The HyperTexts

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 also said to be wise and perfect. But 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." (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)
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, 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. (Deuteronomy 22:25-29)

Is there anything "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 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, and 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, Jesus and Paul claimed that ALL scripture is valid 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 people are 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 contradictory 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 works, 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 still cannot 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 seems quite 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 never die:

"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 death.

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

If God
is good,
half the Bible
is libel.
—Michael R. Burch

The HyperTexts