In December I wrote a piece about Jesus’ suspicious birth. This being Lent and leading up to Easter, I’d now like to speculate on his mysterious life and the circumstances surrounding his questionable death.
For the record, since I have no concrete proof to the contrary, like the Jews and some Christian sects, like the Unitarians, I, too, am a psilanthropist, which means that I believe that Jesus was a mere mortal man and not of divine birth or legacy. Well, think about it. If the Jews themselves don’t even claim their own soul brother as being the Messiah or the “King of the Jews,” why do Christians accept him so readily as “All That”? In fact, Judaism does not acknowledge Jesus at all, at least the services in which I have participated. I would think that he would be accepted for the mere fact that he was a practicing Jew like themselves. He was even a rabbi!
Some people can be so fickle. The story goes that on the day that Christians commemorate as Palm Sunday, Jesus arrived in Jerusalem amid much pomp and ovation by the people. They’re cheering him, weltering him with palm fronds and calling him “Hosanna, Son of David” and “King of the Jews,” and only five days later (liturgically speaking), it’s probably these same people who are clamoring for his hide, wanting to kill him.
A Latin passage from the Nicene Creed is often translated as, “He suffered under Pontius Pilate…“ Jesus’ subsequent suffering was not Pilate’s doing, according to the Scriptures. The Roman governor didn’t want anything to do with him. He tried to pass him off to Herod, but Herod didn’t want him either, so he was sent back to Pilate, who still couldn’t find any valid reason to detain him or have him killed. So he turned him over to the people to let them decide Jesus’ fate. They are the ones who demanded that he be crucified. See how quickly people will turn on you? By the way, was it the Jews who named it “Good Friday”?
Incidentally, even though I don’t regard Jesus as divine and such, like Thomas Jefferson I do agree with his Biblical philosophy and try to follow his teachings. You know, it’s rather ironic that so many people who call themselves Christians are such judgmental racists, homophobic hate-mongers and advocates of war, which is so anti-Christian, and I who love everybody, but because of my beliefs, or rather lack thereof, I cannot be considered a true Christian. Is that fair? I am a follower of Christianity as a way of life, but I can’t be a “Christian.” So I guess I am more of a philosophical Christian than a denominational one. These faux Christians like to redefine Christianity to suit their own purposes.
Here is a reminder for the anti-Semites, those who hate all Jews but claim to be Gentile Christians, like some of your Klansmen, Nazis and Skinheads. They try to justify their bigotry by reminding us that it was the Jews who killed Jesus. But since Jesus himself was a Jew (and probably not all that white either!), why should they even care? They don‘t like Jews either, do they? And people of like persuasions are always killing each other. So, what‘s your beef? “Blessed Mother” Mary and all of the original Apostles also were Jews. The scriptures that they like to quote are all of Jewish origin, as well as most of the Biblical characters. The aforementioned all practiced Judaism, too, and it wasn’t Jesus himself who founded Christianity. It was established later on in his name, by Jews! It is they who were the original “Jesus Freaks.”
My point is that these people cannot be both. It’s hypocritical to bear hatred toward another fellow human being, including Jews, and still maintain their devout Christendom. But since these people’s attitude and sentiment is most likely based on their own ignorance, they haven’t even considered and probably are not even aware of what they are protesting against. They just accept what their parents tell them. They don’t bother to think for themselves.
In the widely-circulated King James version of the Bible, and others, too, I’m sure, why are there written accounts only about Jesus’ birth and the few days before his alleged death and resurrection? For somebody this important to humankind, I would think that his every move would have been observed and followed and documented and that there would be complete records somewhere of his entire life. Where were all the reporters and paparazzi when we really needed them? Why did they lose track of him for all that time? I guess he apparently was not considered to be all that special until much later on. It was the people around him who made him what he was. A person normally doesn’t declare themself a hero, for example. They are proclaimed so by someone else.
In 1966 when John Lennon made that offhand comment about The Beatles being more popular than Jesus ever was, he received much public outcry and criticism from religious zealots, at least in this country, calling him disrespectful and sacrilegious and campaigning to boycott the group’s records and concert appearances. Some people take minor things so seriously. In my opinion, that was nothing to get all bent out of shape about. John was just stating a fact, and although I consider his remark uncalled for and totally unnecessary, it is not at all untrue. The Beatles at that time were more popular than Jesus. Jesus never made 25 million dollars in one year’s time or sold millions of copies of his sermons and performed to sold-out crowds. But why state the obvious? Some opinions should be kept to oneself. It was just the subject reference Lennon used that caused the controversy. If he had said that they were more popular than, say, Adolf Hitler, I don’t think anybody would have minded.
