Martin LeFevre: Jesus Died for Nothing
Jesus Died for Nothing
Just as the perversion of Mohammed’s teaching has produced bin Laden and the evil of Al Qeda, so too the perversion of Jesus’ teaching has produced George Bush and the evil of the US military machine.
I cannot speak for Islam; Muslims will have to sort out for themselves where it went wrong. But I can speak to Christianity, which bears so little resemblance to the spirit, teachings, and mission of Jesus that I don’t know how anyone can call themselves a Christian.
Where did the teachings of Jesus go wrong? At a psychological level, that’s fairly obvious, though on a metaphysical level, it’s much harder to understand.
Jesus’ mission utterly failed, and his followers, unable to face and comprehend the fact, created a myth that has been handed down for two thousand years. They said, “Jesus was meant to die on the cross all along!” They said, “He came to die for our sins, to cleanse man of original sin, and thereby enable everyone to enter heaven!”
That’s an incredible load of rubbish. Jesus was a man, a human being. He himself didn’t understand what had gone wrong. His last words attest to that--to his humanness, as well as his spiritual greatness: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Of course, God didn’t forsake Jesus; his disciples and fellow Jews did. But even on the cross, he didn’t lose faith, but took the failure back on himself, thinking he must have done something wrong or fallen short in some way. That's the reason, whether they've known it or not, why so many have held Jesus in their hearts over the centuries. He was very human, and certainly not God, however one understands God. Saying Jesus is God is a blasphemy, as is all the baloney about his sacrifice on the cross.
Jesus died because his disciples fell short or fell away. He died because his fellow Jews didn’t listen, and apply his teaching to their own lives. He died because the Jewish leaders saw him as a danger to their positions. And he died because the Romans viewed him as a threat to their political order.
In the time of Jesus, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people died the gruesome death of hanging on the cross. The Romans had perfected it to such a degree that they were able to crucify thousands at a time. Such deaths would usually take days. People were strung up by ropes, which allowed life to slowly drain out of them, for the 'deterrent effect.' Jesus was nailed to the cross, which hastened his end for into a matter of hours.
He must have seriously threatened the political order of the Romans, which is also why they put a purple robe on him and tacked a sign to his cross, ridiculing him as “king of the Jews.” That shows that his mission wasn’t just a spiritual one. He had tremendous appeal and was gaining momentum, when suddenly things went terribly wrong. And they’ve been going wrong ever since for Christianity.
In the years and centuries after his crucifixion, Jesus’ death became a license to not take responsibility for oneself and for one’s own spiritual development. ‘Jesus died for my sins’ became the rallying cry of every so-called Christian who sought an easy way out of the hole they had dug for themselves. The end result is George Bush, who kills in Christ’s name and sleeps soundly at night, after slaughtering thousands in a war motivated by his sick need to one-up his father.
Jesus was a pacifist for Christ sake. He would have been horrified at the monstrous machine of the US military, which makes the Romans look like spear throwers. (Wait a second… they were spear throwers.)
In the age of borderless state and stateless terror, political conflict, much less political violence, has become obsolete. Battle lines are arbitrary; everyone and no one is the enemy in the amorphous global society. All that’s left is a steamrolling global order of greed, exploitation, hopelessness, and war.
All the old shibboleths are in their last gasps. The anti-colonial struggle has produced the malevolence of a Mugabe in Zimbabwe. The anti-globalization struggle has produced the hollowness of a Ralph Nader in America. The anti-US movement has produced the demagoguery of a Chavez in Venezuela. The anti-patriarchy struggle has produced the self-serving-ness of a Hillary Clinton in the US. The anti-liberalization movement has produced the corruption of a da Silva in Brazil.
Jesus decried political violence, and saw the Roman soldiers as spiritually deserving as his Jewish brethren. That insight got him killed. The threat he posed to the Jewish religious order, and the Roman political order, was profound. It was working, and so he had to be eliminated by both camps.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.