Was Jesus a good example?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Chacala_Nayarit, Nov 26, 2006.

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  1. Chacala_Nayarit macrumors 6502


    Oct 6, 2005
    Lakewood, Washington
    Why Jesus?

    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.

    Was Jesus Peaceable And Compassionate?

    The birth of Jesus was heralded with "Peace on Earth," yet Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace: I came not to send peace but a sword." (Matthew 10:34) "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." (Luke 22:36) "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." (Luke 19:27. In a parable, but spoken of favorably.)

    The burning of unbelievers during the Inquisition was based on the words of Jesus: "If 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)

    Jesus looked at his critics "with anger" (Mark 3:5), and attacked merchants with a whip (John 2:15). He showed his respect for life by drowning innocent animals (Matthew 8:32). He refused to heal a sick child until he was pressured by the mother (Matthew 15:22-28).

    The most revealing aspect of his character was his promotion of eternal torment. "The Son of man [Jesus himself] shall send forth 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 of teeth." (Matthew 13:41-42) "And 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." (Mark 9:43)

    Is this nice? Is it exemplary to make your point with threats of violence? Is hell a kind, peaceful idea?

    Did Jesus Promote "Family Values"?

    "If 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)

    "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)

    When one of his disciples requested time off for his father's funeral, Jesus rebuked him: "Let the dead bury their dead." (Matthew 8:22)

    Jesus never used the word "family." He never married or fathered children. To his own mother, he said, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" (John 2:4)

    What Were His Views On Equality And Social Justice?

    Jesus encouraged the beating of slaves: "And that servant [slave], which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes." (Luke 12:47) He never denounced servitude, incorporating the master-slave relationship into many of his parables.

    He did nothing to alleviate poverty. Rather than sell some expensive ointment to help the poor, Jesus wasted it on himself, saying, "Ye have the poor with you always." (Mark 14:3-7)

    No women were chosen as disciples or invited to the Last Supper.
    What Moral Advice Did Jesus Give?

    "There be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matthew 19:12) Some believers, including church father Origen, took this verse literally and castrated themselves. Even metaphorically, this advice is in poor taste.

    * If you do something wrong with your eye or hand, cut/pluck it off (Matthew 5:29-30, in a sexual context).
    * Marrying a divorced woman is adultery. (Matthew 5:32)
    * Don't plan for the future. (Matthew 6:34)
    * Don't save money. (Matthew 6:19-20)
    * Don't become wealthy. (Mark 10:21-25)
    * Sell everything and give it to the poor. (Luke 12:33)
    * Don't work to obtain food. (John 6:27)
    * Don't have sexual urges. (Matthew 5:28)
    * Make people want to persecute you. (Matthew 5:11)
    * Let everyone know you are better than the rest. (Matthew 5:13-16)
    * Take money from those who have no savings and give it to rich investors. (Luke 19:23-26)
    * If someone steals from you, don't try to get it back. (Luke 6:30)
    * If someone hits you, invite them to do it again. (Matthew 5:39)
    * If you lose a lawsuit, give more than the judgment. (Matthew 5:40)
    * If someone forces you to walk a mile, walk two miles. (Matthew 5:41)
    * If anyone asks you for anything, give it to them without question. (Matthew 5:42)

    Is this wise? Is this what you would teach your children?

    Was Jesus Reliable?

    Jesus told his disciples that they would not die before his second coming: "There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matthew 16:28). "Behold, I come quickly." (Revelation 3:11) It's been 2,000 years, and believers are still waiting for his "quick" return.

    He mistakenly claimed that the mustard seed is "the least of all seeds" (Matt. 13:32), and that salt could "lose its savour" (Matthew 5:13).

    Jesus said that whoever calls somebody a "fool" shall be in danger of hell fire (Matthew 5:22), yet he called people "fools" himself (Matthew 23:17).

    Regarding his own truthfulness, Jesus gave two conflicting opinions: "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true" (John 5:31), and "Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true" (John 8:14).

    Was Jesus A Good Example?

    He irrationally cursed a fig tree for being fruitless out of season (Matthew 21:18-19, and Mark 11:13-14). He broke the law by stealing corn on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23), and he encouraged his disciples to take a horse without asking permission (Matthew 21).