There were originally some eighty Gospel accounts written for the New Testament, most of them telling a very different story about Jesus. One of these is the Gospel of St. Thomas, which relates the childhood of Jesus. Although I don’t know if he considered himself divine, at an early age Jesus was already displaying attitudes of self-importance and worth. He was even described as an arrogant brat, a real “Dennis the Menace.” He argued with his teachers and fought with his playmates. There is a report of him pushing another little boy off a roof where they were playing and killing him! It was Constantine the Great who set about to rewrite and edit the New Testament, omitting all of those books that regarded Jesus to be a mere mortal man and instead turned him into a divine entity who could do no wrong.
The Gospel of Mary tells of Mary Magdalene’s relationship with Jesus and of her role as the true founder and proponent of Christianity, not Apostle Peter, as other versions contend. There is the recently-discovered Book of Judas, too, that depicts the disciple as a misunderstood hero rather than the hated traitor that he is believed to be by most people. What did he do that was so wrong or terrible? Jesus told Judas what he was about to do, so he chose not to make a liar out of him. Why should he have turned down the money offered him? Wouldn’t most anyone have taken it?
And why is Peter let off the hook? He was just as traitorous as Judas. Several times he denied even knowing Jesus when asked directly. Why? Was he afraid of guilt-by-association, that he would be hauled off, too, as an accomplice? Did any of the other disciples intervene when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus? So I don’t think it’s fair to single out Judas as the only betrayer. They are all guilty, it would appear. It seems that all of our unanswered questions and speculations about some Biblical characters and events are the result of suppression and can be found in those omitted Gospels, and the version with which most of us are familiar is all a whitewashed and biased fabrication.
I relate in my On the Road with Cliff blog, that during my tours in Israel in 2008, I was dismayed by the fact that many of the Biblical historical landmarks have been obliterated and replaced with a church or some other edifice, to make them more tourist-worthy, I suppose. Just about everywhere that Jesus walked or did anything noteworthy, there is a church on the very spot to commemorate it. I would have preferred instead to see how all these places looked originally, to get some sense of the historical integrity of the locations.
(# O sacred ‘head’ now wounded… #)
January 1, being a week after Christmas, has also been designated the Feast of the Circumcision, the day that Christians celebrate Jesus’ circumcision. I tell you, everything that involves that man is a big deal. Since we know so little about Jesus’ life, I suppose that everything he did is deemed to be important. I’m surprised that they haven’t designated the day that Jesus first became potty-trained and celebrate that event every year, with a church on the spot where he took his first dump! But I am wondering why was it necessary for Jesus to be circumcised anyway? I know it’s a Jewish thing and all, based on prospective procreation practices (see my For the Bible Tells Me So essay for the explanation). But if he was destined to die young and remain a purported lifetime celibate (for those who don’t accept the following married-with-children scenario), what difference would it make if he kept his foreskin? Who was even going to see it? That right there, for me, questions his supposed divinity. But how do we know if Jesus actually was circumcised? Who performed the procedure? Might Joseph have been his mohel? There are too many unwarranted assumptions about a lot of things related in the Bible. Who actually witnessed all of those events? Just because it’s written somewhere does not make it so.
Someone so important to our humanity, I would think that somebody would have taken a closer account of Jesus’ life and activities. Without those missing gospels that we have not been privy to all these years, we know next to nothing about his growing-up years and young adolescence, only of the few months (or possibly few years) before his subsequent crucifixion. Where was he and what was he doing during all that time? Some scholars have conjectured that Jesus might have gone to India and studied Buddhism there. He apparently was quite educated in religious and spiritual matters, which I’m sure he didn’t learn from anyone in Nazareth, or wherever the hell he grew up.
Now, thanks to Dan Brown’s mystery novel The Da Vinci Code and other publications, a long-buried, much more controversial account of Jesus has finally come to light. For those who are not familiar with the book or the movie made from it, it involves the legend of the Holy Grail with a new twist. You see, the Spanish word sangreal can be divided in two ways. “San greal” means “Holy Grail,” but “sang real” means “royal blood.” Until I read the book, I always thought, just as most of us, that the Holy Grail referred to the cup, or chalice, that Christ and his disciples drank from during the Last Supper. Other accounts claim that it’s the cup which held his blood at the Crucifixion, which may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. You see, it turns out that the Grail is not just a cup, if really that, but so much more. The Grail holds symbolic and metaphorical proportions.
