But let's not forget, Protestants were as good
as anyone else at burning witches, heretics, native 'savages' and
universal defence from Christians of all shades is that it is not Christ that has failed but man
himself. The godman was perfect, pure, his message cut from
whole-cloth 100% sweetness and light.
Before you sign up for the rest of eternity
snuggled up with this supersized prince of perfection spare a moment
to consider what he would be like even as your next door neighbour.
There goes the neighbourhood. Jesus
caroused with a gang of unemployed young men and the
odd prostitute. Some of them had
abandoned wives and children to join his gang and "love one
forsook all, and followed him." – Luke
Walking, Talking Contradiction
If Jesus had
been the creation of a single author his character might have
believable. But as the work of many hands the godman is a mass
of contradictions, most notoriously over his very divinity.
the superhero God? It's something that Christ-followers
have drawn blood over at least since the time of Arius in the
4th century. Even a child could assemble a mass of quotations
both for and against the idea (all the way from "I and
my Father are one" (John 10:30) to "My
God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).
what could we expect from a character pencilled in from sundry
episodes lifted from Jewish scripture
and a collection of aphorisms?
made Jesus so perfect?
of all stripes aver that their hero was "perfect",
whatever that might mean. Did he have perfect sweat or no
sweat at all? One can, by all means, trundle out all the "love" teachings
to be found in the gospels but that is to be highly selective
and would say nothing that had not been said by earlier, human philosophers
extend to every teaching and action and yet if we look
closely at the behaviour and utterances of our superstar we find
no paragon of virtue.
is a sin. Nature has constituted rational beings
for their own mutual
benefit, each to help his fellows according to
their worth, and in no wise to do them hurt."
"When those about you are venting
their censure or malice upon you or raising any
other sort of injurious clamour ... it is still
your duty to think kindly of them; for nature has
made them to be your friends."
No, 'Meditations' of
Roman emperor Marcus
Aurelius (161-180), a
pagan who devoted his life to the defence of Roman
He despised the fanatics of Christ
who delighted in Rome's misfortunes.
The Jesus Christ
of the gospels is a patently artificial construct. This Prince
of Peace also preaches discord and strife:
not that I am come to
send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." – Matthew 10.34.
told his fans to love their
enemies, alarmingly, Jesus also
them to turn families into enemies!
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." – Matthew 10.35,36.
any man come to me, and hate not his father,
and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and
sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." – Luke 14.26.
How far does
Jesus go with this malevolent (and plainly ridiculous) dictum? Matthew provides
the brother shall deliver up the brother to death,
and the father the child: and the children shall rise up
against their parents, and cause them to be put to death." – Matthew
alienated his followers from their families with this murderous
nonsense Jesus advises his adoring groupies on how to deal with
their own body parts that lead them into sin – amputation!
They are to mutilate themselves by cutting off hands and plucking
out eyes. He says it's better to be "maimed" than to
suffer the "everlasting fire" of hell.
if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee
to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go
into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched ...
And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for
thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be
cast into hell ... And if thine eye offend thee,
pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom
of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into
hell fire." – Mark
to the malefic
sage, merely looking at a woman "with lust" was a sin.
3rd century Origen was one young and impressionable Christian
fanatic who took the words of
his Lord a
tad literally and castrated himself. He was neither the first
nor the last Jesus-follower to glory in self-abasement and abuse.
In the hair-shirted centuries
that lay ahead tens of thousands of
their own flesh in accordance with the pathetic dictates of the
In times of
acute social hardship
and plague, despairing believers, taking upon themselves guilt
for general misfortune
and personal tragedy, submitted voluntarily to half-naked frenzies
of public lamentations and floggings. Indeed, punishing
the body for the good of the soul remains a main tenet of the
Christ is the chief honcho of a physically
dangerous, family-threatening, mind-warping cult! Still
want to live next door to the superstar?
Porphyry (232-305) was the nemesis of the Christians.
They 'refuted' him for generations and then settled
for burning his books.
famous saying of the Teacher is this one: 'Unless
you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will
have no life in yourselves.'
saying is not only beastly and absurd; it is
more absurd than absurdity itself and more beastly
than any beast: that a man should savor human
flesh or drink the blood ... and that by so doing
this he should obtain eternal life!
us: in recommending this sort of practice, do
you not reduce human existence to savagery of
a most unimaginable sort?"
– Porphyry Against
the Christians (Hoffmann, p49).
Jesus – Danger to animals and plants
those Gadarene swine really deserve their fate? And the ruin
of "they that kept them"? Mr
Omnipotent could have sent those devils up in a puff of smoke
but instead JC chooses animal cruelty on quite a massive scale.
an eye on your dog and cat, JC might toss demons into them!
of course, "animal
cruelty" was not an issue with the scribes
who actually wrote the yarn.)
cursing a tree because its fruit wasn't in season? Why not just
man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever"... "behold
the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away." –
also keep an eye on your fruit bushes, JC might blight them!
