Monday, July 22, 2013

Back to the bible, and Jesus

In the last post I made about the bible, I asked if Jesus really was a better "alternative" to Yahweh. I say "alternative" because most Christians believe they are one in the same. This bipolar identity lends itself to a deity do-over, which I find incongruent (again) with the omniscient god. Wouldn't a god, with limitless ability to see the future, know his grotesque treatment of humans would be seen as, well, grotesque? 

Wouldn't the need for a kindler, gentler savior be foreseen? So why the two versions? Why not just be Jesus to start? Why be this horrid dictator and then change your gameplan? God must've known this would be the case, right? I'll tell you why, because the bible was written by ignorant men and not a perfect lord. This version of god wasn't having the effect its conjurors imagined, so they re-imagined a kinder being.

So, is the New Testament better? Is Jesus better? You might think that at first glance, but a careful reading of the NT will have you arrive at a resounding no. To start, in Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus says he doesn't come to abolish the laws of the OT but to enforce them, and that every one of those laws will be upheld until the end of time. So I guess that means he planned to follow through on what dad started, sort of like George W. Bush and his dad when it came to Iraq and Saddam.

As a quick aside, I find it so convenient for believers to utter the phrase "The bible is too complicated to be interpreted without years and years of study, so I can't presume to know everything about god's intent." This is pure hogwash and gibberish. Again, these stories were supposed to be written by, experienced by and told to mostly illiterate people wandering the desert. I find it nearly impossible to believe the stories told here can't be understood by us, with 20 centuries of advancement, evolution and education under our belts vs. our desert-dwelling predecessors. Why would god want his word to be too complicated for his simple folk to understand?

And why is it that the religious clergy can understand/interpret better than the secular braintrust that produced geniuses such as Einstein and Dawkins. Is it perhaps because they want it interpreted the way they want it to be rather than what it actually says? Susan B. Anthony may have put it best: "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."

Certainly I'm on the same intellectual level as even the most rudimentary deacon, no? And how can stories about rape, incest, slavery and genocide be misinterpreted? How can they be parables? 

Back to Jesus. I once mentioned his similarities to other deities who predate Jesus, and I may explore that in the blog some day, but for now I want to show why I think Jesus wasn't all he was cracked up to be.

Here's a chestnut from the "good book" about Jesus: A woman begs Jesus to give her child an exorcism, but he says, why would I help you, a non-Jew? He refused to help her until one of his followers stepped in and convinced him. Does a loving, peaceful deity for ALL mankind turn away a woman and child in need? And would he belittle them as non-Jews? Would the all-knowing perfect Jesus need advice from a follower? And for that matter, don't his followers believe he led a perfect life without sin? Wouldn't his initial refusal of this woman be a sin? Love thy neighbor?

Jesus also said, as he looked for disciples, and I'm paraphrasing, "Those who don't hate their families cannot follow me." I'm certain the believers interpret this to fit their needs, that Jesus just meant I am salvation and you need to follow me. Or that there's an alternative definition of hate that means love, anything to make your messiah look innocent.

In another part of the NT, a man is found collecting sticks on the sabbath (I assume this was Saturday, but that's another whole can of worms for another post.) and is brought before Jesus, who says, of course, he must be killed. And he is. ... for collecting sticks!!! That's it, not collecting sticks to kill someone with or to worship, but collecting sticks, likely needed to build a fire to stay warm. Death, ordered by the kind, loving Jesus. I suppose it's just another parable, right? My simple mind just can't find hidden meaning in actual death I guess, and that's death over kindling.

If Jesus could heal a blind person, as he did in Mark 8:22-26, then why not just heal blindness? What's the point of it? Why have this ailment on earth when it serves no positive purpose and can be cured by Jesus? 

Too many things point to incongruity and less-than-benevolent behavior when it comes to Jesus, and all of this without even mentioning his conception and birth from a virgin, his disdain for his mother, Mary, and his forgiving of a sinner on the cross, but not for a sinner in the bed of their same-sex partner. 

Jesus stated, "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation" (Mark 3:28-29). 

Imagine, the only unforgivable sin is denouncing some spirit you can't possibly know or see. Yet, killing and raping is forgivable. And why is it Jesus (and clergy) gets to forgive people's sins, but doesn't give any consideration to the person who was sinned against? Only the affected has the right to forgive the sinner. 

Let's say a man kills your mother. If he repents then Jesus forgives him, but where does that leave you? You are motherless and the murderer is ultimately on his way to eternal glory. Where is the heavenly justice? This kicks the teeth in to those who espouse their religion as the only way to have morality on this planet. Why be moral if the only thing you can't be forgiven is to blaspheme the holy ghost?

Perhaps someday I'll also get into how in the bible Jesus and his believers self-fulfilled the prophecies of the OT (don't forget, they knew of them beforehand, which defies the definition of a prophecy). Also, if Jesus was the lord, why would we be impressed or surprised by him fulfilling these prophecies since he could make them come true by his sheer will?

You need to step outside of beliefs and faith to be rational, something most people are unwilling to do. But if you do, and you don't make up excuses and some twisted logic to square your religious circle, you'll see this doesn't add up to a perfect being, but rather just a man, if that.

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