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Jesus Without Jesus

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, Jesus, Christianity, love,

The Last Supper without Jesus

As much as some people would like to believe, not all of Jesus’ teachings were about charity and love. At times, Jesus could be downright mean. In the book of Mark, the earliest of the Gospels, Robert Wright writes in the Atlantic that “Jesus’ most salient comment on ethnic relations is to compare a woman to a dog because she isn’t from Israel.”

Much of the image of Jesus as a proponent of universal love comes from the gospel of Paul, according to Wright, and Paul’s motivations may not have been entirely theological. Wright explores the idea of Paul as an “ambitious preacher of early Christianity,” who wanted to set up an expansive and franchised religious organization in an increasingly globalizing world—as much a CEO as a spiritual leader.

This reading of scripture could be dismissed as simple atheism, but Wright insists that he leaves room for “the prospect of divine purpose generically.” Christianity’s promotion of transnational love, respect, and morality may have been spiritually pragmatic, but exists within a historical widening of tolerance and amity for people generally. And if history moves gradually, and “fitfully” toward harmony, according to Wright, “then maybe some overarching purpose is built into the human endeavor after all.”

The argument bears some resemblance to one in Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. Zooey insists that 98 percent of Christians try “to turn Jesus into St. Francis of Assisi to make him more ‘lovable.’” The problem is that “If God had wanted somebody with St. Francis’s consistently winning personality for the job in the New Testament, he’d’ve picked him, you can be sure.”

SourceThe Atlantic 

ben graber
3/16/2011 10:35:53 AM

As with all literature and stories, background knowledge and context is important when analyzing and trying to derive assumptions from such stories. This story is no different. The title of the story in the bible is "Jesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith." It is true that Jesus' remark implied the woman was not a child of God but He uses the opportunity to show her faith of which many in Israel lacked. Jesus was God's son, in human form. He was God's image on earth. When we read about Jesus, we should not pick and choose certain instances to emphasize His character but rather look upon who He said He was as a whole and look upon his stories and his actions as a whole. Jesus is love and anyone who reads the bible in depth cannot deny that. I wrote this message because it saddens me when we try to make excuses for Truth that we do not want to believe. Jesus was also called a "stumbling block" and a "two-edged sword" that pierces our hearts and shows us for who we really are. He shows our inner-most thoughts and intentions and we stumble when we are confronted with the Truth that He brings. I encourage all to read and genuinely study the bible; look at God's Word in depth. You may be surprised at what you discover.


janet anderson_9
4/23/2009 7:50:59 PM

Years ago, I read in Mark that Jesus compared a woman to a dog because she was not from Israel. Jesus also condemned a fig tree because it wasn't producing figs, even if the tree wasn't in season to produce figs. He also ruined a man's livelyhood by sending his pigs over a cliff. Jesus also wasn't a family man. His mother thought he was nuts. When I asked ministers about all this - i.e., Jesus being mean, they tell me "maybe He didn't say this", and I replied "what about the other stuff in the Bible that's good - did He say that?" Ministers would be mad at me for asking these questions. Needless to say, I'm not a Christian.


sam howe_1
4/8/2009 6:42:29 AM

I agree 100%. Jesus was not all lovey hugs & kisses if you read the gospels they show Jesus to be very harsh at times. Although I beleive him to be loving and full of love the saying is true in his case "tough love" & "cruel to be kind". In the instance with the woman whom he called was more of a test, testing the waters, seeing how she would respond to his rebuke. Ultimately his methods were radical and different for those who observed and it is true that today we have many differing opinions on the man and the way he went about things. Regards, Sam http://www.harambeeinstitute.org