Teachings of Jesus that are ignored

| March 16, 2012 | 26 Replies

A thoughtful and well-designed website titled “Christianity Disproved” presents this list of teachings of Jesus that are ignored:

  • Matt 6:20 – Pursue spiritual capitalism as opposed to financial capitalism.
  • Matt 10:34 – Jesus came to turn families against each other.
  • Mark 9:43 – If a body part causes you to sin cut it off.
  • Luke 6:29 – If someone is stealing from you let them.
  • Luke 6:30 – If anyone asks you for anything, just give it to them no matter what it is.
  • Luke 12:51 – Jesus’ purpose on Earth was not to bring peace but division.
  • Luke 14:26 – Hate your life, mother, father, wife, and siblings.
  • John 6:27 – Don’t work for food you can eat (such food spoils)

I looked these up, and sure enough, they are all in the Bible.  Here are some other New Testament rules that most Christians violate, including the rule that people shouldn’t marry (presented by a site titled “Dwindling in Unbelief”).   I’m planning on keeping these lists handy for the next person who comes along and demands that I follow the teachings of Jesus.    And here are a bunch of Old Testament rules that all decent people violate.

Oh, and if you ever wondered who had the most powerful spit, Jesus or Muhummad, this is the article for you (also at Dwindling in Unbelief)

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Category: Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. On loving one’s enemies : Dangerous Intersection | April 30, 2012
  1. Adam Herman says:

    One church, International Churches of Christ, does follow those rules. They take pride in how hard Jesus’ teachings are and criticize other sects as false churches for serving up Jesus in a palatable form. They were even getting new converts to leave their spouses if the spouses didn’t believe. They’ve become a little more mainstream in recent years, but they still serve up their Chrisianity in an “eat your peas” fashion, rather than the a la carte version of the mainstream sects.

    You are misunderstanding a couple of them though. Paul said it is better not to marry and he’s right, but marriage is not a sin. Divorce, however, is a sin and I’m actually surprised that many Protestant churches ignore that rather huge one. It’s one of the few things the Catholics get right while everyone else ignores it. Even though they know the origin of the change, which was just a king wanting to get rid of his wife.

    The ‘cast off your arm thing’ is not a commandment either, just a suggestion that if a body part is leading you into sin, it’s better to lose it than to lose your salvation. And if people really believed in it rather than just using it as a crutch, there’d be a lot of chopped off penises. Starting with the Catholic hierarchy.

    John 6:27 is not an admonition against work, but an urging to work for spiritual things, not material things. Christians are not supposed to care about this world at all.

    A lot of this though was the fact that Jesus sure seemed to be saying that the end was coming in his disciples’ lifetime. He said directly that they would not pass before the rapture. Jesus’ teachings make a lot more sense if you assume the rapture is coming in your lifetime. The primary reason for Christians not following his teachings exactly is because they cannot assume that, except for the most devout and strong of heart, who become nuns or monks.

  2. Adam Herman says:

    One thing a lot of liberal Christians get wrong is the “help the poor” thing. Christians aren’t supposed to worry about material things. Giving your wealth away is for YOU, not for the poor. The poor should also be building up riches in heaven, not on earth.

    Jesus basically wanted us all to be poor and pious. The irony, if I’m not again misusing the term, is that the rich man that was so disappointed by Jesus’ teachings would be a pauper by today’s standards. The average Westerner enjoys luxuries and comfort unimaginable in Jesus time. If it was hard for that “rich” guy to get into heaven, we’re all screwed.

  3. Mike M. says:

    Well, I’d be wary here. JC teaches via allegories, smoky metaphors and paradoxically simple-profound parables. I think the deeper esoteric meaning hits intuitively, possible at the unconscious level. I don’t believe the lessons were intended for literal face-value interpretations; the value is found when contemplated as strange poetry rather than a concrete technical instruction manual.

