There’s no chapter on Jesus in most philosophy textbooks, and the reasons are obvious.
A philosopher has credentials, but the character portrayed as Jesus 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. So Jesus wasn’t qualified to be a philosophy teacher, and it shows.
He was a deluded dreamer who made wild promises that didn’t come true, such as when he promised the kingdom of God was soon to be established on earth, which never happened. 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.
Commendable philosophers are seekers of truth and 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 (aphorisms) 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 others’ opinions. 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 They’re aware that one day their ideas may appear outdated.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 of Jesus’ teachings were second hand; they’s already been made by Jewish rabbis such as Hillel, or by Buddha or Confucius.
He was often intolerant and xenophobic, as when he badmouthed Pharisees or Gentiles.He patronised people by promising heaven, and threatened them with hell; sure signs of weak arguments, because he never had to deliver the reward or the punishment. He praised poverty, thought depression (being “poor in spirit”) was a virtue, and praised faith (the belief in something for which there’s no evidence.) He was ignorant about mental illness, as he thought epileptics or the psychotic were possessed by evil spirits. If he was God, he should’ve known better.
He undermined the family unit, the building block of a stable society.
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, KJV.) He was often inconsistent, as when he was
discussing his relationship with God the Father. He was also very patronising, as he showed no interest in other people’s opinions, and referred to his followers as sheep. He failed to have his own teachings accurately documented for posterity.
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.
Many people argue that everything he said was perfect because he was god. This is just blind, unreasoned faith, and it can’t rescue Jesus from a thinking, critical public. (http://www.richardcarrier.info/McFallRebuttal1.html).
Some claim it was the fact Jesus became a man that’s what matters; that his primary purpose was to save the world from sin. Saint Paul invented this irrational and profoundly immoral idea, but he’d never heard Jesus’ teachings, a fact that’s obvious on reading his writings. The gospels hadn’t been written, so he hadn’t read them. This is why Paul, the true founder of Christian theology, didn’t consider Christ a philosopher, yet wrote volumes propounding his own philosophy.
Many people disagree with me. Some of them even claim the gospels provide a universal moral code for mankind. They have an unjustified devotion for their leather bound tomes, as they haven’t read Jesus’ supposed words objectively. I think they too easily accept any of the thousands of books and articles that try to explain, harmonize or “contextualize” 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, yet I think it’s intellectually dishonest.
The Emotions of an Omniscient God
Can anyone imagine an omniscient God agreeing with Jesus’ flawed, facile dogmas? 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’d be bigger than that.
If, hypothetically, Jesus is an omniscient god, he wouldn’t be offended by my honest assessment of his teachings. He’d be indifferent to my opinions, and he knows I’m only using the critical faculties he gave me. I suggest those who imagine Jesus is god shouldn’t be offended either.