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Why Jesus?


nightflight
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http://www.ffrf.org/nontracts/jesus.php

 

Jesus has been held in high regard by Christians and non-Christians alike. Regardless of whether he existed in history, or whether he was divine, many have asserted that the New Testament Christ character was the highest example of moral living. Many believe that his teachings, if truly understood and followed, would make this a better world.

 

Is this true? Does Jesus merit the widespread adoration he has received? Let's look at what he said and did.

 

Good article and I have to say I agree. Even non-Christians can be found praising Jesus, but for me, he's always seemed a rather dour, mean character. For years I have thought deep down that there was something defective with me, that I couldn't see what was so "obvious" to so many others when they said that Jesus was the kindest, gentlest, most loving, etc. The Emperor has no clothes.

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Just a thought I've had on my mind for a while: Socrates also lived an ascetic life, preached compassion, and even died as a martyr for his beliefs, and falsely accused... the only problem was that no one came up with the story of him being resurrected. If they had, we'd have Socratists running for government and handing out philosophy books at the street corners. And of course, he would be the symbol for "kindness, goodness, values..."

 

Besides, I have yet to find a Christian who really "follows Jesus." It seems more like the majority follows Paul. We rarely, or ever, hear about a Christian selling everything he owns, gives it to the poor, and then go preaching. No, they rather listen to Paul to segregate the church in women (who should shut up), and men (who can control everything). Because that's what Paul said.

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I'm not an expert on this, but I think one of the reasons why people turn to Jesus so much for inspiration is because people have come to see Jesus as a symbol that represents the salvation of the persecuted, so people might interpret the teachings of Jesus based on their own persecution, whether imagined persecution or otherwise. What I mean is like women might see Jesus as a pro-feminist teacher that stands for gender equality and use examples of women in the bible like Esther or Tabitha etc. Racial minorities might see Jesus as a symbol standing for racial equality and quote that bible verse about how they are neither Gentile or Greek or slaves but are one in Christ or however that one verse goes. Gay Christians might see Jesus as a symbol for LGBT rights and some people might even believe Jesus was gay. Fundies might believe they're being "persecuted" even though nine times out of ten they actually aren't and so will interpret his teachings to prove that Jesus always votes Republican.

 

The bible is written so vaguely that people can interpret the teachings of Jesus in a hundred different ways, which I think makes Jesus more adaptable to different societies and times. Oddly, when I was a Christian, I always interpreted the verse where Jesus commanded us to turn the other cheek as meaning Jesus was against the Iraq war, so that was one of the reasons why I was against it. Yet even though I was against the Iraq war from the start, all the other fundies at my church were all gung ho about it and I couldn't understand why because to me it seemed so obvious Jesus was against war. As for myself, I still see value in the teachings of Jesus even though I'm not a Christian anymore. Yes, there are many immoral teachings the bible attributes to Jesus and the positive teachings don't erase the disturbing side of Jesus, but I could turn that around and say the immoral teachings attributed to Jesus don't erase the positive teachings. Didn't Plato also approve of slavery? Yet that doesn't mean we can't find value in his philosophies. Only that Plato was a product of his time just like Jesus was a product of his time rather than God. And yes, Jesus didn't invent the Golden Rule and he might not be entirely original, but I don't limit myself to just one person for inspiration and I think the danger comes when you take the teachings of Jesus as literal turn or burn commandments and I can understand why other people don't find value in Jesus' teachings and I respect their differences in opinion.

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I think Jesus did say some interesting but he did talk about "eating his flesh and drinking his blood" and he committed an unnecessary suicide, so any good quotes he said have been rendered useless in my opinion.

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People quote Jesus because many do not read their babbles but depend on others to read it and to tell them what it means. People quote Jesus because they want to be seen as all-knowing, religiously, they want to be a spiritual person and to them this is how it is done. Others like being told what to do in their manuals (bible) and they like having a reference to every problem life throws at them.

 

I don't think Jesus deserves all of the adoration he has gotten since I believe most of he said and did it was made up years after he died and that he did not do and say all the things claimed by the church or other do-gooders wanting to be sympathetic to Christians. Love, kindness, and mercy are not Christian-only attributes but qualities found in everyone. And someone who believes the Jesus spin is not any more spiritual than someone who does not believe. Christianity is like every other revealed religion, the doctrine is told by one person who claims to be on a one-on-one basis with God, and that person is sooooooo special to God that everything he does is a personal relationship with Jehovah. Christianity is a ravenous wolf in sheep's clothing.

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Besides, I have yet to find a Christian who really "follows Jesus." It seems more like the majority follows Paul. We rarely, or ever, hear about a Christian selling everything he owns, gives it to the poor, and then go preaching. No, they rather listen to Paul to segregate the church in women (who should shut up), and men (who can control everything). Because that's what Paul said.

 

That is absolutely true in my experience (Baptist, white rural South) -- all the fundies I know have made an idol of Paul, while piously praising Jesus but ignoring what Jesus (allegedly) said.

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Why Buddha? Why Confucius? Why Muhammad? Why Moses? Why <Insert Name Here>?

