Sniegoski on "good Jesus, hateful Christianity"


Good Jesus; hateful Christianity



It's clear now: Christianity is moving into the category of hate crime. We are told that it has a pretty hateful history — oppressing Jews, pagans, witches, homosexuals, the poor, women, blacks, practitioners of human sacrifice, etc. And Christians continue to do hateful things today, such as insulting abortionists, criticizing homosexuality, and claiming that the world was actually created by God. You get the idea that if only Saul of Tarsus had not converted (which would be a dangerous act in contemporary Israel), everything might have been better.

According to the New Testament, the founder of Christianity had not only some very negative things to say about the leaders of the Jewish religion but also some harsh words to say about people in general — even to the extent of scaring them with the threat of Hell. It is notable, however, that although the Establishment media place Christianity in a negative light, they still maintain a favorable view of Jesus. As the TV documentaries shown during the late Christmas season emphasized, the New Testament did not actually record the real sayings of Jesus, who in reality:

• was a good Jewish boy totally obedient to Jewish law;

• sought the elimination of restrictive moral law and its replacement by the "law of love";

• tolerated all beliefs and lifestyles, being especially non-judgmental toward all sexual practices, especially homosexuality;

• advocated sexual equality;

• was a Communist revolutionary who despised the rich and wanted their wealth confiscated;

• was an anti-Roman Jewish freedom fighter;

• was an absolute pacifist;

• preached an earthly utopia rather than a Heaven in the hereafter; and

• was a great moral teacher who never claimed divinity.

As you can easily see, the "real" Jesus held some contradictory views, but then so do good progressive Americans today. Nothing wrong with that, it turns out. (I've been chastised by good progressive people for pointing out their contradictions.) Anyhow, the current Establishment belief seems to be that Jesus was a good progressive person but that Christianity, from the very beginning, strayed from His beliefs and went on to become the hateful religion that we have come to know.

Moreover, as good progressive biblical scholars emphasize, the blame for Jesus's death rests solely with the Romans, not the Jewish religious leadership. As they point out, it would have been impossible for Pilate to have been influenced by the Jewish religious authorities. The New Testament's imputation of power to powerless Jews is simply an example of perennial gentile anti-Semitism — tantamount to Pat Buchanan's saying that there is a Jewish lobby that influences American foreign policy in the Middle East.

As good progressive biblical scholars point out, it is necessary to strip the New Testament of its anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny, otherworldliness, and other forms of malevolent idiocy in order to arrive at the Real Historical Jesus. However, they never get around to explaining how one can tell that the Real Historical Jesus didn't  hold those "hateful" views. I think what it comes down to is that if Jesus was a great, loving person, it is self-evident that he must have thought exactly they way they do.

January 6, 2000

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