Why I Hate Jesus

Why I Hate Jesus April 11, 2019

Editor’s Note: If you didn’t already know this Clergy Project member’s feelings about Jesus, you will by the end of the post! It’s not a simple matter of rejecting the supernatural.  This former evangelical preacher and many others come to hate everything about the modern version of the hero of the New Testament. The Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” of my childhood is definitely not the guy depicted below! /Linda LaScola, Editor.

======================

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 Jesus’s are relics of the past. I’ll leave it to historians to argue and debate whether these Jesus’s were real or fiction.

Over the centuries, Christians have created many Jesus’s 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 Jesus’s 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, with a vengeance, hate him.

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 in life as believers, and somewhere along the road of life one of them stopped 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 husband or a wife simply cannot compete with Jesus. He is the perfect lover and perfect friend, one who is always there for the believing spouse. This Jesus hears the prayers of the believing spouse and answers them. This Jesus is the BFF of the believing spouse. This Jesus says to the believer,

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. This Jesus has no interest in poor immigrants or unwed mothers. This Jesus cares for Tim Tebow more than he does a starving girl in Ethiopia. He cares more about who wins a Grammy or ACM Award than he does 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. 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. This Jesus is so pro-life he encourages American presidents and politicians to slaughter innocent men, women, and children. This Jesus demands certain criminals be put to death by the state, even though the state has legally murdered innocent people. It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus drives fancy cars, has 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.

This Jesus owns condominiums constructed just for those who believe in him. When they die, he gives them the keys. But, for the rest of humanity, billions of people, this Jesus says,

No keys for you. I have a special Hitler-like plan for you. To the ovens you go, only unlike the Jews, I plan to give you a special body that allows me to torture you with fire and brimstone forever. 

It is this Jesus I hate.

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 dieand it is your fault, sinner man.

It is this Jesus who made sure billions of people were born into cultures that worshiped other Gods. It is this Jesus who then says it is their fault they were born at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Too bad, this Jesus says, Burn forever in the Lake of Fire.

It is this Jesus I hate.

This Jesus divides families, friends, communities, and nations. This Jesus is the means to an end. This Jesus is all about money, power and control. This Jesus subjugates women, tells widows it’s their fault, 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?

Fear me, he tells his followers. 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. It is this Jesus I 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 Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have 6 grown children and 12 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. He blogs at The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser, where the above post originally appears.  It is reposted with permission.

>>>>>Photo Credits:  By See individual images, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27127270; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christ_The_Consolator.jpg#/media/File:Christ_The_Consolator.jpgby Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890) ; By Edal Anton Lefterov – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17779832;

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  • Tawreos

    Are there any people that like the Jesus you describe that aren’t looking for a way to feel superior to or hate others?

    • Mike Panic

      Never seen one. I seriously doubt any exist.

      • Linda_LaScola

        Working right now with Disqus to delete your original comment. Do me a favor and delete it yourself

        • Mike Panic

          TRUTH really bothers you. Thank you for telling me I hit the target. You xtians are the most arrogant a holes in the world.

          • Mark Rutledge

            what makes you think you don’t limp?

          • Mike Panic

            WTF?

    • Mark Rutledge

      I named four. Including William Barber and Martin Luther King. Who work for love and justice in the real world. There are many others, who also work in small, daily ways.

  • Mike Panic

    Hey jesus. Eat shlt and die alreaedy.

    Signed,
    A FORMER AND RECOVERED cathlic

  • Brian Curtis

    Well stated, and fully justified. It boils down to saying that you hate evil… and the modern American Jesus you’ve described certainly qualifies.

    • jаmеs bluе

      Stupid old pssy fggot

      • Brian Curtis

        Haha! More desperation stalking from the coward! More, give me more!

  • Mark Rutledge

    Bruce, I share your disdain for these false images of Jesus that many
    Fundamentalists and conservative Evangelicals have created in their own
    image–images that lead to tragic injustices. But I admire the
    historical Jesus that folks like Martin Luther
    King, William Barber, Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day, Jim Wallace and many
    others have sought to follow in their work for social justice and
    compassion for others. I think this is an important distinction to
    make.