  4. Adam Herman says:

    Yeah, mostly Jesus doesn’t issue commandments the way the Torah does. The only one I can think of offhand is his prohibition on divorce, which is issued pretty directly. The rest is all allegory and suggestions, not commandments, for good and pious living. Which is what separates Christianity from Judaism. Judaism is all about laws and rules, Christianity rejects that concept. Countless times Jews quote scripture at Jesus and he tells them to lighten the hell up. Because they were following the letter of the law but not keeping the spirit of the law. So Jesus, more interested in spirit than in letter, gave his teachings in a different way.

    He really only had two commandments: The Golden Rule and don’t worry about this world, worry about the next.

  5. Karl says:

    Anyone can take snippets of anyone’s words and make them seem like outlandish statements.

    The shortness of a headline means it can often be taken in much more than one way.

    Put these all in context.

    Matt 6:20 – Pursue spiritual capitalism as opposed to financial capitalism.

    The rich man who trusts in his riches will more often than not dislike either himself and/or other people and will not likely find salvation in the life to come.

    Matt 10:34 – Jesus came to turn families against each other.

    Jesus came to show how morality should run deeper than simply what anyone considers to be their closest associates.

    Mark 9:43 – If a body part causes you to sin cut it off.

    If a person thinks their personal pain and discomfort is a significant enough reason to not do the right thing they will not do the right thing.

    Luke 6:29 – If someone is stealing from you let them.

    Don’t defraud others by saying they must pay you back, that’s a pay to play scheme. Don’t withhold the ability to do good when it’s within your means.

    Luke 6:30 – If anyone asks you for anything, just give it to them no matter what it is.

    The “anything” here shows others you are serious about putting spiritual implications about your life first and means you are not a materialistic hedonist.

    Luke 12:51 – Jesus’ purpose on Earth was not to bring peace but division.

    Jesus didn’t come to pat everyone on the back and say you can keep on doing whatever you would like.

    Luke 14:26 – Hate your life, mother, father, wife, and siblings.

    If your mother, father, siblings, wife, children or any significant others have desires that would result in your being unable to trust in God as opposed to them – chose God first.

    John 6:27 – Don’t work for food you can eat (such food spoils)

    If your only reason for doing the work you do is to feed yourself and your significant others, you could very well end up being a slave to the philosophy of the people that offer you the job. Such “masters” can then wind up having the largest say over the entire significance of your life.
    This means you’ve sold your soul for a mess of pottage.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      God gets an “F” in English. What else can you say when “Don’t defraud others by saying they must pay you back, that’s a pay to play scheme.” and “Don’t withhold the ability to do good when it’s within your means” come out like this “Luke 6:29″ “If someone is stealing from you let them.”

      What else can you say when the following: “If your mother, father, siblings, wife, children or any significant others have desires that would result in your being unable to trust in God as opposed to them – chose God first” comes out like this: Luke 14:26 – Hate your life, mother, father, wife, and siblings?

      How can a Being so utterly incompetent at communicating pass for omnipotence? Or maybe you’ll say that the problem is that God chose fallible scribes. Well, then, he does a damned bad job of hiring–not something I would expect of omnipotence.

    • Jim Razinha says:

      Chose bad editors, too. Good editing would have fixed the duplications (both old and new testaments), cleaned up the text, and tossed the problem sources with all the others…that way, 1600 years later, the Skeptics Annotated Bible conflicts list wouldn’t exist.

      Jesus looks European and the Bible was written in English…right?

      By the way, His “Last Testament” is quite funny and intelligently writen. I started it today and am 1/4 through the 400+ pages. I haven’t laughed out loud like this since I read Franken’s “Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.”

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Jim- who wrote “Last Testament?”

    • Jim Razinha says:

      God…and David Javerbaum. The latter was a writer and EP for The Daily Show. The former? Depends on which books you read or which church you attend.

      http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12238179-the-last-testament

      I also got a kick reading some of the one-star comments on Amazon.

  6. Jim Razinha says:

    I think it’s pretty important to make the distinction between Jesus and Christianity. Jesus would have been Jewish with different ideas. But he certainly wasn’t “Christian” – that came later, with much manipulation.

