You Must Become Like a Child*
By Steve Ashton
*This post was written by Steve back in April 29, 2006
We come into this world a “blank sheet of paper”. We have no preconceived ideas, thoughts, or feelings. We come into the world curious, ready to take in information like a sponge absorbs water. But unfortunately, due to our conditioning, we have been disconnected from our natural childlike state of curiosity and imagination and given an indoctrination. Not only through the school system, but in the religious system as well. Because of this, our ego has put up a wall for any beliefs that we hold near and dear when new information enters into our consciousness. This is called cognitive dissonance and it is an intellectual and spiritual disease. In this post, my friend Steve Ashton talks in-depth about this in regards to religious beliefs and the true message of Jesus Christ. Although I am not a Christian in the orthodox sense, I find many valuable words of wisdom in Jesus’s words and thus have a very high regard and a great deal of respect for him whether he truly existed in the physical world or was merely a fictional character portraying a moral lesson to humanity. To those with rigid beliefs, I ask you to do one of two things. If you decide to look into this information, set your beliefs to the side for now as you read because your ego will reject this information as it will oppose what you believe at the moment. If your beliefs are way too strong to take in the information, please pass on it. This is for those who are interested in the Truth not those who want assurances that their beliefs are true.
What exactly is “Becoming Like a Child”?
Matthew 18:3 – And (Jesus) said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:4 – Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Mark 10:15 – Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
These are merely a few of the many times Jesus stressed the importance of “becoming as little children”. Christians cannot seem to grasp exactly what Jesus was harping on. In fact, Jesus harped on a lot of things Christians cannot seem to understand, but, let’s concentrate on one “misunderstanding” at a time.
Matthew 18 is a chapter of some very good information on how and why it was so important to “become as a child”. Verse 3 is important. Jesus always clues us in on important Truths by prefacing His message with the Word “Verily”. When Jesus said “verily”, or “verily, verily”, it is His way of letting us know that this was something that He “unquestionably” said. It is Providence’s way of telling us to “listen up”, because this is absolutely True, and very important. Contrary to popular “false belief”, the Bible was written by men, and not everything contained in the Old or New Testament was written or inspired by our Creator, infallible, inerrant with no contradictions. This notion of Biblical inerrancy and infallibilty is one of the most damaging doctrines ever concocted by man. Fundamentalists start screaming “blasphemy” if you like, and I will calmly illustrate how your own Bible tells you that this notion is completely bogus, and very dangerous. I will address fundamentalist ideology, as well as Luther’s doctrine of “Sola Scriptura” in great detail in a coming post. For now, all those reading this and condemning me for disagreeing with your “programmed” belief system, simply grab your Bible, wipe the dust off, and turn to Ezekiel 13. Read it, and if you cannot figure out why the LORD was so pissed at all the “prophets who prophesied in Israel”, then you are either blind or ignorant, or both. If you have ears and eyes, you will clearly see that some information in the Bible is simply not True, and that is not me saying this, it was none other than Yahweh, aka Jehovah. Man put words in His/Her mouth, and since men never learn or listen, they also put words in Jesus’ mouth as well. I’m getting off subject, so enough on that subject for now.
Look at Matt 18:3. Jesus says, and I will paraphrase, “TRULY I am telling you, unless you convert (transform, change), and become as little children, you may as well forget about entering into the kingdom of heaven”. Many times in the Bible, there are certain little “Words” that provide important clues, but, they are almost always either overlooked totally, or they are misinterpreted completely. The Word here is “converted”. Converted to what? A Christian? Converted Christians are told that they are now “children of God” because they have undergone the standard traditional rituals required for conversion. All Christians know the drill, so I won’t detail the process. Because, this is not what this verse is telling you.
Converting to a religion is the process of “gaining” a label, and “gaining” a set of rituals, doctrines, dogma, and a fairly standardized set of beliefs, depending on the denomination. Jesus spoke of another “conversion”. The process of converting (transforming), and becoming “as a little child” is not a process of gain. It is the process of loss. Rather than gaining a certain set of beliefs, it involves forgetting about the ones you already have. One does not “fill the mind” to become as a child, one has to “empty the mind” of every learned belief accumulated throughout his or her life. A little child has not formed or been programmed with a belief structure. A little child comes into the world with his or her “house cleaned and swept in order”. His or her mind is completely empty of false teachings, and has not yet developed an “ego”. The process of converting and becoming as a child must begin by first letting go of the ego. Letting all learned beliefs go, and literally “emptying, and sweeping out the house called the “mind”. One literally has to forget everything he or she has ever learned, and completely emptying out forged beliefs. I cannot stress this enough. Jesus further stresses this point when He spoke of the new wine and wineskin. He makes it clear that one cannot pour “new wine into old wineskins, or the wineskin bursts”. Likewise, “one cannot pour old wine into new wineskins, or the wine becomes bitter”. “New wine (spiritual knowledge) absolutely requires a new wineskin” (an empty mind). There is no other way to become “as a child” but to become an “empty vessel”, willing to discard all beliefs, and starting all over just like a “little child”.
