Bad Jesus

File:Egger-Lienz - Sähmann und Teufel.jpg

Gregory of Nyssa may have believed in Universal Salvation, the idea that all are saved. I certainly do. Lavrenti Beria, Mao Zedong, anyone. Did Jesus? Matthew 13 seems to indicate not.

 24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

Württemberg und Mömpelgard Mömpelgarder Altar

Burned in Hell? Verses 37-43 make it unequivocal. Jesus says,

“The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age,and the harvesters are angels.

40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Mark 4 and Luke 8 have some of the same parables, but not this one. It is only in Matthew. I reject the explanation. Only this and the parable of the Sower are explained in the Gospels, for the other parables and sayings we are left to make up our own minds. “I say unto you” that I do not believe Jesus believed in Hell, and if he did he was wrong. It is not the thought that people are going to burn in Hell for eternity: it is that here, now, they are weeds, sown by the Devil. Just, No.

To me the Kingdom of Heaven is here, now, and is like a man who made his plans and carried them out, and when he became aware of problems chose the better way of dealing with them, reassuring his labourers and guiding them well. And so he achieved his goals.

If the clobber passages against gay people appear horrible, they have nothing on the Blood Libel, Matthew 27:25-

Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Antisemitic church fresco

Even if that “be” is a subjunctive rather than an imperative, they are quoted as acknowledging responsibility for killing God. It is the Biblical basis for persecution of Jews over two thousand years- expelled from England and Spain, murdered in the “German Crusade” as well as the Holocaust. It is monstrous. I reject it.

And- rejecting this, and the clobber passages, and bits implying there is a Hell, and bits justifying slavery- does not mean that I need to reject the Bible itself. I am a cafeteria Christian. I keep the bits I like.

2 thoughts on “Bad Jesus

  1. surely there are some bits that are universal, the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin and by placing faith in it we inherit life, union with God… for instance! cheers G


    • Welcome Graeme, thank you for commenting. I had a look at your blog, and while we might not agree on everything about the Way I am interested in what you have to say. (I think your spam filter pinched my comment).

      It is the line of a friend that haunts me: alluding to his criminal past, he said, “I grew up in the plague zone, and I caught the plague.” What can we expect of (for instance) Mexican drug barons, sending men to shoot the competition? I hate the idea of weeds.

      The sacrifice of Christ is the great example, speaking the truth, whatever the cost, and not resisting violence.


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