Jesus – Praises
Luke 16 – the so-called "Parable
of the Dishonest Servant" – Jesus, with approval, describes
a rich man praising the dishonesty of a servant. The steward,
accused of waste, faces dismissal so he dreams up a strategy to
secure his future.
am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship,
they may receive me into their houses."
The "they" refers
to each of his master's debtors, whom the steward connives with
to mark down their debts. Yet apparently:
lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done
wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation
the children of light." – Luke 16.8.
I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon
of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive
you into everlasting habitations." – Luke 16.9.
Wow! – not one for the Sunday School.
But then JC not only praises dishonesty he is also, it seems,
quite able to be dishonest.
According to John 7, Jesus and his gang were strolling
in Galilee and the merry men urged the boss to wrought wonders
in "Jewry" at the Feast of Tabernacles. JC declines:
go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet full
come." – John 7.8.
Hardly had the followers departed when the
superman does precisely what he said he wouldn't do:
when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto
the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret."
– John 7.10.
– NOT so compassionate
the disruption of families, amputations, the fate of the swine
and the odd fig tree, one might also wonder if Mr Loving Kindness really has
a sense of compassion. Surely he loves everybody? Bizarrely,
me; and let the dead bury their dead." – Matthew
was said to a disciple who had just lost his father
and wanted time to bury him! Even the hardest-hearted employer
would give time for your father's funeral!
insensitive Jesus leaves Lazarus lying in his grave for four
days so that the miracle
of his resurrection appears more impressive.
another incident the hapless Judas Iscariot questions
why Jesus has expensive ointment (a pound of "spikenard" worth
300 denarii, or a year's wages) rubbed on his feet (and wiped
off with a woman's hair!). Surely, says Judas,
the money could have gone to the poor?
"In a time where the poor were bled to death without an income tax calculator, this seems to be a very cruel action on his part."
In a retort that must
always have delighted the plutocrats of the Church, JC says:
"For the poor always ye have with
you; but me ye have not always." – John 12.8.
we could all say that! Why not do something about poverty?
of course, like the other disciples, is a Jew and the early church
to distance itself from this perfidious people. Is JC himself
an anti-Semite? Certainly he
dissociates himself from the Jews, as if they were not his
"But the children of the kingdom
shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping
and gnashing of teeth." – Matthew 8.12.
who "the children" are? Did
the Jews ever have a chance?
is also worth noting that the "great moral teacher"
at no point condemns the practice
of slavery, quite a shortcoming for the supposed saviour
of mankind. Indeed, the advocacy of a belief that everything
is by God's will – including tyranny and enslavement (and that
happiness is to be realized in heaven
after death), is intolerably immoral.
ON TRUE HAPPINESS.
is surely unsound to deny that good of life
to animals only because
they do not appear to man to be of great account
... The very plants: they have life, and life may
bring good or evil; the plants may thrive or wither,
bear or be barren ...
Those that deny the happy life
to the plants on the ground that they lack sensation
are really denying it to all living things ...
What then is happiness? Let us
try basing it upon Life ... Happiness can exist
only in a being that lives fully ... Life in its
greatest plenitude, life in which the good is present
as something essential not as something brought
from without, a life needing no foreign substance
called in from a foreign realm, to establish it
When man commands not merely the life of sensation but also Reason
and Authentic Intellection, he has realised the perfect life.
There exists no single human being
that does not either potentially or effectively
possess this thing which we hold to constitute
if death taking from him his familiars and
intimates does bring grief,
not to him, not to the true man, but to that in
him which stands apart from the Supreme, to that
lower man in whose distress he takes no part."
– Plotinus (204-270), The Six Enneads. Plontinus was one of the
great pagan philosophers.
Humble or Arrogant?
claimed that JC's perfection was shown by his unbounded "humility" – and
we all know how wonderful it is to show humility, way up there
with curing cancer and feeding the hungry.
Would you believe
the majestic superstar left the comforts of eternal heaven
to rough it for a few years on earth. A carpenter
in the boondocks of Galilee, for chrisake? A bit like
a drop-out with a trust fund. Aren't
But the Jesus
Christ character is NOT a being of limitless humility. Although
he is a self-styled religious
radical, Jesus arrogantly muscled into the establishments of
went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their
synagogues." – Matthew 9.35.
he goes to the Temple, the heart and soul of Judaic worship,
he has the audacity to overturn tables and ruin the dove-keepers'
they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and
began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple,
and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats
of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that
any man should carry any vessel through the temple." – Mark
Christ, in fact, is incredibly arrogant. He
calls himself "Lord and Master" (John 13.13)
and those who follow him "Little children" (John 13.33).
