When I write articles about Christian hate, bigotry, misogyny, and general malevolence, I am inevitably chided by “Good Christians” for misrepresenting both them and their holy writ. Jesus, I am told, was a liberal. He advocated love, tolerance, and women’s rights. He came to earth to teach us a better way to live in peace with each other.
In fairness, there are some examples of Jesus being relatively egalitarian — compared to the Jews who were stoning children and women to death. (For the moment, never you mind that Jesus was the one who commanded the stonings in the first place — assuming that the Holy Trinity thing is true…)
- The Parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s a good moral lesson. And it’s definitely a shame that so many Christians ignore it.
- Jesus forgives the adultress. Also a decent moral lesson. But one has to wonder, why did Jesus pass up such a great opportunity to tell us to stop stoning adultresses altogether?
- Jesus advocated the “Golden Rule.” One would hope that the ultimate moral philosopher in the universe would at least mention it.
The thing is, there are also a lot of very odd commands from Jesus himself:
- What’s he got against the word “father?” “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Mark 23:9. That’s just… weird.
- Looking lustfully at a woman is the same as adultery. That’s particularly disturbing in light of the fact that he didn’t warn us off of that whole “stoning for adultery” thing.
- Don’t make any oaths. At all. None. The language is unequivocal. No wiggle room. It would be nice if all Christians practiced this. For one thing, we’d never have a Christian sheriff, or mayor, or governor. Or… president. And wouldn’t that be nice!
- Don’t fight lawsuits. Give more than you’re being sued for. Again, it would be pretty awesome if all Christian took this command seriously. I mean… it’s absolutely daft… so I get why nobody does. But one does have to wonder why the ultimate moral philosopher thought it was a good idea in the first place. Maybe he didn’t know much about economics. (Which is curiously ironic evidence that Governor Rick Perry really is a man of God…)
Jesus wasn’t just guilty of a few howlers that nobody pays attention to. He also said quite a few things that are downright… evil.
- Jesus was into self-mutilation. Yeah…. I know. It’s meant to be taken figuratively. Because it’s barking mad. But then… how exactly do you know that it’s not literal? He didn’t give us a decoder ring, and it doesn’t say anything about not really doing it.
- Speaking of self-mutilation, he was an advocate of eunuchs. Read it for yourself. He encourages good “Christian men” to cut their balls off. I notice that nobody in America is jumping on this bandwagon. But there it is, in black and white. (Or… I suppose, red. If you’ve got one of those Bibles…)
- He commands us — in no uncertain terms — to hate our family. I’m no linguist, but isn’t hate the opposite of love? And weren’t the “Good Christians” trying to sell me on the whole Hippy Jesus thing?
After Jesus’ ascension into heaven, only one person saw him first-hand. That was Paul. And according to the New Testament, Paul was Jesus’ appointed messenger to non-Jews the world over. So we should believe his words as if they came straight from Jesus himself. Paul was no peace-nik hippy:
- Forget Welfare. Paul is clear: If someone doesn’t work, they don’t eat.
- Censorship and forceful silencing of opposition. Paul was into the whole fascist thing.
The thing is, reading the New Testament without cherry-picking is as much an exercise in futility as reading the Old. Jesus’ words are far from some kind of ultimate call to peace and love. At best, they are a confusing hodge-podge of platitudes that don’t make much sense as a unified whole. At worst, they’re justification for very conservative, hateful public policies.
You know… like the kind in America today.