Sunday, 4 May 2008

Jesus


For the purposes of this post, I'm going to assume that Jesus said the things attributed to him in the Bible, because I want to look at the message that the Bible gives us. Is it a good message or a bad one? Let's find out, shall we?

First, there are some good things in there. The golden rule is one (although it didn't originate with Jesus, still he gets points for saying it), don't brag, don't judge, love your neighbor, love your enemies, turn the other cheek, don't be a hypocrite. Jesus, of course, falls well short of many of these things and is rather hypocritical, and there's serious scholarship about some of these, like the idea of one's neighbors being fellow Jews and no one else. Regardless, let's just move forward.

Jesus also said some bad things, like the bits about how one should hate one's family, how he didn't come to bring peace but to bring a sword, his acceptance of the Noachian flood, etc. One would think that an all-loving, omni-benevolent god would only bring good words and not evil ones, which makes for a real problem for Xians. Also, the good should be considered with the bad. All too often Xians make the mistake of focusing solely on the good and disregarding the bad, but one needs to acknowledge both. This isn't the focus of this post, however.

The real focus is on a big problem I have with the teachings of Jesus in the Bible. Jesus sets up a system of absolutes. One is either good or bad, with nothing in between. Then, he sets up impossible standards. For instance, in the sermon on the mount, Jesus says that one should not be angry with others (without cause I believe). But, he takes it to extremes when he equates being angry with others to be tantamount to murder. This has gone too far as is all too often the case with theistic belief. Anger is a natural and normal human expression. We should strive to not be angry without cause, but it is going to happen from time to time. What we should focus on is finding positive outlets for that anger. Yet, according to Jesus, we are all guilty of murder. We are all guilty of sin and worthy of punishment. And, as if that weren't enough, Jesus is not content to allow us to simply die, but we must be punished. So, he preaches that we are all guilty and are all deserving of eternal torment in hell. This pernicious teaching is simply vile and anti-human.

15 comments:

Pastor John said...

While I completely respect your honesty and opinion, it saddens me that you write as if you know the truth. Blogs can be opinionated, but you can't quote someone erroneously, and consider it factual. I myself am a follower of a deity. But my conclusions were drawn after much research, soul searching and meditation. To slander an individual without having the facts straight is childish.

Where did Jesus say your fellow neighboor can only be a Jew?

Where did Jesus say that you cannot be angry with someone?

His teaching on punishment is "vile and inti-human"?...after all that about punishment, correct me if I am wrong, but didnt He say I came not to condemn, but to save the world?

I know that you will probably discount this post as being rubbish from a Jesus freak, but please read and educate yourself before slandering an individual.

Tigerboy said...

My problem is not so much with Jesus, although the Bible attributes to him some truly nasty things. My problem is with the way that Christians do exactly that to which Pastor John refers. They quote erroneously and then claim it to be factual.

Do we all realize that there is no real evidence that a person named Jesus of Nazareth ever existed? None. No physical evidence, no record of such a person being crucified by the Romans. Other than the Bible, which was not begun until many decades later, and was clearly pushing an idea, an agenda, there is no mention of Jesus by any of the historians of the day.

One would think that a preacher who was attracting "multitudes" would have warranted a mention by someone at the time. We have records of other Roman crucifixions, but not this man with a "multitude" of followers.

Even the first guy with a clear agenda to spread the word of Christianity, Saul of Tarses, NEVER writes of Jesus as living anywhere but in the spiritual realm. According to Saul, Christ's birth, life, death, resurrection, ALL are referred to as existing in the spiritual realm. Saul never writes about Jesus being a real, historical, recently living person. Everyone who came later added that.

This is the very definition of a myth. It's a story with an agenda. The story had layer upon layer of stuff added later, by a variety of people. It's very foundation is built on nothing. It's built on Saul's stories. Did Jesus exist? Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Other than the stories in the Bible, we don't know that he did. No evidence.

People think they know exactly how it all went down, because they saw Mel Gibson's movie, or because they read the Bible. Both sources are equally lacking in credibility. Both sources push a clear agenda.

Both tell a STORY for which there is no evidence.

Pastor John said...

While you make an attempt to sound intelligent, your reply is a meager attempt and clearly shows your ingnorance.

For starters, what did I quote that was presented as fact?

Its evidence that Tiger Boy here knows nothing of history and probably believes global warming is real. There are numerous historians who mention a man named Jesus was crucified. While only one (Josephus, intersting to note that he was not a Christian) said he was Jesus of Nazareth, he was named.

I would encourage any of you to attend my class MWF @ 8am to learn a little more about this religion you hate.

You may find it interesting to know, they call me Pastor John, because I teach a class on the history and origin or Eastern Religions. So for the naive ones who thinks anyone who takes offense over the slandering of Jesus is a follower of that man, is completely ignorant and bias. I would take just as much offense to someone who would slam Muhammad with baseless facts.