According to Brown and other theological historians, the Grail is actually Mary Magdalene, as it involves her marriage to Jesus Christ and their royal lineage, since Jesus and Mary M. both were descended from kings. So the Grail did contain the blood of Jesus, or rather his bloodline, but in the guise of a person, namely Mary Magdalene, not a tangible chalice, although the chalice is the symbol for the sacred feminine, or more directly, the woman’s womb. See how it all ties together?
Now, although the present Bible does not state that Jesus was married, his being an orthodox Jew, it certainly would have if he were not. There was a legal requirement for the heir to the Davidic throne to marry and produce further heirs. That would mean, then, that Jesus didn’t die how and when we have thought, but lived a full life with his wife and family. But even if their association ended with Jesus’ alleged death, Mary could have already been pregnant with their child during the time of the Crucifixion. They go on to say that she fled to France, then known as Gaul, and had the baby there, a girl named Sarah.
The Holy Grail, therefore, can also refer to the set of protected, secret documents that record the bloodline lineage of Sarah and her subsequent offspring, which certain people believe have survived to this very day! And this is what everybody is looking for. I find this evidence to be conceivably plausible. You have to read the book for all the fascinating details. The point of the story is, the reason that we didn’t know any of this is because of the elaborate, centuries-old conspiracy to cover it all up. But as with everything else, with conflicting accounts and without actual eyewitness proof, it all comes down to what we choose to believe.
Now, if you don’t buy that married-with-children scenario about Jesus but instead the commonly-accepted Biblical version, there is another aspect of denial among many Christians. And that is their resistance to the notion that Jesus might have been a homosexual, or at least bisexual. Well, why not? Let’s consider the circumstantial evidence. If you want to believe that he didn’t ever marry and had no romantic attachments with any women—except for Mary Magdalene, which doesn’t mean that he was having sex with her—then he must have preferred the exclusive company of other unmarried men. Jesus was human, so he must have had natural sexual urges. Whether he acted upon these urges with his male companions is open to conjecture. There was no reason for him not to. And being gay is not always about the sexual act anyway. Even if he was celibate, who would deign to wash a bunch of men’s old dirty, nasty feet, unless he was really into them?
In St. John 13:23 he is actually making out with “one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved” (scholars say that it is John himself). Why is John singled out over the other disciples? It appears that John was Jesus’ main man. It says that John had his head on Jesus’ breast, but what does that mean? It sounds as if they were necking. Even while Jesus was allegedly dying on the Cross, he made John the guardian of his mother, a situation reminiscent of what would happen if one half of a partnered couple dies before the other.
There are those who like to think that Jesus denounced homosexuals in the Bible. Where? He never did. There is no mention at all of homosexuality in the New Testament. On the contrary, Jesus always tried to impart to his listeners of his sermons to “love thy neighbor.” He didn’t qualify it with, “except your sinners, lowlifes, degenerates and homosexuals that you may come across.” Jesus repeatedly declared his undying love for his disciples and tried to get them to love each other as well. He never made a similar appeal to his girlfriends. Brotherly Love is a peculiarly gay philosophy.
It is written that when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas identified him by planting a kiss on him. Why a kiss? He could have merely pointed out Jesus or shook his hand. He didn’t have to kiss him unless he wanted to. Maybe that’s where the Mafiosa got their “Kiss of Death” thing from. You know, just before they have you killed, they will give you an apologetic, farewell kiss.
Just before Jesus allegedly “ascended,“ he three times asked Simon Peter, his other favorite, if he loved him. He sounds a bit insecure, doesn’t he? These Bible fundamentalists don’t want Jesus to be married and they don’t want him to be gay. They seem not to want to accept either notion. They don’t care what kind of person he actually was, I guess. People are going to believe what they want, but how much proof do they need? Do they have to catch them in the act to be convinced? Since the Bible’s writings are all about individual interpretation, I, too, can take certain passages to mean what I want them to, just as everyone else does.
It’s not unusual for someone to refer to God as their Father. We hear it all the time. When people pray, they call on “Our Father, Who art in Heaven…”—thus begins the popular Lord’s Prayer. One problem that I have with Jesus’ being divinely conceived is in deciding what the “Son of God” should be. Of all the people who existed at the time, why did God choose a Jewess peasant to have His child? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I still wonder, why her specifically? That would suggest that God is a racist or white supremacist, thus making It a gnostic person rather than a mindless, indiscriminate spirit. It causes me to conclude that Jesus’ conception and birth was all a natural occurrence and not of any mystical, planned prophecy.
