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By Carl S. ~

I found it depressing to reread the Gospels, struck not only by the contradictory claims of a loving, yet non-responsive father (“…why hast thou forsaken me?”), but also by the differences between the old and new versions of a covenant which turned out to be not very different after all, when it came right down to it.

If thine eye offend thee...
On close reading, the attitude of Jesus in those texts was most illuminating. He becomes the human near equivalent of the O.T. deity in his intolerance, judgmentalism, and condemnations. He also has the same problem in accepting humans as humans, and does not see virtue as its own reward. (And maybe his attitude made his crucifixion inevitable - a self-fulfilling prophesy death wish.) The New Testament is merely a new list of demands, such as telling us to be tyrants over our lustful thoughts, and recommending we amputate our body parts, etc. And, whereas the Old demands sacrificing the lives of others, the New asks for one's own life.

I think that whoever wrote those N.T. texts did so with an obvious plan: whether writing of the Baptist, the place, time, or circumstances of Jesus' birth, the major events of his life, suffering, and death - they wrote about fulfilling prophesies, and ALL of those prophesies they had already read about in older texts! So then, the life story of Jesus was written as it was so that those prophecies would be “fulfilled.” There were no divine plans brought to realization. The details of Jesus’ life story in the Gospels are presented as “the will of God," everything that "had to be.” In fact, the older stories predetermined what could be written in the N.T. stories. (And, according to the same writers, Jesus, as an "end-times" prophet, prophesied the end would come "soon," even in the lifetimes of some of his hearers. Tellingly, THAT prophesy was never fulfilled.)

All things considered, in the Gospels we are dealing with an individual's resignation to fate, at all costs, as it was written, as a script before he was born. He, like Noah and Job, is an actor with a role to play, a pawn-piece of the god, and not even the god, if you think about it, but the writings of men writing for the god.

In the Gospels we are dealing with an individual's resignation to fate, at all costs, as it was written, as a script before he was born.A literary theme still used today involves the conflict between a life lived solely for another's expectations or demands, versus a life lived for one's own desires, potential, and individuality; the right to be one's authentic self-asserted against a repressive authority. The man on the cross is such an example of obedience, renunciation of individuality, with no control over his own life or destiny. It is a depressing obedience, and reads like a Greek tragedy. The man in the garden of Gethsemane should have doubted, questioned, listened to his instincts, because he was being used. The basic script of the New Testament is the same as the Old, after all; human life is expendable. Obedience is the prime directive of religions, to the extent of destroying oneself via crucifixion or suicide bomb; even if one is only obeying ancient texts.

I say, disobey. Follow your conscience. Don't waste your life over an alleged disembodied spirit, or someone in "authority" telling you how to live. To doubt is to be free, as a wise, ancient Greek said. Never be an apologist for "God." Don't be a tragic figure like the written "Jesus." Accept yourself. Find a real body; a friend, lover, child, or a pet, and comfort and help each other.