Who Would Jesus Hate?
In my last piece I looked at Christianity’s mottled record on civil rights and the next natural step is to take a look at the source material to see if provides any clues to the inconsistency. Of course, even an attempt at a critical discussion of The Bible is tricky. There are a significant number of Christians who believe The Bible to be literally true and unassailable fact, despite the fact that the Bible is a translated text.
So, for just the time it takes read this article, let’s simply pretend we all agree that the text of the Bible is both a record of true events but that record has been open to the various interpretations of translators through time. Also, we are going to presuppose no bias on the part of the translators and assume that they made their choices simply to convey an ancient message in respectively modern terms.
With all of this in mind, what—other than being a personification of the Creator of All Things—is it about Jesus that makes him such a compelling figure? The answer is plainly obvious after even a cursory reading of the Gospels: Jesus was a hellraiser.
Throughout the Gospels Jesus disregards the establishment mentality. Tax collectors were reviled members of society and Jesus often interacted with them positively. The ill and infirmed were outcasts and Jesus went to them, too. Jesus’s entire adult life was spent challenging authority. So where would Jesus stand on the civil rights of gays and women?
While Jesus never spoke about homosexuality—although some point to his quoting of the book of Genesis in a Book of Matthew passage about divorce, but it’s a stretch—Paul, author of much of the New Testament, did condemning it as sinful, although many scholars agree that the latter references were made in letters not authored by Paul himself.
In fact, the famous scene in which Jesus defends the “woman taken in adultery” by calling on any non-sinner to throw the first stone was not in the earliest copies of John’s Gospel. The famous line “go and sin no more” was originally translated as “Go thy way therefore, for neither do I condemn thee.”
When considered in context with Jesus’s many other statements advocating for the poor and the oppressed. Most obviously he says in Luke, that he meant “to bring the good news to the poor” and “to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free….”
So it could be convincingly argued that Jesus cared little about individual sin, because humans are imperfect creatures, and more about ensuring that the system stayed out of the business of “salvation.”
About the author
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.