9/18/2010 | Share this article: View CommentsBy David ~
Although claimed by even the most moderate and progressive Christians that Jesus is the best image or representation of what God is like, I can’t’ get over some big issues I have with him. Here are a few I recently have been thinking about.
2. Jesus says John the Baptist is the greatest born among women. Two things here: First, if taken literally, I guess he meant even greater than himself even if his mother was a virgin. Secondly, it seems that this accolade of John sets the wrong precedence. John was a prophet living in the desert calling people to repent and turn to God or face impending judgment. We can only infer that if we want to be great in Jesus’ eyes we should also be a person who leaves society, lives ascetically and calls people to repentance. It just seems like there are a lot better things we could be doing with our time.
3. Jesus claims to be God with special knowledge and revelation. If you are God it should be self evident, it would seem that one would not have to mention it, nor does it smack of any real form of humility to declare it and say everyone must believe it or be condemned.
4. Jesus preaches fear to all who do not follow him or believe in him. This enormously apparent and negatively far reaching fact is well known and needs not be illustrated. It has also been one of the church’s strongest allies in its survival.
5. Jesus teaches falsely about end times. In Matthew 24 especially, Jesus predicts the end times occurring during the generation of the people listening to his words. It is also evident that the early followers were expecting the end to happen any day in the way they sold their possessions and lived in a cult like community awaiting supernatural intervention – thanks at least in part to Jesus’ teachings.
6. Jesus teaches non thrift. “Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself.” Not so, one has to plan and think ahead unless they want to be in dire straits.
7. Jesus teaches to turn the other cheek when abused. Although non-violence is usually the best, there are times when it is necessary to use force to combat violent aggression. Many well intentioned people have allowed untold abuse due to this unfortunate, less than compassionate doctrine.
8. Jesus says there is an unpardonable sin. I can’t think of anything that tortured me more as a child than thinking that perhaps I had committed it. What an awful thing to teach and what awful consequences it has had on the psyche of so many people.
9. Jesus accepts and values the Old Testament law. He says that not one bit of the law should be or will be abolished. Does this include the stoning of adulterers, killing of homosexuals, and the death penalty for children who are rebellious toward their parents? Evidently so, seeing how there was no disclaimer.
10. Jesus calls people names. This one I almost like. I mean, I don’t mind name calling if people deserve it and if it fits the bill, but it just strikes me as less than appropriate for an all perfect deity to call people names if he truly cares for them and is trying to reach them. Jesus calls Herod an old fox and he calls the religious leaders a plethora of names (although he does make appropriate descriptions). I think viewing Jesus as a human fighting for justice makes me appreciate him here to some degree, but it discredits any credulous claim to deity or moral superiority.
11. (so I thought of one more) Jesus applauds people who believe in things they haven’t seen. He says blessed are those who believe and have not seen – referring to him and his message. We simply cannot afford to live in a world where there is such little skepticism about such extraordinary matters that potentially affect every aspect of our lives. As Bertrand Russell said something like “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to be believed” we should hold that skepticism and free inquiry are higher moral imperatives than blind faith which is what Jesus is calling blessed.
The only way to deal with these objections is to say, as the Jesus Seminar has done, that these actions/words were not ever said by Jesus, but added later. While that is most likely accurate on some of the points it only affirms that at the heart of Christianity, it is a humanly fabricated product.
That said, I do like Jesus’ progressive view toward women, his courage to stand against religious and political injustices and his affectionate nature toward the poor, marginalized and hurting. I find though, that I don't need to believe in him in any supernatural way to relate to and appreciate these aspects of his so obvious humanity.
Filed Under: Articles