Jesus is one of the most influential figures of all time. Even those who aren’t religious presume he was a pretty good guy, while the religious devote their lives to him. However, I started thinking about it and I realised Jesus wasn’t that great. In fact, I could fill three posts about why he wasn’t great. Firstly, there is a lot he didn’t say, secondly he said some terrible things, and thirdly his main points and rules for life would never work. This has been called “Christianity’s God awfully awkward, nightmarish question”, namely why did Jesus not say anything useful?
Imagine you’re sending the Son of God down to Earth, you would think that he would have some deep and important life message. Perhaps he would bring knowledge of how to cure diseases. Instead of dying painfully after a short life, people could live long and healthy lives. Life back then was nasty, brutish and short, but surely the Son Of God could have fixed that? Some of my friends study history and they have concluded that up until the 20th century, life was miserable; everyone was poor and there was great suffering. If Jesus was so great why didn’t he do anything about that? What if he jumped civilisation two centuries forward to modern times, where (in Western Europe at least) war is rare, life is easy and we all have enough to get by? Why leave continue the suffering for centuries more? What is basic knowledge now would have trebled the life expectancy back then. Why didn’t Jesus mention some basic rules of hygiene so millions of people could have been healed instead of the handful he personally met? What if he created a modern and enlightened church, instead of a backward and ignorant hierarchy that preached that pray was better than medicine and that demons caused illness?
Or what about futuristic technology that would vastly improve the lives of millions of people. Imagine if Jesus thought people about electricity? Israel would be the most advanced and prosperous nation, a fitting reward for the chosen people and clear proof that God was on their side. Imagine if while the other tribes of the region were sitting in primitive huts with swords, the Israelites were driving tanks and building nuclear reactors? What if he taught the secrets of space travel so we could explore the stars instead of the silly story of then two servants? Think of how much time and effort it would have saved if he told us about evolution instead of leaving people to believe the nonsense in Genesis was true. Think of all the scientific knowledge the Son of God could have taught humanity. He could have made Israel the centre of arts, culture, science and civilisation. But no. Instead of sharing great revelations that could advance humans by generations and cut out an enormous amount of human suffering, Jesus gave us nothing that is scientifically useful.
Jesus being both the Son of God and God (that’s a mystery for another time) apparently has the power of omnipotence, that is the ability to see everything that will ever happen (a silly idea if there ever was one). This means that Jesus knew everything that would come after him. He knew that Christianity would split into factions and fight vicious wars that would kill millions and create enormous hate and division in the world. He knew this would happen, but apparently didn’t think it was worthwhile to prevent it. He knew slavery (one of the greatest evils known to man) would persist for centuries but decided not to forbid it. Imagine if Jesus said something as simple as “Judge someone not on the colour of their skin, but on the content of their character.” Think of how much better the world would be if Jesus had condemned racism. Or if he thought that men and women are equal? Think of all the suffering that would avoid. But apparently, simplistic parables were more important.
Have you ever wondered why there is no Gospel of Jesus? Surely if Jesus was sent to Earth to teach humans a new testament he would write it down? He would have to be an idiot to think that it would be best to leave it to unknown people decades after his death to record his sayings. Obviously parts of the story will be lost or changed in the retelling; it’s obvious that it’s best to hear it from the original source. Why didn’t he give clear rules and guidelines instead of vague parables? In fact, for someone who supposedly planned to set up the world’s largest religion, he did next to no actual planning. There is only one or two vague quotes from the Bible that imply Jesus even wanted to set up a new religion. He gave no advice on how this religion should be run or rules about it and as a result there are roughly 41,000 branches of Christianity. He should have seen that coming.
I think it’s strange that Jesus didn’t particularly act like the son of God. Instead he resembled an ordinary guy. Nothing particularly happened in the first 30 years of his life, it was normal and uneventful (why did the Son of God have to be born couldn’t he just descend from Heaven? It would be faster and more impressive than being born like a mere mortal). He then spent his time in tiny villages, performing petty magic tricks (convincing drunk people that a glass of water is wine isn’t an achievement) and praying (what was the point of praying, didn’t he already know he was the Son of God?) He didn’t visit the great centres of civilisation where most the world’s population lived and could have properly recorded his words and deeds. In fact the saviour of the world mainly stayed in a tiny and insignificant province. Are you telling me that is what the Son of God would do?
He told parables that had little meaning and have been mostly forgotten now. He did not declare any great scientific, cultural, social or medical principles or advance humanity at all. He did not condemn the great evils that have plagued humanity like slavery, racism, sexism, famine, poverty etc. Nothing that has been claimed about him hasn’t also been claimed about pretty much every other deity. He didn’t settle the question of what was the one religion, instead left us to fight countless wars over it. He was a simple man who told little stories, had some friends and toured the neighbouring villages. That was all. It wasn’t great, he wasn’t the Son of God, and he didn’t have magical powers.