I’m as devout a Christian as they come, but lately I’ve been thinking that there are quite a few things that Jesus doesn’t seems to understand. I’ve reread the Gospels and I’ve found several places where Jesus seems either naïve, theologically confused, or hypocritical.
For example, Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that we should love our enemies, repay insult and injury with kindness, and pray for those who persecute us. However, Jesus obviously did not foresee Islamic terrorism. The militants of ISIS and Al Qaeda will kill Americans if we do not kill them first. Those people are pure evil; they don’t understand love; they deserve death. What I think Jesus meant to say is that we should love our enemies, but that sometimes that love means killing them with drone strikes. Either that, or that we should love the sort of enemies who eat our lunch out of the fridge at work when it clearly has our name on it (I know it’s you, Carla), but not the sort of enemies that might actually hurt us.
Also, Jesus said that we should love our neighbor as ourselves, but this is highly problematic. You see, we now have 7.3 billion neighbors and about 800 million of them don’t have enough food or clean water. If I’m going to treat all 7.3 billion people on the planet like I want to be treated, then I at least have to find a way to feed all of them. And let’s face it, that just isn’t realistic. Millions of my neighbors are going to starve or die of waterborne diseases, and that’s just the way it is; nothing we Christians can do about it. So, Jesus was kind of off about that too.
Another point. Jesus says in Matthew that we should welcome the stranger. He may even have meant that we should invite strangers into our homes! Clearly, this will not do. There are 4.8 million refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war, and some of them could be terrorists, so we quite obviously can’t invite them into our country, much less our homes. Then there are the immigrants from Latin America, especially Mexico. There about 10 million illegal immigrants in this country already, and they take jobs from Americans. Did Jesus think about that?
And it gets weirder! In Luke, Jesus is quoted as saying, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” What does that even mean? I don’t get that at all; best to ignore that one.
Then, in the very next line Jesus says, “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Is Jesus trying to imply that there is some kind of sacrifice involved in being a Christian? Well, Jesus, I’m a protestant and we believe in a little thing Sola Fide, perhaps you’ve heard of it? It means that if I believe in Jesus, then I get to go to heaven. I am justified through faith alone. Martin Luther said so. If I get baptized and claim Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I’m in and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Then there’s money. Frankly, Jesus seems a bit obsessed with it. Almost half of his parables dealt with money and he doesn’t seem to like it very much. He even says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.” This is terrible investment advice. You need to put your treasure in a diversified investment portfolio of high growth stocks mixed with large-cap blue chips. If you store your treasure in heaven, you will die penniless, and then what? It’s as if Jesus hasn’t read the book of Proverbs which clearly states that it is the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. It isn’t the money itself, it is when you let money control you. The fact that I work 50 hours a week at a job I dislike just to make money I don’t actually need doesn’t mean that it controls me.
Finally, there is the issue of judging others. Jesus talks about taking the plank out of your eye before you take the speck out of another’s, but that is bold talk for someone who spends so much of his time judging the Pharisees. What gives him the right to judge and not me? As for me, I’m going to keep judging Carla; I heard that she has a new girlfriend. I read Romans 1 and it says quite clearly that is a sin. I haven’t gotten to Romans 2 yet. I hope that’s not about not judging people.