Religion Magazine

Born Again

By Ldsapologetics
In scripture Jesus says we must be born again: "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:5-7

This, I feel, has been hijacked to mean we must have a literal faith in Christ. Meaning we must simply believe Jesus is real and our messiah and we magically inherit the kingdom of God.

While I do believe that Christ is real and our messiah, I do not believe that is sufficient to open up the kingdom. I have known those who believe in the teachings of Jesus but do not have literal faith in Him. And those people have been far more Christlike, more often than not, than those who claim to be born again.

I wonder if having a faith that following Jesus' teachings in terms of forgiving 77 times, of loving our enemies, loving one another as He loves us, is what truly unlocks the kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Here's what Gandhi said about his understanding of Jesus:

""Although I have devoted a large part of my life to the study of religion and to discussion with religious leaders of all faiths, I know very well that I cannot but seem presumptuous in writing about Jesus Christ and trying to explain what he means to me. I do so only because my Christian friends have told me, on more than a few occasions, that for the very reason I am not a Christian and that (I shall quote their words exactly) “I do not accept Christ in the bottom of my heart as the only Son of God,” it is impossible for me to understand the profound significance of his teachings, or to know and interpret the greatest source of spiritual strength that man has ever known.

Although this may or may not be true in my case, I have reasons to believe that it is an erroneous point of view. I believe that such an estimate is incompatible with the message that Jesus Christ gave to the world. For, he was certainly the highest example of one who wished to give everything, asking nothing in return, and not caring what creed might happen to be professed by the recipient. I am sure that if he were living here now among men, he would bless the lives of many who perhaps have never even heard his name, if only their lives embodied the virtues of which he was a living example on earth; the virtues of loving one’s neighbor as oneself and of doing good and charitable works among one’s fellowmen.

What, then, does Jesus mean to me? To me, he was one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had. To his believers, he was God’s only begotten Son.* Could the fact that I do or do not accept this belief make Jesus have any more or less influence in my life? Is all the grandeur of his teaching and of his doctrine to be forbidden to me? I cannot believe so.

To me, it implies a spiritual birth. My interpretation, in other words, is that in Jesus’ own life is the key of his nearness to God; that he expressed, as no other could, the spirit and will of God. It is in this sense that I see him and recognize him as the Son of God.


But I do believe that something of this spirit that Jesus exemplified in the highest measure, in its most profound human sense, does exist. I must believe this; if I did not believe it, I should be a sceptic; and to be a skeptic is to live a life that is empty and lacks moral content. Or, what is the same thing, to condemn the entire human race to a negative end.

It is true that there certainly is reason for scepticism when one observes the bloody butchery that European aggressors have unloosed, and when one thinks about the misery and suffering prevalent in every corner of the world, as well as the pestilence and famine that always follow, terribly and inevitably, upon war.

In the face of this, how can one speak seriously of the Divine Spirit incarnate in man? Because these acts of terror and murder offend the conscience of man; because man knows that they represent evil; because in the inner depths of his heart and of his mind, he deplores them. And because, moreover, when he does not go astray, misled by false teachings or corrupted by false leaders, man has within his breast an impulse for good and a compassion that is the spark of Divinity, and which some day, I believe, will burst forth into the full flower that is the hope of all mankind.


An example of this flowering may be found in the figure and in the life of Jesus. I refuse to believe that there now exists or has ever existed a person that has not made use of his example to lessen his sins, even though he may have done so without realizing it. The lives of all have, in some greater or lesser degree, been changed by his presence, his actions, and the words spoken by his divine voice.

I believe that it is impossible to estimate the merits of the various religions of the world, and, moreover, I believe that it is unnecessary and harmful even to attempt it. But each one of them, in my judgment, embodies a common motivating force: the desire to uplift man’s life and give it purpose.

And because the life of Jesus has the significance and the transcendency to which I have alluded, I believe that he belongs not solely to Christianity, but to the entire world; to all races and people, it matters little under what flag, name or doctrine they may work, profess a faith, or worship a God inherited from their ancestors."

— The Modern Review, October 1941, republished on

If we learn anything from Christ it ought to be to see others as He does, to see an adulteress and save her from being stoned to death and stop the mob mentality, and to feel love, forgiveness, compassion and understanding as He does. Being Christlike in that sense is what it means to me to be baptized of the sport and by fire.

In Hinduism it is called Krishna-consciousness and a Hindu named Yogananda called it Christconsciousness to help Anericans understand how best to see and live their religion.

I don't see how a literal belief alone helps in our quest to be more Christlike. It seems to only benefit those whose ego is so fragile they need everyone to believe as they do.

Literal belief is the last step in the quest to be Christlike. Gandhis understanding of Christ fueled his life's work but he was able to achieve a greatness of spirit without a literal belief. And to me living in a Christlike way, seeing others as Christ does, loving others and forgiving others as Christ did is to be baptized by the spirit or by fire as John said about Christ: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." Matthew 3:11

To say that the person of Jesus is what's important, that that is what deserves sole worship is, to me, to say that the teachings are secondary.

When I feel that living the teachings is what frees us and others. That is what opens up the kingdom of God within us to all those around us. It opens up the kingdom for all the world. That is what born again means to me. Living that life is what it means to be baptized of the spirit and by fire. I do believe literal belief is a component I just do not believe it is the first step of the eternal journey.

Born again, to me, means becoming as we once were when we were with God and as Christ is.

Born Again

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