 

Because people have come to think, for whatever reason, that these guys are some sort of "sacred cows" and if something is attributed to them then it must have some sort of special meaning or value.

 

mwc

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Neon nailed it.

 

The bible is written so vaguely that people can interpret the teachings of Jesus in a hundred different ways, which I think makes Jesus more adaptable to different societies and times.

 

It's like a horoscope or a cold reading. It can be made to fit anyone's need or personality. It supports slavery and condemns it. It exalts women and subjugates them. It brings the sword, but also speaks of peace.

 

Once someone is convinced it is a magical collection of ancient wisdom and even the word of god, the book becomes relevant and true.

 

As the central character, Jesus carries a lot of weight with a lot of people.

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As the central character, Jesus carries a lot of weight with a lot of people.

 

 

Hiya Florduh :D This question has been on my mind lately, especially since stumbling across Pat Condell's anti-Christian videos at youtube. Even Condell has nothing but treacly praise for Jesus. I don't get it.

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Even Condell has nothing but treacly praise for Jesus. I don't get it.

 

 

I think that Christianity today has very little to do with the words attributed to Jesus. It has much more conformity to the thoughts of Paul.

 

There is value in the common sense sayings of Jesus, Buddha, Confucius and others. In the West, Jesus/Christianity is dominant. So dominant that it is tightly woven into history and societal identity. It's pretty damn hard to avoid the presence of the Jesus character even if one is an atheist.

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If you take away the divinity of Jesus, his atonement sacrifice for sin and resurrection, there isn't much left IMO.

 

His sayings which seem to be good and of value have been said by others, and in better form. There is just a widespread cultural acceptance that he was a very good man. I don't think most people are really concerned with investigating what he said, and indeed, whether or not he actually said it.

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Even Condell has nothing but treacly praise for Jesus. I don't get it.

 

 

I think that Christianity today has very little to do with the words attributed to Jesus. It has much more conformity to the thoughts of Paul.

 

There is value in the common sense sayings of Jesus, Buddha, Confucius and others. In the West, Jesus/Christianity is dominant. So dominant that it is tightly woven into history and societal identity. It's pretty damn hard to avoid the presence of the Jesus character even if one is an atheist.

 

Yep. This was my point all along in those previous posts. But when I said this, people questioned my atheist street cred.

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Even Condell has nothing but treacly praise for Jesus. I don't get it.

 

 

I think that Christianity today has very little to do with the words attributed to Jesus. It has much more conformity to the thoughts of Paul.

 

There is value in the common sense sayings of Jesus, Buddha, Confucius and others. In the West, Jesus/Christianity is dominant. So dominant that it is tightly woven into history and societal identity. It's pretty damn hard to avoid the presence of the Jesus character even if one is an atheist.

 

Yep. This was my point all along in those previous posts. But when I said this, people questioned my atheist street cred.

 

 

Yes, but you have a funny name. :P

 

Initially, I thought you were saying (if I recall correctly) that Jesus was real and you followed his teachings, but you didn't believe in any gods. That's pretty much a UU Christian at first glance. Atheists generally don't follow Jesus, since he is widely believed to have been born of a virgin impregnated by God. Your Jesus apparently has nothing special going for him other than some wise sayings that have also been attributed to others.

 

You subsequently have made me think that you have simply chosen selected Jesus teachings because you are in the culture where Christianity is dominant, not because Jesus had the only Truth. Jesus is reported to have said that none come to the Father (God) except through him. Jesus prayed to his father (God). You need to ignore those parts to remain an atheist while still following Jesus. Can you see cause for confusion?

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Even Condell has nothing but treacly praise for Jesus. I don't get it.

 

 

I think that Christianity today has very little to do with the words attributed to Jesus. It has much more conformity to the thoughts of Paul.

 

There is value in the common sense sayings of Jesus, Buddha, Confucius and others. In the West, Jesus/Christianity is dominant. So dominant that it is tightly woven into history and societal identity. It's pretty damn hard to avoid the presence of the Jesus character even if one is an atheist.

 

Yep. This was my point all along in those previous posts. But when I said this, people questioned my atheist street cred.

 

 

Yes, but you have a funny name. :P

 

Initially, I thought you were saying (if I recall correctly) that Jesus was real and you followed his teachings, but you didn't believe in any gods. That's pretty much a UU Christian at first glance. Atheists generally don't follow Jesus, since he is widely believed to have been born of a virgin impregnated by God. Your Jesus apparently has nothing special going for him other than some wise sayings that have also been attributed to others.

 

You subsequently have made me think that you have simply chosen selected Jesus teachings because you are in the culture where Christianity is dominant, not because Jesus had the only Truth. Jesus is reported to have said that none come to the Father (God) except through him. Jesus prayed to his father (God). You need to ignore those parts to remain an atheist while still following Jesus. Can you see cause for confusion?

 

Yes. But I guess I am a UU in some ways. I definitely don't believe in God but I think that Jesus is special (sort of) for abitrary reasons of history. It's kind of like why fiat money is worth money. It's because everyone accepts that it's worth money. Or something like like that.

 

Oh and "shantonu" is just my username. My real name is John Smith.

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