Despite pleas from well meaning individuals, religion isn’t going away. At least not anytime soon, with soon be defined as the next 500 years or so. Whether one believes in a deity doesn’t matter to me. I was raised Catholic and going out and trying to convert people isn’t part of The Church’s modern day rules. Plus, it’s hot out so fuck that. It’s not like the Pope is closing the doors on anyone or anything but Catholics don’t go door to door asking if you’ve found Jesus. (Note: Jesus in those circumstances often has three extra syllables added to his name – somehow.) Instead, I’ll offer a somewhat blanket defense of Jesus, at least as compared to the other major Western religions of Judaism and Islam. Yeah, I know, I’m sure to piss off a lot of people. And, yes, I know, Jesus probably doesn’t want me to write “piss off.” I never said I was good at this.
Set aside for a minute the question of divinity. Hell, set aside the question of existence. I’m not concerned with those aspects for now. I’ve no idea if Jesus existed. If he did exist, I’ve no idea if he was God. (Beliefs? Perhaps. Knowledge? No clue.) Going forward, I’ll presuppose that Jesus existed and that the words attributed to him in the four Gospels are accurate transcripts, as are his actions therein. Even if he’s as real as Batman, oh well. None of it needs to be really THE WORD OF GOD to be a good way to live life.
Jesus never said or did anything bad. Ever. Everything he said was basically a variation of, “Be nice. Don’t get mad at people. Treat people as you want to be treated.” When he came upon those hated by society – whores, tax collectors, even criminals sentenced to death – he showed them kindness. On the other hand, those that were basically bullies and jerks, he denounced and said, “You guys can be better than this.” Heck, even the men who condemned him to die were met with kindness.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
If you had a kid that acted like Jesus all the time, you’d probably be pretty happy with the little bugger. Generous, told people to be kind, hung out with whores, went fishing a lot, always brought booze to the party: Jesus was pretty darn righteous. (Pardon the pun.)
And that’s where Jesus/Christianity differ: all made up or not, it’s really difficult to misinterpret anything as advocating war, and murder, and rape.
Now, let’s compare this to the other two of the Big Three. This is gonna be easy to start.
The Old Testament/Torah. Yikes. Keep in mind that while Christians do read the Old Testament, technically Jesus basically replaced it all. Frankly, it’s all a bit long so who has time to read all that? You can read the Gospels in about an hour, that’s way easier. Religion: pick one based on how much time you’ve got!
These aren’t all the weird passages from the Torah but you’ll get the idea. It’s a bit tougher to place blame here as no one really takes credit for what’s being said. Moses kinda gets authorship but even then it’s a bit iffy because I guess he only wrote some of the stuff. Muslims say, “See, Muhammad said X, Y, and Z.” And Christians obviously can refer to Jesus talking and ignore the other dudes writing on his behalf if they want (all that stuff attributed to Colossus and such). The Old Testament doesn’t have much in the way of God Himself speaking, so it’s really more a collection of various Jews over the years writing things they heard someone else heard, like a giant game of telephone. Still, I’ll cherry pick what I need to make my point.
Hi, Moses. What say you?
When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand. Deuteronomy 25:11-12
I’ve been in a fight or two and have competed in BJJ for years. Most of those times I was either dating someone or married. I can assure you, I was never about to tap out when suddenly a chick grabbed a handful of balls. But … I guess that’s how they rolled back then. But, hey!, this isn’t that bad, really. It’s just a law demanding everyone fight fair.
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 21:18-21
That’s … a bit harsh. Disobeying your parents means you get stoned to death? Yeah, can’t really defend that one. Jesus didn’t say, “Be nice to each other. But, if someone isn’t nice then go stone him to death.”
If a man has sex with an animal, he must be put to death, and the animal must be killed. Leviticus 20:15
Not sure if the death penalty is appropriate for banging a dog but I’m kinda concerned that this happened enough that they needed God’s input. Also, kill the animal? WTF? Lassie didn’t have shit to do with any of this.
