Thursday, November 06, 2008

Jesus the whip-cracker

Today I read a blog from an unbeliever about Jesus. I do not agree with everything this person says but I do share some of the sentiment... a little long but worth the read.

Jesus the Whip Cracker
He was NOT a "man of Peace"!

By Tiffany Ranae, published Sep 08, 2006

I’m getting a little sick of so-called “Christians” that attack me for telling the truth about their religion. They are undoubtedly the same sort of people that would have crucified their savior in order to protect the sanctity of their organization. It’s one thing for non-believers to get it wrong about Christ. They likely haven’t been exposed to His teachings…but rather the rhetoric surrounding his teachings… and to his so-called “followers”, MOST of whom have never even completed reading the defining document of their faith. So, if you are a Christian, Let me boil it down into bite sized chunks for you.

A lot of people believe Jesus was a man of peace, the sort of guy that wouldn’t say &$#@ if he had a mouthful of it, a passive sort who “turned the other cheek” as a way of being nice. While for sure, Jesus was kind to children and compassionate to the poor, the sick, and those truly seeking God’s kingdom, he had nothing but vehemence, violence, venom and hatred for those who got in the way of those who wished to know his father, God. You don’t believe me? Consider this, the account in Matthew of Jesus “cleansing the temple” and some of the immediate aftermath (Matthew 21:12-19)

“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them," 'My house will be called a house of prayer, 'but you are making it a 'den of robbers."

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant. "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?" And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night. Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.

Here’s the account of the story from the book of John (John 2:14-16): “In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

” Dear readers, Jesus didn’t just kick over some tables. He didn’t just have a little temper tantrum, and he was NOT out of control. Consider these things: 1) Immediately after he kicked the tables over and drove the money-changers out, he stopped to heal people. He had done what he was there to do. 2) He didn’t just kick over tables. He didn’t just brandish a whip. HE MADE THAT WHIP! And he USED IT! 3)

As to the fig tree, My personal take is he was still a bit grumpy from the day before. In any case, he made his point. Bear fruit or DIE! It’s important to understand exactly what it was that got Jesus so riled up. So I will explain it. The temple laws were such that only temple currency could be used to pay for sacrificial animals. It was a way that the religious people had of sticking it to the Roman Government that occupied their land. Jerusalem, on the day in question was abuzz in activity. Its was the celebration pf Passover and Jews from all over swarmed into the city to offer sacrifice to God for the sins of the previous year. The moneychangers charged exorbitant rates. Furthermore, they had the racquet on what was and what was not a “clean animal”. The merchants at the temple also jacked up the prices on the “clean” animals, making it nearly impossible for the common man to offer sacrifice. In essence, it was price gouging.

Jesus was concerned with only one thing in life, taking away the impediments between humans and their creator. Profiting from worship on the backs of poor men and women, and making sacrifice to God cost prohibitive is what set Jesus off that day. It made him VIOLENT. We often assume that because Jesus raised no hand against those who killed him that he was an advocate of non-violence. The above account clearly demonstrated that he was not.

Do you want further proof that non-violence was not part of the message of Jesus? Consider this: Matthew 10:34-39 (Jesus speaking) "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man's enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

To be fair, he did also say “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) However, to assume that a man who would say such things is only about peace, kindness, and charity is to be illiterate.

Jesus spared no opportunity to call the Pharisees “snakes” and “hypocrites”. He spared no opportunity to use the Pharisees as examples of how not to live. In the end, it was the Pharisees, the MOST RELIGIOUS PEOPLE OF THAT DAY that killed Jesus. For three years they tried to trip him up. They chastised him for hanging out with sinners and “tax gatherers” (By the way, the tax gatherer thing was ALL ABOUT POLITICS, the underground struggle between the Roman occupation and The land promised the Jews by God). Jesus answer to them was, “It’s not the healthy who need a physician, it’s the sick and the lame.