“God so loved the world that He gave His only [?!] begotten Son, that whoso believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Oh, really? “He“ doesn‘t seem to love the world so much when “He“ keeps destroying it all the time. “Jesus Christ, our Lord, God’s only Son, was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.” But isn’t that everyone’s situation? I consider all embryonic conception to be begotten by God, therefore we are all “God’s Children.” So how did Jesus get that unique distinction? As far as the known Gospels go, he himself never said so. It must be a manmade pronouncement, because God Itself couldn’t have told anybody such a thing either. Moreover, in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, one of his Beatitudes states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God.“ Well, I have been a peacemaker all of my life, so then am I not a Child of God?
But for the sake of discussion, no matter how often this has been quoted, sung or explained, it still doesn’t make any sense to me. Since people have given God human personification and attitudes, why would “He” have “His only begotten son” killed for the purported purpose of saving the souls of humankind from damnation in the afterlife? What does the one thing have to do with the other? And what does Jesus’ suffering and Crucifixion have to do with any of us personally? Was he doing us all some kind of favor? Who asked him to?
I also hear all the time that “Jesus died for our sins.” What does that mean? Everyone is still sinning just as much as they did before Jesus even came along. Then are we now absolved whenever we do something bad, not like before? So if we are all absolved of all our sins, what’s stopping people from doing anything that they damned well please? That is what they are doing anyway. But how is his purported dying supposed to accomplish this absolution? And then to add to my confusion, if he allowed himself to die in order to save us, why didn’t he stay dead? What kind of sacrifice is that if he’s going to get right back up again? A martyr needs to remain dead in order to retain their martyrdom. I just don’t get it.
(# Were you there when they crucified my Lord?… #)
Well, were you? I wasn’t. How can we be absolutely sure that Jesus actually died on that cross? He might have been only rendered unconscious from sheer exhaustion and lack of food and water, exposure to the elements, whatever. A person’s pulse and heartbeat can slow down so much as to be undetectable. There was no mention of any doctors or a coroner at the scene to determine if he was really dead. How did anyone know for sure? Many people have been known to have been buried alive. Or consider the possibility that he faked his own death. That has been done, too, you know. One way to stop someone from torturing you is to play dead.
This is not solely my idea either. Dr. Hugh J. Schonfield suggested this very notion way back in 1965 in his book The Passover Plot. And Jesus had performed magic tricks in public before. Its being the Sabbath and all (how convenient!), they couldn’t do anything with him until Sunday, which is what he was counting on, so they just wrapped his body and laid him on a slab in a tomb. If he had been subject to our modern postmortem techniques, such as being drained of all his blood, pumped with embalming fluid, then put under the ground, or even cremated, I guarantee you that there would have been no getting back up three days later, or ever, I don’t care whose son he was!
The same goes for Lazarus. There is some documented evidence that he wasn’t dead either. What if all the lame people that Jesus made walk already could walk? Maybe they didn’t know that they could, because they hadn’t tried in a long time. Jesus told them to have faith in themselves, and it worked. I’m sure that all of those so-called “miracles” in the Bible can be explained scientifically, too, that is, if they even happened at all. Nope, I don’t take much stock in blind faith when it comes to Biblical matters. Without any real proof of anything, again it all depends on what we choose to believe.
Still keeping an open mind, however, as I like to consider all possibilities, suppose that I contend that Jesus did die as a result of his crucifixion? Then this newly-risen Christ that everybody thought they were seeing could have been only a spiritual apparition, a ghost, if you will. As it is even now, I’m sure that even in those days, people didn’t readily believe in ghosts. So instead of admitting that’s what it was, they chose to believe that Jesus was alive and well. He wouldn’t let anybody touch him, because he knew that they couldn’t. Some, however, like Jesus’ homeboy, Thomas, at first didn’t believe that he had returned from the dead. He had to show him his nail holes and pierced side before he would accept it. Why didn’t Thomas recognize him? His appearance apparently had changed drastically in just a few days. I think it was probably because his ghostly image would have been vague and undefined.
During the forty-day period between his “resurrection” and “ascension” Jesus appeared here and there several times. One of the Gospels reports that once while Jesus was breaking bread with his disciples, he miraculously vanished from their sight. Well, ghosts are known to be able to manifest themselves and vanish at will. So then his ultimate, so-called Ascension must have been really his “passing over” or “going into the Light.”
Or perhaps he is really an extraterrestrial from another planet and proceeded to go back to where he came from. Maybe that’s where he was during those missing years when we didn’t see him. He might have come back here to take care of some unfinished business, then went back again. (“J.C., phone home.“) What did Jesus mean when he told his gang, “I am going away, but you cannot go where I am going. You are from below, but I am from above. You belong to this world, but I don’t.”? They wouldn‘t have reported that Jesus disappeared into a spaceship, not knowing that there was such a thing. So instead it‘s said that it is a cloud that Jesus disappears into.
