A LIBERATOR is defined as a person or entity who liberates or frees another person or place from imprisonment or oppression. Those prisons and oppressions may take various forms, both physical and mental (emotional), and, generally, have as their goal two distinct motivations—absolute control and enslavement.
During my lifetime of eighty-seven years, I have witnessed several such liberations and, from history, have learned of many others. Some of the most notable I have witnessed were the liberation of Europe and the South Pacific during WW2, the liberation of South Korea Peninsula during the Korean War, and the liberation of the many states of USSR by its fall during the Cold War. The principal driving force for all those liberations was the United States Of America which, itself, was liberated from the tyrannical government of England by the determined resolve of its citizens to be free. We are celebrating that event, our Independence Day, even as I write.
One of the most notable liberations of all time was the abolishment of slavery in this nation. That action, also, required a most devastating war with the loss of an estimated three-quarters-to-one-million lives. It seems unbelievable that one hundred and fifty six years later, there are those who still do not feel liberated.
The Old testament of the Bible tells us that the Israelites were liberated from slavery and oppression of the Egyptians through the miraculous intervention of God. However, that story didn’t end there. Through their own folly, ignorance, and superstition, they allowed themselves to fall into a worse trap of imprisonment and oppression—religion.
The Israelites were indoctrinated by their leaders with a belief that all adversity to befell them was an exhibition of their “One True God’s” wrath being applied to them because of their disobedience of his laws, the Ten Commandments. We know, as time progressed, those original Ten directives required extensive dissection, revision, and extension to close all loop-holes and, thereby, maintain iron-fisted control of his subjects by the King and his hierarchy. Their wrathful, vengeful, hostile God demanded appeasement which must be done by making “perfect sacrifices” to him. Of course, those “perfect” sacrificial offerings could only be provided and offered by the High Priest—always at a substantial cost to the penitent—the rich got richer, the poor got poorer. Sin and sacrifice were once and for all time established as permanent fare on the “official Abrahamic religion” dinnerplate.
Now, let’s advance a few thousand years to Jesus, and what do we see? Without doubt, it would be the most enlightening event in our lives of we could only know, but we cannot know directly. We must extrapolate that information through he use of both physical and literary science, and philosophy. You may retort that we have the bible which tells us. And I would ask you “of whose Bible are you speaking?”. Throughout the last seventeen centuries, that New Testament has been written and rewritten dozens of times, and each time by someone who had a different ‘axe to grind’. Furthermore, all the various versions stem from a single copy made by some unknown ‘axe grinder’ two-to-three hundred years after the original. Just in my lifetime, the story of astrologers from the East seeking baby Jesus has been presented three different ways. The bible I was exposed to as a child presented the story just that way with the word ‘astrologers’ being used. Later, as people became more educated and began asking questions, the word ‘astrologers’ was conveniently changed to Magi. Magi, of course, were nothing short of magician, con-artists. So, more questions prompting the current ‘version’, ‘Wise Men’. Now, mind you, that mythological event is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church as Feast of the Epiphany. I may stand corrected, but I believe many Eastern Catholic Churches celebrate that day, January 6 or 7, as their Christmas.
Then we have Matthew’s version of Jesus’ crucifixion whereby both insurgents continue to berate Jesus until his death. However, Luke paints an entirely different picture with one of them asking Jesus to ‘remember him when he came into his kingdom’, and Jesus’ reply, “this day, thou shalt be with me in paradise”. There is an obvious disconnect here. Quite obviously, both stories cannot be true—my opinion, likely, neither is true. Then, we have the Apostles Creed which states emphatically that Jesus died and ‘descended into hell’. However, Luke tells us Jesus went to heaven upon his death. The great professor of Bible at North Carolina University, Dr. Bart Ehrman, shows us, conclusively, that the ascetic, Jerome, in translating the bible from Greek to Latin, eliminated or drastically changed almost all references to anything ‘good’ about women.
I could go on and on about the corrupted and unreliable Bible but those few examples will do to make my point which is, “we do not have any reliable source of information regarding Jesus’ birth, childhood, public ministry, crucifixion, etc. Hence we must extrapolate using the methods outlined above.
The first and most obvious thing that had to be done was to define the essence of the entity, God, of whom we speak. After fifty to sixty years of intense study and quandary, I was finally able to do that—the first and only time it has ever been done. God is a Perfect Rational Being. That definition says it all, but for our purposes here, it says God is Perfect Love. That, of course, means that God cannot possibly hate. Neither can God love anyone or anything more than another. That understanding completely negates concepts of hell, wrath, vengefulness, purgatory, sacrifice, limbo, etc. at the hands of God. More importantly, it completely negates the justification or need for any religion of any type. Our only justifiable prayer is a ‘Great Big Thank You God’.