    • Mark,

      Who/what is the historical Jesus? Isn’t who/what Jesus is/isn’t determined by personal theological, cultural, and political beliefs? You like a Jesus who is rooted in a certain place and time. I’m fine with that, and there’s much to admire about your Jesus. Big Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Wendell Berry fan — much to the irritation of some of my fellow atheists.

      • Mark Rutledge

        Bruce, I mean the Jesus who has been the subject of HISTORICAL research since 1985 by the Jesus Seminar and others. This is a historical question apart from all the rorschach stuff laid on Jesus by everybody. You are talking about how other people have imagined Jesus. This is fine we all do it, but untethered from critical historical discipline it comes down to pure imagination. Who Jesus was can only be determined by historical research. We need to start with History 101. Who Jesus is for others is a different matter for social, psychological, and political study. Not only personal theological, cultural, and political beliefs although these shape how we come at the original texts and resources as well.

        Without some basic historical discipline Jesus wanders off into fantasy which becomes the evangelicals’ favorite hunting grounds. I grant you that the historical sources (biblical plus some extra-biblical writings) do not provide the the kinds of sources we would like to have in re-constructing a “Jesus of history.” If what we wanted in the bible was journalism sorry–what we got was metaphor, story, the lives of those 1st century folk on whom the actual life of Jesus made some impact. Nothing like journalism or biography. More like aesop’s fables a little bit. Are Aesop’s fables “true?” Is a parable “true?” Is a poem true? So unless someone’s image of Jesus pays much more attention to actual history than I’ve seen on this site, I don’t take it too seriously. You must struggle with history acknowledging the sources are not what we would wish for. Get in a time machine–what was life like in small farms in 1st century Galilee under Roman imperial domination and oppression? How Jesus has been abused over the centuries does not mean there was not an actual 1st century Jewish poor Galilean peasant behind the parables, actions of love and justice, stories, and resistance to Roman social injustice. My teacher on this has been John Dominic Crossan, the premier historian of the real 1st century person. He has done the best historical reconstruction I’ve seen. And there are others. And when it comes to Jesus, if you cannot believe in a historical reconstruction you may not have anything left to believe in that relates to that figure of the past. And you don’t need Jesus at all to be a good person. But if one if going to talk about Jesus they should at least have the honesty to place him in his historical and literary context. The historical Jesus is dead as you say. But I believe what he really said and did have value today. But one has to spend a lot of time doing historical criticism of the biblical texts to show it. Most, on all sides of this issue, liberal or conservative, I have observed, are unwilling to undertake this arduous and time costly discipline.

        • Bruce Gerencser

          I certainly believe there was a historical Jesus who lived and died in First Century Palestine.

          You seem to imply that if someone really, really, really studies the Biblical text that they find your Jesus. That the only reason people don’t is because they are lazy and haven’t done their homework. And then you name drop, cutting off any objections. JDC hath spoken, end of discussion. (And yes, I read several of his books back in the day.) Of course, I have been accused of using Bart Ehrman similarly.

          • Brian Curtis

            More than anything, this type of exchange illustrates the common fallacy of “The REAL Jesus is the one I personally decided on from my reading of the Bible, and everybody else would too if they weren’t so ignorant.” The problem with such an argument is that it can–and has–been used to justify any interpretation of the Bible AND its opposite.
            .
            And for skeptics, that raises another obvious question: why is it even possible to misunderstand a divine message?

          • If the Bible is viewed as a mixture of history, wisdom, and bat-shit crazy stuff, it becomes easier to digest —picking and choosing without consequences. If, however, it is a divine text written by God —inerrant and infallible— then that raises all sorts of issues, including the one you mention in your comment. If the Bible is inerrant and the Holy Spirit lives inside believers — as Evangelicals allege — it stands to reason that believers should all believe the same things; that there should not be internecine wars fought over virtually every point of Christian doctrine and practice. If, 2,000 years removed from the death of Jesus, Christians all believed and practiced the same things, that would give me pause. That they don’t tells me non-divine influences determine what people believe. Christians can’t even agree on the basics: salvation, baptism, communion. Let the sectarian wars begin.

