Yesterday I spoke about the problem with what Jesus didn’t say. Today, I will talk about the problems with what he did say. While Jesus is generally thought of as being kind, considerate and forgiving, there is another side to him that is rarely mentioned. Contrary to popular perception Jesus is a warmonger, racist, a proponent of thought crime, a defender of the Old Testament, a believer in devils, someone who made failed prophecies and a man who threw hissy fits when he didn’t get his way.
Jesus is view as the Prince of Peace, as an inspirational pacifist. However, Jesus himself seems to have disagreed with this view. He declared
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:34-37)
Jesus the war maker? This seems to completely contradict the traditional view of Jesus as something close to a hippie. Instead he seems to be someone who invites and desires hatred. I mean he’s telling people that they must hate their families. Why? Who does that? Isn’t religion supposed to be about family values? Just in case you think this is a one off quote (unlikely in the supposedly perfect and divinely written Bible) Luke 14:26 and Luke 12:51-3 also have similar passages quoting Jesus telling his followers they must hate their families. I’m sorry but that’s a pretty jerkish thing to do. This sounds less like a peaceful and kind Jesus, and more like an arrogant, egomaniac warmongering thug.
Jesus said that lusting after a woman was the same as committing adultery. “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) Not only is this daft, (there is obviously a huge difference between thinking something and actually doing it) but it is also an attempt to penalise thought crime. Not only are your actions controlled by religion but so are your thoughts. This is horrendous. The most important freedom we have is freedom of thought, yet Jesus himself his attempting to punish this. I bet you never thought Jesus spoke like an Orwellian character from 1984?
Whenever I criticise the Old Testament for justifying genocide, sexism, homophobia, racism etc, I am told, well that doesn’t count, Jesus replaced the old laws. However, he made it clear that his job was not to replace the old law but to work with them. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17) He rarely criticised the Old Testament and in fact agreed with some of the old barbaric stories such as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the mass extermination of Noah’s Flood (Matthew 10:14-5) (Luke 17:26-32) .
Jesus was also bit of a racist. In Matthew 15:22-8 a woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter, but Jesus refuses to even speak with her as she is a Canaanite declaring he has only been sent to help the Israelis. She continued to beg him and he compared her to a dog. Only after she continued to grovel and called herself a dog looking for scraps, then he helped her. This is disgusting bigotry from the last place you would have expected it.
When I used to go to Mass I would be bored out of my mind by the sermons that were so meaningless and useless in the real world, that I would forget them almost instantly. However, there is one I remember for its mixture of the bizarre and the barbaric. It is Matthew 18:8-9 (also told in Matthew 5:30 and Mark 9:43-48),
“If thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”
What the Hell does that mean? Are we supposed to self-mutilate? Even if it is a metaphor, what sort of metaphor involves chopping off our limbs? Perhaps it means we should cut off our unholy actions and habits, but it could also mean we should cut off our unholy friends and colleagues. This language is disturbingly similar to that used to justify a purge. Tyrants have often claimed its better to kill a couple thousand people rather than see the whole country suffer. This language has been used to defend genocide, so it is disturbing to hear it from Jesus’ mouth.
Jesus also made terrible prophecies about his return. He openly stated that his second coming would occur during the lifetime of his listeners. “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27) This failed prophecy is quietly brushed over when discussing Jesus and it’s only the fundamentalist Christians who are still waiting for the Second Coming, the other churches know it’s not going to happen.
He is known for his quotes to help the poor, but these are contradicted by his quotes that said that God will make the rich richer and the poor poorer. “For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.” (Mark 4:25, Matthew 13:12, Matthew 25:29)
Jesus believed that illness was caused by devils trapped inside people (for the Son of God he was a bit of an idiot). This nonsense set the medical world back centuries and for the next 1500 doctors treat patients in the daft belief that they were not ill but rather possessed by devils. As a result countless people unnecessarily suffered. Good job Jesus.
Jesus said a lot of silly stuff about prayer. He claimed that “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20 Now this is obviously silly drivel. Even the most religious person can’t move a mountain and in fact studies show prayer is completely useless. Some claim prayer has saved lives, but these miracles always seem to happen in the presence of well trained doctors and quality healthcare.
He made a lot of outlandish claims which are obviously untrue (it’s funny how quick Christians are to claim that they are only metaphors) He claimed that “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. “Mark 16:17-18 Need I point out that Christians cannot speak new tongues simply by being Christians? Or handle snakes? Or heal magically people?
Jesus was prone to throw hissy fits and temper tantrums. One day (according to Matthew 21:19 and Mark 11:13-4) he saw a fig tree and decided to take some figs. However, it wasn’t the right time of the year so there were no figs on the tree. So Jesus threw a temper tantrum like a little child. He cursed the tree and made it barren so that no figs would ever grow there again. Real mature Jesus.
A town rejected Jesus and instead of winning them over with love, compassion and a few miracles, Jesus loses his temper and curses them to be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 11:21-4, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:10-5). So if he doesn’t get his way he exterminates entire cities including innocent men, women and children. Remind me why do we think this guy is so great?
Jesus has an enormous influence on many people’s lives. Even non-religious people generally think he was a pretty great guy. In fact he wasn’t. He was just as narrow minded and ignorant as the Church is (they obviously got it from somewhere). He was not the great teacher and peaceful man he is often made out to be. Instead he told silly stories and preached dangerous nonsense that didn’t help us and probably made us worse off.