Attending Christian educational institutions has been difficult for a non-Christian. I grew up never once questioning the existence of Jesus, however, I could not let go of my love for the Eastern belief systems. That created a major psychological fight within, where as a child, I was constantly told hell would await those who look at anyone other than Jesus. So who would be the recipient of my prayers, Krishna, Shiva, Buddha, or Jesus?
I'm not sure it's due to being raised with a different belief system, but it became very evident at an early age that I saw Jesus very differently than other Christians. As an example, the "judge not lest ye be judged" teaching seems to elude most Christians, where I would find constant judging of others including the incessant condemning others to hell. Another words, and to quote a fellow colleague of my elementary school, if you attended this institution as a non-christian, you were persecuted. Essentially, I was like the sinner who would receive the verbal stones of persecution, though I attempted to hide the fact that I was not Christian. In comparison to Jesus' teachings, I saw Christian hypocrisy the same way that Aleister Crowley (the Beast) and Anton LaVey (Satanic Bible) saw Christian hypocrisy, which led us to seek answers elsewhere.
The Temptation of Christ
Just like Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), Mohammed, and essentially every Yogi, Jesus secluded himself from the collective and placed himself in a position where sensory objects were minimal. Just as Siddhartha Gautama was given his last temptation, his last karmic attachment, by the great illusion (Maya) who has the ability to create disillusions resulting in delusion from our real reality, our real Self, Jesus was similarly provided with his temptations. This was Jesus' pivotal moment, just as it was Siddhartha Gautama's pivotal moment, where they became the Christ/Buddha. If you believe that these individuals were always Christ/Buddha since their birth, well, they needed to tackle their last temptation before they started teaching. Hence, like in yogic tradition, there is the need to subdue the ego self to fully bring forth the Higher Self. Yet, in my 12 years of Christian schooling, never once has this concept been fully articulated where the temptation of Christ has been left to a simple "Jesus conquered the devil" teaching. Overall, when deprived of sensory objects, you are forced to take a deeper closer look at yourself. You're forced to discover the truth of yourself by being your own judge. We are are own worst enemies at first, but transparency of our desires and beliefs lead us to new heights/insights.
The Crucifixion of Christ
Almost every Christian that I've come across will focus on the torture and death of Jesus, as opposed to his teachings. They are quick to discuss sin/hell, but fail to truly understand forgiveness. However, the higher teaching that Christ tried to show us is not what happened to Jesus, but how he responded. Despite outrageous rumors, vicious torture, and outright humiliation by those he wished to assist, Jesus still responded with "Father forgive them for they know not what they do". His death is NOT our salvation, but his response of forgiveness teaches us the way to break our attachments, our karma, to attain salvation/liberation. Forgiveness is the emotional cutting of situations/circumstances that keep us limited in our ability to unconditionally love. To focus on his death with the simple belief that all you need is Jesus in your heart is completely evasive and dilatory for the higher work that needs to be done, forgiveness.
Jesus stated "Father forgive them for they know not what they do". He had to find and embody his true Self, that which can see/know beyond the veil of illusion, samsara, where he then recognized that those committing such acts are simply deluded. All of our sins are simply from not recognizing who we truly are beyond the veil, better articulated in Buddhist teachings. When we are deluded, we need to ask and give forgiveness from an emotional perspective in order to clear those triggers that delude us.
Lastly, Jesus is said to have been resurrected from the dead. The closest teachings that I have come across in terms of "resurrection" are with regards to the Buddhist practice of Dzogchen, or rainbow light body. To attain this status, one must realize that every external individual and experience is simply a mirror to the Self. Hence, in order to attain rainbow light body, you have to unconditionally love all, which in turn means loving your Self. As a metaphor, your true Self is like a flame, everything else is simply a mirror of a different aspect of that flame, including every-other individual. Hence, the statement Jesus made that what you do to/for others, you're doing for "me", makes so much more sense showing you we're all essentially one entity attempting to reach harmonious unity.
The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.
At the heart of the teachings of our great masters lies the concept of unconditional love and unity. Unconditional means without the need for a certain circumstance to occur, it just happens. In other words, you love regardless, including those that you need to emotionally forgive (including your own ego-self). Now we have to ask ourselves, with the numerous wars and violations committed under the name of God (including over doctrine within the same religion), with the incessant judgment of others (and our own selves) that only leads to depressive humility as opposed to enlightening clearing, "What Would Jesus Do?".
Overly educated and continuously exploring and revealing more behind the veil.
"It cannot be too highly emphasized that the mystic swims in the same waters in which the psychotic drowns."
-James Wasserman, The Mystery Traditions