          • Mark Rutledge

            The scholars of the Jesus seminar simply make public their methods, tentative reconstructions, reasoning, criteria and invite anyone to join the discussion. There is no real Jesus, only reconstructions. Some scholars are more honest than others about how they arrive at their reconstructions. But at least they do it publicly and collegiately. And invite others into the process.

          • Mark Rutledge

            Always good to see you here too! This problem is why i don’t want to give too much energy in trying to talk about the “real” historical Jesus. I said all we can ever have are reconstructions. I am not really interested is trying to argue my reconstruction is better than someone else’s. I have been interested in teaching the Jesus Seminar’s work as an educational ministry to open up people’s minds–people for whom Jesus may still be important. And also to argue that history is important. And that some portraits of Jesus are really screwed up–mainly construed by those that I imagine that you and I both reject. And that some portraits have positive value. But really these days I don’t spend a lot of time on this, preferring good action and good relationships to abstraction. I tried to be modest in bringing up JDC–I used the word “preference” not to cut off discussion but to acknowledge my own biases. In teaching I try to provide different resources assuming people who are interested will make up their own minds. A question: what do you think today of JDC? Have you see his more recent work in a variety of areas: blogs, short articles, talks?

          • I’ve not read any of his recent work, but I certainly think his books should be widely read by pastors. I push Ehrman’s books because they are accessible, even to Christians who don’t have formal theological educations. If I can get an Evangelical to honestly and openly read a few of his books, I know that will likely put an end to his/her Fundamentalist beliefs. It may not be enough to bring the whole house down, but Ehrman’s books should strangle the life out off the doctrine of inerrancy. Once a zealot dares to ponder that he/she might be wrong, everything changes. A man filled with certainty and armed with an inerrant religious text he believes was given to him by God is a dangerous man; a man capable of causing great harm. I was one such man. I don’t have enough lifetimes to repent of the psychological damage I caused to people who loved and respected me and called me preacher.

    • ElizabetB.

      When we have “the evil Jesus” and “the good Jesus,” what to do?

      I’ve been interested this last week hearing people talk about Mayor Pete as at last bringing liberal religion into public consciousness to counter the fundamentalistic version that has been dominant in recent years’ politics.
      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/10/us/politics/pete-buttigieg-sexuality-religion.html
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD9gN7e8CQY

      But to me, it surely is a dilemma!!!

      • Mark Rutledge

        Historically, there was only one Jesus. There have been hundreds of rorschach Jesuses created in the minds of other groups and people throughout history.

        • ElizabetB.

          The most shocking contemporary inversion is the billboard Butler Bass tweeted — a picture of the president with the inscriptions “Make the GOSPEL Great Again”; ‘The Word became flesh’ …John 1:14″

      • mason

        A 2004 Pew survey identified that while 70.4% of Americans call themselves “Christian,” Evangelicals only make up 26.3 percent of the population, while Catholics make up 22 percent and mainline Protestants make up 16 percent

  • Ruthitchka

    Modern “American Right-Wing Republican Jesus” sure seems DIFFERENT than the Jesus I learned about as a little girl. Where I live the “new Jesus” is the predominant Jesus. You can imagine that as a mother who openly accepts and loves her gay son, things are mighty cold and prickly for me here in my part of So Cal. I don’t discuss religion or politics OR my gay son with certain people.

    I was married to an abusive, “Christian” man for many years. I haven’t started dating post-divorce yet, but if I did, I wouldn’t mind dating an atheist man as long as he is nice rather than abusive. As for marriage, in addition to being nice, he’d need to pick up after himself.

    I still believe, but in the nicer Jesus I remember from way back when.

    • mason

      Nicer Jesus character Nicer Hitler … both absurd ideas, just based on their words and actions. The Bible Jesus didn’t pick up after himself, was rude to his mother, made a mess in the Temple, spit in the dirt and made mud for a miracle hoax, … but it’s all a fairy tale anyway. 🙂 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/65f2091bad5b7f940e00bd2c1afb957a6da26411cfbd0c9a2346b0eb29c6051f.jpg

      • Mark Rutledge

        I think I want to say get over it. You can do better than just this simplistic negativity. What do you stand for in relation to love and justice? These are the values that matter.

