So, what’s all the fuss about this Jesus character anyway? He wasn’t a rock star, exactly; he wasn’t a great general or an important political leader, and, though some people claim he was a carpenter, he didn’t seem to be noted for carpentering up anything noteworthy or mentionable. So how, then, did he end up being probably the most revered, appropriated, controversial, and popular figure in history?
Was Jesus the Christ some kind of sorcerer? Was he a huckster or a cult leader? Did he really turn water into wine or whip up a huge luncheon beside a lake, out of thin air? Was he even real? And if so, what are the chances that he was probably a fairly normal revolutionary with a few tricks up his sleeve and a solid connection with the zero-point-field, or god, or “the source” (whatever you prefer), and his legacy got blown way out of proportion over the centuries?
Many people have expressed opinions that, outside of the bible, he’s never mentioned anywhere. For a while, I also believed this to be the case, but after a very minimal amount of digging, I quickly discovered that almost everyone involved in studying the history of that time agrees that a character fitting the description of Christ actually existed. Oh, and that character was actually called Jesus (or the translated equivalent), which is a bit of a giveaway.
In fact, there seem to be a few separate accounts alluding to the big fella over a number of years, from various sources. Not all of them appeared to have anything personal to gain by confirming his existence, either.
There are a number of decent articles on the topic, but the one I like the most (particularly because it links to quite a few other interesting and relevant pieces) is on the history.com website, titled “The Bible Says Jesus Was Real. What Other Proof Exists?”, by Christopher Klein.
Disregarding Christian claims to the effect, there seems to be enough other compelling evidence to support the idea that Jesus was real to assume it was so.
With the likelihood of his existence being fairly well established, it’s only natural then to assume everything about him since those inviolable days of yore is the absolute gospel truth, right? Including any self-serving information that the huge numbers of sects, cults, and other disorganized religions (who can’t seem to agree with each other about anything) have manipulated to their own individual advantages. Not that the disjointed, contradictory, confusing “information” used to invent their various religions wasn’t already suspect enough.
It’s been established that Jesus was most likely a real dude, and he was somewhat of a badass, to boot. It’s probably safe to assume as much anyway, or why was he relentlessly hounded by the Jewish authorities and eventually convicted, sentenced to death, and then crucified by the Romans?
Harmless peasants aren’t usually targeted by religious and political leaders and then executed. In fact, it’s generally a good idea for elites to appease the masses, as they are grossly outnumbered by them.
Throughout all of history, when large numbers of peasants get fed up enough to do something about their miserable lot, aristocrats tend to die in horrible ways, which is a delightful topic I intend to expound upon in the near future. When I do (and if I remember), there will be a link in here somewhere, perhaps at the bottom of the post.
The Revolting Peasants.
Beyond the probability that Mr. Christ lived in Israel when he was supposed to have, and that he was a royal pain in the ass and ended up getting snuffed, almost all other knowledge we have about him is highly questionable.
Almost nobody at the time of Herr Christ knew how to read or write, so pretty much every bit of news, tradition, and gossip was recorded and communicated orally.
Given that people’s memories are hardly reliable (it’s been estimated that roughly half of all memories are either very faulty or completely untrue), it’s safe to assume that what most folks may have remembered about the Jeebs was probably wildly embellished. Add to that the probability that he was somewhat of a punk rock badass, and the legend skews even further from the truth.
By the time anyone literate recorded the life and times of the Nazarene, there had passed a significant number of years (twenty-five to forty-ish?) between the death of ol’ J.C and whoever penned his first bio. And, as with everyone alive, ever, they recorded their own experiences and interpretations of events, which are always biased (a completely unavoidable by-product of being alive and having the ability to think and somewhat remember those thoughts). Unbiased information doesn’t exist. It’s a philosophical impossibility.
So, in determining the veracity of the Jesus legacy as we currently understand it, considering the facts that, in addition to having a generally shit sense of memory, people are also addicted to gossip and are natural liars (these being built-in social mechanisms of human-beings, apparently), what is the likelihood that the popularized accounts of the most politically powerful figure of the last two-thousand years are actually true?
Ever play telephone in school? And that takes no more than a few minutes per game. Try a couple of thousand years, with multiple motivations for intentionally inventing or omitting things thrown into the mix, and see what you end up with.
Following his short, eventful, and probably wildly misinterpreted life, I think the character of Señor Christ has been used to sell a lot of t-shirts. And souls. I imagine that he and Señor Guevara have a few things in common. Minus the souls.
