Monday, July 28, 2014

God's QC 10.3: Our Compassionate Savior

Here I continue my thoughts on the many bizarre disconnects that occur among those who profess to follow Jesus. In this video, I'll continue to explore the question whether Jesus was in fact a compassionate figure, and thus whether the shocking lack of compassion among his followers is indeed the grotesque hypocrisy it might seem to be.

I made a mistake in my previous video, in not making it clear exactly which Jesus I was talking about. It seems to me that there are three primary flavors of Jesus. First, the savior, the Jesus who emerges from an acceptance of the entire Gospel account, complete with supernatural mission and supernatural powers. Second, the merely human Jesus, fictional or not, surrounded by tales of his compassionate miracles. People who like this Jesus see these fictional stories as inspiring metaphor. Third, the Jesus whose story is stripped of all hints of the supernatural. People who like this Jesus find inspiration in a carefully selected subset of his words while rejecting most of the story as legendary.

It was the second flavor of Jesus that I intended in the previous video, but I didn't make that clear, and I apologize for the oversight. Fortunately, some of you called me on it, which prompted me to think it through—always a good thing—and to make this video—I'll leave it to you to decide whether that was a good thing.

You who spoke up mentioned that Christians would likely defend Jesus' cavalier attitude toward suffering, especially with respect to his efforts to get himself crucified rather than devoting himself to alleviating human misery. Christians would say that he rightly focused primarily on his mission to save the world from eternal suffering in the afterlife, leaving little time for him to address all the temporary suffering of this life. That is the first Jesus, the supernatural character who came to save us from hell. It is very illuminating to ask whether that Jesus would inspire compassion in his followers. Let's have a look.

In Matthew Chapter 19 and Luke Chapter 18, Jesus declares that the kingdom of heaven belongs to children. This is usually interpreted to mean that children are guaranteed a place in heaven. In Matthew Chapters 7 and 22, and Luke Chapter 13, Jesus proclaims that a vanishingly small fraction of humankind will be allowed into heaven. In other words, the vast majority of humans who live beyond childhood will burn in hell. Compassion leaves room for only one course of action: kill all children, those alive now and any who are born in the future, to ensure their entrance into heaven by preventing them graduating from childhood into almost certain doom. Compassion demands a determined effort to drive humans to extinction as quickly as possible, to minimize the number of people in hell. The deafening silence from Jesus on this matter is a far worse failure of compassion than any of the trifling complaints I could ever make against the other flavors of Jesus.

As an aside, a similarly unfathomable failure of compassion occurs among those who expect to go to heaven: they imagine for themselves eternal bliss and ecstasy, knowing full well that the overwhelming majority of their fellow humans—even many of their own loved ones—are in torment every second of every day without reprieve, ever. These "saints" will even spend much—if not all—of their eternity falling on their faces to praise and glorify the hideous creature who condemned the rest of us.

But is hell really all that bad? Almost everyone watching this video has spoken to Christians who, having no stomach for fire-torture, piously intone that "hell" is just a place of separation from "god". But even minor discomfort, extended into eternity, is a horror beyond imagination. Substituting "separation from god" for "being burned with fire" changes nothing relative to the question of whether Jesus truly cared about suffering.

The savior Jesus of the Gospels is an unspeakable monster. Given this conclusion, it is clear that modern Christians are innocent of the charge of hypocrisy with respect to their shocking lack of compassion. They are simply following Jesus' lead.

That's 10.3. Thanks for watching.

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