“Jesus loves me! This I know,For the Bible tells me so” (Traditional, Words by Anna B. Warner)
Most Christians assume Jesus loved anyone who accepted him; that Jesus had a personal interest in each and every individual. Yet they misunderstand their main man. Jesus did not love Gentiles (who he referred to as pagans.) He told his disciples:
“Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 10:6, NJB.)
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matt. 15:24, NJB.)
Jesus even told his fellow Jews not to pray like pagans (non Jewish people):
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:7–8, NJB.)
Here is Jesus’ encounter with a Greek (i.e. non-Jewish) woman:
“He left that place and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not pass unrecognized. A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him straight away and came and fell at his feet. Now the woman was pagan, by birth a Syrophonecian and she begged him to cast the devil out of her daughter and he said to her ‘the children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house dogs’. But she spoke up ‘Ah yes sir’ she replied ‘but the house dogs under the table can eat the children’s scraps’. And he said to her ‘for saying this, you may go home happy; the devil has gone out of your daughter.’ So she went off to her home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone” (Mark 7:24–30, NJB.)
Jesus was drawing an analogy. The children were his fellow Jews, who were to be fed first. Gentiles were referred to as dogs, (when Jews wished to insult someone they often referred to them as dogs) whom Jesus would rather not help. Jesus hesitated before healing the girl because her mother was not Jewish. The woman had to remind Jesus that he should love his neighbour.
Caesaria was the capital of Judea and Sepphoris the capital of Galilee, yet there is no record that Jesus ever visited either city, despite their size and importance, possibly because Gentiles populated them.
Jesus could have taken his mission outside Palestine. Egyptians, Greeks, Africans, and Romans might have been wowed by his words of wisdom, yet he did not bother with them either, as they too were in Gentile territories.
These facts suggest that Jesus was xenophobic. If Yeshua were an insurrectionist trying to start a war, preaching platitudes to Gentiles would have been the last thing on his mind. It is possible these statements reflect Yeshua’s real attitude.
People who push the “Jesus loves you” line need to read their Bibles more carefully, and should try to understand the real history. It is obvious Jesus did not even like you unless you were Jewish.
The man portrayed in the Gospels was often not meek, mild or tolerant. Consider how Jesus threatened people with hell, and bad-mouthed anyone who did not worship him. The Gospels’ authors were not even consistent enough to create an attractive image of Jesus.
Yeshua, the real historical character, if he ever existed, grew up uneducated in the violent xenophobic backwater that was first century Galilee. He was executed by the Romans because he was a militant sectarian zealot. It is obvious that his image as a peace loving, benevolent, humanitarian preacher is a fiction, written by propagandists decades after his death. They were intent on creating an image of him that was the opposite of who he really was.
– Yahweh was originally only one of many fictional Israelite gods, and power hungry priests engineered his rise to prominence for political purposes.
– The Old Testament is rife with immoral instructions and examples of depravity.
– The Gospels are largely fabricated. Yeshua, if he ever existed, would have had no intention of starting a new religion. He was probably an unsuccessful Jewish zealot, and not a Christian. He did not imagine he was the Son of God, did not die to save souls from their sins, and he never rose from the dead. The ethics attributed to him are often flawed, and many of them may have originated not from Yeshua, but from the Roman government as anti Jewish propaganda.
– Paul, the architect, or one of the architects, of Christian theology, had almost no connection with Jesus. Paul was probably a Roman government agent. He was a man whose ideas were at odds with Yeshua’s Jewish family and disciples. When Paul’s writings are viewed from a modern perspective, it is clear Paul had an overactive imagination and unhealthy prejudices.
– Most of the men who promoted the New Testament and their own Catholic Church were dishonest empire-builders who lied to fool the intellectually feeble and bolster their own status. They ignored or did not bother to find out about Yeshua’s real descendants and followers. They preferred to promote stories about their own puppet Jesus, a pro-Roman, often anti Jewish Christ who was a caricature of the pagan god Mithras and many others.
There is more to be said.
Backward Thinking and Divisiveness
“But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”
(Reg, leader of the People’s Front of Judea, from the film “Life of Brian”
Six hundred years before Jesus, Jewish priests badgered their own people into a fanatical reverence for Scripture. As a consequence, most Jews looked backward by trying to rigidly conform to the last jot and tittle of the Torah, instead of being open – minded and flexible. The Jews became obsessed with ingratiating themselves with their imaginary God, and thereby excluded themselves from having cordial relations with Gentiles.
Most other people from conquered nations came to realize that while they may have had no great love of Rome, it was in their interests to embrace the Empire, because to do so usually bought them peace, law, order, and trade. The Palestinian Jews were different. Most of them refused to learn from foreigners or get on with them because their make-believe God had told them they were so very different and special, so they did not want outside advice or interference. The Jews failed to adapt to what was then a more modern world, and suffered recurrent military defeats at the hands of Gentiles as a result.
Jews’ obsessive reliance on Scripture meant they were subject to primitive laws and ethics. They frequently fought with and argued amongst themselves, often because “God’s” rules were so open to interpretation. Jewish religious leaders, not democratically elected, who claimed to know how to interpret Scripture, used God as their sock puppet, so asserted an elevated status, ruled over the rabble, and taxed their incomes.
Mark Twain had good reason to state
“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.”
