Was Jesus Wise?
Was Jesus wise?
Orthodox Christianity begins with the a priori assumption that God is
good and wise, while man is evil and foolish. According to Christian theology,
man is "fallen" and must be redeemed by God. Since Jesus Christ is
man's redeemer and is one with a wise, perfect God, Jesus is theoretically
wise and perfect. But what about the old saw that "the proof is in the pudding"?
If Jesus is one with Yahweh/Jehovah, and agrees with his
Father in all things, what are we to make of the many terrible, evil and unwise
commandments issued by Yahweh either directly or through his prophets in the Old
Testament [OT]? Here are just a few things commanded or allowed by Yahweh, which
Christians no longer consider to be "wise" today:
Girls who don't prove their virginity by bleeding on their wedding nights can be murdered by "men of God."
Children who are stubborn or curse should be murdered by their own
parents (Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Leviticus 20:9, Zechariah 13:3)
People of other religions should be murdered. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5, Deuteronomy
13:7-12, Deuteronomy 17:2-5)
Anyone who works on the Sabbath should be murdered (Exodus 31:12-15)
There are women with supernatural powers who are witches, and they should be
murdered. (Exodus 22:17, Leviticus 20:27)
The New Testament [NT] clearly says that Christians can own slaves (1 Timothy 6:1-2,
plus the entire book of Philemon)
The NT clearly commands and condones slavery, saying that slaves
should obey even the harshest masters. (Ephesians 6:5, 1 Peter 2:18, Col. 3:22)
"Men of God" can own slaves (Leviticus 25:44-46, Exodus 21:2-6, Exodus 21:20-21, Deuteronomy 15:12-18)
"Men of God" can slaughter women and children. (1 Samuel 15:2-3)
"Men of God" can murder other people, even if they are peaceful. (Judges 18:27-29)
"Men of God" can take girls as sex slaves after murdering their families. (Numbers 3:7-18, Judges 21:10- 24, Deuteronomy 20:10-14)
"Men of God" can sell their own daughters as sex slaves, with the option to
buy them back if they don't please their new masters. (Exodus 21:7-11)
"Men of God" should stone girls to death if they are raped, or sell them to
their rapists so that they can be raped "legally" the rest of their lives,
unless they were raped in a field where no one could hear their cries for help.
Was Jesus wise, really, or is the proof of the Biblical pudding that it's
Is there anything "good" or "wise" about the palpably evil commandments above? If
Jesus really claimed to be one with the author of such commandments, how can
anyone consider him to be good or wise?
Today most Christians believe that slavery, sex slavery and murdering
children are great evils. And yet the Bible clearly commands and/or condones such terrible
things in multiple verses. Was Jesus wise to never explicitly condemn slavery?
If he was able to predict the future and knew that Bible verses would lead to millions of people being enslaved,
more than 600,000 deaths in the American Civil War, why didn't he clearly say
that slavery was evil, and that Jews and Christians should never own slaves
under any circumstances?
But instead, according to the NT, both Jesus and Paul
claimed that ALL scripture is valid,
"inspired," and must be fulfilled ...
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not
come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting
and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle
shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-19)
But the laws of Moses were primitive, barbaric horrors, commanding and condoning
the worst crimes known to mankind: slavery, sex slavery, the stoning of children, infanticide, matricide, ethnic
cleansing, genocide, etc. And even if we discount the OT verses above, still
there are verses in the NT that say that large numbers of
predestined for hell, while the "chosen few" are predestined for heaven.
For instance, there is a horrific passage in Mark 4:10-12 where Jesus explains to the disciples of his
inner circle that he is telling the crowds parables in order to deliberately
mislead them, so that they can't be saved. This is the basis of Robert Frost's
magnificent poem "Directive," in which one of America's greatest poets describes the terror children brought up
in a Christian family feel,
because their guide wants large numbers of people to be lost, rather than saved.
The idea that some people are born predestined for
hell is incompatible with the Hebrew Bible, which never mentioned anything
about hell or suffering after death, instead saying that everyone would be saved in
the end, even Sodom. The idea that human beings need a guide in order to be
saved is incompatible with Christian predestination, which says that one's fate
is determined by God in advance. The idea that human beings must
believe certain things about Jesus is also incompatible with predestination,
since their fates are predetermined before birth. If Christians believe in
predestination, it makes no sense for them to preach the gospel to anyone, since
God decided their fates before they were born.
At least six different methods of salvation appear in the Bible: universal
salvation [Hebrew prophets like Ezekiel and a number of passages in the NT],
salvation by sacrifice/atonement [many verses in the OT and NT], salvation by predestination
[passages in the NT], salvation by grace [long before the time of Jesus and
Paul, King David said that God did not desire sacrifice and could simply choose
to not impute sin], salvation strictly by faith in Jesus Christ without works
[Paul], and salvation by faith confirmed by works [James].