    Paul, and whoever wrote some of the books attributed to Paul, and the early church fathers (women clearly had commandments, Adam – don’t think, don’t speak in church, etc.)created Christianity, much the same as Mohammed’s followers created Islam. And they certainly didn’t agree on a lot. Even one of the major premises. After all, it took more than 300 years before they were able to crush the rather large faction who did not think Jesus was God himself in human form. That debate lasted a long time and if not for some political maneuvering, Christians today would not be thinking Trinity, but that Jesus instead was a holy man adopted by God and then made divine.

    Jesus may have been rejecting concepts of laws and rules – another distinction: rejecting Judaic laws and rules – but the religion’s founders clearly were not. Nor were the hundreds of years of church leaders who followed. They wanted control and had to have rules and they made them.

    Nor are the followers of today rejecting laws and rules. They just pick which rules they want to apply. Or they make rules up with tenuous links to the interpretations of a group of writings cherry picked from lots and lots more to match the final vote in Nicaea 1600 years ago.

  7. Adam Herman says:

    That’s a good point. People like rules, otherwise how can they judge who is a good follower and who is not? Christianity is a pretty elegant religion, but its followers make it devilishly complex when it doesn’t need to be. Jesus told his followers how to live right lives, but he didn’t do it by spelling every little thing out. He simply gave examples applying to 90% of the situations you’ll encounter in life of how a right-thinking person acts, and hoped that for the other 10% you’d figure it out. What would Jesus do is not usually a tough question to answer.

  8. Mike M. says:

    Jim: Yes, excellent points. I think it’s critical to make that distinction. I remember reading a quote which said, “Jesus – a man betrayed first by a kiss, and then by a religion.”
    Somehow, we have to dig back to the original teachings to get the real and “true” substance… pre-council of Nicaea. “The Gospel According to Jesus” by Stephen Mitchell is a good place to start, also Borg’s “The Lost Gospel Q”, or any decent red letter (highlighting the most likely actual sayings) dissection. Christianity seems like an absurd and searing betrayal (if not a complete reversal) of JC’s core lessons.

  9. Karl says:

    Erich wrote a Blog recently that said Many species of animals are homosexual: only human animals are homophobic.

    Erich makes an untrue declaration unless he considers himself to be part of a species that is homosexual, in which case where does he fit into his own animal species?

    The denotations of his words as selected are not clear at all.

    We caught the connotations, but the straight out reading of the words makes his intended meaning obscure to say the least.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Karl: You must have known what I meant, but I’ll make it clear. I’m not suggesting that all humans (or all members of any species) are homosexual. Get a grip, man. I’m stating that some members of many species of animals engage in same-sex sexual relations.

  10. Karl says:

    Erich,

    I knew what you intended to convey because I read the context and I know a bit about your ideas, values and beliefs.

    It was just my way of stating that if all someone reads was a snippet headline out of context they could really have questions about what any person wanted to convey overall.

    Jesus did say what appeared to be some pretty outlandish things, and taken out of context detached from the rest of his ideas, values and beliefs a person running a smear campaign certainly can use his own edited words against him.

    Why do you think so many public figures simply get torn to shreds by people with opposing viewpoints simply because there are documented words in the public domain that can be used to falsely represent the morality, sanity or stability of the person who spoke them?

    To some people, the context of hyperbole in those with opposing ideas, values and beliefs can never be accepted because they only find laughter at other, not with others proper in these situations.

    Jesus said in Matthew 11:16 ff

    16″But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, 17and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ 18“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.

  11. Erich Vieth says:

    “The God of the Bible . . . endorses polygamy and sexual slavery and coerced marriage of young virgins along with monogamy. In fact, he endorses all three to the point of providing detailed regulations. Based on stories of sex and marriage that God rewards and appears to approve one might add incest to the mix. Nowhere does the Bible say, “Don’t have sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with you.”

