There are no chapters on Jesus in most philosophy textbooks.
A philosopher has credentials and Yeshua didn’t. He was uneducated and illiterate. Galilean peasant society was insular and primitive, even by the standards of the times. He might’ve been clever and charismatic, yet he knew nothing of the philosophy and science of the Greek and Roman world. Non-Jewish law, ethics, history, art and literature were a mystery to him. Such an uninformed person wasn’t qualified to be a world-class teacher of philosophy.
Jesus was a deluded dreamer who made wild promises that didn’t come true. He was judgmental, intolerant, inconsistent, egocentric and ethnocentric. He failed to give consistent or comprehensive solutions to life’s conundrums. Most of his teachings lack the detail to make them meaningful. Dogma without reasoning and explanation doesn’t cut the mustard as philosophy.
Truly inspiring words in great books, poetry, or speeches have a timeless coherency and consistency to them. Jesus’ teachings don’t. If they were sent to a publisher who’d never read the Bible, they’d garner a pink slip. He’d assume Jesus was a dunce.
Commendable philosophers are seekers of truth and admirers of wisdom who propose answers to the mysteries of life and the universe after a reasoned analysis. They see through gloss to discover substance. They occasionally come up with profound one-liners such as “E=mc squared” or “I think, therefore I am,” but these are the products of elaborate reasoning. Jesus’ numerous one-liners only proposed unsatisfactory simplistic solutions to complex problems.
Good philosophers have open minds and are genuinely interested in the opinions of others. They don’t assume or pretend they alone have all the answers. They care enough about their audience to document their ideas with precision and detail. They’re aware that one day their ideas may appear outdated. Much of what Jesus said was a dictatorial diatribe that failed to do any of this.
Many Christians argue that everything he said was perfect because he was god. Yet in the 21st century blind faith can’t rescue Jesus from a thinking, critical public. Some Christians claim it was the fact he became a man that’s what matters; that Jesus’ primary purpose was to save the world from its sins. Paul invented these ideas, and he ignored Jesus’ teachings. Christians might wonder why the founder of their theology didn’t consider Christ a philosopher, yet wrote volumes propounding his own philosophy.
There are, no doubt, millions of Christians who disagree with me. I think they too easily accept any of the thousands of books and articles written by evangelists to explain and harmonize Jesus’ sayings. All this commentary is heavily manufactured; it resorts to artificial and arbitrary interpretations rather than simply taking what are said to be Jesus’ words at face value. There’s no other way to make Jesus sound authoritative and wise.
The Mind of an Omniscient God
Can anyone imagine a hypothetical omniscient God agreeing with Jesus’ flawed, facile dogma? The power and depth of her thinking would be infinite, so she’d hardly be obsessed with the traditions, prejudices, rewards, and punishments of the ancient Jewish and Roman world, because she’ be bigger than that.
If, hypothetically, Jesus is an omniscient god, he’s not offended by my honest assessment of the gospels. He created all of me, so is indifferent to my opinions, and knows I’m using the critical faculties he gave me. I suggest those who imagine he’s god shouldn’t be offended either.