Thinking bout Jesus

I am very conflicted when it comes to my thoughts on Jesus. There was a point in my life where I did think he was a great man who spread a message of peace and love, that was thanks to his portrayal in popular media and being brought up in a Lutheran church. I wanted to believe he was the son of God because people around me believed that, and I think at some points I did believe it. The image of the fair skinned blue eyed Jesus has been burned into my brain since staring at it in my grandparents’ house and other Midwestern houses when I was a kid. Of course as I got older I realized how silly that image was. There aren’t any first hand accounts of what Jesus said, so how would people have any idea of what he looked like? And the bible doesn’t give a physical description. It should also go without saying but I feel like I have to say it to many Christians, based on the region he was supposed to have been from he sure as hell would have not been of the Aryan race.

blue-eyed-Jesus

Christians of various sects give me different non-answers when the question of what Jesus exactly was comes up. It generally seems to go back and fourth when referring to him as God or as separate from God. I never understand how many Christians who say Jesus is God can also gush about how loving and kind he is. If he was literally the God we know from the Old Testament, then pretty sure that would make him a genocidal war-god. Christians that are on the fence or embarrassed to admit they believe in something as silly as the virgin birth tend to say they at least really like many of the messages he was spreading. But how do we know that what the bible says he said is accurate at all? If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest watching Life of Brian and you’ll understand what I mean. The movie also illustrates that there were many street preachers/miracle workers at the time. Based on that I think it’s very plausible that the Jesus we know today could have been based on multiple men. There are varying theories about Jesus because the only sources we have are what early followers said about Jesus, no records from the time of his supposed life. There was also the concept of a Christ or messiah in many pagan cults before Christianity arose, so the concept was not unique like many Christians today like to believe.
One of the best ways to describe the way I see Jesus is he’s pretty much like Batman or Sherlock Holmes. There have been different variations of them and many people conjure different images when those names are brought up. There are some repeating central themes throughout the iterations but there’s not exactly a clear answer of who they are. Some versions of Jesus are very admirable, but I think if people like the positive fluffy aspects of Jesus, they can also find those characteristics in many real life people today, contemporary historical figures, and many fantastic fictional characters. Rejecting Jesus as a god or the son of god or even as a historical person doesn’t mean you have to reject the positive peaceful messages associated with Jesus. I don’t literally believe in Batman but what he stands for has been a source of inspiration for me.

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19 thoughts on “Thinking bout Jesus

  1. Nice point of view of what yizus represent, love to read you on Twitter but it’s you got a nice blog too, 😁

  2. Nicely expressed view. Can you imagine 2000 years from now a stack of surviving Batman comic books being the foundation for a major religion? Seems absurd, but…

  3. I’ve said the same thing about ‘Life of Brian’ a few times!
    It was a major flavour of the time and place, the Messiah craze.

  4. There was a time I thought of Jesus (of whatever real or imagined manifestation was him) as a rebel. Someone who defied the existing religious order with an attempt at a less horrific version. For a time I saw him as a hippy.
    As much as I appreciate some of the words attributed to him, other words, like those demanding that adherence to the laws of the old testament must not be forgotten, until the end of time or something like that. These words and a few others ruined (in my mind) something that was showing a bit of promise as a improvement, a reform. A reform that could occur again and again as we humans learn more about ourselves and each other.
    As an atheist, I’ve learned so much more about these religions than I knew when I considered myself a member of one of them.

  5. You really should read outside of the whole religious thing, there are greek, roman even israeli sources writing about him as a person at the time. (I still dont believe he was the son of god) He was a historical figure and relating it to batman really dosent help your argument just shows you havent done enough research and its all based on your opinion

  6. Sorry to intrude on this little conversation but I have a question for Django.
    Are any of these writings, ‘greek, roman even israeli sources writing about him as a person at the time’ , dated to the lifetime of the messiah?
    Since the books of the testament were not written until centuries later, by people who never met Jesus, what provenance is gained by them?
    I am actually very curious. If these writings you speak of are official documents about Jesus during or straight after his lifetime, this is worthy of consideration by all researchers, believers or no. Atheists, in general, have looked a lot more closely at the historical evidence than believers. Because believers usually need little else than belief. Atheists need more. We have come to understand the times that created the ‘messiah’. We know that it was an existing story long before people and places were named, before ‘details’ of Jesus were known.
    Being a historical figure means little if the story is not authenticated. It is my view that you are correct in that, he is a historical figure, the many ‘messiahs’ of the time are historical figures.
    King Arthur is a historical figure, gained originally from stories from English communities about a king that existed and some of the supernatural events colouring the story. But actual historical research has found several possibilities that may have led to the story commonly held in that area about King Arthur.
    Is the messiah who performed miracles and came back from the dead, described in the new testament, so different a figure?
    You have admitted disbelief in his divine state, no problem. I’m actually curious if these writings you speak of are worth more investigation than the common ‘messiah’ story which by hook or by crook or by Constantine, became the tale of Jesus.

