This image has been floating around the interwebs lately:
While, I really want to appreciate the sentiment — Jesus is a really nice guy — I’m plagued by the OTHER things Jesus is quoted as saying in the very same book from which his peaceful, loving statements come.
A few examples:
Matthew 10:34 — “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
John 15:6 — “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
Luke 12:47 – “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.”
Mark 14:3-7 — “3While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly. 6‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ’Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.’”
BUT wait a minute…
Luke 12:33 — “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”
Even plants and animals aren’t safe from the “lamb of God”:
Matthew 8:32 — “He said to them, ’Go!’ So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.”
Mark 11:13-14 — “Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, ’May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say it.”
Theists often accuse non-believers of “cherry-picking.” I’ve even been told, “It’s easy for you to see the Bible as evil when you don’t read the whole thing.” But, in my experience, atheists/agnostics tend to know more about religion. The Pew Research Survey of Religious Knowledge confirms that nonbelievers hold the top spot in this regard.
I have read and continue to read the good and the bad in the Bible. I cannot and will not follow anyone, grandiose claims of supernatural abilities or not, who advocates inequality, violence, and vile behavior even if he says he loves me. This is the cycle of an abusive relationship.
Regarding the funny image above, it’s a nice sentiment, but still a false one. Par for the course for a picture of Jesus.