I believe that Jesus was a human being, not a God. Therefore, I don’t give him homage, but I do occasionally read his alleged teachings, which I evaluate one-by-one. Jesus allegedly said some things that make sense to me, but other things attributed to Jesus don’t make much sense to me. When I run into a teaching of Jesus that doesn’t make sense, I set it aside as something that doesn’t make sense. I’m free to do this, because I’m not a Christian. If I were a Christian, however, I would think that I should follow ALL of the teachings attributed to Jesus, because if I were a Christian, I would probably believe that Jesus is God, and who would I be to disagree with God?
One of the things Jesus seemed to teach quite clearly was that we should love our enemies. Robert Wright summarizes these teachings:
The “Love your enemy” injunction, as we’ve seen, appears in both Matthew and Luke. In the Matthew version, Jesus says, “I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” In the letter to the Romans, written more than a decade before Matthew or Luke was written, Paul says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” And if Paul doesn’t quite say to love your enemies, he does add “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink.” Paul also says, in that same passage, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil … never avenge yourselves.” Similarly, Jesus, just before advising people to love their enemies, says, “Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.”
Do to others as you would have them do to you. —Luke 6:31
Whatever you want people to do for you, do the same for them. —Matthew 7:12
With the above as the context, it often amazes and confounds me to see how exuberant most American Christians are to go to war. I’m amazed at how often they claim that the kind of wars they support are also the kind of wars that Jesus supports. How extraordinarily convenient, I repeatedly think. From what I hear from many Christians, Jesus even approves of our methods of war. I’ve personally heard that Jesus approves of attacking poor people halfway around the world with drone missiles, even though many of these attacks kill innocent children. Jesus loved little children, but not so much that we can’t kill a few hundred of them with drone missiles. And we do kill lots of children with American drone missiles.
The Obama administration has no comment on the killing of Tariq Aziz, even though his death raises the most significant question of all. Drones offer the government an advanced and precise technology in its War on Terror – yet many of those killed by drones don’t appear to be terrorists at all. In fact, according to a detailed study of drone victims compiled by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, at least 174 of those executed by drones were under the age of 18 – in other words, children. Estimates by human rights groups that include adults who were likely civilians put the toll of innocent victims at more than 800. U.S. officials hotly dismiss such figures – “bullshit,” one senior administration official told me. Brennan, one of Obama’s top counterterrorism advisers, absurdly insisted last June that there hadn’t been “a single civilian” killed by drones in the previous year.
I shouldn’t be so surprised by this ratiocination, because evidence is ubiquitous that Jesus serves as a Rorschach. Many Christians tend to believe that Jesus looks like them, even though Christians come in many shapes and colors (they would be aghast to put this realistic image of Jesus at the fronts of most American churches). Feel free to run this test yourself. Ask any Christian what is OK and what is morally prohibited, and you will hear them each claiming that Jesus agrees entirely with whatever they think. If you talk with pacifist Christians, they will tell you Jesus was totally against war. If you talk with a person who supports the kinds of wars America is now fighting, you are likely to hear that Jesus is totally OK with “a just war,” and that America is fighting “just” wars. I prefer to think that America is “just fighting wars.”
Please let me know whether you ever run into any major Christian congregation where the priest or minister is scolding members of the congregation for supporting military actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. Or Somalia, Libya or Yemen. Or for participating in any of the many dozens of wars fought by the United States.
The United States doesn’t just happen to be at war. Rather, we are constantly at war. We are the most warmongering of nations, as well as the most vocally Christian of nations. War gives the United States a good inner glow, a highly addictive one, regardless of how contrived the reason for the war, regardless of how much that war is motivated by the urge to confiscate natural resources such as oil. Jesus would understand that somehow our oil got under their sand. Jesus believes in the unfettered “free market.” Jesus is a social darwinist. Jesus believes in realpolitik.
Those American politicians, business leaders and military leaders who choose to fight wars constantly assert that Jesus wants us to fight wars so that we can control oil, so that we can profligately waste energy by driving huge cars to church to praise Jesus. It all makes perfect sense to them. After all, it’s clear that America is being threatened. If Jesus were threatened, he wouldn’t simply take it . . . he wouldn’t do something absurd like turning his other cheek, would he? He certainly wouldn’t let a bunch of thugs take him, without resistance and kill him, would he?
No sir, He would fight back like we do, for His honor and his glory.
The American images, arguments and madness regarding Jesus are irrefutable proof that Man has Created God in Man’s own image and likeness.
[The attached images of Jesus were created by Pixwit, and are republished here with permission].