|From Under the Editor's Rock>By Sheik_Sebir|
No one knows what Jesus really looked like, but the Protestant 'Square Headed Jesus" is a very popular one. But the issues aren't about what he looked like. The central issue is the Savior Thing. Jesus's sacrifice for one's petty individual sins is an illusion at best, for it was created after the fact by a man he never met in life. It's spurious, regardless of the centuries that Xtian believers who have accepted this tale as being True - it is largely the invention of one man - St. Paul. The real Jesus had another agenda which was replaced by others after his death.
The problem with the current "Jesus Saves" Movement is that Jesus probably didn't buy into the Salvation trip, and he certainly had no intention of dying as a Human and divine Sacrifice for the remission of SIN. He expected to die as a traditional Prophet - "This cup" was stoning, not crucificion. What Jesus offered was a secret doctrine of guarenteed entry into Heaven in this life for his Apostles, and outer and lesser doctrines of salvation in the life to come for his general followers - the Gospels make this quite plain; that he didn't much like or care for the crowds who waited for him to appear, he often fled from them; he told the demoniacs and the sick he healed to keep quiet about what healing was done and how he did it; and he wasn't very concerned about traditional religious convention. Staying away from sinners, whores, publicans, Roman informers and other human trash was almost a pious Jew's duty - which he blithely ignored.
The 'Signs of the Times' Jesus spoke of are almost wholly absent in the Gospel accounts, and this absence hides much of the political and social background of the times in favor of a more general mythological setting where characters only appear do their religious part and leave stage left when cued. The Gospels are not History - they were written as Propaganda (in the religious sense) to publish the "Good News" (interpreted by anonymous authors, who wrote under the Apostle's names). Its clear that vital secrets and undercurrents were were witheld from the general readers of these books - the churches, and the Gnostics and many sects like them, were established that claimed that they alone knew what these Secrets were, and they even wrote their own scriptures ! The idea of secret doctrines can be laid at Christ's doorstep because he says as much, in his own words (or words supplied to him by the Gospel writers). His sacraments are similar to a magicians, in fact the very claim of being the Son of Man, and the Son of a god is more of a magical than religious belief for that time, and it's not even clear that he even means YHVH !
Many if not all of his inner circle were hip deep in radical politics; Judas I(sicarii)ot and Simon Zealotes (the Zealot) are blatant about it. What is an alledgedly peaceful Peter doing with a sword in the Garden of Gethsename, Normal subjects don't carry swords in this era, only nobles, warriors and revolutionaries have need of such things. Notice that Peter wasn't rebuked for carrying a sword, only for using it! Where Peter leads, his brothers usually followed. All of the Apostles, however, were involved in radical religion, and were notoverly fond of the Temple and its Priestsm or the Pharisees,or the Sadducees.
If one's sins could be forgiven by repenting of one's sins and being baptised into John the Baptist's Baptism - a radical departure in itself from Temple worship - cheap and no doubt very popular with the poor; then what did Jesus have to offer converts that was so superior ?
It may help to remember that The Kingdom of God was Jesus' main theme, not his, or any, sacrifice for the remission of sins. Surely, there was a secret rite that put the Inner Circle into the Kingdom of God, Here, on Earth. That inner secret rite was most likely a special baptism which not only included ritual dying and resurrection, but a possession of the Spirit and a Vision of Heaven (if not a soul journey there) thrown in for good measure. Then the Bible says he rarely baptised anyone publically, but Power was given to his Apostles to Baptise. It's clear his Baptism Rite was done in private, after all he recieved the Spirit through John's rite, and most likely wouldn't have abandoned it, but used a similar rite to pass the Holy Spirit on. Besides the anomally of Peter with a sword, there's the naked man with a towel or garments on his head that Jesus met with secretly in 'Mark' at midnight, and he ran away as Jesus was arrested. (The account of that night differs - in one they were all asleep, so who saw what happened ? [ The later Gospels contradict Mark, the earliest Gospel here - The Bible is FACT ??? I don't think so !] This naked man was a secret initiate, clearly ready to be baptised.
When Jesus died, his Holy Spirit - the one that descended upon him at John's rite of baptism and was passed on to his initiates while he was alive secretly, would soon fall upon the many, all but obliterating the secret rites and making them moot. But exactly what are the terms for Salvation if Jesus taught something else, and only later decided that gentiles might be included ?
St. Paul speaks of another Jesus - could he have had tongue in cheek and meant the Real Jesus, for whose church he was busily inventing new doctrines for ?
One other problem: Though Jesus is said to have endorsed the Law, he most certainly ignored it when he chose to, his opponents said he gathered with publicans (Roman collaborators) and sinners (True)). His defense is odd to say the least ! He said that sinners needed his help and not the Righteous ! But, Xtian doctrine says that "...all men are sinners and have come short of the Glory of God" In fact, He often acted like a libertine - in fact it was James and Paul who had to fight this libertine faction, almost certainly inspired by Jesus Himself, during the early years after Pentacost...
The fact is that the fear and persecution of an entire continent for 1500 years by this religion in its various forms does constitute one of greatest attempts to limit religious thought by both Pagans and Christians alike. Here is an example of what Roman Pagans like Lucian, a second-century Greek writer whose works often contain sarcastic critiques of Christianity, said about the Christians. When the Christians gained enough poitical power they crushed all such dissent:
"The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day-the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account... You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property. (Lucian of Samosata, DP, 11-13)"
Most of the people who were caught in the Inquistion and the Witch "Hysterias" were Christians and Jews. What was done was done for a "good" cause - keeping Evil from damning the community. As usual, "The road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions". That it was accomplished through government, as were most of the mass murders you name, should act as a sober warning - but it won't - people never learn from past atrocities and social upheavals that their own governments can turn on them...