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Old 11-13-2010, 01:26 AM
 
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Leaving beside the rather tricky historical question for the moment -

Simply using the Bible stories that we do have what if any defects in the moral teachings and character of Jesus Christ do you see?

TY for your comments.
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:33 AM
 
Location: S. Wales.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wintertao View Post
Leaving beside the rather tricky historical question for the moment -

Simply using the Bible stories that we do have what if any defects in the moral teachings and character of Jesus Christ do you see?

TY for your comments.
Selfishness

Matthew 1 and Luke 5 Jesus 'calls' the disciples and they leave their ol' dad flat in the boat with no help. Mark, seeing the problem, amends his text to include some hired men.

Dissembling
Matthew 5. if anyone until the end of the world teaches people to set aside even the least of the Law and teaches others to do the same, he will be least. Jesus does not come to abolish the Law but to complete or fulfill it . But he repeatedly quarrels with Pharisees about sabbath observance and dismisses the idea of 'clean' (kosher) food.

Evasive.
While being questioned on Tax matters, he wriggles out of God's people paying taxes to Rome by referring to Caesar's head on the money and, while saying that God's children are not obliged to pay the temple tax, he pays up nevertheless to avoid trouble. (Matthew 17.27). Also evades a direct question about why he disrupts the temple proceedings with a 'you too' pot and kettle remark (Mark 11-28 - on). And he is evasive to his own brothers, who he clearly distrusts, about his momements. (John 7.8 - the excuse that he is saying I am not going yet will not bear the translation)

spiteful

Believers may say that is not the 'real' law or Jesus was talking about the commandments (which includes sabbath observance) or something vague like 'love your neigbour' Jesus dissembles about that, too. Luke 11. 37 reworks the 'Clean food' scene to be a pharisee's invitation to dine. As thanks for the invite, Jesus calls them fools and accuses them of greed and wickedness. No love lost there.

unbalanced.

Matthew 16. 18 Jesus blesses Cephus and hands him the 'keys of heaven'. (though he does the same for all the disciples at 18.18) but he also tells the disciples they don't have enough faith to cure a boy before and flatly tells cephus that he is on the side of men, rather than God.

ignorant.
Matthew 16.17 Jesus tells Peter, who has recognized him as the Christ (messiah), Son of the living God that God, not man had told him. But ne ought to have knowm that it was John the Baptist who had first
told them that Jesus the messiah and Andrew told Simon. John 1. 41.

As a precedent for sabbath - breaking he cites the tale of David and the shewbread (Matthew 12. 4) . Only an idiot could have thought that David - hardly a perfect example of behaviour - eating shewbread with priestly permission was a good precedent for dismissing the commandment of sabbath observance.

But then he delights is foolishness and idiocy. In Luke 10. 21, he thanks God fervently for unquestioning gullibility and the witholding of any favour from the wise.

Ungrateful.
Although the samaritans give him a warm reception, John 4.39, Jesus treats the samaritans with contempt Matthew 10.6

Unfilial.

Not only does he predict with relish that families will be violently divided because of him an his teachings, but he constantly preaches that loyalty to him transcends family ties and illustrates that by responding to the message that his family had come to see him that his
family was his followers. Anyone who doesn't turn his back on his own people to follow him can't expect any part of the kingdom of Heaven, he says.

Unpatriotic.

he was sent to the Jews - the lost sheep of israel, yet his partiality is towards to the gentiles. He looks forward to the destruction of the temple, Bethsaida, Capernaum (where he actually got a warm reception) and Chorasin and can't wait for the fire to be kindled.

Unreliable. After preaching long and loud about how his death and resurrection is inevitable and it is opposing God's will to try to avoid it, he tries to do so at the last minute. al Luke 22.42 and rails at God on the cross, even though he is well aware that he is supposed to raised from the dead in a few hours and the salvation of mankind depends upon it.
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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Fascinating. Great Post AREQUIPA!

Quote:
Not only does he predict with relish that families will be violently divided because of him an his teachings, but he constantly preaches that loyalty to him transcends family ties and illustrates that by responding to the message that his family had come to see him that his family was his followers. Anyone who doesn't turn his back on his own people to follow him can't expect any part of the kingdom of Heaven, he says.
In Luke 14:26 he actually tells people to hate children among the rest of their family. Why would he tell people to hate children?

Things along this track are what reminds me of a cult leader - trying to divide people totally from their existing families even from their children. And the end of the world is coming soon so give no thought of tommorow lads just follow me.
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:43 PM
 
Location: S. Wales.
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I am aware that theist apologists can do a great job in countering much of the stuff I wrote, yet, despite all the claims about what a great guy this Jesus was, I don't find him a very likeable character. he is humourless, obscure, dishonest and illogical, arrogant, unsound, hateful and spiteful.