    • Mark Rutledge

      Sorry for your experience. It is not easy to re-construct a Jesus of social justice and love; but it is possible. I hope you can find a man who is open to your perspective. They are around. Keep hope alive.

  • William

    Amen.

  • Keulan

    I don’t believe even a historical Jesus existed, but the Jesus you describe seems pretty accurate to what many fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. believe. This post also kind-of reminds of the song American Jesus by Bad Religion.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12kcpP-8jfM

    • Mark Rutledge

      Even Bart Ehrman, arch atheist religious studies scholar, believes that there was a historical Jesus. What he said and did are questions for historians to work on.

      • Yep. I’m a member of his blog. He’s clear on the Jesus issue. I enjoy his blog because he puts historical and textual information in bite-sized pieces. At age 62, I can no longer read 500+ word theological tomes. Back in the day, it was not uncommon for me to read three books at a time. Those days are gone, but I do read as much as I can.

        • Mark Rutledge

          At my more advanced age I am sympatico with you. Your story on this matter is my story too.

          • ElizabetB.

            I keep thinking a lot of us are the internet version of the geezers gathered around the country store cracker barrel : )

        • I meant 500+ page. I can still read 500+ words

          • Mark Rutledge

            that’s maybe more than I can do at this point. I’m reduced to articles and short books–159 pages. but i know the territory.

  • alwayspuzzled

    I realize that “Jesus” as used in this essay is, to some extent, a metaphor for religious bigotry.

    Still, the fictional Jesus has no agency. The people who create and perpetuate the fictional Jesus do have agency. The people who use the fictional Jesus to justify their bigotry do have agency. But the fictional Jesus itself does not have agency.

    Evidently, atheists use the fictional Jesus much like Evangelicals use the fictional Satan and the fictional talking snake.

    For Evangelicals, the fictional Satan and the fictional talking snake are embodiments of evil. This, of course, is delusional. For atheists, the fictional Jesus is the embodiment of evil. This is equally delusional.

    For Evangelicals, the fictional Satan and the fictional talking snake are the psychological object of their fear and hatred – fear and hatred that in some cases is quite paranoid. For atheists, the fictional Jesus is the psychological object of their fear and hatred – fear and hatred that in some cases is quite paranoid.

    • I don’t recognize the atheists you speak of in your comment. You assume from my post things that are not in evidence. It’s beliefs that matter, and that was the focus of this post.

      • Mark Rutledge

        According to my belief system I am, by definition, an atheist. But what good did a belief ever do anybody? It is human action for love and justice that matter. Many (most?) atheists in my experience really do act for love and justice. Others can only be negative in relation to traditional Christian beliefs. I have come to worry less and less about what i intellectually “believe.” I would rather go for orthopraxy over orthodoxy.

        • Bruce Gerencser

          I’m with you, Mark. As a Christian, I believed it was important to have a good testimony. How I lived was more important than what I said I believed. By the time I reached the tail end of my ministerial career, I came to see that all that really mattered was good works. Of course, I was accused of preaching “works” salvation. Guilty.

    • Chuck Johnson

      “Still, the fictional Jesus has no agency.”
      No, ideas have plenty of agency.

      Agency
      2 : the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power

      Humans do (or refrain from doing) all sorts of things when under the influence of ideas.
      This is the power of ideas.
      This is the agency of fictional Jesus that Bruce is talking about.

      • Mark Rutledge

        I agree if it is up to us humans to act for love and justice. God is waiting for us to act. If we do not then God will not.

        • Chuck Johnson

          “I agree if it is up to us humans to act for love and justice.”
          Yes.

          I am an atheist.
          I see that the universe is waiting for us to act.

          To me, the universe does not think.
          Thinking is for us humans to do.

          To you, God thinks.
          To me, God is just a part of the human imagination with no existence of his own.

      • Mark Rutledge

        in addition to i simply rational ideas it also takes real people to incarnate those ideas and ideals in life to have any impact within history and society. How easy is it to separate ideas from real people who incarnate ideas within historical reality?

