“[Elizabeth Gilbert] describes the history of religion as “the history of mankind’s search for holiness” (208). In her own search, I pray she will look much more closely at Jesus. Putting aside the serious issue of abuse in institutional religions (all religions can become abusive, especially as their institutions become more entrenched and powerful), look at Jesus. Read the four gospels. He is like no one else in history.
In His last meal with His disciples, Jesus takes a piece of bread, gives thanks, and breaks it in pieces for His disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then He takes the cup of wine, gives thanks, and offers it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:26–28 NIV). Most of the world’s earliest religions—including ancient Hinduism—recognized the human need for cleansing from sin, and provided for it through animal sacrifices. However, Jesus comes as “the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 NIV). In Jesus, our sins are not glossed over or reframed, they are forgiven and removed: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.…We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:14–15, 20–21 NIV).”