This is the fourth post of a weekly series on immoral passages of the Bible. You can find the collection page here, with links to every post in the series.
Many of the examples of immorality that we have looked at in the previous posts in this series have focused on God and the insane proclamations attributed to him in the Bible. But in honor of Easter coming up this Sunday, today we focus solely on Jesus: Our very own Jesus Special!
You may be familiar with Christian apologists who love to excuse the barbarism of the Old Testament and try to focus critics’ attention on the love and forgiveness found in the New Testament. There is a problem with that though, many of the things Jesus said and did are also pretty barbaric. We covered Jesus a little in the previous post on slavery, and in the post on murder we looked at the apostles Paul and Peter advocating for and committing murder, respectively.
First, a disclaimer: this is by no means a comprehensive list.
Alright, let’s get started. What about the idea that Jesus advocated peace? That seems to contradict what he says in the Gospel of Matthew:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34 NIV)
That… does not sound like the peaceful prophet from Galilee that we are often told about by many Christians. But maybe he was having a bad day.
Except, in the Gospel of John he says that anyone who does not believe in him will be cast into fire. (John 15:6 NIV)
It gets even worse in the Gospel of Luke when Jesus wants those who refuse to call him their king murdered in front of him. What is wrong with you, Jesus?! (Luke 19:27 NIV)
And he believed that some sins could NEVER be forgiven, such as speaking out against the Holy Spirit. (Mark 3:29 NIV)
In fact, Jesus believes that the vast majority of people will be going to Hell. (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)
Jesus also compares God to a slave master beating his slaves when talking about believers and unbelievers. (Luke 12:46-47 NIV)
He also was not a fan of a happy family life when he said:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26 NIV)
Wow, that is dark, Jesus. Why do your disciples have to hate their family so much? You are your own father, for crying out loud!
The focus on the Gospels in this post has been deliberate because the Gospels are purported to record what Jesus said and did, although few modern secular scholars trust anything they say. The Gospels are believed by most experts outside of devout fundamentalists to be pure fiction composed with propagandistic motives. But for the faithful, the character of Jesus is mostly derived from the Gospels, and so if we are going to criticize him for being just as cruel and barbaric as what we find in many of the passages of the Old Testament, then the Gospels need to be the focus of the conversation.
The New Testament, let alone the Bible, is not a source for morality.