Oct 15, 2014

"But Jesus never..."

Those are the three words that some of the nicer Christians start with to defend the amorality, and sometimes immorality, endemic in Christianity in particular, religion in general.
"But Jesus never asked women to be treated as inferior to men, that was Paul..."
 "But Jesus never asked homosexuals to be stoned, that was just Levitical law which no longer applies because he fulfilled..."
"But Jesus never was for the rich, remember how he moved around among the lepers and prostitutes..."
You get the picture. If Jesus is silent on a matter, they get to ascribe the most favorable motive to that silence. For example, if he was silent on homosexuality, then they get to claim that Jesus did not discriminate against homosexuals. If he did not oppose gay marriage, then he must have been for gay marriage.

I submit that the above is a piss-poor rationalization to cope with the cognitive dissonance that such Christians find in their axiomatic, if often denied, equivalence of religion and morality. It is bewildering that they suppress their moral conscience to salvage their investment in amoral scripture. After all, Jesus never spoke (in the same Bible) against the tyranny of the Roman Empire, their death-by-crucifixion form of capital punishment, their enslavement of people, or their taxation without representation. So whither that condemnation of the founding fathers, for instance? But, that is a topic for another day.

At this point, I'd urge those among these nicer Christians who use the Bible or Jesus not to justify morality, but merely to play Devil's Advocate, and to show those nastier Christians that they're being hypocritical, to either exit to your left, or jump to the spot marked X, near the end.

To continue with our regularly scheduled programming, consider narrowly the premise: "But Jesus never spoke against homosexuality or gay marriage." This is often used to justify that Christians who invoke the Bible to denounce homosexuals, are wrong. I'd like the nicer Christians to consider the following:

Note: I shall cite verses from the Bible, the KJV version specifically, because it has been the most widely used translation. Thanks to, you can use whichever version you like.

Most such Christians largely distance themselves from Levitical law and the Old Testament usually by claiming that Jesus came to, and fulfilled the law.
Matthew 5:17 King James Version (KJV)
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Now, they conveniently forget the verse that follows, but we'll simply mention it here and leave that instance of cherry-picking for another day:
Matthew 5:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Instead, let's just concentrate on what Jesus did say:
Matthew 22:37-40 King James Version (KJV)
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The larger text is what the nicer Christians remember and cite frequently, and the bolded text is what precedes it, but is invariably ignored.

Interestingly enough, someone else says pretty much the same thing earlier in the Bible. Yes, in the Old Testament:
Deuteronomy 11:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
Who is this "Lord thy God"? Incontrovertibly, that is Yahweh: Lord, God, Jesus's Pa, one of the Holy Trinity, the one with all the anger issues in the Old Testament, and the one that Jesus himself commands you to love with "all thy heart."

What else did Jesus say?
John 10:30 King James Version (KJV)
30 I and my Father are one.
That is Jesus proclaiming himself to be the same as Yahweh, or at least to be of the same spiritual substance as Yahweh. Heck, this is the one verse that Christians thump to elevate Jesus into the Holy Trinity. (And no, that is not the only verse, here's a more comprehensive list.) So at the very least, you are commanded by Jesus to love Yahweh above all else, and to acknowledge that he and Yahweh are inseparable.

Now, nicer Christians, ask yourself, is God's essential nature absolute? If not, what causes an omnipotent, omniscient being to change? This is not a matter of interpretation, but God's moral stances better be absolute, otherwise, why adopt those morals, if they can change? 

I'd advise dissenters to stop reading further if you do not understand or agree with the above, the rest is not going to persuade you.

Continuing on, let's first stipulate (for this post, at least) that Jesus was mum on the matter of homosexuality. It does no good to bicker endlessly on whether Paul did, or whether he represented Jesus, why he is in the Bible, etc. Let's simply agree that Jesus was mum on the matter of homosexuality.

(Well, almost mum. Here he is, suggesting that your odds of being raptured to Heaven improve if you're gay:
Luke 17:34-35 King James Version (KJV)
34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.)
I'll set that aside, since at best it is Jesus being pro-gay. And it's a joke based on selective interpretation.

What about Yahweh?  How does Yahweh find homosexuality?  Was he mum on it?  Did he find it acceptable?
Leviticus 18:22 King James Version (KJV)
22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Wait, wait, WAIT! You do not get to pull the "but Leviticus also says 'don't eat shrimp,' Jesus fulfilled the Levitical law, it no longer applies," because the above is cited not to support the punishment for homosexuality when the law was applicable; not to argue that it still applies; but to demonstrate Yahweh's nature. Yahweh finds homosexuality to be an abomination. That is his nature. His absolute nature. At no time can it change. Moreover, unlike the punishment for eating shrimp, the punishment for homosexuality in Levitical law was death. So we can be certain that Yahweh absolutely despises homosexuality, even if Jesus fulfilled the Levitical law.

Of course, one can argue that Yahweh did not say that himself, but then, nothing in the Bible is what Jesus said himself. It is all hearsay. Please do not transition to a more elite mode of buffet-picking.

tl;dr we have:
  1. Jesus's first commandment is to love Yahweh with all your heart and soul.
  2. Jesus and Yahweh are one, at least in the sense that they're of the same trinity.
  3. Yahweh finds homosexuality to be an abomination.
The inescapable conclusion is that if you truly are to follow Jesus, you have no choice but to love Yahweh who finds homosexuality to be abomination, and in times past even required punishment by death. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have no choice but to accept this.

I am an atheist, and find that utterly, er, abominable. Don't you?

X (this is the spot marked X for the subset of nicer Christians I addressed earlier)

OK, try this little thought experiment. If you are familiar with the Dead Sea scrolls, you'd know that these were discovered relatively recently, authenticated by scholars and acknowledged as a valid history of religious beliefs in Second Temple Judaism. Now, imagine that similar scrolls are found dating to the early First Century CE, and it finds more of Jesus's sayings, in which Jesus actually condemns homosexuality. No, don't be shaking your head and saying "it won't happen," I am not saying that it'll. I'm simply asking you to consider should that happen, will you condemn homosexuality, because Jesus said so?

Or, will you condemn Jesus?

No, the above is not a counterfactual, it is simply asking you to consider a "what if" scenario, not far-fetched at all given history; the same as you'd ask someone to consider the End Times, if you were a Christian. Importantly, it is not an alternate scenario that you can handwave away with a "But it did not happen that way, did it?"

Homosexuality is not immoral; if it were, we'd be able to reason so, and not rely on "he said so" or "he did not say so." Not because "but Jesus never spoke against it," but because we reasoned it. Think about that, and stop invoking and promoting texts like the Bible and characters within it that are at best internally inconsistent, and at worst self-contradictory. Stop trying to point out that Christians who condemn homosexuality because of the Bible are hypocrites because they eat shellfish while wearing polyester pants.

Stop. Endorsing. Morality. Or. Denouncing. Immorality. Using. The. Bible. Or. Jesus slogans.

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