Was Jesus wise to allow the religion that bears his name to teach so many
methods of salvation? If there is only one way to be saved, why didn't he
make damn sure his disciples knew the correct method? Why do so
many contradictory methods of salvation appear in
the Bible, if the Bible is word of God, and God is loving, wise and just?
I think Robert Frost had good cause as a child to wonder if the real purpose of
his "guide" was to get him lost. How can a child (or adult) know whether to
believe in universal salvation, or predestination, or sacrifice, or grace, or
having faith in a God who can't clearly explain how anyone can be saved, if
there is such a thing as Christian salvation?
And was it wise for Jesus to spend so much time talking about matters of diet and
Sabbath observance, and yet never once clearly explain the most important thing of all to
mothers: how their children can be saved? The Roman Catholic Church teaches
that babies need to be baptized in order to be saved. Most Protestants believe
that babies and children are not in danger of hell until they reach the
mysterious "age of accountability." But Jesus, Paul and the apostles never
discussed the important matter of all, leaving the question of the
salvation of children up to later Christian theologians. Was that wise?
How is it possible that a wise God, his chosen Messiah, and their foremost
evangelist, Saint Paul, never bothered to tell Christian mothers how their
children could be saved, or at what age they needed to be saved? Why did they
leave their followers in so much doubt that 2,000 years later the major Christian sects
agree on when and how children can be saved?
Furthermore, from cover to cover the Bible is clearly wrong about sex, racism, slavery
and religious intolerance. It is absolutely ludicrous to force a boy and a girl
to remain virgins until they wed, hoping they'll be sexually compatible. Why was
the God of the Bible a racist, favoring Jews over non-Jews? Why did Jesus and Paul go on and on about matters of
diet and Sabbath observance, and yet never once clearly condemned slavery? Was
that wise? Why does the OT command children to obey unjust parents? Why does the NT tell slaves to obey their masters? Why does the NT clearly teach the "divine
right of kings" when we know it is wrong to obey unjust rulers? (The reason
simple: Roman emperors and English kings paid for the texts that became the
Bible to be copied. They wanted slaves and serfs to obey their
masters, and citizens to obey their rulers, so the texts were "massaged" to
endorse tyranny. But was it wise for God to allow this to happen?)
And what about the Black Death, which wiped out around a third of the Christian
population of Europe, during the Dark Ages? Why didn't Jesus tell his disciples
that better sanitation and rat control could save millions of lives? Where was
his compassion for millions of suffering and dying children? How can God and
Jesus demand that human beings must act with compassion, and yet fail to act
with compassion themselves? That would make them hypocrites, but Jesus always
denounced hypocrisy. Can a wise man denounce hypocrisy, then act with such
hypocrisy that millions of children suffer and die on his watch?
How could Jesus commend the compassion of the Good Samaritan—a man who put
aside religious differences to act with compassion—if Jesus himself will send
the saints of other religions to an "eternal hell"?
If there really is an eternal hell, why didn't Jesus and Paul warn women never
to have children, because it would be radically unfair to give birth to children
who might end up in hell? Was it wise for God to create a hell that was never
mentioned in the OT, then fail to warn mothers not to have children because they
might end up in this new, terrible inferno?
Jesus claimed to be one with God. Was that wise? Certainly not, because the God
of the Hebrew Bible was guilty of all sorts of sins, crimes and terrible injustices. For
instance, Jehovah said that suffering and death were punishment for the
disobedience of man obtaining the knowledge of good and evil. But then animals
should not suffer and die, because they didn't disobey God, didn't eat the
forbidden fruit, and didn't obtain the knowledge of good and evil. And yet
Jehovah not only sentenced them to suffer and die, but according to the Genesis
account he even became the first murderer, killing animals to give their hides
to Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness. If God was wise, why didn't he give
Adam and Eve clothes made of cotton, or wool, or some other fiber that didn't
require killing innocent animals?
Was it wise for Jesus to claim to be one with a God who killed trillions of
animals by drowning them in a worldwide flood, when he was angry with human
beings? Why didn't God send a human-only plague, rather than causing so many
innocent animals to suffer and die such excruciating deaths?
And was it wise for Yahweh to keep hardening the pharaoh's heart to not let the
Hebrew tribes go, then keep getting angry with him for not letting them go, so
that thousands or millions of animals died in plague after plague? Was Jesus wise to claim to be one
with someone who terrorized and slaughtered animals for such outlandish reasons?
And Jesus himself was not "perfect," but an animal terrorist according to the
Bible, since he cast out demons into a large herd of pigs, causing them to jump from a
cliff to their deaths. Was that wise? Why not cast the demons out in a way
that did no harm to anyone, if Jesus was truly an all-powerful God?