    Furthermore, none of the norms that are endorsed and regulated in the Old Testament law – polygamy, sexual slavery, coerced marriage of young girls—are revised, reversed, or condemned by Jesus.”

    . . .

    “These stories might be irrelevant to the question of biblical marriage were it not that Bible believers keep telling us that God punishes people when he dislikes their sexual behavior. He disliked the behavior of New Orleans gays so much, according to Pat Robertson, that he sent a hurricane to drown the whole city – kind of like Noah’s flood. And yet, according to the Bible story, both Abraham and Jacob were particularly beloved and blessed by God.”

    http://www.alternet.org/sex/154721/Captive_Virgins%2C_Polygamy%2C_Sex_Slaves%3A_What_Marriage_Would_Look_Like_if_We_Actually_Followed_the_Bible/?page=2

  12. Adam Herman says:

    In theory, the general prohibition on fornication would apply to rape. but it would mean you could rape your wife.

    Seems like in the Muslim world they regard rape as adultery and punish it as adultery rather than rape.

  13. Karl says:

    What would marriage be like if we followed the Bible?

    People would want to be caring, considerate and lifelong partners to an individual of the opposite sex. They would have differences, but they would strive to not let those differences drive a wedge between them.

    What got written in the Bible about matters and situations much different from that simple ideal of marriage were written to attempt to regulate the anger and hatred that develops when individuals don’t equate a loving caring relationship with their sexual appetites.

    If Erich thinks marriage was meant to be anything other than a man and a woman willingly and un-embarrassing submitting to mutual unselfish sharing in their sexual nature and union one with the other he has missed the basics of human living as given from God and as described in the relationship Between Adam and Eve.

    The seeming regulations upon less than ideal sexual arrangements or the various items Erich mentions as stuff that was endorsed by God means he thinks that because it is written about in the historical context of the Bible that God blessed all such activities on an equal basis. Erich apparently somehow believes God endorses sinners being as nasty and selfish towards one another as they want to be. Again Erich has taken activities and behavior that was not intended to be normative and called it normative and applicable to the entire species.

    The cultures of some of the people to whom the Bible was written to (as well as those activities that were present in other cultures as well) were not greatly different from that of the year 2012. There are still some cultures and/or subcultures that actually still prefer to endorse experimental or ongoing fornication, serial adultery, polygamy and sexual slavery and coerced marriage of young virgins along with monogamy. As far as I am aware, incest since the time of Moses has not been endorsed by God or any educated people group.

    Erich, you are flat out declaring that behaviors that were not the “norms” of most people, were in fact the “norms” of the culture. Minorities will always have their rights to try and influence the rest of society. They did so in the Old Testament Time and they continue to do so today. Moses had to write into the Hebrew Scriptures how the Hebrews were not be like the cultures around them. Just don’t try and tell me that God endorsed the imperfections in any culture by trying to regulate, limit and/or even prevent the sinful behaviors and actions of people.

    Erich you are right when you say “nowhere does the Bible say, “Don’t have sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with you.”

    But it does say in both the Old and New Testaments to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus probably thought that one was pretty clear.

    That one command in a positive sense pretty much condemns not just all of the items you are referring to, but also leaves us all coming up short of the ideals of marriage as well.

    • You know, Karl, when you keep saying “Erich thinks God this or God that…” it shows you missed the point.

      God didn’t think this or that—people did and claimed it for god’s law.

      Why would they do that?

      Hmm. Maybe because it has always and only been people all along?

  14. Karl says:

    That is how you see my perspective.

    You state God isn’t because people made God up in their thoughts so they can just as easily unmake him up as well – in their own thoughts.

    For something there ain’t no use thinking about Erich sure spends way too many hours of his life pointing out where his way of thinking is far superior to the thinking of others about a non-entity. Surely, looking for flaws in other people’s reasoning about a non-existent entity must seem like a waste of time.