      • alwayspuzzled

        Don’t ideas have agency in the same sense that a hammer has agency? Just as a hammer in use is an extension of human agency, isn’t an idea being promoted in society also an extension of human agency?

        • Chuck Johnson

          Yes, ideas are certainly tools that humans use.
          They have that kind of agency, not autonomous agency.

        • Mark Rutledge

          it’s all human activity and thought. it’s all we’ve got.

        • Mark Rutledge

          Jesus was not an idea. Our ideas about Jesus certainly have human agency for good and/or ill

    • Mark Rutledge

      In speaking of Jesus is there any first century human beyond the fictional mannequin?

      • Chuck Johnson

        I am guessing that there is a human there.
        But quite distorted by the tellers of tales and the writers of gospels.

      • alwayspuzzled

        That is one of the most fascinating questions about early Christianity. And there is a corollary question. How and why, as the early church evolved, did the historical Jesus evolve into Christ? It is a shame we can only guess at the oral traditions that ultimately became the Gospels. If only Irenaeus had left us his private diary.

        • Mark Rutledge

          there is a lot of historical writing about this..you have to check it out and spend time on it if you’re really interested in this question.and even then there’s what historians can know and what more there is to know beyond that but start with what history can tell us. some people spend years of their life doing this kind of research.

        • Mark Rutledge

          ah–lots of study more to do and books to read about the historical development of early christianity 🙂

  • DoctorDJ
    • mason

      Hitler was a vegetarian and love dogs. The kindly Jesus character is as valid as a kindly Hitler.

      • Mark Rutledge

        Please share what a kindly Jesus would like like in your view. Anything to do with real historical research?

  • mason

    Bruce, You wrote, “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.”

    Whether there was ever a flesh/blood Jesus that the myths and magic tales grew upon, is postulation without any real historic evidence.

    I’m proud to say I’m a hater of the schizo fascist Jesus character found in the pages of the Bible, who is also the same mythological evil God character on the so called OT Bible.

    Here’s just one reason why I find the Bible Jesus despicable: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a son against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. -Jesus character, Matthew 10:34

    I also find it ironic and incredibly hypocritical and dangerous that American citizens who claim to believe in the ideals of American democracy (specifically democratic republic) are longing and hoping for a totalitarian fascist dictator “King” to come rule planet Earth and of course the Universe. This kind of belief is toxic and https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/48b0bc97f35ecf366ab690bc5c0336cdc9d2a1a6aa271c41ab6bebf2f4283853.jpg IMO akin to the belief of the faithful Christian Nazis in Germany WWII.

    Irrational delusional human belief has always well served blind religious or political fascism.

    • Mark Rutledge

      I love Bart, but you need to check out your history 101 for early references to Jesus..
      Josephus (A.D. 37 – c. A.D. 100)
      Josephus’ Antiquities (early 2nd century A.D.)
      refers to Jesus in two separate passages.
      The common translation of the first passage,
      Book 18, Ch. 3,
      part 3, is disputed and is most likely from an altered source. F. F. Bruce has
      provided a more likely translation:

      Now there arose at this time a source of further trouble in one Jesus, a wise man who performed surprising works,
      a teacher of men who gladly welcome strange things. He led away many Jews, and also many of the Gentiles.
      He was the so-called Christ. When Pilate, acting on information supplied by the chief men around us,
      condemned him to the cross, those who had attached themselves to him at first did not cease to cause trouble,
      and the tribe of Christians, which has taken this name from him is not extinct even today.

      • mason

        As Bart points out all those historians and others who would certainly have mentioned the superman with tons of magic tricks, but alas only a likely forged Josephus to refer to. It’s a tale that started and grew true to the adage; “What a web we weave when at first we do deceive.” The Jesus Christian mythology is the most twisted and absurd of all the deceitful woven tales ever spun.

  • Mark Rutledge

    First Century March Madness:
    In a quick game of pick up basketball, Peter denies Jesus three times.

      • Mark Rutledge

        you’re the only one that got the joke so far…

        • I’m a sports addict. Played basketball into my 30s. I photograph a number of local high school games. Keeps me close to the game . . .

        • John Gills

          A slam dunk!

        • ElizabetB.

