reviewed it, revised it, and abrogated earlier stances. It is in reviewing it that he discovered the hand of Salman the Persian. It is in revising it that he removed the an-Najm which had permitted polytheism (and by which the bowing in Islamic prayer was instituted). The latter parts of the Qur’an can annul earlier parts.
Now Jesus, on the other hand, promised His disciples that God would help them create the canon later, and we ended up with the most-beautiful of sacred texts: the New Testament. (Which sacred texts effusively repeat “love” this much? Give me a link.)
Even method of worship. That Jesus didn’t institute bowing, cleansing rituals, particular sentences, and so on—the only conditions being internal: faith and praying in His name—it turns out that the only way the “religion” of Jesus Christ can be ritualised is by ritualising the fruits of it: love. So the only command, funny enough, is: love one another. But how? How, since no laws have been given?
I will write my laws on their hearts. We are the real deal. They shall know me. If James hadn’t written it before me, I would not know I am quoting when I say “True religion is this: to plead the widow’s cause …”
The religions are on the outside. True (as in “correct”) religion is on the inside.
If someone had to fail at starting a religion, it was going to be Jesus Christ. Ambushed in the night and murdered before He had lived out half his days. And yet? And yet our calendar testifies to His being the Lord.