Christians are always so quick to condemn “eastern philosophy” as being unscriptural, and even demonize eastern religions. This is vanity and ignorance. They fail to realize that the one they call Jesus Christ was extremely influenced by eastern philosophy, particularly the teachings of a Chinese sage named Lao Tsi. Hundreds of years before Christ, Lao Tsi wrote something called the “Book of Tao”. As he neared the end of his life, his followers literally begged him to write down and record some of his teachings. So, he penned a little scroll of 81 verses, and this is the “Book of Tao”. This is very significant in the sense that the word “Tao” is literally translated to English as “The Way”. Jesus did not lead a movement called “Christianity”. His movement was called “The Way”. He referred to Himself as “The Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one gets to the Father except by Him. He did not say “by My authority”, He said “by Me”, as in by knowing “the Way”, “the Truth”, and by becoming “resurrected into the Life”. He did not teach His discpiples (us) to become “Christians”. He clealy taught them (us) to “become Christs” ourselves. Truly I say to you, that a man following the “broad way” becomes a Christian. The “few” who follow the “narrow Way” become Christs. Those with ears had better hear. Because the narrow way is actually quite broad, but men love shorcuts, and literally ignore half their brain.
So, what does Lao Tsi and Taoism have to do with Jesus telling us we absolutely must “become as a little child”? Allow me to share a few verses of the Book of Tao to illustrate that Jesus was teaching this little-know eastern philosophy, however, He illustrated the concept of the Way in symbolic riddles that were meant to relay Truth in a way that most men would be unable to comprehend. I’ll address the reason in another blog. Let’s take a look at the Tao, and I will share the similarities and hopefully better illustrate the concept of “becoming as a little child”.
Tao Te Ching (Book of Tao)
Pacifying the agitated material soul and holding to oneness: Are you able to avoid separation? Focusing your energy on the release of tension: Can you be like an infant? In purifying your insight: Can you un-obstruct it?
The point Lao Tsi is making here can be compared to several of Jesus’ teachings.
1. Jesus spoke of becoming “one with the Spirit”, He taught us that we must not be a “kingdom divided”, although He knew very well that His message would be distorted by man, and further “divide and separate the “material soul”. He taught, albeit very subtly, the Taoist philosophy of “yin yang”. Yin Yang involves a balancing of “polar opposites”. The Tao and other eastern teachings stress the importance of this concept of a “unified Spirit”, and not “agitating the human soul” by thinking in terms of separateness. Western “religion” has caused the “agitation of man’s soul” by the “separation” of polar opposites. The concept of “duality” of Spirit has caused man to believe that he is divided in Spirit by “opposing dual forces”. Good and evil are opposing and separate forces that are represented by the names “God” v the devil” that are warring for control of man’s soul. As if the Creator of our Universe would create a being almost as powerful as Them, and then have to fight this entity to the death! What Christians fail to realize, and eastern philosophy understands, is that good and evil are dependent on each other. Man cannot understand or appreciate the True “goodness” of Providence, without first thoroughly understanding the concept of evil. Without evil, there would be no good, and vice-versa. The Tao teaches us that we must not be caught up in the duality and regard good and evil as “polar opposites’. A master of the Tao understands this, and as a result does not see the good as good, nor the evil as evil. She centers herself, and realizes these concepts as simply, ‘the way things are’. She understands that polarities are not separate, but rather they co-exist, and are dependent on one another. Only when one can “avoid the separate, and dual nature of opposites”, then can one begin to focus on the “release of tension”. Dualities cause anxiety, embracing the Tao eliminates these anxieties by staying centered and not seeing the separateness of opposites, but accepting them as interdependent, and not separate “dualities”. The philosophy of Yin-Yang teaches that everything in existence depends on the interaction of opposites, and rather than struggle and oppose each other, the opposites compliment each other. Harmony is key in the relationship of polar opposites.
The problem with all this, however, is that once again we see evidence of bias toward man, as the positive (Yin) is masculine principle, and the negative (Yang) is the feminine principle. Here is another example of a religion or philosophy either treating woman as a subordinate creature, or associate woman with the concept of the negative, or the embodiment, or cause of evil in countless male-dominated religions. You can bet that I will deal with this issue very soon. Original sin in the Bible will reveal some interesting information that shatters the old myths concocted from the first few chapters of Genesis. Man has a bad habit of inventing names, genders, and attributes of the different gods he created. So, when men develop belief systems, which are actually developed for him by others and men end up obstinately defending beliefs that he made no effort to reasonably analyze, nor does man make any effort to look at his faith with a reasonable and objective mind. Man devotes less time researching matters that he is told affect his eternal existence, than he does researching the purchase of a new car!
What exactly then is meant by “one must become as a little child”? It is a process that does not involve gaining something, it involves losing things. Compare the mind to a computer. It is comparable to a hard drive. The hard drive (mind) collects and stores all kinds of information, some True, but, most of it is not. Sometimes virus’ will find their way into the hard drive, and the only alternative is to “crash’ the computer, which eliminates “all” the data stored in the hard drive. Becoming as a little child is exactly like crashing the hard drive of your brain. Discard and eliminate all beliefs, and all the information that has been “programmed” by the Scribes and Pharisees of the day. What does a little child know? Nothing. He or she has not developed any notions or beliefs. The child’s mind is free of all false teachings, and then the child begins to learn things as he grows. This is referred to as ‘the image of no-thing’, according to the Tao.