For those of you who think “turn the other cheek” was a way of advocating non-violence, think again. It was about POWER! If your attacker has no power over your emotions, no power over your actions, and no power over your decision making process, then no matter what he does, you have won. Other great leaders have understood that as well, Ghandi and Martin Luther King among them.

Jesus was not a man of peace. He had one message, a drum he beat continually “The Kingdom of God is at hand!” A lot of people would have you believe that “At hand” means “coming soon”. In reality “At hand” means, reach out and GRAB IT! People wonder why it is that I bag on so-called “Christians” so much. The reason is simple. Unless their primary message in life is “The Kingdom of God is at hand”, they are not Christ like. Unless they will stop at NOTHING to remove the impediments to humankind seeing the Father God, they are not Christ like. Unless they bear fruit, they are not Christ like. If they live the sorts of lives that concern themselves with the legalities of religion rather than the relationship of God to his people, they are not Christ like. If they hang out amongst the people that they get along with, who believe as they do on everything concerning God, they are not Christ like. If they are not concerned with the business of healing the sick and the lame, if they put religion over God, if they put self preservation over message, then ladies and gentlemen they are NOT CHRIST LIKE!

Why am I so tough on Christians? I am so tough on Christians because I believe people should be held accountable to the titles they take on. I believe people should be held accountable to be LIKE someone, if they espouse a title that claims they are disciples of that someone. I believe that the teachings of Christ could change the world. I am not a Christian, but I believe that there is value in at least attempting to be as Christ like as possible. Jesus always pointed the way to his father. So if you feel like I put you down. If you feel I have been unfair, if you feel I am angry, if you feel that my tone is mean spirited, then stop before you type it out. And tell me this. WHAT WOULD JESUS DO??? It is not me that must be held accountable for acting as Christ did, for I refuse to label myself with the title of “Christian”. If however you label, yourself as such, then ACT like it or shut the hell up!

The Pharisees were al about morality codes. Jesus was about showing people God’s kingdom. The Pharisees were about keeping order. Jesus was about showing people God’s kingdom. The Pharisees were about self preservation, so much so that they killed Jesus. Jesus was about showing people God’s Kingdom. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. He did not come into the world to condemn it. He came to save it. He came that men might have life and have it more abundantly. If you are pointing the way to “godly behavior” instead of the way to God, you are in the way. If you are pointing out immorality and injustice, but not God’s Kingdom, you are in the way. Point out God’s kingdom or get out of the way!
What is God’s kingdom? It is by no accident that in Genesis God created his perfect world, a place where man did not know good from evil, where he ate freely from every tree of the garden EXCEPT that one, a world in which man communed with creation peacefully as a caretaker. God’s kingdom is a life free from guilt, in which the only sin is any action that does not first consider the best good of the part of creation with which we have been entrusted. It’s a life wherein we may eat freely from any tree of the garden, EXCEPT for the one that gives us the perception of knowledge regarding what is good and what it evil. No war has ever been fought that didn’t emanate from a differing opinion on good vs. evil. What is it that will kill mankind if we don’t get this message? It’s simple, the repercussions of assuming to know good vs. evil for others, the repercussions of taking our focus off of our job of looking after the best interest of the garden, and the repercussions of having a perception that we know good vs. evil had been what has killed billion in war and caused untold zillion of fights between men will be what ultimately kills mankind. The only cure for that is finding God’s Kingdom once again in our lives. Why do I bag on Christians so much? In their quest to point out the immorality in the world, they forgot all about God’s Kingdom. They forgot to be like the savior that they claim to follow. I think it’s fair to hold them accountable. Don’t you?

Interesting thoughts...

4 comments:

Julie B. said...

quiet interesting

Kate said...

I think she's pretty dead. Christianity isn't supposed to be a passive lifestyle of turning the other cheek. Its meant to drive us to act impart of those injustices have occured.

Kate said...

i meant dead on... lol

Gary said...

"If however you label, yourself as such,[Christian] then ACT like it or shut the hell up!"

OUCH!