And was Jesus wise to claim to be "perfect," when according to the Bible he was a
sinner? For instance, the law of Moses said that
children should always honor their parents. But Jesus spoke unkindly to his
mother, calling her "woman" and asking what he had to do with her: "And when
they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus
saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee?" [John ii, 4]
Jesus also lied, telling his disciples that he was not going to a festival, then
went to the festival.
Jesus also lied when he said, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in
the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the
heart of the earth." [Matt. xii, 40.] Jesus was never in the "heart of the
earth," since his body was placed in a small burial cave. And he was only in the cave
for two nights and one day.
Jesus also lied or was a false prophet in the following verses, in which he
told his disciples that he would return in their lifetimes, and that they would
"Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [Matt. iv, 17]
"Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."
[Matt. x, 23]
"There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the
Son of man coming in his kingdom." [Matt. xvi, 28; Mark ix, 1]
"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be
fulfilled." [Matt. xxiv, 74-34; Luke xxi, 32]
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand." [Mark i, 15]
"Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these
things be done." ["Mark xiii, 29-30]
"If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." [John viii, 51]
"Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." [John xi, 26]
Jesus also lied when he told his disciples that they would do greater things
than he did. But according to the Bible, Jesus walked on water, calmed storms
with a word, and raised the dead. None of his hundreds of millions of disciples can do such things.
Jesus also lied about his and God's ability to answer prayer. None of these
things are true:
"If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask,
it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." [Matt. xviii, 19]
"All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
[Matt. xxi, 21-22]
"What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and
ye shall have them." [Mark xi, 24.]
"... nothing shall be impossible unto you." [Matt. xvii, 20]
Not only are the things above obviously not true, but Jesus himself refuted them
when he said that human beings cannot add a hair to their heads nor an inch to
their heights. Was it wise to make such contradictory statements?
If the Bible is correct about what Jesus said, then Jesus was incredibly naive,
and far from wise. For instance, Jesus said, "Fear ye not; ye are of more value
than many sparrows." [Matt. X, 29-31.] But of course sparrows are not immortal
and offer suffer and die excruciating deaths, so it makes no sense to use
sparrows to comfort human beings.
Jesus also contradicted himself on the question of judgment:
"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son."
[John v, 22]
"I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true." [John viii, 16]
"And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not
to judge the world, but to save the world." [John xii, 47]
"For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and
that they which see might be made blind." [John x, 39]
If Jesus makes seeing people blind, that is obviously evil, especially so if
making them blind in matters of salvation leads to their damnation.
Jesus also contradicted Paul, who claimed that he had received his gospel from God,
not man. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul said that when he became a man, he put aside
childish things. Paul also told his protégé Timothy to study and "rightly divide
the word." But Jesus insisted that his disciples should remain like children and
take everything on blind faith:
"Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not
enter therein." [Mark x, 15]
And was it wise for Jesus to contradict himself on the subject of setting good
examples in matters of charity?
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and
glorify your Father which is in heaven." [Matt v, 16]
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye
have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." [Matt vi, 1]
The Bible cannot instruct us on even the simplest things. There is a NT verse that calls it a shame for a man to have long hair. But in the
OT the men consecrated to God—Nazirites
like Samson and Samuel—took vows to never cut their hair. According to
the Bible, Samson lost his power because he allowed his hair to be cut. So how
can it be a shame for a man to have long hair?
Jesus was confused about blasphemy, if he really said, "Whosoever shall
blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness." [Mark iii, 29] But no
human being knows the mind of God, and the Bible constantly contradicts itself,
so it is impossible for human beings to know what God really believes. Thus,
blasphemy is impossible.
Jesus was a cruel, heartless, unwise egomaniac if he really
said, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and
children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my
disciple." [Luke xiv, 26]
Was it wise for Jesus to teach his disciples to pray "And lead us not into
temptation"? What sort of God would lead human beings into temptation? And
if God is
loving, wise and good, and always does the right things, why would anyone need to pray to God at all?
According to the Bible, Jesus said, "Take no thought for your life, what ye
shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on
... Take therefore no thought for the morrow." [Matt. vi, 25-34]
But of course this is not wise. Human beings and many animals must plan for the
future, if they want to survive. Squirrels store nuts. Bees store honey. Human
beings really do need to plan for the morrow, if they don't want to starve to
Was Jesus so vastly unwise, or did his disciples put words into his
mouth that made him seem like a petty egoist and a raging hypocrite? I, for one,
suspect the latter. The "Holy Bible" is actually the hole-y bible and anyone who
reads it with an ounce of honesty can see that it is a very human book, full of
satanic verses, contradictions and wild errors.
If Jesus was wise,
the writers of the Bible told lies.
—Michael R. Burch
half the Bible
—Michael R. Burch