Christians claiming to be “born again”, do not properly understand what it actually means to be “born anew of the Spirit”. Why? Because, these Words of Jesus reflect his tendency to communicate many “eastern philosophies” through the use of allegories, riddles, and metaphors, commonly known as “parables”. All eastern teachings, as well the teachings of the Christ focus on one becoming an “empty vessel”, restoring the original mind to its “ego-less” root. The Tao refers to the mind being likened to an “uncarved block of wood”, and asks the question, “can you become like an infant in purifying your insight”? Lao Tsi also begs the question, “in purifying your instinct, can you unobstruct it”? Jesus said the very same thing, but, He used different metaphoric language. Jesus called this “empty vessel” of ego-lessness a “new wineskin”. A new wineskin does not come already “filled”. It is empty. Like the “empty vessel”, and the “uncarved block”, free of all clutter and programmed belief structures. Just like the mind of a “little child”. Free of the “dualities” created in our minds do to the evil creation of man of “polar opposing forces”. As for “unobstructing” the purification process of the mind, Jesus also dealt with this cleansing process with His usual style and flair. He simply tells us not to “pour old wine into new wineskins”, or “pour new wine into old wineskins”. “New wine requires a new wineskin”, and the new wineskin is symbolic for someone who has indeed “become like a little child”, and discarded the old wine and skin, and this is what one must do to be Truly ” born-again”. The old wine, and now the new wine Jesus offered have become the “obstructions” referred to in the Tao Te Ching. The Bible refers to these obstructions as “stumbling blocks”. The path to Christian “childhood” is inundated with these “obstructions”, and there is a very “narrow way” in order to sidestep these numerous obstructions. Children are very nimble, and have tiny little feet; but a full-grown adult has a hard time, and cannot manipulate their way so well. This is a very hard task made more difficult as most Christians are attempting to walk the narrow path while inebriated on all the mixed-up “old and new wine”!
The Truth is this: the only way to ever begin to “become as a little child” is to literally crash the hard drive of your mind. Learn humility, and lose the ego. You have to kill it. It is the “mountain” that must be removed, because it is impossible to Truly achieve the purpose of becoming a “single-minded little child”.
I will end by saying this. If you are not willing to totally discard everything you have ever been taught concerning matters of religion, then to claim yourself as a “born-again” Christian is the farthest thing from the Truth. To claim oneself as being “filled with the Holy Spirit” is inaccurate, and based on “false” teaching. The first thing the True Holy Spirit does for one willing, is to “empty” the vessel of the mind, sweeping it out, and putting it in order. Ready to then be fed like a “little child” with Truth. If you do not understand this, or agree, then you will never know that “Truth that sets you free”. Because, when the vessel of the mind/ego is filled with a mountain of lies, then you can go to church twice a day, everyday, and never acheive what you claim. And, Jesus makes it clear that God really prefers “little children”, and does not have regard for those who cling to false ideas based on ego, vanity, and pride. So, the end result is that you are literally “born again of the flesh”, and reap what you have sown based on the word Christians cannot accept and claim it to be a teaching of the devil. The Word is Karma. The problem with sweeping the house and putting it back in order is that without the knowledge and the love, there are supposedly seven spirits that re-infiltrate the mind, and the last state of that man is worse than the first, according to the bible. Is this true? I think the spirits of negativity will always come until man learns that truth that (finally) sets him free. As for reincarnation, we’ll discuss this “damnable doctrine” of transmigration of souls in detail soon.
Matthew 18 is a chapter of some very good information on how and why it was so important to “become as a child”. Verse 3 is important. Jesus always clues us in on important Truths by prefacing His message with the Word “Verily”. When Jesus said “verily”, or “verily, verily”, it is His way of letting us know that this was something that He “unquestionably” said. It is Providence’s way of telling us to “listen up”, because this is absolutely True, and very important. Contrary to popular “false belief”, the Bible was written by men, and not everything contained in the Old or New Testament was written or inspired by our Creator, infallible, inerrant with no contradictions. This notion of Biblical inerrancy and infallibility is one of the most damaging doctrines ever concocted by man. Fundamentalists start screaming “blasphemy” if you like, and I will calmly illustrate how your own Bible tells you that this notion is completely bogus, and very dangerous. I will address fundamentalist ideology, as well as Luther’s doctrine of “Sola Scriptura” in great detail in a coming post. For now, all those reading this and condemning me for disagreeing with your “programmed” belief system, simply grab your Bible, wipe the dust off, and turn to Ezekiel 13. Read it, and if you cannot figure out why the LORD was so pissed at all the “prophets who prophesied in Israel”, then you are either blind or ignorant, or both. If you have ears and eyes, you will clearly see that some information in the Bible is simply not True, and that is not me saying this, it was none other than Yahweh, aka Jehovah. Man put words in His/Her mouth, and since men never learn or listen, they also put words in Jesus’ mouth as well. I’m getting off subject, so enough on that subject for now.