Here I sit, my Bible in hand, trying to find that part where Jesus changed his mind.
I look through Matthew. Nothing. I look through Mark. Nada. I search through Luke, still nothing. I get past John and, surprisingly, I still find nothing.
Given what I see from those who say they worship Jesus as “God,” I figure somewhere Jesus must have changed his mind. The book I was taught while suffering through Catholic school must have miraculously changed at some point since those lessons. I wouldn’t be surprised; after all, the God of the book did all kinds of wild stuff, so certainly changing the entire text on which His superstition, er, I mean religion was based certainly could be done.
Yet I can’t find a single edit.
I can’t see where Jesus suddenly turned his back on the poor, calling them “lazy freeloaders” along the way. I can’t find that notion where the poor were put on notice that they were “on their own” to either starve or beg for mercy to some church as a part of their poverty. I can’t see where Jesus said that the wealthy were deserved of special treatment or any kind of hero-worship.
Nope, my book still says the wealthy will have a hard time getting into heaven. My book still has Jesus eating with the most hated of his society. My book still has him working to feed the poor without conditions.
I can’t find where Jesus is pro-death penalty in my Bible. I can’t find where he condemns people to death for violating the laws of the land. I’m sure it has to be in there somewhere because, after all, the Christian part of our society seems strongly in favor of the death penalty. I must have to reread it all over again because certainly those who follow Jesus as Lord and Master could not be for something he was not.
I also can’t seem to find that part where Jesus seeks wealth. I can’t find the capitalist Jesus every conservative Christian seems to know. I look for the man named Jesus who worships money and puts nearly everything behind amassing wealth and power. I can’t find that Jesus though, and I can’t find where he even held a job—let alone created a company. I am fairly certain that the Americanized conservative Jesus would have had one of the 12 carrying a cash register while another of the 12 carried a sandwich board stating the prices for being healed. I think it’s also fair to say that Americanized conservative Jesus would have had a 501-3(c) as well as a Political Action Committee all at his disposal.
I’m also fairly certain the Americanized conservative Jesus also only raised the dead of the highest bidder. That’s the capitalist way!
Not to get on a tangent, but if the afterlife Jesus described was so wonderful, why did he raise people from the dead anyway? If I had died, was in heaven, and then was brought back by Jesus, I’d get off my stone slab and beat him with my shoe. I know, heaven didn’t exist until Jesus died…or something like that. Uh huh.
Okay, back to the gist of my thought.
I also can’t find where Jesus felt the need to have a weapon to protect himself. I do realize that anyone who can walk on water probably would have no need for a sword, but even when he could have used one he did not and commanded others not to use theirs. Certainly the Bible has undergone a Divine edit there. I’m sure it reads,
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 “Give me that thing,” Jesus said to him, “we must defend ourselves against this terror.” And with that Jesus killed everyone save those who agreed with him, and the world was safe for capitalism and democracy.
The fact check is all done and, well, mine still says, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” No caveats, no conditions, just a simple statement of fact.
Yet, it seems conservative Christian America is addicted to our modern version of the sword. This conservative Christian America not only suffers from this addiction, and would not only draw the sword, but would also use it with reckless abandon despite the fact that God (or Jesus) did not sneak into our homes in the middle of the night and change the texts to be more agreeable their version of America. Of course he may have feared being shot.
Then there is our “War on Terror.” Our “War on Drugs.” Our imprisonment of more people by percentage of our population than any other industrialized country. Sexual repression and oppression. Guantanamo Bay. This isn’t even going back into our history of racial persecution, slavery, gender oppression and slaughter of indigenous people.
It leads me to wonder what version of Christianity conservatives suggest we were founded on; the one Jesus lived in the story or the one they have created in their heads as their own. That’s an easy answer because the Jesus I have read about is nothing like the Christian conservatives of America. That is unless the only Bible not changed to fit their model of Christianity is the one I am reading.
I suggest we end this pretentious fallacy that this nation was founded on any version of real Christianity.
Real Christianity doesn’t exist, much like Jesus didn’t exist. No one has ever raised a person from the dead after days on a slab. No one has ever reattached a limb without surgery.
The greatest proof I have found that Jesus did not exist is Christianity itself. The greatest proof I have found that the God of the Bible doesn’t exist comes from those who say they believe in Him.
If Christians really believed Jesus existed and that everything in the Bible existed and was truth, they would have no need to defend their life and property. Gun sales would plummet because they are all on their way to that wonderful place in the sky Jesus talked about. Why defend a life here when something like heaven awaits you out there? Pass the wine and bread, I need a good buzz.
If Christians really believed they would not be so different than the Jesus in the Bible. They’d all be loving those liberal Arab hippies who are like Jesus. They’d all be washing the feet of others. They’d be eating with Democrats and hugging crack addicts. They’d be rushing into prisons to save the condemned, and they’d be loving the hell out of “terrorists.” There would be no cheers over drone strikes. There’d be no joy over the killing of anyone, regardless of their sins.
There would be, however, an awful lot of bruised cheeks, both left and right side.
After all, do any of us know sin-free Christians? If not, how can one of them throw the stone as Jesus asked? Ah, the devil is in the details, and the proverbial Jesus seems to have given conservative American Christians an impossible example to follow. Either that or Jesus certainly changed his mind about everything he taught since ascending into that board room in the sky. Whichever, it seems that despite some notable exceptions in history Christians have given up being like Jesus and have rather sought to make Jesus more like them.
What clearer failure can a religion endure than when the Master it is founded on becomes as irrelevant as a bumper sticker?
What surer failure can a religion find than when the teachings of its founder are less important than the wood on which it is believed he died?
I don’t mind if someone holds on to a rosary believing it will get them to some place that their actions could not. I don’t care if someone believes unreasonably that the world is only 9,000 years old. What I do mind is open hypocrisy on which we have to endure lecture after lecture and statement after statement from these misguided people—where who I am is decided by what they believe. That’s when I mind.
So, stop with the nonsense that America is a Christian nation. Stop telling me how wrong gay marriage is and about how homosexuality is a sin. Stop telling me about the value of life when discussing abortion while you are hoping for the death of a convicted criminal. Stop with the clarifying statements that somehow reconcile your anti-Christ-like thoughts with the teachings of the story you pretend to believe in.
Harsh words, I know, but necessary to me nonetheless. I don’t apologize to those who find these words offensive unless they can prove me wrong. I welcome the debate, but please don’t start it out with how the earth was created in less than a week and how each and every woman I know owes me something for my rib. Instead, show me something tangible that doesn’t take a lifetime of conditioning and a lack of intelligence to believe. Do that, and I will apologize wholeheartedly and beg for forgiveness.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel