In case you haven't noticed this before, and I am sure many people have, each of us is Christ.
That is to say that each of us is quite convinced we are persecuted for the "truth" of our beliefs, even to the point we feel we are being "crucified" for them, metaphorically if not literally.
So we are not only each experiencing, at least metaphorically anyway, the life and death, but indeed the passion and resurrection, of Christ. And we rise again from the dead, so to speak, the way the lotus sheds its skin, and the caterpillar becomes the butterfly.
We rise like the phoenix from the ashes of our "beliefs" and, all too often, end up creating new one's that are different from the beliefs that proceeded them in name only. Just look at Judaism and Christianity for example.
The Catholic Church has risen to become far more powerful than the Sanhedrin ever was, and has murdered far more people to defend its authority over truth than the Sanhedrin or the Hebrews in the whole of the Old Testament.
The difference between the New Testament and the Old Testament, then, is that the former focuses on the life of Jesus, while the latter, instead of doing the same thing with Abraham or Moses, focuses on the historical story of an entire people.
Christianity is the story of a man for whom more blood was spilled across the centuries than in all of the Old Testament combined. And each person the Church put to death, no doubt felt very much like Christ standing before the Sanhedrin. And the Church put each of those people to death because it felt like it was being threatened by someone as who challenged it's "truth" and it's authority, as much as that heretic called Christ.
But of course none of this is the sole property of religion, since religion is simply the very same kind of thinking we use in every other area of thought, from academics to art to science and beyond. So each of us feels like a Christ for our political "beliefs," or our beliefs about what kind of music is best, or whether one scientist is smarter than another, or virtually anything else we are as certain as any martyr ever was.
The story of Christ, if it is anything then, is the story of dying to that one possession that possesses us like no other ever has, or ever could, or ever will, which is our "beliefs," so that we may emerge triumphantly from behind the great stone that marks the door of our internment, and leave the relics of our old beliefs behind like the strips of linen cloth that Christ is said to have left behind in his grave.
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