An brief essay about the author's beliefs about Jesus:
About this web site:
This web site at www.religioustolerance.org is different from almost all other religious web sites. It is unusual, mainly because of two principles which I, as the main author, have attempted to follow:
- I try to impartially explain all views on each religious, moral, or ethical topic objectively with minimal bias. Almost all other religious web site promote one set of beliefs, tradition, or denomination with one religion.
- Unlike most Internet media sources, when covering current developments, I try to provide a complete story in a single essay or group of linked essays. In comparison, most media supply multiple snapshots of stories as the news breaks each day.
My personal thoughts about Jesus:
On 2018-MAR-10, I spotted an entry on Quora.com that had been just submitted by a Karl Johanson on the topic: "What do you think about Jesus?"
I couldn't resist answering the question myself. I added the following comment (slightly edited here):
"It is impossible to obtain a clear understanding of Jesus and his teachings. There were no impartial observers alive when he was, who followed his teachings and who recorded events in his life.
My guess is that he was a fully human religious leader who was conceived in the normal way. His was probably not a virgin birth, because that has never been observed in humans. Also, virgin births are allway female. He was born sometime in the fall between the year 7 and 4 BCE. He was raised as a Jew and remained one throughout his life. Jesus was focussed on reforming Judaism, not creating a new world religion.
He was a follower of a major liberal Jewish leader: Hillel the Elder who lived during the first century BCE, from whom he appears to have developed positive views towards women, and an appreciation of the importance of the Golden Rule. His popularity with the public made the Roman occupying administration very nervous, particularly at the time of Passover when nationalistic feelings peaked. When he attacked the commercial interests in the Jerusalem Temple he was prpbably observed and seized by soldiers whose headquarters overlooked the temple grounds. He was probably sentenced to death by a low-level Roman Army officer. He died on a stake or cross and probably buried in a ditch, along with some other Jews on the same day who were considered insurrectionists by the Roman occupying government. I suspect that he was not resurrected and did not ascend to Heaven.
The first and thus the most reliable Gospel in the Bible was written by an unknown author and attributed to Mark. It was written circa 70 CE -- some three decades after Jesus' execution. In the meantime, many inaccurate legends were created about his life and ministry which were mixed with accurate memories. If you read the four Gospels in chronological order (Mark, Mathew, Luke, John) you will find that more and more magical stories are piled on top of accurate stories of Jesus’ life in the later Gospels.
My belief is that Jesus' most important teachings are of the Golden Rule at Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31, and the parable of the Sheep and Goats at Matthew 25: 31-46.
The Golden Rule (a.k.a. Ethics of Reciprocity) is found in Matthew 7:12. Translated by the Amplified Bible, it reads:
"So then, in everything treat others the same way you want them to treat you, for this is [the essence of] the Law and the [writings of the] Prophets."
The Sheep and Goats parable describes the specifics of the Final Judgment when Jesus divides people after their death into those who will go to Heaven and those who will spend eternity in the torture chambers of Hell. To gain Heaven, Jesus uses only a single criterion: whether during the person's life, they helped other persons in need: i.e. they fed the hungry and thirsty; they befriended the lonely, gave clothes to the unclad, nursed the sick, and visited the imprisoned.
Unfortunately, this parable is contradicted by the statement in John 3:16 -- one of the most often quoted passages in the Bible. It says:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
This is similar to Matthew 7 in that there is only one criterion for entering Heaven. But it is not to have followed the GoIden Rule. It says that one must believe in Jesus. Unfortunately, it does not specifically say what one must believe. Also, it gives the alternative to Heaven as non-existence, not Hell.
How you may have arrived here:
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2018-MAR-10
Latest update: 2020-MAR-30