Nice to get back to this, Mike.
I’d like to take a moment and explore a bit more the place of our most fundamental disagreement: that Jesus is God. Actually I have no problem affirming this. Where we differ is that I would add to the affirmation “Jesus is God, saying, “and so are you.”
God, for me is reality in all its manifestations. When Jesus says, “I and the Father are one,” I say, “Mazal tov! You get it! You and God are one, and so is everything else.” If God is infinite there cannot be anything that is not God. I have no problem accepting Jesus as a fully awake and God-realized manifestation of the Divine, far beyond my meager knowing. I just take him as paradigmatic of what all humans can achieve and not, as Christians do, the one and only such manifestation.
Ok, so much for my theological stance. My question is, Why you believe what you believe?
My own conviction comes from an initial experience I had at age sixteen. Meditating on a lakeshore in Cape Cod during the summer of 1967 I suddenly knew the absolute nonduality of all things in, with, and as God. I was everything and everything was me, and there was only this One Thing which I call God. Subsequent experiences have reinforced this knowing, and I cannot deny it.
So, if you don’t mind, please tell me a bit more about your experience of Christ.
Where does your faith conviction come from? Did you have (and do you continue to have) a deep encounter with Jesus Christ? What was it like? In what way is Jesus a living presence for you?