    The "humble" Jesus said that he was "greater than the temple" (Matt 12:6), "greater than Jonah" (Matthew 12:41), and "greater than Solomon" (Matthew 12:42). He appeared to suffer from a dictator's "paranoia" when he said, "He that is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30).

    Why Jesus?

    Although other verses can be cited that portray Jesus in a different light, they do not erase the disturbing side of his character. The conflicting passages, however, prove that the New Testament is contradictory.

    The "Golden Rule" had been said many times by earlier religious leaders. (Confucius: "Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you.") "Turn the other cheek" encourages victims to invite further violence. "Love thy neighbor" applied only to fellow believers. (Neither the Jews nor Jesus showed much love to foreign religions). A few of the Beatitudes ("Blessed are the peacemakers") are acceptable, but they are all conditions of future reward, not based on respect for human life or values.

    On the whole, Jesus said little that was worthwhile. He introduced nothing new to ethics (except hell). He instituted no social programs. Being "omniscient," he could have shared some useful science or medicine, but he appeared ignorant of such things (as if his character were merely the invention of writers stuck in the first century).

    Many scholars are doubtful of the historical existence of Jesus. Albert Schweitzer said, "The historical Jesus will be to our time a stranger and an enigma." No first-century writer confirms the Jesus story. The New Testament is internally contradictory and contains historical errors. The story is filled with miracles and other outrageous claims. Consisting mostly of material borrowed from pagan religions, the Jesus story appears to be cut from the same fabric as all other myths and fables.

    Why is Jesus so special? It would be more reasonable and productive to emulate real, flesh-and-blood human beings who have contributed to humanity--mothers who have given birth, scientists who have alleviated suffering, social reformers who have fought injustice--than to worship a character of such dubious qualities as Jesus.

    Nontract No. 12. Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., PO Box 750, Madison WI 53701. This nontract may also be purchased here.

    You may email this page, but please do not distribute printed copies of this document in this form.
  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
  3. Grakkle macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2006
    Your atheist posting is really getting to be a bit much. I think you might do better to keep your posts to a reasonable length.

    And to be honest, do you realise that the excessive length of your post is actually going to annoy people, rather than make them think?:rolleyes:
  4. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Ya Religion isn't logical your not going to be able to use logic to get people to start/stop believing in any religion.
  5. Chacala_Nayarit thread starter macrumors 6502


    Oct 6, 2005
    Lakewood, Washington
    You are a christian, right? You call that critical thinking? :rolleyes:
  6. Grakkle macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2006
    Actually I'm a Jew.;) But I appreciate logic, including logic on Jesus. Your post is interesting, but it would be more convincing if you provided information from a less openly-biased source.
  7. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    Your uncredited clipping makes all kinds of assumptions based on a literalist interpretation of a many-times translated and politically selected canon. It falls into many of the same traps that literalists on the other side of the debate regularly fall into.
  8. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    But it opens up the interesting discussion that should come up when literalists start quoting verses...can you pick and choose which verses should apply today?
  9. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    Jesus was a Great example, imagine saying things like love your neighbor or turn your cheek? 2,000 yrs later not much has changed in humanity. We are still looking for any reason to kill each other. The Mideast is a prime example, draw a cartoon and they will want to kill you.

    Your example's seem to be taken out of context to say the least. Jesus was a pacifist, not a warrior,killer or what have you.
  10. Grakkle macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2006
    Which is why a literal interpretation inevitably falls apart, no matter who is doing the interpreting.
  11. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    I would be shocked if one could not find contradictions in the bible, or any other similar document. If your intention is to discredit the christian dogma, you will probably not meet with a great deal of success. Most believers accept christianity on faith, not on scholarly merit.
  12. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois

    I like you a lot, but this is getting to be a bit much. Let's not go too crazy with this. ;)
  13. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    I'm an atheist and even I find this to be a too much. Why is it so many atheist feel the need to find deep faults in the bible? Do you think shoving your non-beliefs down people's throats is going to change their minds anymore than people shoving the bible down yours is going to change yours?