          I got it [living in ACC land : ) ], but story just seems too sad to smile….

  • Chuck Johnson

    Christians will often use God, Jesus and the Bible as dummies.
    And they are the ventriloquists.
    This is one of the most popular uses of the Jesus character.

    • Mark Rutledge

      Historical scholarship is the only antidote to this. Have you ever tried this? Have you anything to offer beyond negativity?

      • Chuck Johnson

        There are more antidotes than just historical scholarship.
        Understanding that God is a human invention and that Jesus is largely a human invention is the best antidote to using religion as a divine rubber stamp for one’s own opinions.

        • Mark Rutledge

          I don’t disagree with that. Except I also believe it is possible to do some sorting regarding things Jesus said and didn’t say; and did do and didn’t do. How much of our differences are due to disagreements among and between different scholars and historians? And I would say “human construction” rather than invention–there are some historical agreements about what he said and did, even among the uncertainties.

          • Chuck Johnson

            I am a rationalist and I classify all of the miraculous things that Jesus did as being false stories.

            Next, I take every single thing that Jesus says in the Bible as being possibly not really from Jesus. That’s because of the extensive tampering when the Bible was assembled and previous to that.

            So to me, the importance of what Jesus said is mostly the importance of the resulting, tampered Jesus stories. Those are the stories that have influenced Western philosophy and religion.

            And I see “human construction” and human invention as being pretty much the same thing.

      • Chuck Johnson

        “Have you anything to offer beyond negativity?”
        Explaining the politics behind religious authority is not at all a negative thing.
        Being blindly obedient to religious authority is a negative thing.

      • Chuck Johnson

        “Historical scholarship is the only antidote to this. Have you ever tried this?”

        That’s not much help.
        The pronouncements of Jesus in the Bible are diverse and are sometimes contradictory. He even gives advice on the best method to beat your slaves.

        It’s only natural that religionists will be able to use what Jesus said to suit their own political needs.

        • Mark Rutledge

          i mean historical jesus scholarship as that attempted by the 200 professional historians who collaborated for15 year project to take history seriously. the westar institute. check it out–

          • Mark Rutledge

            and even then you have to make your own best judgments based on what you discover.

        • ElizabetB.

          I’m not remembering Jesus on slave-beating?

          • Chuck Johnson

            Luke 12:47-49

            (paraphrased by me)
            A slave who understands his master’s orders but doesn’t comply should get a severe beating.
            A slave who doesn’t understand his master’s orders and thereby fails to comply should get a beating which is less severe.

            In addition to this, Jesus was immersed in a society that was full of masters and slaves, but he didn’t teach that people should give up the habit of owning slaves.

            Jesus didn’t figure out that slavery was wrong until many centuries later when human beings figured it out and then taught it to Jesus.

          • ElizabetB.

            True, some of the stories describe (I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘prescribe’) tough treatment! Mark mentioned Westar, so thought I’d look at their take on this section — “Stories of this sort developed in the Christian movement when it was felt that Jesus had delayed his return. The extended waiting for something that most thought would occur very soon led to exhortations to stand fast, be prepared, and the like. There is little in this passage that resembles anything Jesus is likely to have said.” [The Five Gospels]

            I see Jesus as a human figure, not a god-man. It would be interesting to know what he thought about slavery — did he just accept it, like I accepted segregation as a fact of life when I was growing up in the South? did he dislike it, but the writers did not mention that? One thing I appreciated growing up in the church was the saying that there was much more to be said, but we “could not bear it yet.” That left the door open for abolition, welcoming couples of the same gender, being “the way open to other ways,” working out what it means to value each individual. I agree with you that many do use religion to justify what we want to believe, as Bruce describes this ‘hateful Jesus.’ Thanks for the reference!

          • mason

            Jesus character in the Bible is the same diabolical genocidal ruthless evil character as Jehovah God, “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30

          • ElizabetB.

            Father ran to welcome prodigal home : )

  • Mark Rutledge

    I guess there are as many jesuses as there are people. anything beyond this?

  • Ask Expert

    Nice post!!!

    Varun Blogger at Ask Expert

  • See Noevo

    I get it.
    You hate Jesus.