I came across this speech by Ralph Waldo Emerson from 1838, and while it's too late tonight to slog through the whole thing, I loved this excerpt:
Jesus Christ belonged to the true race of prophets. He saw with open eye the mystery of the soul. Drawn by its severe harmony, ravished with its beauty, he lived in it, and had his being there. Alone in all history, he estimated the greatness of man. One man was true to what is in you and me. He saw that God incarnates himself in man, and evermore goes forth anew to take possession of his world. He said, in this jubilee of sublime emotion, `I am divine. Through me, God acts; through me, speaks. Would you see God, see me; or, see thee, when thou also thinkest as I now think.' But what a distortion did his doctrine and memory suffer in the same, in the next, and the following ages! There is no doctrine of the Reason which will bear to be taught by the Understanding. The understanding caught this high chant from the poet's lips, and said, in the next age, `This was Jehovah come down out of heaven. I will kill you, if you say he was a man.' The idioms of his language, and the figures of his rhetoric, have usurped the place of his truth; and churches are not built on his principles, but on his tropes. ...
Let me admonish you, first of all, to go alone; to refuse the good models, even those which are sacred in the imagination of men, and dare to love God without mediator or veil.
Shorter Emerson: Yo. Jesus wasn't God, wasn't saying he was God. He was just high on being, for all of us. And the church fucked. it. up. big time, primarily to suit their own sense of self perpetuation. Screw "The Church" and start over.
Emerson was one radical dude. But it's okay to just take my word for it. I'll get some real panties up tomorrow.