I don’t think the real Jesus, if he ever existed, was the preacher of ethics he’s portrayed as in the Bible. He was a man whose primary agenda was the establishment of a Jewish Kingdom of God in Palestine. It’s obvious from the detalls of his death, and some of the things he allegedly said in the gospels, that he tried to give the finger to the Romans.
Jesus lost the biggest game of his life when he took on the gentile world. He tried to start an insurrection in Jerusalem, but they got to him first, strung him up on a cross, and then many years later, to rub salt into the wound, wrote untrue stories about him and his fellow Jews.
The stories of him eating with tax collectors, who were working for the Roman government, were designed to make him pro-gentile. On occasions in the Gospels he denigrated aspects of Jewish law, which no true Jew would ever do, so this was fictional too. The benign preacher who claimed he wasn’t a zealot and was murdered at the insistence of a Jewish crowd is a fabrication by Gentile authors and interpolators so that the story undermined Jesus as king of the Jews, and appealed to a Gentile audience.
Christianity would have been totally foreign to the real Jesus, the character it was allegedly modelled on. This is big news. It means Christianity is based on little more than mostly untrue stories about Jesus and the ramblings and prejudices of Paul. I ask all readers to pause and think about the enormity of that. If a religion is built on a foundation of lies and prejudice it can hardly have any genuine value.
Today’s Churches have Reinvented Jesus
The gospel authors created a false, maybe even a mythical, Jesus. Then, throughout history, this Jesus became many different things to people, mutating to suit the needs of the era and the beholder. Today’s churches have modernized his image again.
Spin-doctors have turned him into a loveable character. Yet Jesus hardly fits this manufactured image. He was intolerant of the unbeliever, whom he threatened with the sword and hellfire. He was an ascetic who advocated the single life. He considered it more important to follow an ideology than to have a family, and implied that sexuality was an impediment for entry into heaven. Today, churches don’t quote Jesus calling out to give up your family or castrate yourself to get into heaven. We rarely hear preachers say,
“Blessed are the poor” or
“Sell everything you own and give the money to the poor.” The institutions ignore this message, as most of them love money, and are always asking for more. The Vatican has amassed so many riches it’s now one of the wealthiest institutions in the world. Some Pentecostal churches have even somehow reinvented Jesus’ message to mean he wants people to be materially successful.
Jesus told people to become like children by just believing. He badmouthed the value of critical thought. In the past, this has suited churches that found it easier to control people who didn’t think for themselves. Nowadays, they usually can’t get away with preaching this, so after over fifteen hundred years of suppression of secular education, science, and medicine, some churches have refashioned Jesus into someone who wants people to get an education, discover the world, and be proactive with their health.
Modern churches have turned Jesus into a good friend, yet Jesus stated he wasn’t interested in anyone who wasn’t Jewish. They claim he’s there for everyone and will help one and all in times of need. Yet dead people can’t help anyone.
Today’s churches claim Jesus provides the path to happiness, yet Jesus offered the kingdom of heaven to people who were poor and miserable.
Churches claim that Yahweh, the “God of wrath,” has been replaced by the Christian “God of love.” Jesus, if he ever existed, was a Jew, so knew only one god; the Yahweh of the Torah. His puppet in the gospels never claimed God had any such change in his personality.
I say today’s spin-doctors have created an image of Jesus that rescues him from his own story.
“Getting back to Jesus”
Over the centuries, people disillusioned with church hierarchies have branched off to form their own. This happened time and again, so there are now over 34,000 Christian denominations in the world. They usually claim they want to “return” to the basics of the gospels, to Jesus’ “original message.” Individuals, too, often wax lyrical about how pure and simple Jesus’ message was. I cringe a little on hearing such talk, for two reasons.
Firstly, Jesus’ divinity, his miracles and his injunctions are obviously fabricated. Dogma based on falsehood has no value.
Secondly, the teachings aren’t particularly meritorious, interesting or innovative. Many of them were invented to suppress critical thought, people’s individuality, and to discourage crowds from complaining. “Jesus” is, in fact, a pawn whose teachings are used to control people, so “his” ethics will never be genuinely spiritually empowering.
I think there’s no point turning to Jesus. There’s a better place to look for true “spirituality.” It’s found with loved ones, friends, and in a stranger’s smile. It’s in a child’s hug, a neighbor’s thank you, or in the satisfaction of a job well done. It’s called a healthy self – esteem, and it comes from the love and respect we get from each other, not from an imaginary friend.