Got Jesus?

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

When people say Jesus, there is an abundance of views as to who he was.  Some say he was just a man, some say a prophet, some say a messiah, some say the son of God, some say God the Son, some say he is an idea, and there are many people who no idea who he is.   I grew up a Christian and up until my late 20s, I still believed in the deity of Jesus, the infallibility of the Bible, and the various doctrines of the church.  However, I became somewhat skeptical in my early 30s and started to reject things that, to me, just didn’t make sense.  To me, the entire concept of “original sin” does not present our Creator as a loving and merciful God at all.  Then to further complicate it with the concept that God himself would have to become man and die to reconcile everyone of this curse at birth, just pushed me over the edge.  I have a hard time believing that one person can suffer in my place.  It all seems like a cop-out.  When you read about the personage of the man named Jesus and strip away the dogmas and the fabulous tales of miracles you will actually find something far different then what your pastor (who is paid to preach) will tell you.

Thomas Jefferson said it best when he said, “To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others.” I share Jefferson’s beliefs that the gospels had been corrupted with words that Jesus never uttered and miracles that never really happened.  I also believe that Jesus really existed and that his original teachings can be found in the gospels if you look closely.  The teachings of Jesus were pure and true.  He taught of universal love, morality, and charity.  He surrounded himself with hookers, tax collectors, and other social undesirables.  He tried to get people to find their faults, confront them, overcome them, and try to be better people.  He spoke of love for your enemies and while this is tough to grasp it is the earliest occurrence of the idea to “kill them with kindness”.

Jesus taught that it was a person’s actions, both external and internal, that mattered.  He rejected the notion that a person would be unclean if they ate certain foods and instead said that it was what came out of someone’s mouth that made them unclean.  Words of anger, hate, and deceit were in Jesus’s view worse than eating pork.  The Parables of Jesus were geared for both the intelligent and the ignorant in that there was an obvious message and a subliminal one that invoked deep personal reflection.  Of all of the teachings of Jesus there is nothing more significant than the Sermon on the Mount.  This is found in Matthew Chapters 5-7 and there is no greater discourse on life and how to live it then what is written there.  How wonderful and amazing would the world be if we all read those 3 chapters every day and tried to live by them?

Jesus taught of the Kingdom of Heaven he did not teach of salvation by grace, that was an invention of Paul.  Jesus gave clear instructions about feeding the poor, helping the destitute, aiding widows and orphans, and made it clear that it required action to enter the kingdom of heaven – not faith.  “Go and do likewise” was the charge given at the conclusion of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  For me to think that a man who gives to the poor and needy all that he has, is doomed to go to hell because he is not a Christian defies all Reason and is un-Christian.  To make the matter worse and say that a man who commits mass murder only needs to accept Jesus into his heart and go to heaven – over the other guy who gave with all is heart – is just plain detestable and not inline with the fairness and benevolence of our Creator.

Jesus was a man.  A man of profound moral teachings and the author of a doctrine of morals that is beyond comparison.  His teachings of love and morality over dogma and despotism eventually cost him his life.  If all mankind were to adhere to what he taught and the doctrines he so eloquently inculcated, the world would be a more beautiful place.   Over the course of the next few blog postings I am going to peel back the dogma and fantasy and cover each parable and then cover the Sermon on the Mount.  It is within the teachings of this man, Jesus of Nazareth, that we can find some of the most sublime truths.  He will be our guide on this next leg of the quest.

9 thoughts on “Got Jesus?

  1. Have you ever read a post and thought to yourself: “I could have written that”?
    I just read this post and thought “I wish I had written that”.

    Thank you for summing up exactly how I feel about Christianity. I have a feeling you and I disagree on some of the fine points, I self-identify as an atheist, but I still feel a strong affinity for the teachings and philosophy of Jesus.
    Over the last few months, while learning about Universalism (which I think is where I was theologically at the end of my Christianity) and now editing a book on the subject for a friend, I have had to put my Christian hat back on and revisit many of the ideas and events that culminated in my apostasy. In doing so I am realizing that I wasn’t quite as alone as I felt- there are many Christians who have carved a niche where I slipped away, and others who have refined those things that occurred to me and blazed a new direction.

    None of this was apparent to me as a Christian. I was faced with two choices: stop asking questions (and stop thinking), else be a heretic or an apostate. Wouldn’t it be grand to see the possibility if we were allowed to open our eyes…

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    • @ George. Thank you for stopping by and I am glad you enjoyed the post. To christians I am probably an atheist but, I identify myself as a Deist. I grew up a Christian and in my early 20s life happened in the form of military service. My worldview changed very quickly and with it my theological compass started to point somewhere else.

      I am new to blogging, only been at it about 3 months and I enjoy it. I stopped by your blog and I found it very interesting as well. I am toying with the idea of a book in the future, whether it is an entirely new work or a compilation of my blog posts is yet to be determined. If you find anything I write to be of use to you or your blog feel free to use it just make sure to give credit where credit is due.

      I post every week, hope you stop by again soon.

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  2. I really enjoyed this blog post. It is so exciting to see such a great awakening in so many of us to a deeper understanding of Scriptures, as well as a willingness to set aside orthodoxy to find a more reasoned faith. What is particularly exciting is that there are people from all walks of life, with no one educating them, learning these same truths by the spirit of God.

    In response to your post, I’d like to offer an opinion. I think Paul and Jesus perhaps didn’t have a different message after all. They both spoke of the “salvation” (actually healing or deliverance) of all from Adam’s curse (death), and they both spoke of the necessity of living by the “Law of Love.” The only difference, I think, was emphasis, based on their audience. Jesus knew that the Jews already knew all would be delivered from death (as declared by the prophets), so He focused on teaching them how to earn citizenship in the Kingdom of God, which is different than resurrection. Becoming a citizen of the Kingdom of God is accomplished by living justly with all and bringing justice, an expression of love, to earth. Paul’s audience, on the other hand, did not know that they would be saved from death by the work of Christ, since they had not been previously “called out” for this understanding.

    Anyhow, good stuff and glad I found your blog.

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  3. Hey Nelson, I really enjoyed this post too. I’m the husband of Julie who’s book George is helping to edit. In addition to the book that she is writing we have a website planned that will be anti tradition/orthodoxy and organized religion and will support what we see as the true Gospel. I’m a professional web developer, so we have some fairly big plans for the site. In any case, I really like your writing style and think you’d bring a fresh perspective to the site as a guest blogger. I’ll let you know when Julie’s book comes out and we can send you a copy or you’ll be able to download it inexpensively in e-book format.

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    • Julie and Steve, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

      Keep me posted on the website and the book. I think there is to much orthodoxy and dogma in the world. So, your projects sound exciting. I love to write so anytime you need a guest blogger, I’m your guy.

      Thanks again.

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  4. I really enjoy your posts even though i disagree with some parts. I think you should keep it up, i think the sooner people realize that it is the teachings and character of Jesus that when emulated will make people’s lives better and not thinking he is God or son of God, God doesn’t have a wife.

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    • Thanks for stopping in Naz. My thoughts are a bit unorthodox I suppose. I respect everyone’s right to believe as they wish. I believe we all have the right to question everything. As Jefferson said, “”Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”

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  5. Going through this post, its my sincere feeling that you own the exact idea of what are you talking about.I seriously wish to congratulate you for zeal for the work you own that has made you stand today at this stage.Genuinely,there has not been even once that I have visited your post and went without acquiring some good information.Keep it up.And yes i have tweeted your site quest4light.wordpress.com .

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