So what does all that have to do with Jesus? I say everything. I believe, with no doubt, that the biblical characterizations of Jesus presented to us in such a varied and distorted view are completely erroneous.
What I am about to say will startle some, anger others, and bewilder most who profess being Christian, but here it is: Jesus was not our Savior, and never intended nor pretended to be. He, definitely, intended to be our Liberator. He spent his entire public ministry attempting to educate his numb-skull apostles about God’s Perfect Love. He tried, desperately, to make them see and realize that God was present in all things. Jesus despised the imprisoning, oppressive, money-machine of the Jewish hierarchy—he even overturned their money-changer’s tables. He wanted the world to know that God loves all immeasurably. He wanted to pull that terrible, persecuting, imprisoning, tyrannical, blanket of guilt from mankind, and free him to love his God and love his neighbor, thereby, being at peace with himself and the world. Jesus knew he would be killed for that heresy—his courage is truly stupefying. Jesus intended to be our Liberator.
Now, with that being said, I ask each of you, individually, one simple question, “do you think Jesus succeeded?”, and I’ll answer for you with a resounding “no”—and here is why. After Jesus’ death, the written word we have demonstrates clearly there was neither any uniform understanding of Jesus’ identity nor his intention. Because of a long-awaited selfish yearning for their mythical Paradise to be recreated just for them, each writer in turn painted a different picture of how that would happen. They new for certain that Jesus had died an ignominious death, so, they each concocted different versions of a ‘second coming’ with fulfillment of their desires and expectations.
By the time of the apostle John’s death, some seventy-five years or so after Jesus’ death, a hierarchy of sorts had been created with the ‘transfer of power’ from one to another by the ‘laying on of hands’. The pope resided in Rome, and each Jewish Christian town in the Roman empire was managed by an absolute authoritarian Bishop. It is apparent that each of those Bishops had differing ideas about Jesus, as their bickering, squabbling and even fighting demonstrated.
When Constantine became Emperor of the Roman Empire, the Roman army had become nearly depleted from continuous wars. Likewise, the Roman treasury was severely compromised. The official religion of the Roman Empire was Mithraism. It had been brought to Rome by the military about 60 BC and was readily accepted by the population. In the meantime, the Jewish Christians residing in the Empire were supposed to be working and producing for the Emperor. However, instead of working, they were expending their time and energy arguing, and fighting about Jesus and his teachings. With a depleted army and treasury, Constantine reasoned it would be prudent to make Christianity the official Roman Empire religion, rather than further deplete his military and finances trying to control the Christians. Accordingly, he called a council of Christian Bishops at Nicaea in 325 AD.
There were 1,800 Bishops in the Roman empire at that time. Constantine offered to pay all their expenses for attendance. Despite that, only 180 or so attended. Constantine commissioned them to pow-wow and form a consensus—he cared naught what that might be. It would become the official religion of the entire Roman Empire and would be enforced by the Roman military—any dissenters had two choices, instant beheading or banishment to the wilds.
There were strong disagreements among the Bishops, some of which led to the execution of several. Eventually, a reluctant few hold-outs relented and a consensus was reached—the Holy Roman Catholic Church was born. As might be expected, it totally ignored Jesus’ command of love. Rather, it was patterned exactly after Jewish ritual which perpetuated the imprisonment and oppression of religion—Jesus, our intended liberator, had been totally ignored.
So, fast-forward 1,700 years, what do we have now?—continuing fragmentation of a distorted negation of Jesus’ teachings to the tune of 33,000, so-called, Christian religions alone, and an earth in total turmoil fighting like cats and dogs each trying to get a piece or the other’s pie. Does anyone besides me understand now why Jesus ‘despised religion”. He clearly saw the divisiveness of religion which heralded itself as our director to God, but which instead fostered its own self-serving imprisonment and oppression all for power, control and, more importantly, money. Jesus never had a chance—neither did we. His liberation intentions died with him. However, here is one person who understands him, and am willing to share that with you.
It is most worthy of note that, likely, absent some startling archeological discovery of original biblical writings, we will never know exactly what Jesus said and did—we are relegated to ‘reading between the lines’.
If you have not done so, please read my book Wilderness Cry, and my newest release, Provocative Catholic. If you have read Wilderness Cry, read it over and over until you grasp its full meaning—then Provocative Catholic will ring true. Both are available only on Amazon and Kindle.
I gladly welcome any and all meaningful discussion and dialogue regarding this subject.