Jesus Got It Wrong

By R. S. Martin

What does the Bible really mean? Jesus got it wrong, too. It is an open question whether Jesus ever existed. This goes for other biblical figures, too. For this article, I will work with the premise that Jesus and the other biblical figures existed.

Is there a chance that today’s Christians know what the Bible actually means? Not one. Why? First of all, even Jesus got it wrong. How do I know? In Jesus’ time, there were many different ways on how to understand Jewish Scripture. Some said you had to take it literally. Some said you had to take it spiritually. Some said both those ways were wrong.

Also, they did not agree which was the right "Bible." Which was most important: the law? the prophets? the "writings?" Which writings were what God meant: psalms? proverbs? Judith? Sirach? other?

Into this confusion Jesus was born. With this confused background, the early Christians made up their own ways or methods on how to understand what Jesus said. None of those methods are used today by any Christians anywhere. The literalists did not take it literally like Christians do today; today’s Christians invented their own literalist methods.

This article is based on the book "Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church," by Karlfried Froelich, published in Philadelphia by Fortress Press, 1984. Not until several centuries after Jesus supposedly lived did the Christians come up with a method resembling what is used today. And today’s Christians think they know what God wanted?

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Tim said...

That's it? Seems more like the teaser blurb on the back of a book rather than an article.


par4 said...

"But the BIBLE says so." That's the argument I get for most any attempt to explain to a xtian why I don't believe the collection of myths and fables that has come to be sworn upon in our justice system.

Anonymous said...

It is an open question whether any of you exist.

I think its all a set up.

TheJaytheist said...

Yes debunking atheism, like god we are all just a figment of your imagination.

RSM said...

Larry said:

"But the BIBLE says so."


But does it really?

That's the point I'm trying to make. They THINK the bible says so. But nobody knows what the bible actually says. All we've got is a batch of words. And most of those words don't fit together into comprehensible thoughts. The ones that do hang together are at odds with their doublet or triplet. The first two chapters of Genesis are a prime example.

Then there's the ones that actually line up with historical events recorded elsewhere, such as the House of Omri. Omri was a king of Israel who built a lot of cities and did a lot of commerse with his neighbours. He reigned a long time--I think the bible says 40 years. Extra-biblical records exist to prove that this man actually lived and did a lot of work as recorded in the bible.

The fact that he did all this building and business tells us his was a reign of peace. A guy who could hold ancient Israel together and out of trouble for decades on end was doing something right.

How does the bible treat him? It gives him perhaps four verses, and writes him off as an evil king.

But king david whom the bible makes out as the sterling king of all time did nothing but lead rebellions, invade the neighbouring lands, and fornicate when he was young. When he was old and stiff he fled from his enemies. He gets major coverage in the Bible.

So WHAT does the Bible say? Does it say to kill all your neighbours to make room for your own dozens of kids from all your fornications? Or does it say to deal fairly with your neighbours and look after your own people and promote peace and prosperity?

Or is the real meaning something totally different? A lot depends on whose method of interpretation we use. Are we going to use fundy interpretation of today? Or are we going to use the Church Father Origen's interpretation of around 400 C. E.? For the record, Origen did not think Moses wrote all of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible). He actually used his head and I am not sure why he is considered a Church Father. The fundamentalists of today would hate him.

So why do Christians today accept Jesus' version of the Pharisaic interpretation and not the rabbinic tradition? Or the interpretation of the Essenes?

RSM said...

I forgot to mention that king david probably did not exist. The archaeological evidence his accomplishments (if real) should have left behind does not exist.

Anonymous said...

Exactly RubySera! Short and to the point! If a clear understanding of the Bible or any other assemblage of “Holy Scripts” was so important to mankind, one would certainly surmise that an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving Heavenly Father would have made his sovereign will for humanity Simple, Unambiguous and Self-Evident.

Why is this “faith stuff” so blooming complicated? And don’t say, “because if it wasn’t, you won’t need faith!” Since without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb:11:6), I can only assume that if we try to use the brain he gave us, we will assuredly burn forever in hell?! What a mess!

Finally, if we can’t stop teaching our kids, and believing as adults, that having “faith” without consistent and substantive evidence is a “virtue”, then I must (sadly) agree with Sam Harris… we are not likely to survive our own religiosity - an altogether disagreeable prognosis.

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