copr. Ron Cobb
His life was predicted by prophets.
His mother was a virgin.
His cradle was surrounded by shepherds and angels sang.
His birth was concealed from a tyrant ruler, and he escaped.
He resisted temptation in the desert.
His teachings were unorthodox.
He was persecuted by authorities.
He worked healing miracles.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves after a friends betrayal.
He descended into Hell, arose from the dead and ascended into heaven.
He had 12 disciples spread the word.
Chrisna 1200 B.C. India
JESUS - a brief biography
Jesus made several mistakes. But the most important was he
didn't write it down. :-(
We don't know about HIM, as opposed to what others have written about his message;
we don't know what he said-- and meant. Maybe he was one hellofa guy, with inept biographers.
Later religious authorities did some self-serving editing, to fill their own narrow, dogmatic needs and power seeking.
But the world has been strongly influenced by second and third-hand accounts, so these New Testament stories are what we must get a handle on: to analyze, criticize and scrutinize-- without bias, awe or fear.
Long ago, there was a unique juxtaposition of stars and
Mary became pregnant before her marriage.
She panicked and made up an excuse, as many women in similar situations have before and since.
The whole incident was passed off as a miraculous virgin birth, like the story of some other mystics.
Matthew (1: 1-17) tried to give the kid a pedigree from the House of David to fulfill prophecy.
The boy showed no special talents other than a discussion
with religious elders when he questioned current dogmatic knowledge. Then 18 years(more
than half) of his life are missing.
(Nixon caught hell for missing 18 minutes; what are they hiding?)
At 30, he blossomed and began talking about a simpler form of ethics than the contemporary confused religious teachings, and how people should guide their lives.
He felt the current thinking was too complex and subject to various interpretations.
Also, the interpreters were taking advantage of their exclusive power, especially in gaining possessions.
The Group he formed often took advantage of people by
claiming they were "on a mission from God."
For example, a donkey was stolen for his use, maybe from a none too shrewd owner.
Or perhaps the owner was tired of these shiftless, itinerant mystics --their tall tales--
and used the opportunity to get rid of an old, ornery animal.
Another time he was talking to a group near water, and
walked along the shore.
Because in some languages, walking ON and ALONG water are similar and easily confused,
this incident was embellished with dramatics.
This improving of stories after the fact is common among fishing, hunting and other tales
When parties were given to attract a crowd, they used a common economizing trick: as people mellowed, the wine was watered, or stretched with other fruit juices (Sangria). This was passed off as the miracle of turning water into wine. As an excuse for more drinking, they made the cup of wine into a revered religious ritual. But Jesus got carried away at one of these bad, crazy scenes and decided to take on the temple money changers. He broke the Golden Rule, lost his temper, and destroyed tables, chairs and other private property, scattering livestock and coins, making a nuisance. His friends had difficulty restraining him, and concocting a cover story. By the admission of his own biographers, The Man was definitely not perfect or divine.
Jesus sometimes may have had a calming effect on people
and was able to help some sick and injured. One time a person who was presumed dead, came
back to life in his presence. His gypsy band hailed this as another miracle and played it
up big. Of course, no mention was made of the times people didn't change, or got worse
after his visit.
But this is human nature in re-telling any story... or life.
He did seem to have a mystic, psychic quality, like many others before and since. He did have good, common sense ideas, based on the Golden Rule, and the prevailing paternalistic one God concepts of Judaism. When setting a new religious course, it's best to base it on existing knowledge and beliefs. These new, simpler ideas attracted many people because they made more sense than the muddled existing concepts. He also had an excellent skill in popularizing his message through the use of simple stories-- parables.
But if Jesus really was benevolent, loving, kind and "The Prince of Peace", then his threat of hell was hypocritical. Whenever a new set of ethics or a new philosophy is offered, as with Buddha and Socrates, it's historically considered better form to be tolerant of people who don't accept it right away; if the thinking is good, it will win converts. But to threaten hell, fire and damnation for non-believers as Jesus and Mohammed did, would seem to show a lack of confidence in the program. Jesus's terms "wailing and gnashing of teeth" are especially revolting. This kind of negative karma has been detrimental to monkind, and has created cruel tortures, guilt and alienation. It has delayed "peace on earth and goodwill toward men." This is The Prince of Peace"?
Jesus got carried away with his own divinity ideas, that were then enhanced by a martyrdom caused by existing authorities who felt threatened. When they killed Jesus, his close followers felt a strong sense of loss. During the days and weeks after his death, some felt his presence lingering in their imaginations and dreams. This was interpreted as a physical resurrection by a groupie with an especially vivid imagination. Others not wanting to be slighted or left out said it had happened to them too! So it was all added to the scriptures with proper awe and dramatization. Probably the body was hidden, lost or stolen, as happened to Tom Paine, Amelia Ehrhart and others. The next time someone really pulls off the physical resurrection stunt, non-religious skeptics would prefer more provable evidence.
Because Jesus had gotten full of his own importance, a
common human trait, and hinted at his divinity, later writers and followers took the lead,
added to it, and edited the whole thing to fit the ancient prophecies and be a coherent
narrative. The story is mainly the work of three men. First came the
prophet/announcer John, then the Messiah embellished John's teachings, then Paul the press
agent/spin doctor spread the word, adding his own editing.
This John-Jesus-Paul connection was like putting three kinds of meat through a grinder with seasonings and fillers, and stuffing a gut-- Christian sausage.
The final touch was accomplished by catching the eye of a military conqueror named Constantine. He used the Jesus doctrine to make his government conversions easier and the mystique of Christianity gained greater credibility in retrospect. A later religious thinker named Mohammed noted this successful forced spread of religion, and made it a part of his doctrine with the same spectacular results.
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