New: Does it matter whether he lived or how he died?

John McMullen
Sunday December 25, 2016 - 05:47:00 PM

I read an article in the Washington Post about the birth of Jesus not being so important as his resurrection. Then they went on about whether Jesus really existed.

Wouldn't it be great if it relied on the teachings and example of the man, regardless of his existence, history, fact, or fiction? That we all loved our neighbor because of the METAPHOR of Jesus? This would preclude our having to believe in things that very likely didn't happen since all our experience tells us it isn't so, that no one actually comes back from the dead except in horror films, no one rises into the sky except in sci-fi.  

At one time we were ignorant children, but then we learned how to read and the rules of logic and science, We wouldn’t have to believe in Santa anymore or be good for fear of not getting a reward, and for fear that someone other than NSAnta is monitoring us when we are sleeping and is aware of our movements when we are awake. We could be good for goodness' sake, and be moral because it is the right thing to do. We would have to find another reason to exterminate our fellow humans other than what fantasies they believe in. We wouldn’t have to keep our wives and daughters captive based on transcribed hallucinations inspired by too much time in the desert heat or monsoon wet from 1500 years ago or more.  

The paranoia and blind obedience has not worked out very well so far. It puts us on the track to believe in and do what we are told which was probably pretty important for its time, but the cognitive dissonance (holding two opposing thoughts, feeling one way and thinking another) has been getting in the way of our human development and belief in the scientific method. And we wouldn’t hold a not-so-secret belief that we will rejoice when the world ends. And the guilt, oh the guilt that destroys lives. Our symbol could be the light of love, an acceptance of our humanity--that we have been given the gift of sentience and reason, that we are sexual creatures and if we are careful, reasonable, and keep our promises that we can revel in the one act that surely can be spiritually ecstatic: I offer as evidence from that we most always invoke the name of the deity at that most thrilling of moments that takes over our senses. No more scary beliefs that torturing a victim to death will save us from God’s wrath or kneeling before a gruesome image. 

Does it matter whether he lived or how he died? What are the important messages? Accumulating wealth is detrimental to our spiritual health. (Hmmmm…that could have influenced recent events much more than any hacking did.) That this man with the message of love was a bastard child who was lucky enough to have man raise him with love though he knew he wasn’t his father—he had to learn it from somewhere and the examples that inspire you begin at home. He came from a working class family. He spoke truth to power regardless of the consequences—and in his case there were some serious consequences that make Guantanamo and dark CIA sites seem like nursery school--and was a victim of capital punishment as a political prisoner. He came to the defense of women and their sexuality, and appointed one of them to a high position in his organization in a time when women were treated pretty much like they are in Afghanistan. He strongly suggested that we withhold judgement so that we might establish a precedent wherein we are not pre-judged. Have mercy, make peace, that the poor are special (hey, Mark added the “in spirit” disclaimer just to throw us and give the rich a way around it), be meek, aspire to a purity (now this is good place to insert “in spirit”), and to seek what is right regardless of the prospect of losing your job, going before the tribunal, incarceration in supermax, or being machine gunned in the stadium or “disappeared.” Charity. Hope. But most emphatically and preeminently, Love. It will light up your life, and light up the world. I think if we followed that, the presents we bought would be those to give to the poor, and hugs would replace nerves and exhaustion and fights about the decorations not being perfect. 

Not a bad example at all and an excellent norminative ethical system to pursue. On a rational and moral basis.  

Merry Christmas everyone.