Why Jesus

When I was a child, I believed in Jesus. My mom told me that Jesus loved me and should I die, I would go to heaven. But.

Later on she told me about sin and bad things, and that if sinned, Jesus would not take me into heaven, but send me to hell. And that I needed to pray and repent.

This was abhorrent to me. And for many years I just rejected the notion of christianity and became an atheist. Yet, around me I could see signs of spirituality. Could spirituality exhist without Jesus?

So I studied the matter. Who is Jesus, and what is his message?

He does have two aspects, or faces. And he refers to his "father" as the big boss. Consider the scene at the garden of Gethsemane, when he prays to his father asking that he be spared the suffering.

This is explained that since God took the body of a man, that he has an internal struggle of sorts.

We also know that he was tempted by satan: "And he took him to a high place and showed him all of Galilee, and said to him, 'all that you see I will give to thee if thou but bow before me.'" That episode did not go well for satan.

There is no question that the Jesus depicted in the New Testament was a much different and tolerant man than the typical one of the day. He was open to women, and to be careful in judging others: "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." I do not think that scene would have played out in 2008, but he took the chance and it worked out okay that day.

He is said to have loved mankind, and that we are his special creation. In John 3:16 it says, "For god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whomever believeth in him shall not die, but have life everlasting."

Many people think that is a beautiful passage. I think it is absolutely horrible and despicable. Lets parse it a bit.

"He so loved the world." OK, lets grant that. After all, he spent 6 days making it.

"That he gave his only begotten son." Now here, it gets more bizarre. But I'll come back to this later.

"Whomsoever believeth in him shall not die but have life everlasting." This is the stick and the carrot part.

He is not granting any favors. It is basically saying that we need to be "saved" otherwise we go to hell. It doesn't say "go to hell", it says die, but we can assume that it is a figurative death of the soul, because we KNOW everyone eventually dies.

Imagine if this scene involved your parents.

"Tommy," says dad, "you got to do like your mom says. If you do, you will get your icecream. If you don't, we will take you to the outhouse, lock you up, burn you with cigarette butts, not feed you, and when you die we will put you in a garbage sack and send you to the dump."

Not a very encouraging way of parenting, I say.

Then there is the matter of God sending his son to atone for the sins of the world. How can someone else take the guilt of the perpetrator? What do you think of this hypothetical courtroom scene:

"Your honor," says the dad, "I know Tommy was bad. Very bad. But please do not punish him by sentencing him to death. Take me instead and put me to death and let Tommy go."

This would not carry in court. Tommy is guilty. He is not going to be released to murder and pillage again, and let dad take the Rap. Also, there is a problem with this story ... it has all the roles reversed, so lets try again.

"Your honor, I know that Billy, David, and Mike were bad boys. They raped and killed and burnt down some houses. But really, we can forgive this, can't we? No? Well, take my son Tommy instead. He is innocent, but you can torture and execute him, just one boy, and let the other three go." That is better. You can bet it would fly like a lead balloon in court.

In short, you can't send Tommy, or Jesus, to take the blame for the sins and transgressions of others. You are punishing the wrong guy. Only in the most childlish interpretation of justice would such an idea germinate. It would have the opposite effect: "Do whatever you want, Jesus will take the heat."

Now that we have arrived at that conclusion, we ask ourselves, what is sin? Before you say something specific, like murder, we have to think a bit. I guess a sin is doing something that is against the commandments of God. Of course, most of the commandments are common sense, like the murder one, or the don't steal one, which are obvious social order issues, but some are not so. For instance, 'thou will keep the sabbath holy.' Presumably, if you do not worship at the appointed time, when you die, you go to the hot place.

There are several problems with the ten commandments, mostly in what they do not say. Rape, slavery, war and a host of things are not there. Would it be because in the biblical days when an Army conquered the heathen enemy, it was fair game to Rape the girls, and enslave all the captives that were not executed outright? There are many examples in the bible about this, I leave it as an excercise for you to find.

This so called Christian god revels in killing innocents. Take Sodom and Gomorrah. This is where Lot begged God to spare the towns, if he could find 100-10-1 "just" person. Failing to find one, he left town and God rained down fire and brimstone on them, for they were wicked.

Think of all the children that died. Little ones, babies, toddlers, little girls with ribbons in their hair. What about them? Were they wicked? I shudder to think of really having a God like that.

But at least, in the old testament, if you weren't jewish at least you could live out your life in ignorance and bliss with no retributions. But then, Jesus shows up.

With Jesus, it gets more serious. He introduces the concept of life after death, to be one where the person is judged and rewarded or punished. The biggie, among all christians, is that you have to BELIEVE in order to be saved. Noone else is saved.

That is terrible. Who would want that? But, good Christians they were, they started rounding up jews, muslims, witches, pagans and who knows who else, and taking them to the dungeon and torturing them. In the end, if they converted, they were executed but they were assured their souls were going to heaven. If they did not convert, they were also executed but they went to hell. Nice people.

Many Christians I know are decent, good people. I have nothing against them. My beef is with the tenets of Christianity.

The Christian religion is based on fear, domination and intolerant righteousness. When a Christian is about to die, he stands at the edge of the abyss. Below is swirling mists. When he dies, he falls into the mists. Are the angels there waiting so sweep him up and take him to heaven? Or does he plunge into hidden rocks and the fire pits of hell? Every Christian has that fear. What if he forgot to ask for forgiveness on the one sin that is condemning him?

I've always thought that Jesus saying to believe in him or face the music is the most attrocious thing ever. What God would create a whole world, and then treat it like that? Of course, if you are a Christian, you can believe that having created the world he can have his own rules, and dictate the law to his minions.

I, for one, trust in a better belief.