Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Jesus vs. Christianity

What are we to make of the differences between the Jesus of the gospels, setting aside the historical questions, and the Christian religion?

Jesus presents himself as a charismatic rabbi who gives ambiguous signals concerning his own identity; Christianity asserts Jesus is the only begotten Son of God.

Jesus preaches a divine order that upturns the human order, particularly as regards socioeconomic privilege; Christianity feebly affirms almsgiving and sets up specialists of charitable doing, but entreats the bulk of its adherents to submit to the existing, unjust human order.

According to Jesus, religious ritual is almost invariably of secondary moral significance in a follower's way of life outside worship, in particular in relation to human needs; Christianity has developed elaborate rituals, rubrics and sacramental theologies and even sets apart its ritual leaders, creating a Sunday religion of empty gestures.

Jesus asserts that peacemakers are blessed and that if someone strikes your cheek, you should offer the other cheek to be stricken as well; Christianity blesses armies and the right to wage wars called "just."

Jesus tells his followers to rejoice in persecution; Christianity has persecuted those who do not adhere to its beliefs or its ecclesiastical rules and regulations.

Jesus in the gospels comes across as an impressive charismatic figure who nonetheless leaves the observer stunned, puzzled and thinking. Christianity comes across as a religion that provides some an entertainment to distract masses from the struggles of reality.

This fellow Jesus seems at least worth considering. Christianity, on the other hand, leaves a great deal to be desired.


Anonymous said...

You emphasize the importance of keeping one's eye on the ideal. Just to coin a phrase, we often can't see the tree for the forest. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how far things can be taken from their roots. Events become re-interpreted, and then are considered "gospel"....

rick said...

As an exercise in equal time can you also devote columns to how far Judaism had declined from Mosaic teaching, how far removed Muslims are from Mohammed, where organized Buddhism has gone astray from Siddartha Gautama's original teachings and how Hinduism has been reinvented since the publication of the Vedas?

Just for starters?

This may help us find the answer to the question, "Yeah, so what else is new?"

Anonymous said...

Thank you J V C really summarized it all.

Anonymous said...

I think an interesting exercise might be to consider what shape Christianity would be in today if only the original Mark gospel had made the canon.

Geneviève said...

I keep on being puzzled with two things : blogging and anonymity.
Blogging is a mean to go out from that terrible anonymity of this world, and wanting to look alive to the world, and looking for relationship etc...
So why to hide behind anonymity, what are you afraid of, dear miss Lapwing ?
Geneviève Charlet-Reumaux