At the beginning of the Christian era, an eclectic mix of Jews and Gentiles wrote more stories about God with the explicit, but not admitted, aim of asserting authority over people in the empire. These people may have been Roman government employees. They invented a new God/man, Jesus Christ, whose story may have been loosely based on a real life Jewish political insurgent. Some of these writings eventually became the core of the NewTestament. The new religion instilled similar convictions to the Jews in their own converts, such as an injunction to obey priests, a reluctance to embrace new ideas, and an intolerance of all non-believers.
Council of Nicea
Ever since the dawn of Christianity, Christians have been squabbling with each other and outsiders, just as the ancient Jews always did, and the baloney in the Bible is partly to blame.
600 hundred years later the first Islamists, too, learned a lesson from the Levites. They wrote their own version of scripture, the Koran, and it too is also still being used today to control and profit from people.
As a consequence of greedy men taking advantage of their fellows, a large part of the human family is still suffering from belief in holy books. Jews, Christians and Muslims are still fighting each other.
A Confusing Book
The Bible is full of ambiguities. Nearly every verse is a product of people trying to reinterpret a tradition, upstage a rival story, assimilate an old myth, or create a new one, so different authors had different ideas about God and his relationship with humankind.
In the Old Testament, “Yahweh” was judgmental, sexist, punitive, and an anti – Gentile racist. Yahweh told the Jews they were really special and that he had a never- ending covenant with them. In the New Testament Paul wrote that God’s favorites, the Jews, were now the enemies of the entire human race. Paul claimed a new covenant cancelled the old; that the Torah was redundant. But Jesus and James taught that the Torah must be obeyed. Paul proposed that people would win God’s favor through faith, but James jotted that faith was futile without good works. Is God a pro-Jewish dictator who will reward your good works, or an anti-Jewish oddball who wants your faith? That depends on which part of the Bible you read and your preacher’s prejudices.
Paul’s instructions were inconsistent and confusing, and his Christ figure, supposedly the same Jesus of the Gospels, probably was not. Paul, the most important creator of Christianity, would not share his Christ’s wisdom with the world, because his Christ was a ghost who did not get philosophical, whereas the rabbi Jesus of the Gospels was full of wise anecdotes and parables.
The New Testament authors could not come to a consensus about Jesus. In Matthew, Jesus was the Jewish Messiah who told his disciples to preach only to Jews, yet in John Jesus scorned his fellow Jews. Jesus taught people to forgive seventy times seven times, but condemned his own enemies to hell. Jesus said,
“…blessed are the peacemakers,” and then said that he did not come to bring peace to the world but a sword. Jesus put Peter in charge and gave him the keys to the kingdom of heaven, then said no one was to be boss. Jesus’ own brother did not document that Jesus rose from the dead, and Mark, one of Jesus’ first biographers, also neglected to mention whom the famous ghost appeared to.
God, Christ and Jesus had mismatched personalities, yet were said to be one, had odd allegiances, as they loved or loathed the Jews, and irreconcilable rules, as they followed or forsook the Law. Each character frequently contradicted himself. No wonder Christians are often confused!
The Bible is a quagmire of muddled ideas! It had too many contributors to be consistent. Anyone can quote some bit of the Bible to back up almost any belief. The philosopher Daniel Dennet claims that when we try to comprehend Christianity we are confronted with
“…a thicket in a swamp in a fog.”
Strangely enough, if “God’s” rules were more reliable, the Bible probably would not be so popular. The contradictions can be used to excuse lame brained, antiquated ideas.
Some people unfairly blame themselves for not understanding the Bible, or waste countless hours trying to rationalize half-baked interpretations put forward by imaginative preachers. They might better spend their time trusting their own reasoning instead.
The existence of so many versions of the Bible, which contain many different interpretations and interpolations, undermines the alleged “truths” the original authors tried to tell. Some Biblical translators are deliberately dishonest, for example,
“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered…” (Deut. 22:28, New International Version.) Compare this to
“Suppose a woman isn’t engaged to be married, and a man talks her into sleeping with him. If they are caught…” (Deut. 22:28, Contemporary English Version.) There is a world of difference between rape and consensual sex.
Christians Cherry-Pick the Bible
There are truths to be discovered in most books. I am sure that there are parts of this website that readers will agree are accurate. Some readers might disagree with other parts, yet in the process have clarified their own ideas and thereby learned something useful.
The New Testament is a different proposition, because Christians confidently claim it is not a book of men’s opinions but the unerring word of God, soChristians cannot justify ignoring parts of it, (which is what they all do.) If people can cherry pick and obey only some of God’s instructions, yet ignore others, then they effectively make all of God’s rules redundant.
Isn’t the Truth Important?
“The truth, however unwelcome, is not injurious; it is error which raises false hopes, which destroys, degrades and pollutes, and which, sooner or later, must be abandoned.”
(Mangasar Magurditch Mangasarian)
Good philosophy is best determined by considering the truth, which is the accurate depiction of reality – what has happened, and what is happening now. Truth is not the depiction of something that never was or is not real. Biblical authors knew they were lying when they invented stories about gods and miracles. A book based on deliberate lies should not be believed or revered. No religion is more important than truth.
“God” did not write the Bible, nor did bona-fide historians, nor did sincere people who cared about their readers. The Bible was penned by power hungry priests and other propagandists – men who were spin-doctors bolstering their own authority.
The Bible is awash with false history, unbelievable magic, deplorable or second-rate ethics, narcissism and general weirdness, yet it is written as though it is telling the truth. The Bible may have impressed uneducated people prior to the Renaissance, yet it does not cut the mustard as believable or admirable today.
The Bible is a product of the petty politics of power-hungry people. It is little more than a mountain of untrue, immoral, superstitious nonsense.