    All the best,
    Woody

    • Im an athiest aswell so your whole point that just because someone belives in it means they are boised is very untrue, and yes the sources im talking about were alive at the same time ie sources writing under Tiberius, the Roman emperor when a man called Jesus was alive. They arent directly about Jesus they just mention his being as they are written purely as historical writings to detail what was going on at the time. Dont let being an athiest cloud your judgement on fact and fiction, I dont let it cloud mine. But then again youre probably all Americans so your education system sets you up that way,its not your own fault

  7. Django … belief doesn’t automatically create bias, faith automatically creates bias.
    Historical writings not directly about Woody, but mentioning a man called Woody who was alive at the time, seems so thin a thread on which to base a conclusion that they were writing about me.
    I don’t let being an atheist cloud my judgement on fact and fiction, although it has certainly prompted me to look closely upon the difference between facts and commonly held stories, or conclusions that are not well supported by the evidence. This came from my scientifically sceptical research into psuedo-medicines, cryptids, faith-healing and ‘psychics’.
    I’m not American and not sure if I am one of the ‘all’ that you speak of. On some blogs I could be easily seen as a member of the inner circle of regular commenters, but I don’t know if i’ve reached that prestigious position here.
    When I say that I am actually very curious, it’s because I am. When I have the time I will investigate these sources that you speak of. I am hoping that they will reveal not just a man named Jesus. As a rational skeptic drawing his conclusions from the quality of the evidence, I need more than that. I’m hoping that they will reveal the very Jesus of the new testament, a man we can easily align with the story, who was leader of a break-away sect at the time.
    I’m willing to do some research.

    Your implied insult about the education received by Americans is not so classy considering the seeming intelligence of most of your words. Much of what I have seen & heard & read indicates that their education system is not all that it could be, but that’s not why we’re here, Django. Don’t talk down to us and we may even learn something from each other … hey?

    Keen to know what you think,
    Woody.

    • I like your ideas and that youre actually willing to read deeper to possibly shift your way of thinking, even if it dosent. The sign of an educated mind is the ability to entertain an idea without accepting it. And its just that in my time I have come across a very closed system of learning in the states that surprises me considering they claim to be ‘the greatest nation in the world’

      • If the facts, my conclusions based ONLY on the evidence, indicate that the truth is different than I thought it was, then my view on the subject MUST alter/change to reflect this.
        That is the skeptic’s code.
        Thanks for appreciating the path that I follow.
        To me at least, accepting an idea can come after I have absorbed all of the information on the subject that is available to me.
        Study of reliable historical records concerning religion (records with good historical provenance) has revealed little of reliable consequence regarding the existence of the Jesus.
        But you may have inspired me to look closely upon these things again, and hinted at where I may find better evidence.
        The country I live in has a good educational system (but the budget is shrinking as we type), they have a wonderful level of income per capita, many health services available to the public and probably the most beautiful women in the world.
        America has certainly had its moments, but I partially understand your frustration about the education system you are exposed to there.
        Check out this post now and then. When I have done the digging that you that have inspired, i’ll comment again about this.

        P.S. As much as I enjoy teaching, I enjoy learning even more!

        Thanks Django,
        Woody.

  8. Hi all,
    Looking again into the historical writings about Jesus, it was as I remember.
    Most of the religiously motivated sources assure the reader that historical writings, even before 33 AD, do tell about Jesus and prove he was an actual living man at this time. They go on to describe how writings (after the supposed crucifixion) mention unearthly magical powers and prove the divine or at least magical nature of the man.
    Most of the sceptical/atheist sources assure the reader that there are NO historical writings of Jesus during his supposed life and remind us that everything written about him after his apparent life are HEARSAY, which is not good evidence.
    The truth is that during this time Jesus was a common, popular name. Messiahs and all manner of ‘Saviour gods’ were also common and popular.
    The problems in interpreting these historical writings are legion. Vague mentions can be grabbed up and quickly displayed as evidence when in fact they are not evidence at all.
    But I’m glad I looked in on this subject again. I was reminded of the many theories which are still hotly debated regarding the historical Jesus and the Christians.
    Was he the Jesus of ‘The Reductive Theory’, a normal but obscure man who taught his words to others but gained little if any regard from authority because the Roman establishment had more than enough louder sects and messiahs to deal with?
    Or the ‘Triumphalist Theory’ Jesus who was pretty much as described in scripture and people gathered in multitudes to hear him?
    Jesus of Bethlehem? Jesus of Nazareth? The story is shifting and often blurry, which is why it must exist under a blanket of faith.
    There is also debate about the origin of the word ‘Christians’ as the group who gathered around Jesus. At that time a number of words where in use that can blur the meaning even further and different languages in confused the issue even more.
    ‘Chrestus’ was a name. Any invoking the word ‘Chrestians’ could be talking about followers of a particular pagan god.
    But in reading about this again it seemed to me that the word ‘Christians’ was used to describe followers of ‘Jesus’ somewhat earlier than I had thought.
    Django was right, the name appears in historical writings even before the supposed time of Jesus’ death, there is just a complete lack of evidence that this refers to the messiah in the testament. The religious writers seem happy to ignore how difficult it is to honestly assign the word Jesus to one particular man or one version of a story. Sceptical writers can feel the numbness and were long ago sick to death of rationally explaining their views only for them to be completely overlooked in future collections of logical fallacies.
    There is maybe a faster way to explain the confusion and hearsay and competing theories and stuff that make up the subject, but the subject lacks chains of evidence and reliable sources.

    No, Django, my view was not changed on this, but I did learn a few things and for that I thank you.

    All the best,
    Woody

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