The following topic is going to upset some people, so apologies in advance. But I think it’s a question that needs to be considered and discussed widely: the possibility that Jesus was not only not divine, but that he may have also been not such a great guy.
In our culture it’s mandatory to pay lip-service to the “greatness” of historic religious teachers, less we offend the fragile sensibilities of the faithful. Never mind the fact that Buddha started his religious career by deserting his wife and children forever, and Mohammed clearly had major issues with anger, violence and polygamy.
What about Jesus? Upon re-reading the gospel of Mark the other day, I was struck by how angry and short-tempered he seems. He basically calls a Syro-Phoenician woman a “dog” (7:27) He condemns sinners to eternal torment in hell (9:47-48). When he is hungry, he curses a random fig tree for having no figs to eat (11:14)–just to mention a few instances.
Throughout the gospels he appears to have a problematic relationship with his own family. He’s even rude to his mother. (John 2:4) Jesus also encourages people to leave their families for “the sake of the gospel.” (I’ve always wondered where the evangelicals get their “family values” from–because they certainly aren’t in the New Testament.)
Is it possible that when most people talk about Jesus they are projecting their own values on him, rather than drawing their values from him. We have a tendency to create the Jesus we want to see. Was he a revolutionary? a contemplative? a pacifist? a liberal? a conservative? All the above or none of the above?
Of course, we’ll never really know because we will probably never know what he actually said. It is pretty clear from reading the gospels that much of what Jesus allegedly said was put into his mouth posthumously by the early Christian community.