SIMPLY JESUS The only-begotten son of God... Luckily, we have the ability to use logic and reason to come to a basic set of facts. I approach this topic as one who is without the gifts of faith or grace, but one who has a deep interest and former convictions on this issue. I was a Roman Catholic seminarian who took first vows, and was an ordained Presbyterian deacon. But logic and reason no longer allow me to affirm the "only-begotten son of God" belief of Christians. The scientists working with the Hubble space telescope say that there are "billions of trillions of stars" in the universe. Logically, that would mean that there are trillions of quadrillions of planets also. Could we possibly be so arrogant as to believe that we are the only thinking, reasoning, loving beings in the universe, or are the only ones in need of a "savior" or the only ones needy enough to receive the gift of God's son? That sounds to me that we are so full of ourselves that we are re-making God in our image instead of us being made in his. Maybe the only part of us which is in the image of God is our ability to choose love over other alternatives because maybe that is all we need. Even on earth, would a reasoning, logical God send his only son as a rebel in a small, inconsequential sect, or as a members of the ruling Romans, or as a member of a two-billion strong nation like China, or a continent like Africa, or a populous area such as India? If the goal was to have all know and follow his son, he certainly would not have chosen the first. Perhaps following his son was not the ultimate goal, but teaching that love is the beginning and the end was the goal. Jesus seems to have been a wonderful, compassionate person who was as close to all-loving as history records. True, he took a whip to the money-lenders and salvation-sellers at the Temple, but everyone loses it occasionally. The way that he taught and preached love, and since God is love, makes him closer to God than most of us will ever attain. But to revere Jesus as the only-begotten son is a combination of self-delusion and illogical reasoning. We don't need a savior, we just need to love ourselves and our neighbors (near and far) for the sake of God who is love itself. That's what Jesus taught as did others. But Jesus did it so well that he is still revered after 2,000 years. He didn't need to be the only-begotten son to be that kind of teacher and preacher with that kind of message. All of our self-serving attributes to which he is accorded and the dogmas and unassailable beliefs which we erect in his name only serve to separate us further from other people(s) of good will. Does anyone believe that this was Jesus' goal? To the best of my ability, I strive to love you all.