Jesus was too dangerous to let live because he spoke a simple truth about a one-on-one connection with God (nullifying the value of intermediaries, ie: churches and religious leaders in general), and he wasn’t shy about exposing the hypocrisy and corruption of religion, government, and commerce. He was a threat, so they killed him. And then they tried to wipe out his followers and erase his teachings.
That didn’t work. His words obviously struck a powerful chord within the hearts and minds of many people, and they weren’t about to forget how that had affected them. In fact, they were willing to die to uphold the new values they had adopted.
When it was obvious that Christianity was here to stay, the Romans (and many others since) capitalized on its popularity, took control, and began engineering it into the big business it’s become today. They domesticated the memory of the badass Jesus, filed his fangs down, trimmed his claws, and glorified accounts of him as a meek, subservient, and forgiving pacifist, instead of an outspoken rebel who was killed for raising too much shit.
What better way to keep the masses docile and obedient than to convince them that their hero embodied the same traits? Teach them that, according to their messiah, it was noble to turn the other cheek and to render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s. Since the days of Jesus, using this passive Messiah model, the puppet-masters of religion have tricked billions of dummies into forfeiting any power they might have otherwise had in this life for the false promise of later rewards. Be good boys and girls now, and get a lolly later. Brilliant!
The model is obviously incredibly effective. It’s been used with great success throughout the ages. Take the slave bible as an example. It was a bible given to black slaves in the British West Indies, which omitted everything that might have given the slaves any inspiration to rise up and fight their oppressors. What was left was about half of the New Testament. All the bits about obedience, meekness, and the required virtues of lack and suffering in this life that lead to a place in some ridiculous-sounding pseudo-utopia called heaven (that’s incidentally run by a white, bearded psycho in the sky).
I don’t imagine the Jesus scam was the first of its kind, but it seems to have been the most effective one in the recorded history of humanity. This round of humanity, at any rate. One thing is for sure, though the scam was almost certainly in use well before Mr. Christ’s time, it’s been replicated and re-purposed to great effect ever since. Refined and perfected to an exact science, with only the names, places, and dates altered throughout the millennia to fit whatever situation the formula was applied to.
I bet J to the C wouldn’t have bothered uttering a word in public if he’d foreseen a major part of his legacy being the mental and spiritual slavery that’s ensued following his brief existence. A system of slavery that’s used his name as the integral link in a very long chain of oppression.
Jesus, in all his glorious youth and naivete, probably believed he could enlighten the masses through truth and love while also bringing to heel the corrupt and sinful by dragging their many misdeeds into the light. To seemingly little or no avail on either account. In fact, since his time, his name has been directly used to commit more evil than good. But that appears to be the modus operandi of the ruling elite: take what’s pure and hopeful and brutally defile it, thereby crushing all hope for a mass spiritual ascension of humankind.
Jay C seems to have set the standard for many things: speaking the truth with the intent of awakening the great unwashed; getting assassinated for challenging the ancient rulers of humankind; having his message be grossly misunderstood by the morons he was trying to help; having his message appropriated and manipulated by the very people he was speaking out against (and then used to oppress and enslave the very people he was attempting to free); and giving his own life for the purpose of making life on earth a bit better for the downtrodden. The silly bugger!
If there indeed was a chap named Jesus (and it does seem very likely), and there is any truth to him cruising by Earth again one day to kick some ass and take some names (which seems somewhat less likely), there are going to be a lot of evil, greedy, murderous, rapey, child-molesting, genocidal bastards with a lot of ‘splaining to do.
Personally, I think that hoping for some type of divine, eternal justice to come along and punish the evildoers that the rest of us sat by and did nothing about is a symptom of human sloth and cowardice. And until we evolve past being violent, greedy, psychotic, cowardly monkeys, there will always be tyrants and there will always be victims.
As long as we remain primitive animals with fancy toys and the ability to create illusions of grandeur and sophistication, any value someone like Jesus H. Christmas may have been trying to impart will continue to be manipulated by the cleverest and most vile of beasts to control the dumbest of them.
Whoever and whatever Jesus really was, we won’t soon forget his name, whether it be uttered from the gullible lips of billions of religious fools or their masters, or from the mouths of millions of everyday people whenever they stub their toes, accidentally break things of value, or need to reflexively express shock or amazement. Or when, in times of utter desperation, there is nothing and nobody else to turn to.
Whatever the case, I think that, en masse, we generally seem to have missed his point.