Likely, each of us has been inculcated with certain images and description of Jesus, his activities, and his teachings which differ from the rest of us. Why do you suppose that is? I believe there are multiple reasons which pertain. The most basic reason for the differences is each of us, in some way or another, had different teachers who, themselves, were taught by different people with differing ideas and slants about Jesus. Of course, most of those differences stem from the differences in so-called Christian religions, of which there are over thirty-three thousand. Can you imagine—thirty-three thousand ‘basics’ claiming absolute certainty about anything. And they all call themselves Christians. I seriously doubt that many even know what Christian means. They are supposed to by following a religion established by Jesus—shouldn’t they be called Jesusians?
The most obvious reason for all the confusion, differences, and resultant hostilities is the Bible from which Jesus’ words and activities have been extrapolated. Biblical scholars have shown clearly that over one third of the bible was written by someone other than the stated author. Furthermore, all current versions of the New Testament Bible stem from one single copy made from copy after copy after copy made by who knows whom. It is known that in the year 325 AD, when the Roman Emperor, Constantine convened the first Nicene Council, there were over eighteen hundred so-called bishops in the world squabbling over who Jesus was and what he said and did. At times, their in-fighting resulted in outright hostilities which had the negative effect of lost productivity on the empire at a time when the Empire’s resources had been stretched thin by endless wars in Persia. The official Empire religion at the time was Mithraism which had been brought to the Empire by soldiers returning from Persia about 60 BC. Many have claimed that Roman Catholicism was patterned after Mithraism—the Church vehemently denies it—not sure how convincingly for sincere investigators. At any rate, Constantine reasoned that it would be less expensive in both money and manpower to make Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire rather than attempting to forcing the Christians into an acceptable work ethic. So, he called a council of all the Christian bishops to Nicaea. Of the eighteen hundred bishops at the time, only one hundred eighty or so attended. They squabbled, excommunicated some dissidents, had a couple beheaded, and finally came to a consensus—The Holy Roman Catholic Church was born. And guess what—ignoring Jesus’ teaching of love completely, they patterned it exactly after Judaism, the religion which Jesus not only despised, but died in an attempt to liberate us from its shackles.
The identical template used by the Jewish hierarchy to bilk subordinates of their meager hard-earned livelihood was employed by those bishops, knowing that their edicts would be enforced to the death by the army of the Roman Empire, no questions asked—they put themselves in total control of all lives and their souls—an unbelievable bonanza.
Now, fast-forward a few centuries; Constantine and his benevolent son died—The Holy Roman Empire fell. The Church had no protection—worse yet, it had no power. What was it to do?—how was it to survive? Cunningly, it resorted to the same old trick used by the Jews which Jesus scorned, sex. Women and sex once again became the scourge of the earth. Jesus and Mary Magdalen, and the Samaritan woman at the well fell by the wayside—suddenly, that teaching of Jesus became irrelevant—ascetism took over. Debauchery of one kind and another plagued the papacy. Eventually, the Church resorted to the unthinkable in order to regain and maintain control—the Inquisitions. Women and girls, especially, were burned alive at the stake under the pretense of their being witches, There was a manual about witches called the Malleus Maleficarium written by Kramer and Springer and carrying the Imprimatur of the pope, which was use as a guide for declaring witches and prescribing their punishment. During that period, Martin Luther and others, recognizing the total failure of the HRC, bolted the Church and began preaching and teaching their own version of Christianity—the cat was out of the box with no way of catching him.
So, here we are today with a ‘Christian’ (whatever that means) world fragmented into shreds, and becoming more so daily, bewildering people with their their feigned authority at interpreting Jesús’ words, attempting to unite and fight what seems to be greater foes than themselves—Radical Islam and Communism. The modern-day Christians are ‘strange bedfellows’ indeed. They all are playing the same game just as a bunch of rattlesnakes in a pen—I wont bite you if you wont bite me, but just wait till we get out of this pen…
It seems strange to me for a near eighty-eight year old, who was indoctrinated to the hilt with nineteen years of Catholicism which concentrated exclusively on the Laws of the Church and the sixth and ninth commandments, to never hear any of them mentioned in an entire year from any pulpit. I think I know why and so does Pope Francis—three years or so ago, he was quoted as saying, “None of the rules have changed. We just got to stop talking about them.” And why do you suppose he said that? I can tell you in a flash—young and old alike were finding those archaic rules of control to be irrelevant in their lives—rather than listen to that constant torment, they just quit going to church—it was all about control and money—the Church was/is losing both. And it’s not just about Catholic churches—its about all. Hellfire and brimstone sermons fall mostly on deaf ears no matter where they are preached nowadays.
Now, lets get back to the subject of ‘Christianity’. Where did that term come from? The word Christ means king. Remember, in no version of any Bible I have ever seen, did Jesus call himself ‘king’. Pontius Pilot supposedly ask Jesus if he was a king, and Jesus supposedly answered, “You say I am a king but my kingdom is not of this world”(paraphrased). Jesus never claimed to be a king. All religions framed after a king have absolutely no resemblance or attribution to Jesus—they have been fashioned after the unjust, over lording kings of Judaism in Jesus’ day and before. Jesus’ only message was love—love your God and love your neighbor.
Because of that persistent message Jesus was a zealot—he knew the the truth and he was determined to share it with the world and liberate all from the oppressive blanket of guilt which had been impose by the Jewish hierarchy, all for control and personal gain. Jesus knew he was a heretic and, therefore, a traitor, and he knew that crucifixion would be his fate, but his zealotry for the love of God and his fellow man forced him to persevere to the bitter end.
Jesus was not our Savior—we were never lost in the first place—God’s love is Perfect—he cannot possibly reject anything he has created. Jesus was/is our liberator— his sole purpose was to liberate us from that terrible, persecuting shroud of guilt impose by Moses, all for control. Jesus wanted us to know that the love of God (God’s Will, The Holy Spirit) resided in us and in all creation. Jesus wanted us to know that we were guilty of nothing but being God’s loved children. He knew such an understanding of our relationship with God would free us to lovingly thank our God for our existence and for all his creation while, simultaneously, bringing us closer to each other and all existences.
I have written extensively about this and many, many related subjects in my books Wilderness Cry, Peace in Spirituality, and Provocative Catholic. In addition, I have written nearly three hundred related blog posts. My little book, Growing up in Fancy Farm Kentucky was recently published worldwide. It is enhanced with many pertinent photos from the mid-1940’s on. It gives you a keen perspective into the up-bringing of the author in a pioneer setting of a %100 Catholic community deep in the heart of the ‘bible belt’. I believe you will find it both enlightening and heartwarming—all available Amazon and Kindle.