Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Thing with Jesus

IMG_0337 by reuvenim
IMG_0337 a photo by reuvenim on Flickr.
Julian Morrow, famous for his Chaser membership, was interviewed last week at ABC’s weekly program on matters of religion, Compass. You can view the interview and its transcript here, but I have strong suspicions that link would be blocked for access outside of Australia (proving again stupidity is a worldwide phenomenon). There weren’t many surprises for me in this interview: I knew Morrow is a fellow atheist with whom I share a lot of opinions since before he presented at last year’s Global Atheist Convention.
His interviewer, though, was obviously not an atheist; thus when asked about Jesus and Morrow answered
…I think I am moved by some of the ideas of Jesus teaching of compassion, forgiveness, acceptance of outcasts and the like... Had a pretty radical theory of the way the world works. I think he was probably clinically insane. But I also think he was on to something. And often you know artists and poets do run a fine line between wisdom and madness…
the matter of insanity was not pursued any further and the subject was changed.
However, I would like to expand on that point. Not on the point of Jesus’ insanity, mainly because we have only very indirect evidence for Jesus’ existence and the things he may have said or done; no firm conclusions can be made there. That said, if you read the books that did not make the Christian canon, like the recently exposed book of Judas, you may as well conclude everyone involved was clinically insane.
Instead I just want to leave Jesus the person alone and briefly point at three points where Christianity and Christian philosophy are clinically insane:
  1. Dying for our sins: The whole affair of Jesus dying for our sins stinks of blood lust; the fact it is a cornerstone for Christian belief says a lot about the stupidity of such belief. How else would otherwise normal people accept that the blood sacrifice of one can do anything to absolve for others’ actions?
    The hospital where my son was born had a cross in each room; so did the hospital my son had an operation at (pictured). What does it say about a hospital when it has this need to portray the image of a tortured person in each of its rooms? To me it says that a hospital with such values is probably not a hospital I would like to seek help from (that said, the limited choice of doctors and their availability has been proven to force my hand on the matter).
  2. Turning the other chick: It sounds so sexy to be this forgiving, but can we really run a society based on such values? No, we can’t. To name but two examples, we wouldn't have been able to stop the likes of Hitler and we would have had a hard time dealing with crime.
  3. He who is without sin cast the first stone: Another very sexy sounding quote, but upon further thinking – what does this rule of thumb imply towards our justice system when no one can have the authority to judge anyone? Can Jesus/Christianity offer us a better justice system or prevent us from needing such a system in the first place? Obviously, they can’t. Given their inability to offer an alternative, they could do us a favor and shut up; keeping silent is the better course of action if you don't have anything that makes sense to say.
The point I am trying to make is simple. The god of the old testament is often portrayed as evil and harsh, and rightly so, whereas the one from the new testament is cool and forgiving. Cool and forgiving my @ss: blood lust is still there, and the rest is wishy washy nonsense. The god of the new testament is just as bad, and those following him would do themselves a favor if they were to start pondering what it is, exactly, that they believe in.

No comments: