Martin LeFevre: Jesus Was a Man
Jesus Was a Man
The silly season is upon us. Silly not because of the celebrations of Jesus’ birth, as anachronistic as that seems in a world devoid of innocence and peace, but because ‘X-mas’ has become synonymous with the mindlessness of consumerism.
It’s also the time of year when the nostalgic sentimentality for the unexamined things of childhood rages to the surface, often literally. In America, where citizens live in a paralysis of superficiality all year long, one hears echoes of last year’s raging issue: Should greeters at Wal-Mart say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays?”
Of course, anyone who questions the lunacy of the Christmas season is labeled a ‘grinch,’ not unlike, ironically, anyone who questions Israeli policies is called an anti-Semite. Jimmy Carter has been on the receiving end of that calumny this season, with the publication of his controversial book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."
But I digress. The greatest heresy in the history of humanity is the idea that Jesus was God. Jesus was a man, and God (that is, intrinsic, immanent cosmic intelligence) abhors the notion that a man can be called God. Christianity is therefore based on a monumental lie.
Why was this falsehood invented and propagated? By making Jesus into God, people from his time on have been able to distance themselves from the responsibility not only for crucifying the believed Messiah, but also for living what Jesus taught. After all, if even Jesus failed to change humanity, how can we possibly succeed?
Deifying Jesus denies accountability on a fundamental level. For if Jesus was God, then our own ‘sinfulness’ is excused, or at least ‘forgiven.’ It’s a small step from there to the idea that ‘he was born to die on the cross for our sins!’ What rubbish.
The murder (or martyrdom) of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a fierce critic of the war in Chechnya, provides a compelling modern day counterpoint. Not long before her death, she and her editor at the hard-hitting newspaper Novaya Gazeta talked about whether they were willing to die for their work. He said no; she said yes.
Anna Politkovskaya was a passionate person who radiated an inner beauty. Did she die for nothing? She certainly knew the risks, and consciously decided she had to pursue the truth about Putin’s government and its Chechnyan puppet Kadyrov all the way. Of course, one can never know her motivations, but the larger question posed by her death is: Is the world worth dying for? No, but is humanity still worth dying for?
Jesus tried to radically change the human heart, and paid with his life. He obviously failed to bring about a revolution in human consciousness, and so Christians have been doing an even worse thing than the people who crucified him: They're deifying him.
(No, I’m not implying that ‘the Jews crucified Jesus.’ That’s absurd, since Jesus was a Jew, and there was no Christian division yet.)
Jesus was not sent or meant to die on the cross, but to light and ignite the human heart. His death might have meaning if people understood him as a human being, albeit an exceptional one. But Christians pound another nail into him every time they worship him as God. They miss the whole point of his life, make a mockery of his message, and provide a clever kind of comfort and spiritual escape from ever having to actually live his way.
Deifying Jesus also provided the foundational premises for the Roman Catholic Church, with its hierarchical power and entrenchment of the idea of intermediation by priests between the individual and God. Of course all religions maintain the false necessity of the intermediation of a priestly class, since there would be no organized religion without it. But the Catholic Church, with its extraordinary power, wealth, and influence over the centuries, has succeeded in keeping office while keeping Jesus at arm’s length.
Jesus was a man; Christ never existed. If humankind is to have any chance for ‘peace on earth,’ insight must be ignited within the individual, you and I. Then perhaps the birth and death of Jesus will have a new meaning, and Christ will be more than a fiction.
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.
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