If there was a historical Jesus, I don't believe that he was at all like that. The character which comes across is because of the writers who devised and added to much of their recieved copy. The harshness of Jesus towards Pharisees simply reflects the degree of bitterness there was between early Gentile Christians and Pharisee Jews.

The assertion that people should turn their backs on theor old life, family, wife, children and hand over everything to the 'poor' (read the Church common purse) and follow Jesus reflects the exclusivity of the early church. Paul was asked to rule on whether his Gentile christians could have relations with non Christians. He was a bit cautious but the gospel - writers go further, as they do with all their recieved Pauline views. Non - believers are to be shunned - even if they are your own family.

Jesus' unpleasant character and views reflect the character and views of the early church.

How nice that they don't behave like that any more.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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Default Analogy of the blind men:

"A number of blind men came to an elephant. Somebody told them that it was an elephant. The blind men asked, ‘What is the elephant like?’ and they began to touch its body. One of them said: 'It is like a pillar.' This blind man had only touched its leg. Another man said, ‘The elephant is like a husking basket.’ This person had only touched its ears. Similarly, he who touched its trunk or its belly talked of it differently. In the same way, he who has seen the Lord in a particular way limits the Lord to that alone and thinks that He is nothing else."

Peace!
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:03 PM
 
Location: 30-40°N 90-100°W
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It is true that if you come in with a solely "sweetness and light" view of Jesus, as I did before I read the Gospels, what you find in the Bible is a bit of a surprise.

I obviously don't think Jesus is all these negative things, some of which I think require the most negative interpretations possible, but AREQUIPA has been surprisingly open and honest about being an atheistic preacher. Besides the question asks for such a negative response. So although my instant urge was just revulsion, I guess he served the purpose intended.

Still Jesus of the Gospels is in many ways demanding, somewhat prone to harsh criticism, and presses for real change in people. He does not seem to place family as central as many modern Christians would. Granted he was living in a very clannish society, but still it did stand out to me. So if you're a non-confrontational family-oriented person, as I actually am to a degree, some of that can be a bit surprising. And if you're very much into being level-headed and rationalistic, which I decided long ago does not appeal to me in the slightest, he could sound kind of nuts at times.

Still the ideal of giving up everything for something greater, although I can see how it would upset or scare people, is or can be quite an amazing thing. Particularly as it's not about an effort at personal greatness and glory, but humble service. And some of it I think doesn't make sense if you read the Gospels alone without any commentary or reflection.
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:35 AM
 
Location: S. Wales.
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As always, a thoughtful and pretty honest post. I agree right away about looking at the negative aspects.

There are positive aspects too but I also ascribe them to the Christian views of the gospel - writers.

I feel obliged to say that, whether it appeals or not, a somewhat rational and critical approach is essential unless one is content to believe what is palpably nonsense because it feels nice. That to me is as unacceptable as being level - headed and rationalistic is to you.

If I may suggest that coming to realise that much of what is in the gospels is the invention of the writers and is not teaching of Jesus, much less God, then that realisation could remove so much of the pressure that some christians find in not being able to subscribe to some tenets which they find unappealing. They don't have to. There is no reason why they should. They are not obliged to turn their back on family just because the bible seems to suggest that they should.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 11-14-2010 at 02:50 AM..
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
As always, a thoughtful and pretty honest post. I agree right away about looking at the negative aspects.

There are positive aspects too but I also ascribe them to the Christian views of the gospel - writers.

I feel obliged to say that, whether it appeals or not, a somewhat rational and critical approach is essential unless one is content to believe what is palpably nonsense because it feels nice. That to me is as unacceptable as being level - headed and rationalistic is to you.

If I may suggest that coming to realise that much of what is in the gospels is the invention of the writers and is not teaching of Jesus, much less God, then that realisation could remove so much of the pressure that some christians find in not being able to subscribe to some tenets which they find unappealing. They don't have to. There is no reason why they should. They are not obliged to turn their back on family just because the bible seems to suggest that they should.
Good post that I can wholeheartedly agree with...although most of your posts are quite thought provoking as well...

Blessings...
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:52 AM
 
Location: S. Wales.
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In many ways I'd rather provoke thought than just be agreed with.
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:10 AM
 
47 posts, read 56,375 times
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I have noticed in discussions with friends at the coffeeshop it is just assumed by many people that everyone thinks of Jesus Christ in a universally positive light and as the "Prince of Peace" (even though he said he came not to bring peace but a sword) and up on such a pedestal they are surprised that the question would even be up for debate. I would agree and grant that there are many wonderful things about Jesus Christ - but I also see many serious flaws and negative charateristics in his personality as presented to us in the Bible. Very much a mixed and conflicted picture - as indead the Gospels themselves conflict on many things. Why I'm Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell of course has a section that touches on the OP of this thread and I'm sure most all here have read that classic Battersea Hall transcription from so long ago...

Excellent posts on the thread by all TY ~
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