    Give it a rest! Declare yourself an atheist and get on with it. I'm not saying religion shouldn't be debated, but it seems to me a lot of atheist get off on having a one sided debate with themselves and other atheist.

    Atheist #1 "hey the bible is bull**** eh?"
    Atheist #2 "yeah I know! It's teh suck!"
    Atheist #1 "yeah, it's awesome that we both hate the bible!"
  14. mrkramer macrumors 603


    Jul 11, 2006
    If you are going to post information from such an obviously biased source at least do some reaserch to see if their claims are valid. Many of the verses that you quoted have been taken out of context, and when you read around them they do not mean what they seem to when read by themselves. Aso, Jesus spoke so that the people of the time coud understand him, so since we live in a completely different culture than they did different things were accepted then than are now, so him mentioning slavery in some of his parables was because it was a common practice at the time that the people could relate to.
  15. pseudobrit macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    Please stop. For the love of God, please stop.
  16. beatsme macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2005
    what difference does it make? Religion isn't about proof or logic or historical accuracy, it's about faith. Either you believe it or you don't. And speaking just for myself, I don't really care what people believe so long as they don't bother me with it.

    yea the Bible says a lot of really dumb things. No news there.

    re: Jesus being influential
    I'm inclined to think his spiritual opposition to the Roman empire was the thing. Hmm...a religious sect decrying an "evil" government. Wow. That's a real shocker in the Middle East, isn't it?
  17. iSaint macrumors 603


    May 26, 2004
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    This thread should be closed by this fact alone. If you don't have the intelligence to post your own, creative thoughts, don't copy and paste something you found on the "internettzazzz where just because you read it, it's all true!!!1111!!"
  18. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    As we all can see, this isn't the first time this week you've posted someone else's work (without a link) in lieu of actually formulating your own thoughts into a post. So I don't know, why don't you tell us?
  19. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    Half of that stuff is good stuff your completely misunderstanding, if Christians actually did consistently turn the other cheek the world would be a much much better place.

    I'm atheist as hell just your argument is mostly week, the bible is filled with inaccuracies because it's been edited by a bunch of old men over the centuries and it's had their views snuck in on the sly to further their own agenda, to believe Jesus, assuming he actually existed, contradicted himself and said the occasional stupid things which is clearly out of character is foolish when using a near two millennia old book that has been screwed around with so much as evidence.
  20. ReanimationLP macrumors 68030


    Jan 8, 2005
    On the moon.
    That was a rather boring read, IMO.

    And I'm agnostic. But still, rather boring.

    And next time your gonna do the cut-n-paste, give the guy who actually wrote it some credit man, thats just not cool.
  21. trebblekicked macrumors 6502a


    Dec 30, 2002
    Chicago, IL, USA
    yeah. what they said. seriously, give it a rest chacala. i'm pretty sure this is trolling.
  22. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    Dull post.

    I'm agnostic, but I would still view Jesus as a very good example of how to live, irrespective of his status as man or god.

    Take the theism out of it and he was still a great MAN, with teachings that were way ahead of their time.

    It's interesting that the cut 'n' paste oddessy treats turn the other cheek as incitement to violence, considering that it's philosophy is of huge importance of modern non-violent resistance (as espoused by Tolstoi and Ghandi and much of the modern resistance movements). Talk to Menonites or Quakers about turning the other cheek, and see what they say.
  23. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Feb 14, 2004
    Yup. In Matthew 10, for example, Jesus explains why is he is on Earth, and it's not to establish some sort of paradise. He is warning that, rather than bringing peace, his teachings will stir controversy because they will not sit well with people, even members of ones' own family, and that fighting and death will occur because of it.

    He certainly was right on that one. But he's not encouraging some sort of bloody crusade.

    This kind of Bible quoting is no better than the way the fundies use it.
  24. Kalns macrumors regular


    May 16, 2006
    This is precisely why we have hermeneutics and exegesis. If you don't understand the historical and literary context then you miss the whole point of the verse as clearly is the case here.
  25. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    So... what is the point? Christians are bad? Jesus was a fake? I don't understand. :confused:
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