So Tigerboy, before you start speaking facts as if they are true, investigate before you speak. Because in the end, you lose credibility.

GCT said...

"Blogs can be opinionated, but you can't quote someone erroneously, and consider it factual...To slander an individual without having the facts straight is childish."

Where did I do that?

"Where did Jesus say your fellow neighboor can only be a Jew?"

Some scholars have suggested that this is what was meant by the term "neighbor." I suggest you look it up.

"Where did Jesus say that you cannot be angry with someone?"

Sermon on the mount. You have read the gospel of Matthew haven't you?

"His teaching on punishment is "vile and inti-human"?...after all that about punishment, correct me if I am wrong, but didnt He say I came not to condemn, but to save the world?"

Which shows his hypocrisy. He introduces the concept of hell.

"Its evidence that Tiger Boy here knows nothing of history and probably believes global warming is real."

The best scientific evidence we have points to global warming being real indeed and significantly aided along by humans.

"There are numerous historians who mention a man named Jesus was crucified. While only one (Josephus, intersting to note that he was not a Christian) said he was Jesus of Nazareth, he was named."

There aren't any contemporary sources, and other sources, like Josephus, report that there are people who believe that their Christ was crucified and resurrected.

"You may find it interesting to know, they call me Pastor John, because I teach a class on the history and origin or Eastern Religions."

I'm surprised that you would make such elemental errors if you actually teach this stuff. You should have known that Josephus is not a contemporary of Jesus, that his writing was only referential to the beliefs of the people he spoke of, and that there are some questions about the authenticity of it. You should also know of the questions about what "neighbor" means. You should also know about the sermon on the mount. You are probably being sloppy because your religious sensibilities have been offended, but I don't consider that a valid excuse. Your religion does not supercede reality.

"So Tigerboy, before you start speaking facts as if they are true, investigate before you speak. Because in the end, you lose credibility."

And, you know nothing about me or tigerboy, yet you claim the ability to do to us what you claim we have done to Jesus. What chutzpah you have.

Dave said...

>There are numerous historians who mention a man named Jesus was crucified.<

Yes, Pastor John, but not contemporary historians. This doesn't mean that eye witness accounts are necessary to trust a historian who isn't writing about contemporaneous events. However, competent historians base their work on factual evidence. In the case Jesus, there is no evidence - except for assertions long, long after the fact - that such a person existed, other than in myth.

>While only one (Josephus, intersting to note that he was not a Christian) said he was Jesus of Nazareth, he was named.<

Again, Josephus came along long after Jesus supposedly lived, and it's fairly well known - and obvious - that the comments about Jesus were added by someone other than Josephus.

We all see the world the way we want to see it. Some see it based on powers of reason, others on the basis of belief. You fall into the later category, Pastor John.

Pastor John said...

Its making me laugh, this little piece.

("Where did Jesus say your fellow neighboor can only be a Jew?"

Some scholars have suggested that this is what was meant by the term "neighbor." I suggest you look it up.)

I dont need to look that up, because you cant even spell it right. So you look up the correct spelling, then find the Greek translation of that word and you will find your answer. Matthew wrote his gospel in greek, while your so called scholars (Discovery Channel Historians, which no one has yet to name on this blog) use the Hebrew definition of neighbour...bloddy hell, I just gave you the proper spelling. You've now got a head start.

("Where did Jesus say that you cannot be angry with someone?"

Sermon on the mount. You have read the gospel of Matthew haven't you?)

I have actually, many times and if you read that section, Jesus says go reconcile with your brother before you try to make offerings with me. Not, you cannot be angry with your brother. I suggest you go look that up. 21-24. Bloody hell, I just gave the reference. Once again, you've got another head start.

("His teaching on punishment is "vile and inti-human"?...after all that about punishment, correct me if I am wrong, but didnt He say I came not to condemn, but to save the world?"

Which shows his hypocrisy. He introduces the concept of hell.)

I laughed when I read that. INTRODUCED? Come on now. I sincerely hope that was "sloppiness based on offense". A couple of more words for you to look up: Sheol, Hades, Gehenna. Bloody hell, once again, I gave you terms of hell long before Jesus and I gave you the proper spelling. Once again, you have a head start!

("The best scientific evidence we have points to global warming being real indeed and significantly aided along by humans.")

The best? How about the only scientific evidence being looked at is global warming. Just last week one of the leading climatologists from Australia said the earths core temperature is cooling. Get ready for the ice freeze from 70's we were facing. His evidence was not even looked at.

("You are probably being sloppy because your religious sensibilities have been offended, but I don't consider that a valid excuse. Your religion does not supercede reality.")

No sloppiness here, just toying with those who have no grip on reality, who refuse to investigate all aspects and only speak what they have watched on the Discovery Channel. (This post sounds like I have an issue with DC, but rest assure, I do not. I love that channel. Just watched Pole to Pole in HD. Amazing. Makes you wonder if that evoleved or was created?)

That was a joke, I just wanted to ruffle some feathers. I love you folks. Just like Jesus. Ha. Another funny.

Tigerboy said...

Josephus was not even born until almost half a century after the story tells us of the death of our hero. His accounts of Jesus came down to him as oral histories. That's exactly how myths are formed.

The only way one loses credibility is when one claims to know things that one does not, could not, know. I never said Jesus didn't exist, in fact, if you will refer to my post, you will see that I said:

"Did Jesus exist? Maybe he did, maybe he didn't."

We don't know. That was precisely my point. We don't know. Christians, in fact ALL religions, make a stock in trade of such unknowable claims.

Making outrageous claims about the ways in which the universe operates, claims that directly conflict with similarly unknowable claims of others, claims that pit neighbor against neighbor, nation against nation, claims that, by their very definition, require a "leap of faith" due to their total lack of a basis in fact or reality, is NOT noble, is NOT a sign of great character, is NOT a sign of great insight.

Making claims of knowledge about things that one can not possibly have any knowledge is divisive and extremely dangerous.

I certainly DO believe the very solid evidence of human-activity-related global warming. And, as chunks the size of small states fall off the polar ice caps with some ever-increasing regularity, it is amazing to me that anyone has the blindness, or the temerity, to deny it.

I do, however, acknowledge that global warming may very well NOT be the thing that sends our civilization hurtling over the brink towards extinction.

Religious conflict seems a far more likely candidate for that dubious honor. A divine Real Estate broker in the sky promised everybody a piece of the Middle east, and they're going to lay claim to it, even if it kills us all.

Tigerboy said...

Even if one totally accepts the historicity of a man named Jesus in Bronze-age Palestine . . . even if one totally accepts the idea that he traveled around preaching love and understanding . . . again, there's no real evidence for it . . . but even if one takes that as a given . . .

. . . one cannot deny that the quotes attributed to him, in a book that hadn't even begun to be written until the better part of a century later, are actually the words of the writers.

The writers of the Bible were preaching their new religion, not giving accurate quotes from this Jesus guy they had heard about and admired.

Who ran the tape recorder at the Sermon on the Mount so that these Bible writers could be so accurate? It was being written down many, many decades later on, by people who were not even there. Isn't it a bit more likely that they were writing down the ideas, and the myths, in order to get it down on paper, and, based on a real guy or not, these are the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Saul of Tarses, and all the rest, not the actual words of Jesus. Is it hard to imagine them tossing in a few outlandish miracles for emphasis?

Even if the whole thing is based on a real guy, the narrative is still totally steeped in mythos. Virtually every single extraordinary feature of the Jesus story, birth foretold by wise men, stars lining up, immaculate conception, born in the humblest of circumstances, born in the presence of various animals, extraordinary knowledge displayed during childhood, wandering/surviving a wilderness, doing miracles such as feeding the hungry and restoring sight to the blind, resurrecting the dead, enduring torture, dying on a cross or a tree, resurrecting, appearing to others after death, ascending bodily to heaven, ALL of these things are attributed, prior to the life of Jesus, to a very long list of other gods and goddesses, as well as to unquestionably real people.

People have always loved telling stories about other people who represent something. The representation is usually a statement being made by the storytellers, not an historical fact.

It's called myth.

Human history is LOADED with it.

Steven Bently said...

Excellant responces tigerboy!

To pj,

What sacrifice did Jesus make anyway? If god himself came to the earth through a virgin and then walked the earth and then returned to himself and now he's back in heaven with himself, if he was a human he would have died eventually anyway,, so where is the damn sacrifice, you knucklehead?

GCT said...

Pastor John,
"I dont need to look that up, because you cant even spell it right. So you look up the correct spelling, then find the Greek translation of that word and you will find your answer. Matthew wrote his gospel in greek, while your so called scholars (Discovery Channel Historians, which no one has yet to name on this blog) use the Hebrew definition of neighbour...bloddy hell, I just gave you the proper spelling."

I find it odd that a man from Georgia would insist that the British spelling of "neighbour" is the only true spelling of the word and that the more familiar spelling to Americans, "neighbor" is somehow wrong and somehow invalidates all arguments by the person who used it. This is, of course, nothing more than ad hominem and does nothing to invalidate my claims. Perhaps you should look up the works of John Hartung who makes the case of what I'm saying.

"I have actually, many times and if you read that section, Jesus says go reconcile with your brother before you try to make offerings with me. Not, you cannot be angry with your brother. I suggest you go look that up. 21-24. Bloody hell, I just gave the reference. Once again, you've got another head start."