    Which came first, people with thoughts that they attributed to their super ego (God) or God who chose to make it possible for creatures capable of conscious thoughts to have to decide how to make choices based upon faith in their creator?

    • Karl,

      Once more, you kind of slide by the point. You said: “You state God isn’t because people made God up in their thoughts so they can just as easily unmake him up as well – in their own thoughts.”

      It’s true, I believe that. But I have also stated int he past that I could be wrong about that. What I DO believe is that, whether there is a god or not, it is not to be found IN THAT BOOK. That book—and all the others like it—was written by men to serve their own purposes. Some of those purposes were good, some were not, some were, in my opinion, flat out evil, but NONE OF WHAT THEY WROTE CAME FROM GOD. It came from their conception, at the time, of how they thought the world should be ordered and assumed that this would be the way a god they would worship would want it.

      WE HAVE CHANGED.

      That’s also why people like Erich and me will from time to time accuse this god of having the morals of a spoiled five year old. We are speaking symbolically, of course, since we don’t actually believe there is a god being described, only the imagined deity of men with the morals of spoiled five year olds.

      But people for generations have found common cause with what has been written in that book, so we are perforce drawn to argue with its contents. As long as people find justifications for their prejudice and thoughtlessness and their presumptive elitism in the passages of a book that was written by men and claimed to be inspired by god, it seems reasonable to expect us to take that book apart and show how it is a not very good source for moral judgment.

      The irony, of course, is that men made it up and they still can’t abide by the better parts of it.

      Now, there may well be a god for all I know. But I have yet to see any textual representation of it that meets even the minimum criteria for the thing described. That’s pretty much all I’m saying, and I think that’s close to where Erich is as well. You worship a paper god that doesn’t hold up. If there is a god, I’m fairly sure it doesn’t give a gnat’s eyelash for what you or I do with our genitalia. But the fact is, you do, and therefore your god has to back you up. You’ve found one that does. Sometimes. Except when he doesn’t.

  15. Karl says:

    HUMAN NATURE HAS NOT CHANGED!

    All you do by not believing the Bible amounts to attempting to change the names because you think you are an innocent bystander in a spiritual struggle between authorities and entities you think are all fictitious!

    I do not worship a paper work of fiction as you obviously consider anything that doesn’t suit your fancy.

    I read the words of the Bible and seek to know what I can know about Jesus and God the Father by relying upon the Holy Spirit of God that bears witness to my spirit concerning how I can make application of the truths about God and human nature as revealed through the recorded points of view of various human authors.

    I trust the internal consistency of these writings especially when it says that no scripture is open to a private interpretation, but that it all must bear with and align with the rest of the recorded scriptures.

    I can easily see that David was one self-centered dictatorial leader for a period of his life while he was under conviction for his transgressions. I know that when David committed adultery and then out right murder to try to cover his transgressions that God did not condone what he did. Some would see this as an example for them to emulate but to just be much more careful to make sure that your sins don’t find you out. It was sin and David knew it. Just like we know when we defraud another human being by putting our will and desires over and above the will of others that we consider less deserving or less fortunate.

    I know full well that anything spoken by a mere human author concerning their understanding of what they believe to be attributed directly to God holds the potential for leading others very much astray. I do not trust the words of any single author or editor, not even Moses who for a period of time was so depressed he expressed a death wish to God. I trust the combined wisdom of the Holy Spirit and the numerous individual authors that bring into focus an understanding of God that could never be obtained from just one writer’s life experiences.

    I do not think it very wise for any individual to try and use natural disasters as a means of discerning God’s actual will in carrying out of individual judgments. The Bible says the rain falls on both the just and the unjust.

    Job had one natural disaster after another fall upon he and his family, yet they were not direct judgments from God upon Job’s personal sins. But it is also clear from the Bible that one can not rule out what transpires to be not well understood un-natural causes by spiritual entities in the affairs of men especially in collective groups like head strong extremist and entire nations as well.