A ridiculous notion, you might be saying? I don’t consider that explanation any more ridiculous than the one that’s in the Bible. At least my scenario has some element of plausibility, if you accept the probability of alien space travel, whereas the other story borders entirely on the supernatural. “He ascended into Heaven and now sits at the right hand of God the Father.“ Really, now! Who has actually seen him there? Jesus’ being an alien would explain how he could do those miraculous public displays of faith-healing, fantastic illusions (like walking on the surface of the water) and prestidigitation (changing water into wine). Maybe that is why they couldn’t kill him. Despite my original contention that Jesus was a mere mortal, what if he was the original “Superman“?!
Once the disciples were convinced of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, they went about the land relating the story to others. Then they, in turn, proceeded to spread the word, and many were killed for spouting such nonsense. So, you see, religious genocide is nothing new. People have been killing each other for their religious beliefs for all times. (See my A Critique of Catholicism for more horrific revelations.)
Religious zealots are always talking about the Second Coming of Christ (that is, if it would be only his second return), but what do you think would happen if Jesus did come back to Earth for a visit? First of all, almost nobody would believe it. Think about it. Some guy comes along and claims that he is Jesus Christ Incarnate. I mean, he would have to identify himself, wouldn’t he, for who would recognize him? “Hey, look, isn’t that the real Jesus Christ there?” “Well, it must be. He looks just like all his pictures!” How would anybody know, unless he himself told us? You know that very few, if any, are going to take him seriously. He must be either a charlatan or a nutcase. It’s just like when somebody claims to be the real Santa Claus. They didn’t respect him the last time, what makes you think anything will be any different next time? I imagine that he would be ridiculed, persecuted, arrested, incarcerated and lynched, just as before. The idea! Somebody’s claiming to be Jesus Christ! How dare he!
Well, what do you know? I stand corrected. I have been proven wrong somewhat about my The-Return-of-Jesus theory recounted in the last paragraph. It has since come to my attention through the media that there is a guy going around today claiming to be Jesus Christ Incarnate! And I must have human nature all wrong, too, because instead of next-to-nobody buying this guy’s claim, he has thousands of believers worldwide, who follow him around everywhere and give him regular donations for his “Creciendo en Gracia” (Growing in Grace) ministry. He is a sexagenarian evangelist who goes by the name, José Luis De Jesus Miranda and lives in Doral, Florida, near Miami. His disciples don’t seem to mind that he is Puerto-Rican(!), divorced, became a heroin addict at age 14, and served time in prison for theft, before he received his “divine calling.”
I guess that the common people are more gullible, more easily-influenced and accepting than I gave them credit for. Some people just seem to need to have something and/or somebody to believe in, no matter how improbable or impractical they may be. Of course, there are those, too, who do take the cynical approach and think that this Miranda guy is more like the Devil or even the Antichrist. He constantly receives death threats which compels him to have bodyguards with him at all times. So actually, I wasn’t too far wrong before after all. I just didn’t count on the mindless lemmings in the world who tend to believe anything they’re told.
(# …Those dear tokens of his passion still his dazzling body bears, cause of endless exultation to his ransomed worshippers; with what rapture gaze we on those glorious scars!… #)
How romantic! The lyrics of some of our Christian hymns sound like an admirably amorous love affair going on with Jesus. His dazzling body? (Ooh, baby!) Glorious scars? Come on, doesn’t that seem a little weird? And rather sadistic as well, constantly glorifying Jesus’ cruel suffering and purported death. Whenever I see crucifixes displayed in churches and other places, Jesus is always almost naked except for a sash or something draped around his midsection, covering his genitals. I would think that when Jesus was hanging on the cross, he must have been butt naked. That’s part of the humiliation. They wouldn’t even give the man water to drink when he requested it, but they were so concerned about his modesty? I don’t think so. I can imagine an onlooker exclaiming, “Christ, are you hung!”
Here is one final thought. Jesus’ seven last utterances from the Cross have been recorded in the Scriptures, starting with “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” and ending with, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” But I suspect he might have said one last thing before he allegedly croaked, and that is, “I’ll be back.” So Arnold Schwarzeneggar didn’t originate that famous movie line. He stole it from Jesus!
[Related articles: A Critique of Catholicism; For the Bible Tells Me So; Heaven and Hell; I Believe; Let’s Have an Outing; Nativity Redux; Oh, God, You Devil!; Sin and Forgiveness; The Ten Commandments]