Or else, he's the "Shepherd" and you
are the "sheep" – and sheep, of
course, get fleeced!
arrogance actually began early in life. Imagine
the anguish that a 12-year-old going missing for 3
parents. Now the fable tells us that Jesus went missing
and his "sorrowful" parents searched for three days before eventually
finding the boy at the Temple. Yet Jesus doesn't apologize – he
blames them for not knowing that he was doing his "real father's" business!
when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto
him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father
and I have sought thee
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that
I must be about my Father's business?
And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them." – Luke
why does the Church assign "humility" to
their cocksure hero? For the same reason he is, when
required, holy, righteous, gentle and meek. Quite
simply, he is the measure of all things, roaring like a lion
a lamb, a conquering monarch and a willing sacrifice.
you might have to endure is as nothing compared
to his suffering. And even
though you may not have a trust fund, and you're
certainly not going to heaven,
the priests would have you follow his sublime example. Attend
Church; keep to the rules; do what you're told; be humble – and
don't even think about complaining. When you're dead you'll get
Celsus (110-180?) was an Epicurean rationalist.
wrote scathing critiques of magicians and
as the charlatans of the cults take advantage
of the simpleton's lack of education to lead
him around by the nose, so too with the Christian
teachers: they do not want to give or receive
reasons for what they believe. Their favorite
expressions are "Do not ask questions, just
believe!" and: "Your faith will save
you!" "The wisdom of the world," they
say, "is evil; to be simple is to be good." We
are told that Jesus judged the rich with the
saying 'It is easier for a camel to go through
the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter
the kingdom of god.' Yet we know that Plato
expressed this very idea in a purer form when
he said, 'It
is impossible for an exceptionally good man to
be exceptionally rich.' Is
one utterance more inspired than the other?"
– Celsus (On
the True Doctrine)
Jesus is insufferable
leads to smugness and JC is
never lacking in self-satisfaction. Jesus knows everything
and therefore can't be told anything he doesn't already
know. He cannot be deceived by men, because he knows their
innermost thoughts even before they speak.
such prescience lead him, like the Buddha, to a benign acceptance
and universal toleration? Far
from it. JC
is filled with vindictive fury -
an attitude which is not
uncommon with evangelical preachers.
who won't listen to his preaching will be on the receiving
end of the vilest curses and gets a free pass to everlasting
"Whosoever speaketh against the
Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him neither in this World
nor in the world to come." – Mark 3.29.
"The Son of Man shall send forth his His angels,
and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that
offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them
into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing
– Matthew 13.41,42.
and again, JC makes intimidating offers. Talk
about carrot and stick! Bribery or burn – what's
it to be?
a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and
is withered; and men gather them,
and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. – John 15.6
ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what
and it shall be done unto you." – John 15.7
JC was "full of grace". What this odd phrase means
is that he did not discriminate against anyone. Great attitude?
Think about it. Most people make more discerning judgements. Would
you happily have a beer with a serial killer or a paedeophile?
Saddam Hussein? George W. Bush?
is a glutton, a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors
and sinners. He makes, in other words, no appropriate distinctions
and discriminations. He has no honor. He has no shame."
(The Historical Jesus, p. 262)
use-value: Don't censure the high, the mighty or especially
the priesthood. When they get caught with their pants down
it's time for "grace."
is also supposedly full of "truth". In fact, he said
he was the
truth. Trouble is, JC's truth varied with the day of the week.
use-value: JC has a quote for every occasion and every pronouncement
has divine authority. Jesus Christ is truly a Superman for
Jesus is boringly obtuse
of the time even JC's disciples couldn't fathom what he was talking
Churchmen spent a lifetime pondering and still couldn't agree.
Why does JC speak in parables?
seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand." – Luke
If that doesn't baffle you try these:
judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not
might see; and that they which see might be made blind."
that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his
life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."
– John 12.25.
parables are both trivial and incomprehensible.
Jesus lacks any sense of humour
may condescend to wash your feet, especially at dinner (kinky,
eh?) but don't expect him to make you laugh.
This guy is Mr Serious. The problem began with the fraudsters
who perceived humour as unworthy of the Majesty of God. For them
humour was undignified,
frivolous, and unbecoming of the divine. Seriousness, on the other
hand, implied gravity and, of course, Truth.
laughs and unfortunately life imitated artifice. The suppression
of yet another human impulse had a corresponding dire consequence
for the psychosis of Christianity. Laughter,
along with joyful music and sensuous dance, were denounced as
the stratagem of the Devil, a feast
of fools. The asylum of Christendom was a dark and somber tomb.
rhetorician Lucian (c.125-180) regarded Christianity
as a form of sophistry spread among the
gullible. He paints a portrait of a Christian/Cynic
who sets himself ablaze
– a publicity scam that rebounds on him.
having strangled his father, unable to tolerate
his living beyond
sixty years ... learned the wondrous lore of the
Christians, by associating with their priests and
scribes in Palestine.
