Editor’s Note: Wow! Those former fundamentalist preachers sure can let loose when it comes to rejecting the Heavenly King they once worshipped. This is reposted with permission and with minor editing and condensing.
By Bruce Gerencser
I don’t hate the flesh and blood Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Palestine, nor do I hate the Jesus found in the pages of the Bible. These Jesuses are relics of the past. I’ll leave it to historians to argue and debate whether these Jesuses were real or fiction. Over the centuries, Christians have created many Jesuses in their own image. This is the essence of Christianity, an ever-evolving religion bearing little resemblance to what it was even a century ago.
The Jesus I hate is the modern, Western Jesus, the American Jesus, the Jesus who has been a part of my life for almost fifty-eight years. The Jesuses of bygone eras have no power to harm me, but the modern Jesus – the Jesus of the 300,000 Christian churches that populate every community in America – he has the power to affect my life, hurt my family and destroy my country. And I hate him with a vengeance.
Over the years, I have had a number of people write me about how the modern Jesus was ruining their marriage. In many instances, the married couple started out as believers, and somewhere along way, one of them stops believing. The still-believing spouse can’t or won’t understand why the other spouse no longer believes. They make it clear that Jesus is still very important to them and if forced to choose between their spouse and family, they would choose Jesus. Simply put, they love Jesus more than they love their families.
Sadly, these types of marriages usually fail. A spouse simply cannot compete with Jesus. He is the perfect lover and BFF. This Jesus hears the prayers of the believing spouse and answers them. This Jesus says, “You must choose me or your spouse.” It is this Jesus I hate.
This Jesus cares nothing for the poor, the hungry or the sick, has no interest in poor immigrants or unwed mothers. He cares more for Tim Tebow than he does a starving girl in Ethiopia and more about who wins a Grammy than he does about people in poverty-stricken Africa having food and clean water. It is this Jesus I hate.
This Jesus is on the side of the culture warriors. This Jesus hates homosexuals and demands they be treated as second-class citizens. This Jesus, no matter the circumstance, demands that a woman carry her fetus to term. It it the child of a rapist, afflicted with a serious birth defect, the product of incest or a one-night stand? It matters not. This Jesus is pro-life. Yet, this same Jesus supports the incarceration of poor young men of color, often for no other crime than trying to survive. It is this Jesus I hate.
This Jesus’s earthly representatives often drive fancy cars, have palaces and cathedrals and followers who spare no expense to make his house the best mansion in town. This Jesus loves Rolexes, Lear jets and expensive suits. This Jesus sees the multitude and turns his back on them, only concerned with those who say and believe “the right things.” It is this Jesus I hate.He owns condominiums constructed just for those who believe in him. When they die, he gives them the keys. But, for the rest of humanity this Jesus says, “No keys for you. I have a special Hitler-like plan for you. To the ovens you go, only unlike Jews in the Second World War, who were incinerated, I plan to give you a special body that allows me to torture you with fire and brimstone forever.”
It is this Jesus who looks at Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Universalists, Secularists, Humanists and Skeptics and says to them,
“Before you were born I made sure you could never be in the group that gets the condominiums when they die, and it is your fault, sinner man.”
It is this Jesus who lets billions of people be born into cultures that worship other Gods and then says it is their fault they’re born at the wrong place and at the wrong time. This Jesus says,
“Too bad. Burn forever in the Lake of Fire.”
He divides families, friends, communities and nations. He is all about money, power and control. He subjugates women and ignores the cry of orphans. Everywhere one looks, this Jesus hurts, afflicts and kills those we love. It is this Jesus I hate.
What I can’t understand is why anyone loves this Jesus? Like a clown on a parade route, he throws a few candies towards those who worship him, promising them that a huge pile of candy awaits them when they die. He lets his followers hunger, thirst, and die, yet he tells them it is for their good, that he loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. This Jesus is all talk, promising the moon and delivering a piece of gravel. Why can’t his followers see this?
He tells his followers:
“Fear me. I have the keys to life and death. I have the power to make you happy and I have the power to destroy your life. I have the power to take your children, health and livelihood. I can do these things because I am the biggest, baddest Jesus ever. Fear me and oppress women, immigrants, orphans, homosexuals and atheists. Refuse my demand and I will rain my judgment down upon your head. But, know that I love you and only want is best for you and yours.”
It is this Jesus I hate.
Perhaps there is a Jesus somewhere that I could respect, a Jesus who might merit my devotion. For now, all I see is a Jesus who is worthy of derision, mockery and hate. Yes, hate. When the Jesus who genuinely loves humanity and cares for the least of these shows up, let me know. In the meantime, I hate Jesus.
Bio: Bruce Gerencser lives in rural NW Ohio with his wife of 37 years. He and his wife have 6 grown children and 10 grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for 25 years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. He left the ministry in 2005 and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. He is also one of the original members of The Clergy Project, which began in 2011.
>>photo credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27127270