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The Witty Jesus


skyseeker
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Hello,

 

I'd like to discuss something that has come to me lately. It is part of the reason why I'm not an evangelical anymore, and why I believe there is substantial support for belief in a Jesus that is an altogether more interesting and appealing figure than the evangelical Jesus.

 

What I mean is this, I think that Jesus as we can find him in the Gospels has many times made remarks that evangelical christianity takes literally while in fact they were ironic and sarcastic really.

 

As an example I would like to offer two passages of the bible.

 

1. Matthew 18:7-11 (Young's Literal Translation)

 

`Wo to the world from the stumbling-blocks! for there is a necessity for the stumbling-blocks to come, but wo to that man through whom the stumbling-block doth come! `And if thy hand or thy foot doth cause thee to stumble, cut them off and cast from thee; it is good for thee to enter into the life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast to the fire the age-during. `And if thine eye doth cause thee to stumble, pluck it out and cast from thee; it is good for thee one-eyed to enter into the life, rather than having two eyes to be cast to the gehenna of the fire. `Beware! -- ye may not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their messengers in the heavens do always behold the face of my Father who is in the heavens, for the Son of Man did come to save the lost.

 

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Normally we read these verses as a strong warning about sin. But if we look for an ironic Jesus saying this, and if we keep in mind that Jesus' greatest enemies were the pharisees who spent all their time with the sin thing, the whole passage looks differently. What exactly makes little christians stumble? Is it really their hands and feet and eyes so they need to be removed? Isn't that exactly the kind of phariseical fence-around-the-law thinking that we see here? What makes us able to combat sin, especially if we see sin in being unloving? When we have two eyes, we can see the sinner and the saint, heaven and hell. We know where we are, what happens around, where we are going. When we have two feet, we can go seek the sinner and convince him of what is right, and we can go to the suffering to help them. When we have two hands, we can wrestle with sin successfully, and we can go to heaven to take some heaven, and with that we can go to hell (the life of people who suffer) and bring heaven there. And we can take the sinner in hell and bring him to heaven. Who are really the little ones? Unless we're delusional, it's all of us.

 

And another passage:

 

Matthew 5:28 (again YLT)

 

but I -- I say to you, that every one who is looking on a woman to desire her, did already commit adultery with her in his heart.

 

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Is this really a proscription of looking at someone with desire? Or is this perhaps an appeal that if we want to lust for someone, we should do that with a marriage idea of love, I don't mean with clear marriage intent because that may not work out, but with a desire not just for sex but also for love, for the virtue that makes us stick together and not leave the other who may come to feel needy for you. The problem is a merely fleshly view of sex, where there is only lust but no love. This is not a proscription of masturbation either, this is the fatherly advice to be romantic and loving to the person you want to sleep with. At least this is how I see this verse now.

 

 

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These passages are just two examples why I believe in a witty and ironic Jesus. There are many more. If you go by this interpretation, the Jesus walk is a human walk, you are not constantly besieged by temptations, you are going into a life of beauty if you trust in them. This is a walk of childlikeness, not the walk of grizzly adults that try to work everything through fighting and difficulty. This is the way of freedom.

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Skyseeker,

 

Whew. Lots to look at. Like you I'm currently rereading parts of the New Testament while suppressing in my mind traditional orthodox Christian interpretations. I'm coming up with a new understanding of early Christianity.

 

I will have to digest this for awhile.

 

Ron

 

PS. Welcome!

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I think that Jesus as we can find him in the Gospels has many times made remarks that evangelical christianity takes literally while in fact they were ironic and sarcastic really.

 

 

 

You might enjoy this novel:

 

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore.

 

http://www.barnesand...oore/1100551449

 

 

It's really a quite charming book, and not as offensive to "normal" Christians as you might imagine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I read it. At the time, I was still a believing Christian.

 

NORM

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These passages are just two examples why I believe in a witty and ironic Jesus. There are many more. If you go by this interpretation, the Jesus walk is a human walk, you are not constantly besieged by temptations, you are going into a life of beauty if you trust in them. This is a walk of childlikeness, not the walk of grizzly adults that try to work everything through fighting and difficulty. This is the way of freedom.

 

For me, I'm not sure witty or ironic are words that come to mind, but I do believe Jesus had a very human message and could relate to peoples' struggles well. I think that would contribute to his message's popularity.

Edited by PaulS
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skyseeker I like your reasoning. I feel The Bible offers a window to see the road we are traveling on, our destination and the motion. We do not translate the Bible; it is there to translate us from a physical to a spiritual being. It can be translated with religiosity, and used as a history book about Jesus, but then one has to deal with all the inconsistencies the irony and the parables or it can be a book of spirituality about the mind of Christ. I feel then it is more a mythology to awaken the Divinity within.

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Irony and wit have long been respected as effective teaching tools. It is refreshing to see this subject on this board. In recent years I've been attending a Buddhist temple where humor is part of the routine. It (the humor) is good natured and it often makes a point that might otherwise be missed. I have always regarded Jesus as a teacher with some very good points to make, so this view grabbed my interest. It helps make some passages in the Bible more accessible, and I can't see anything wrong with that.

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I can see within me that the pull of my 5 senses is very strong and they pull my mind outward, but it is inward in the multidimensional world beyond the senses where I find peace and comfort. I am learning that the physical world of cause and effect relates to pain, but when I bring the awareness from within into the outer world it is a joy and blessing. I feel the quote Skyseeker gave us refers to the strong pull of the senses and the pain they cause us, but when transcended Heaven is present and eventually the outward and inward are the same. Desire inward for the outward experience is similar to the outward sensation so the experience is pleasure and then pain, cause and effect. It seems pleasure and pain are two sides of the same coin. It seems we learn the hard way through cause and effect, may we be aware in the experience, learn, comprehend and move on to True Happiness within and without.

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