If Jesus was the best God could do, what a botched job he made of of telling his chosen people of his intentions.

He sent his son to earth to pass on his message in a way that was divisive, elitist and so ambiguous and open to interpretation that all the evils that have followed in the name of (what ‘right-thinking' Christians would call misguided extreme forms of) Christianity that he cannot shirk all blame.

The various socially accepted Christian churches today would distance themselves from the Crusades. the Inquisition, the slave trade, racial segregation and celibate priesthood inspired paedophilia – to name but a few headline acts off the top of my head – and say that they bear no relevance to the new, improved, learned-from-past-mistakes version of Christianity.

Yet clearly all these things have their roots in the way God chose to reveal himself incarnately through Jesus.

Not just horrors of the past, but horrors of the present are equally attributable. For every deluded mind that feels he (for usually it is a male mind) has some special calling and takes it upon himself to turn a lethal firearm on a school, or to set up a sect – ultimately bound for mass suicide, or at least to live in a polygamous, incestuous society unacceptable to most ‘right-thinking’ Christian outsiders – based on the idea that they are somehow closer connected to God, all this is God’s doing too. Why? Simply because, as I said at the start, the whole incarnate revelation of himself through Jesus was such a botched job that it made such loathsome, extreme interpretations of his message inevitable.

Leaving the door open for a “second coming” whilst having already demonstrated that his preferred method of revelation was through simple, mortal means (ie, not just appearing on earth as a fully-formed, functioning adult) and through elitist selection also left the door open for others to misinterpret that they, too, felt a bit special, so therefore they must surely be God’s newly chosen mouthpiece, or even God made flesh once more.

What was God’s intention in sending Jesus to earth? What were his aims, and did he stand a chance of achieving them through the method he chose? Well, frankly, no. So what was so ‘great’ about that idea, then, God?

In an age where global communication was still a number of centuries off, why did God choose to reveal himself to man in just one local, and fairly obscure, community. Why not reveal himself to all men and women in all parts of the world at the same time. Send a number of offspring, simultaneously carrying the same unambiguous message. That would have done it. But no, in choosing the method he did, he not only cemented the idea that humanity (on earth, this infinitessimally tiny part of the God-created universe) is his chosen species, but that those precious few who were in the right place, at the right time, to become Jesus’ friends were his chosen few people within that species. This is elitism in the extreme. Any God who not only condones this, but actively practises it, must surely realise that his followers will “do as I do” and see no wrong in putting elitism into practice in their own lives.

What kind of father chooses to share his most special secrets with only a select few of his children, in the hope that his other offspring will receive the message from his chosen few without being made to feel inferior, neglected and less loved by their selective parent? Was telling all his children his message at the same time a task beyond God? Well, God is all-powerful, as we know, so clearly this was not something beyond his power, yet he chose not to do things that way. Instead he chose a method that was extremely divisive, as well as elitist. How are we doing so far? Not looking too good, I would suggest.

Next, even for those select few who met him personally, Jesus’ words were ambiguous and open to interpretation. “Are you not the son of God?” “It is you who say I am”. Give us a straight yes or no, why don’t you? What kind of a way is this for God to pass on his message? Now I can’t always find the right words to say what I mean, though I am a mere mortal. Surely God could have done better.

Whatever he set out to do in sending Jesus, his son, to earth, he didn’t really achieve it. Or did he? Most Christians (of whatever socially-acceptable interpretation or persuasion) would probably argue that he did achieve what he set out to do. All the anecdotal evidence appears to me to be to the contrary, though.

Could God really see Jesus assumed in rapture to take his seat back in heaven next to his father, pat him on the back and say: “Well done, son. Job well done.”

I sincerely doubt it. The job was far from done. From there there was so much more for those left behind, those chosen few who had the geographical and temporal fortune to have received the message personally, had a new job on their hands. It’s a big world and it was their job to set about telling everyone else the message. Why? Why didn’t God personally tell everyone on earth the message, instead of leaving some poor souls to have to wander around on a mission explaining that they, personally, had been chosen, and although you minions were not chosen directly by God but overlooked at the time, while he sent his son to meet us, you can now hear his word from us, passing it on. You're still special, though. Just as special as us, in a way. Yeah, right.

Could God not see that this would create problems? Of course he could. Even a child could – especially a child being given a second-hand special message from his own father by a more-favoured sibling. Anyone could see that this would create problems, so surely God knew it. So why do it? There had to be a better way. Oh yes, there was – reveal yourself to all men and women at the same time with a clear, unambiguous message. That might have done it. I don’t know. I’m not omnipotent and omniscient so who knows how my suggestion would pan out. But surely it’s better than the one God chose.

Christians would distance themselves, and their God, from all the evils and deluded misdeeds of today (and the past) done in his name. I’ll be generous, I’ll say that those evils were not God’s intention, though that’s as generous as I’ll be.

If Jesus was the best that God could do, then he should should have seen all those evils coming and must take his share of the blame.

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Comment by feralboy12 on April 15, 2010 at 1:58pm
There is a passage in a story (I forget which one) by Kurt Vonnegut, jr., in which he ponders why Christians find it so easy to be cruel. He decides the problem lies in "the slipshod storytelling of the New Testament." When Jesus gets lynched, one thinks, "Hoo boy, they lynched the wrong guy that time." Of course, if there are wrong guys to lynch, that implies that there are right guys to lynch--guys not so well-connected as the Son of God.
The story would work better if Jesus started out as a foul-smelling bum adopted by God as his son only after he was nailed to the cross, when God was disgusted by the behavior of people tormenting this lowly bum. That would teach people that you shouldn't lynch anyone, that God takes offense at the tormenting of anyone, no matter his station in life.
That phrase has stuck in my head for 35 years--"the slipshod storytelling of the New Testament."
Comment by Martin Allen on April 15, 2010 at 12:33am
Yes, and worship is another bugbear of mine. What kind of arrogant, vain, conceited creator demands of his product that they devote so much of their god-given time telling him right back how good and wonderful he is? It's just bizarre to think that a creator dreamed up some special beings in his own likeness with the express purpose of heaping unconditional praise on him.
But the main point I was trying to make here was that, as far as 'good' Christians might choose to distance themselves and their god from all the lunatic actions that extremists may carry out according to their own interpretation of Christianity, it's a problem that God brought upon himself by choosing such an improbable manner of revelation. If you leave so much room for misinterpretation then you should not be immune from blame when those who misinterpret also deliver their own brand of hatred and evil upon society.
Yes, blame the lunatic extremist, but blame God too. He doesn't deserve a free pass.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on April 14, 2010 at 9:28pm
I find it astonding that an omnipotent and omniscient entity that brought forth the universe by fiat decree would only revel itself to a bunch of illiterate, nomadic goat herders. It then burdens them with a mountain of confusing and contradictory rules that if not followed recieves it's murderous wrath - a practice pursued with great vigor.
With all its super powers it seems to have little or no foresight to avert catastrophies or has the foresight and doesn't give a shit.
Now that's the kinda guy I want to worship.



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