I was recently accused, on another site, of having a down on Jesus and saying that Jesus was a hateful nut. I need to put that straight. I am an antitheist because I believe all religion is harmful. I believe it is manmade superstition that does a lot of harm to the psychology of humans and has been the cause of conflict, division, violence and war right down the ages.
I never said anywhere that Jesus was a nut and hateful. I say the religion of Christianity is a power game created by men (like all religions). I said the bible was the work of man written with all the baggage of the misogynistic, sexually repressed Arab culture that spawned it. I said that Jesus was an ordinary man who was the leader of a small Jewish cult. He was elevated into his current position for political reasons by actions of both St Paul and Constantine.
I have quite a lot of respect for some of the things Jesus was purported to have said (we’ll never know what he really said because it was all written down from word of mouth long after his death). What he was preaching was a compassionate, loving, caring brand of Judaism that must have been quite revolutionary for its time. Those were violent, highly conservative times. The culture was largely an oppressive theocracy. Anyone opposing it could find themselves stoned to death for blasphemy.
As such I contend that Jesus was a proto-socialist. I don’t think I find too much of what Jesus was purported to have said that I disagree with. I find tons about the Christian religion that I would disagree with.
I don’t think Jesus would have supported burning women in barrels of burning tar as witches or stoning people to death for adultery or blasphemy. I don’t think he would have been leading witch hunts, crusades against the Muslims or pogroms against the Jews. I don’t think he would have been torturing people in dungeons or burning them at the stake because they were Catholic. I don’t think Jesus would have supporting hoisting people up in cathedrals with weights dangling from them to dislocated all their joints or filling their guts with water and rolling logs over them to rupture their intestines. Or throwing captured enemy alive down a well to rot.
Or thousands of other jolly things the Christian Church has got up to over the years.
I don’t think Jesus would be walking around today with a gun or separating kids from their parents, or turning away refugees, or demonising Muslims, or supporting wars, bombing civilians, or supporting a capitalist system that benefits the top 1% and creates mass poverty, division and hatred.
I think Jesus would be supporting a more loving, compassionate attitude and a much fairer system because I believe Jesus was a proto-socialist.
I find a lot of powerful, wealthy Christians complete hypocrites who use their religion for personal gain.
It is religion that is the problem, not Jesus. I could be a follower of Jesus (as a wise man – and certainly not as a god) on social matters. What he said about sharing, giving to the poor, valuing all people and shunning violence fits well with my philosophy.
As for the rest of the man-made religion with all its violence, scaremongering and fear – I find that all too human and all too horrendous pie in the sky, control and power. It’s being used to prop up a corrupt system.
As such I don’t misrepresent Jesus. In my opinion he was a man, an ordinary man, who made a lot of sense on a number of things and was a product of his age – nothing more.
As for the god and spiritual side of things – well that is another, very lengthy debate.
But no – I don’t believe in any representation of anything I would call god – or any afterlife that you might recognise – and certainly not heaven and hell and some vindictive being who sadistically torturers non-believers. My belief in spirituality is more akin to atomic energy and a flow, a universal harmony, that runs through everything.
The worst things about religion are the brainwashing of kids and the stultifying affect of the psychological impact of the underlying threat. Believe in this – do this – and you will be given eternal life – failure to believe or belief in the wrong god – commit a sin and you will be doomed forever to burn in hell. What a terrible thing to load on a human being. Especially when, as with the Abrahamic tradition, you load the whole thing with the Arabic misogynistic, repressive attitudes towards sex. So everyone is a sinner. We must all feel guilt and beg forgiveness or we will burn. Our sexuality is dirty and god hates it.
I believe that is an attitude that has crippled our culture.