Religion, Christianity, can be utterly complicated.
But to understand Jesus, one simply has to go find a good translation of the Bible where Christ’s words are written in red.
Just read the red words. Christ’s words are straightforward.
If that sounds like too much work, read even just the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7.)
If you take this straight forward speech in, ruminate upon it as new material and apply basic sixth grade level reading comprehension skills, you’ll come to understand Christ made it unbelievably simple.
Sixth grade reading level is all you need because he’s direct.
No interpretation is needed– unless you’re trying to squeeze in your own BS.
No gray areas or yeah-buts.
The themes are super easy and laid right out. Points from the Sermon on the Mount in order.
Know that if you’re blessed somehow– that blessing was given to the world through you.
Let your light shine.
All of this is equally important—you can’t pick or chose which to follow.
Before you come before God to pray—be sure your conscience is clear and you are reconciled with your brothers.
Be merciful in making peace—or you will find yourself in need of mercy.
The desire to sin is as bad as the sin itself—stay away from both.
Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
Love your enemies. (Bless them, in fact.)
Do good for the sake of doing good, not a pat on the back.
You can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve God and wealth. You can’t serve good and evil.
Consume simply. Don’t worry about tomorrow.
Don’t judge because you will be judged by the standards by which you judge.
Value the things that are valuable in your life.
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
It’s easy to go astray, but following the more difficult righteous path offers the life you seek.
Good people show goodness. Evil people show evil. Know the difference.
Build your life on these teachings and you will weather the storm of life.
Add in a couple more of Christ’s teachings–
Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Give away all your possessions and follow me.
People will know you are my followers when they see the way you love one another.
That’s just about all Christ gave us. That’s it.
Be defiantly good. Defiantly love people. Defiantly don’t be a jerk.
These ideas are all that the first Christians (the ones taught by Christ himself) knew– and it’s all I need.