No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD. Deuteronomy 23:1
This is flat bullshit. Some asshole crushes my cock and now I can’t go to heaven? Talk about kicking a man while he’s down.
In contrast, Jesus:
“And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’” John 8:7
And you, Muhammad (Mohammad?), what say YOU?
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. Quran 4:34
Beat your woman if you “fear arrogance.” That’s not very nice. Also, dudes get to control all their money and demand they obey. I quite like the, “Stop banging her” bit as a punishment. Maybe Muslim women have a greater libido?
And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. Quran 24:31
Don’t look a dude in the eyes and cover yourself. Though it’s kinda weird that I guess they can show off their cans to “their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women.” That’s an oddly long and specific group of people who get to see Muslim tits.
Those who commit unlawful sexual intercourse of your women – bring against them four [witnesses] from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them [another] way.” Quran 4:15
We’ve heard about killing women who cheat/are raped/etc… But what strikes me as odd is the need for four witnesses. Like, do you need four witnesses to the same act? Bunch of dudes sitting around, probably DIH, watching someone nail a chick? Or does she have to sleep with four separate men for it to count, and they can all individually testify?
“We almost had her but she rejected Ali, so we only have three. Damn.”
By the way, the virgins thing appears to be here:
And as for those who believe and do good works, We shall make them enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow – to dwell therein for ever; there for them are pure companions – and We shall make them enter plenteous shade. Quran 4:57
Pure companions. I mean, are they virgins on earth who died? Or did Allah just create a bunch of hot, innocent chicks he keeps around? And do they have a say in this? What if a good guy dies and he’s still a big, fat, uggo? No one wants to “enter plenteous shade” with a fatso. Whatever that means.
Say (O Muhammad): O mankind! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah to you all – (the messenger of) Him unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. There is no God save Him. He quickeneth and He giveth death. So believe in Allah and His messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, who believeth in Allah and in His Words, and follow him that haply ye may be led aright. Quran 7: 158
Basically, Muhammad was an illiterate. At least I’m pretty sure the Pope can read. (This one is more of just a cheap shot, I admit. Though I’m pretty sure Jesus was shown reading stuff at temples and whatnot.)
And he who fights in the cause of Allah and is killed or achieves victory – We will bestow upon him a great reward. Quran 4:74
This is where “jihad” comes from, btw. I don’t totally blame people for the whole, “We have to fight for GOD!” I mean, presume God is real and all that, that would be a righteous cause to fight for. Still: I don’t remember Jesus telling anyone to go kill on his behalf. In fact, he pretty much said, “No. It’s better for you to die and be nice.” I presume the reward is all the chicks who have never once had sex and thus suck at it.
They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper. Quran 4:89
That’s … well … not a lot of wiggle room on that one. Don’t be friends with people unless they’re Muslim and then go and kill them if you find them.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5: 43-44
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Matthew 5:11
That’s pretty nice. I’d throw a rock at them. This is probably why I have a cult and not a religion.
I’m not saying believe one over the other. I’m not here to convert people because I barely know if I believe in jiu-jitsu, let alone an all powerful deity. But, when people say that religion X is peaceful, look at it closer. There’s almost nothing Jesus ever said that you can be all, ‘WHA?!?!” (A few passages about slaves obeying masters, I guess, but that still fits with his overall theme of “Be nice.”)
All of those teachings still work today. Could be Jesus saying them or Marty, the dude who used to work at Blockbuster and thought he’d retire on his stock until it all went belly up. But if Marty said, “…then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper” you’d be all, “Uh, Marty, you’re going a bit far.”
None of this is to say that the way Christianity is practiced is the right way to be, or that the religions of Jesus haven’t been twisted – many horrors have been carried out in the name of Christ. But, there’s a much more convincing argument that those people truly don’t have anything to do with the plain spoken teachings of Jesus. You can’t say the same for other religions.
Now, go forth and spread the word: hug someone and help out the little guy, so sayeth … me.