    Now there are direct prophetic words from God concerning Jesus and by Jesus himself that will never pass away. In actuality Jesus said that the heavens and the earth shall pass away but His words shall not pass away. If you are in doubt as to what you can or would want to believe as coming from God, start with the red letter editions and especially all of the prophecies concerning the plan of God from before the foundation of the world was set in motion and the tapestry that is woven all through the scriptures concerning Jesus Christ, including his promised return.

    As the creator of all things, and as the very word of God or the logos of God, the words of the scriptures that describe Jesus are the best documented and historical framework that we have to determine how God has interacted with people and wishes to make himself known to us.

    I have chosen to trust in the words recorded in written form by spiritual men and women that describe both their life experiences and how they considered their relationship with God through those experiences.

    Is there subjectivity in the people? Why most certainly!

    Is there the possibility that people thought they were speaking for God but were really only doing their best to consider how God would have them deal with the situations they found themselves in? Again, most certainly!

    Are there errors in the Bible? Only if one considers that a person filled with personal pride considers their words to be more important than the words of Jesus!

    I worship a spiritual creator that is not to be found by reading words on paper, nor is the creator to be found the flesh and blood of Jesus. It is not the paper that has stood the test of time. The only thing that stands the test of time about the Bible is that even though it was penned by humans, it is the Spirit of God that imparts meaning to words for the individuals that truly desire a personal revelation and relationship with Jesus Christ.

    • Human nature has not changed.

      Maybe not. But our understanding of it HAS.

      As a consequence, HUMAN NURTURE HAS CHANGED, and so the way we treat each other has. It’s one of the reasons a perusal of Levitical law leaves many of us aghast.

      Like it or not, it is no longer tenable to simply categorize people as evil because of the way they were born or the way they think. There were no doubt people back then who realized this as well, but they…got silenced.

      Bluntly, most of this biblical stuff is patriarchal privilege protection. No doubt for its day, much of it worked just fine.

      As to what Jesus said…

      Red letter or otherwise, doesn’t matter. If nothing else, reading the various essays on it here must clue you in on the dubiousness of attribution. BUT—

      I for one take something for what it says and weigh its value accordingly, not based on who said it but on the content of its message. Doesn’t much matter to me if Socrates said it or Pete the electrician. If it’s worthwhile advice, it should be appreciated for itself.

      NOT PRIVILEGED ABOVE ALL COMMON SENSE BECAUSE SOMEONE THINKS IT CAME FROM GOD.

      Basically, your gut tells you it’s all divine. You think it all came from the deity.

      Well…prove it.

  16. Karl says:

    Mark,

    I never said the Bible was all divine; obviously there are portions of the Bible that can not be both literal and allegorical at the same time. Jesus often taught by using parables many of which were not non-fiction reporting of current or historical events.

    Many of his parables were about the Jewish leaders response to the very presence of God’s son in their midst but these declarations were so couched in stories that even though Jesus made sure they understood what he was saying, he also made it clear the He knew their thoughts and their modus operandi.

    I have said repeatedly that the one thing that is divine about the Bible is the manner by which the Holy Spirit of God can use the words to transform the heart and mind of the person that expresses faith in the words written and also desires to take a step and allow this faith to result in either actions, words or both.

    If you do not believe there is a need for moral living or “holiness” that stems from the character of God, essentially there isn’t anything sacred in any book so why even try to convince people of the truth of anything?

    Why should I need to convince you or anyone else for that matter that any part let alone all of the Bible is divine? God has given each of us the ability for our spirits to bear witness with the Holy Spirit discerning the character of God and what that implies for people.

    For me, truth does not hinge upon the most recent concoction of beliefs by people who wish to convince themselves to believe the Bible and call it is false because it can’t be applied today in any meaningful way.

    The material in the Bible that has obvious application to cultures that were in some manner different from my own however does not mean that people long ago were much different in their ideas and beliefs from what they are even today.

    Those who wish to believe lies that make them feel more comfortable about themselves will make even the most obvious glaring factual truths into impossibilities simply because they don’t wish to go down that road.

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