Um, if you actually read that section he says - and I quote -
"5:21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment "

He equates being angry to killing in this passage, just as I said. I'll even raise you another verse to prove my point:

"5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

He is exhorting us to be perfect, the failure of which is to go to hell. This is anti-human and vile.

"I laughed when I read that. INTRODUCED? Come on now. I sincerely hope that was "sloppiness based on offense". A couple of more words for you to look up: Sheol, Hades, Gehenna."

The Jews did not have a concept of eternal hell, the Xians do. Jesus speaks of it often. If he got the concept from elsewhere matters not in that he seems to revel in it. He likes the idea of his detractors burning in hell for eternity.

(BTW, Hades and Sheol were simply the realms of the dead, while Gehenna was a reference to an actual place, which the Jews thought of as a temporary place for purification through fire. Jesus decided that it was an eternal torment type of place.)

"The best? How about the only scientific evidence being looked at is global warming. Just last week one of the leading climatologists from Australia said the earths core temperature is cooling. Get ready for the ice freeze from 70's we were facing. His evidence was not even looked at."

First off, if he published in a peer-reviewed journal, then it was looked at. If he could not pass peer-review, then there's a reason for that. Second, the so-called ice age that was supposedly approaching in the 70s was never a majority opinion in the scientific community. In fact, it was an extreme minority and the press blew it out of proportion. It was never accepted. Also, we found some cooling occurred mostly because of the loss of the ozone layer. Once we started to try and stop the loss and reverse it, the warming trend continued. Please learn something about the subject before you go off half-cocked. I suggest looking up realclimate.org.

"No sloppiness here, just toying with those who have no grip on reality, who refuse to investigate all aspects and only speak what they have watched on the Discovery Channel."

Reality? Which part would that be? And, FWIW, I don't watch DC.

"Just watched Pole to Pole in HD. Amazing. Makes you wonder if that evoleved or was created?"

Are you saying that you also reject evolution? If that were the case, I wouldn't be surprised in the least. I also wouldn't be surprised if this were a case of Poe's law in action.

word said...

To GCT: I looked forward to reading your post and conversing about it, yet it doesn't appear that this blog has conversation...they have bitter power struggles. Too uncomfortable for me.
I will say about Jesus' statement about "hating one's family," and to be angry is the same as "murder:" As you were telling me in the other post about hyperbole...well, Jesus used it too and I believe these are examples of it.
I do wish you well but I will not be back. Chaos is not for me...my work gives me more than I can handle of that commodity.
Wishing you well.

GCT said...

Word,
"To GCT: I looked forward to reading your post and conversing about it, yet it doesn't appear that this blog has conversation...they have bitter power struggles. Too uncomfortable for me."

I presented my case, and I still do with reasonable and rational argument. The lack of conversation seems to come about from the lack of civility from the theistic side of the debate on this thread. I would hope that you could see that.

"I will say about Jesus' statement about "hating one's family," and to be angry is the same as "murder:" As you were telling me in the other post about hyperbole...well, Jesus used it too and I believe these are examples of it."

I find that hard to reconcile for the simple fact that Jesus is talking about eternal torture as punishment for these deeds. If you mean the part about hell, that's hard to reconcile considering how much he harps on it. If you mean that anger isn't the same as murder, it certainly carries the same sentence of eternity in hell. I don't see this as hyperbole at all. We are commanded to be perfect as god is.

"I do wish you well but I will not be back. Chaos is not for me...my work gives me more than I can handle of that commodity.
Wishing you well."

That's your choice, but remember it isn't I that is calling for chaos, but the theistic commenter. It's a shame that one of the commenters that believes as you do would stir up so much problem for you as to keep you from being able to converse with one who doesn't share your views.

Anonymous said...

Well I could conceive of a God who would punish people for a time, but for billions upon billions of years - that is just absurd. As has been mentioned above, hell was largely invented by the New Testament writers.

Jesus is recorded to have spoken about Elijah. About Sodom and Gomorrah. About the Flood of Noah. Did any of these things really happen? Not likely, just like donkeys never spoke, axe heads never floated and rivers did not turn to blood. So what are we to make of these words? There are two options: (1) Jesus really said them, and was wrong. (2) Jesus never said them. Both blow the scriptures out of the water.

Solaris Roscita said...

pastor john: "I just gave you the proper spelling"

-- bloody hell that made me laugh. Okay children, spell it with me now... N-E-I-G-H-B-O-U-R

Christ-licking-mary-fisters! why can't anybody spell correctly these days?

GCT said...

SR,
To be fair, I believe that "neighbour" is the british spelling, as I pointed out. To us colonials, however, "neighbor" is more proper. PJ's complaint was just an attempt at ad hominem attack since he could not argue his point nor defeat mine.