In a trice he made them all
look like children, for he was prophet, cult-leader,
head of the synagogue, and everything, all by himself.
He interpreted and explained some of their books
and even composed many, and they revered him as
a god ...
When imprisoned, the Christians,
regarding the incident as a calamity, left nothing
undone in the effort to rescue him ... from the
very break of day aged widows and orphan children
could be seen waiting near the prison, while their
officials even slept inside with him after bribing
the guards ...
Peregrinus ... procured not a
little revenue from it. Indeed, people came even from
the cities in Asia, sent by the Christians at their
common expense, to succour and defend and encourage
the hero ...
The poor wretches have convinced
themselves, first and foremost, that they are going
to be immortal and live for all time, in consequence
of which they despise death and even willingly
give themselves into custody ...
They despise all things indiscriminately
and consider them common property, receiving such
doctrines traditionally without any definite evidence. So
if any charlatan and trickster, able to profit
by occasions, comes among them,
he quickly acquires sudden wealth by imposing upon
– Lucian of Samosata, The Passing of Peregrinus
Jesus is a racist!
Jesus manages to combine misogyny with racism in a spiteful utterance to a Canaanite woman in the region of Tyre and Sidon:
"A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession ... Lord, help me!'
He answered, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel ... It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.' " – Matthew 15.22-26.
Jesus is a Schizo!
Jesus displays behaviour associated with a spectrum of psychiatric conditions, paranoia, hallucination and delusions of grandeur foremost among them:
“As many as 60% of those with schizophrenia have religious grandiose delusions consisting of believing they are a saint, God, the devil, a prophet, Jesus, or some other important person. How do we explain to our patients that their psychotic symptoms are not supernatural intimations when our civilization recognizes similar phenomena in revered religious figures?”
– Murray, Cunningham, Price, The Role of Psychotic Disorders in Religious History Considered, The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, Fall 2012.
Jesus and hygiene: a stinker
The Pharisees and scribes drew the attention of Jesus to the scandal of his followers eating bread without first washing their hands. It was a tradition but a sensible one.
"Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 'Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!' ... Jesus called the crowd to him and said, 'Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' " – Matthew 15.1,11.
JC rebukes his critics as "hypocrites" because they didn't honour all traditions. But the fact remains, Jesus had nothing to say about personal hygiene and Christianity – unique among religions – set itself against cleanliness (a vanity) and bathing (an inducement to immorality). The damage to public health for a millennium was incalculable.
ain't so smart after all
"Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours
in the day?" – John 11.9.
Jesus – or
rather the self-deceived fools who fabricated his story –
thought that their saviour would be back "in
clouds of glory" before the death of the people
living at that time. 2000 years later and we're still waiting.
"You shall not have gone over the
cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come." – Matthew
"There are some standing here which shall not taste death till the Son of
Man comes into His kingdom." – Matthew 16.28
Jesus offers another peculiar gem of wisdom when he warns that expelled unclean spirits increase sevenfold!
"When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation." – Matthew 12.43-45.
This bizarre fecundity of unclean spirits may explain the claim of Luke 8.2-3 that out of Mary Magdalene "went seven devils."
Jesus – who nowhere shows himself to be intellectually superior to the ignorant peasants around him – holds up children, of all people, as an example for men to follow. Our hero admires their ignorance and helplessness:
"And he said: 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." – Matthew 18.3-4.
As they say, ignorance is bliss.
Jesus does NOT love his own
the most famous utterances of all time, JC mouthed well-intentioned
but disastrous bad advice:
"Love your enemies, bless them
that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for
them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." – Matthew
"Resist not evil: but whosoever
shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other
also." – Matthew 5.39.
Who are we kidding? Try telling that one to George Born
Again Bush. Hating
enemies, punishing wrong-doers, bringing retribution to the wicked are
as natural and as necessary as daylight. Even Jesus does not heed his own
advice, threatening those who don't believe in him with hell:
believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does
not believe will be damned"
any event, Christians have always in practice preferred the principle
of "See that other guy's land? Let's go grab it!" And
don't be fooled by all that "love your neighbour" stuff. Even
the mythical Jesus Christ is no paragon of virtue!
Jon E. Lewis (Ed.), The New Rights of Man (Robinson, 2003)
George Long (Trans.), The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (Collins, 1950)
Michael Parenti, History as Mystery (City Lights, 1999)
Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians (Viking, 1986)
Bruce Metzger, Michael Coogan (Eds) The Oxford Companion to the
Bible (Oxford, 1993)
John Boardman (Ed.), The Oxford History of the Classical World (Oxford,
Some fifty articles are now available as a book.
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Copyright © 2005
by Kenneth Humphreys.
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