...because the Gospel of Thomas has no interest in the Hebrew
Bible or the Jewish Messianic expectation. -
Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitness, Wm B. Erdmans
Publishing Co. 2006, p. 237
Why I am NOT a Christian
The best place to start is to look at the very term itself. "Christ" is
simply the wrong word to apply to the J-person, yet the concept
of a Christ is built right into the word Christian!
Greek Christ equals
The term "Christ" is the Greek word that stands in for the Hebrew
Messiah. Now that I know what Jesus is like and what a Messiah really is, I find
that I don't want nor do I need God to be like a Messiah. I want God to be
like Jesus. I NEED God to be like Jesus! And, I don't care nor do I think it
is at all germane who Mary of Joseph descended from. Jesus had better stand
on his own merits instead of needing prophecies or partial identity from Old
Now that I can frame the life, actions, message and mission of Jesus
within the human condition and the ultimate issues rather than the ancient
scriptures, I see clearly that Jesus was NOT a Messiah nor THE Messiah. That
is probably a difficult claim for most people to accept until the whole
thinking behind the concept of the Messiah is closely examined.
"...Judaism has always preferred the celebration and sanctification
life in this world to eschatological promises. My guess
21st-century Christian thought will move back toward its
father and become increasingly Judaized, less focused on death
and the afterlife and more on life here
- David Gelernter, "The Closing of the Scientific Mind."
Think about the quote above. Was this the message or focus of Jesus? I
think not in the way that Galernter means, but actually in a MUCH better
way, and only if you think in terms of literal immortality!
Central to the idea of a Messiah is that such a person is a powerful
sovereign destined to rule first over the Israelite people and then the
wider world. Granted that a Messiah does
great things, restoring law and order, reclaiming the geographical territory, rebuilding
the society, etc., these are accomplished through the use of force and the
direction of regnal power instead of through inspiration and freedom. Messiahs and
democracies are actually antithetical to each other.
Here is what the online encyclopedia infogalactic.com has to say:
"The concept of
messianism originated in Judaism. According to Jewish tradition, the
Jewish Messiah, HaMashiach, "the Messiah", "the anointed
one"), often referred to as "King Messiah" (melekh mashiach), is plainly distinct from the concept
of a divine Christian Messiah or any other concept of a messiah in other
Abrahamic religions, especially the Islamic. The future Jewish Messiah to come is thought to be a human leader,
physically descended from the paternal Davidic line through King David
and King Solomon. He is thought to accomplish predetermined things in only one
future arrival, including the unification of the tribes of Israel,
the gathering in of all Jews to Eretz Israel, the
rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, the ushering in of a
Messianic Age of global universal peace, and the annunciation of the
World to Come."
It must be added that this vision is supremacist, involving global
conquest and suppression or eradication of gentile history and culture, and
is probably genocidal. So, it's easy enough for Christianity to dismiss most of this, but once
it does, it finds itself in a netherworld without sound bearings. Once you
accept that Jesus was not THAT messiah, you have lost the legitimate value
of the term "Christ", its cargo, and its implications. The Gospel
of John delineates how the Jews pointed out reasons for not accepting Jesus
as their Messiah, but clearly does NOT excuse them from accepting him as the
son of God. John, one time, has Jesus referring to himself as the Christ,
but he may have misremembered in a case where Jesus used the term "coming one".
At that time, John would have heard this term as equating to the Messiah.
Outside of reporting what other people said, John himself, one time, refers
to Jesus as the Christ but may still have been confused over the issue.
Although his understanding was superior to all the other disciples except
Thomas, it was still not adequate or up to par, and this may be an example of where John was not able to completely cleanse
himself of his old religious concepts at the time he dictated his Gospel..
It's not just that the word "Christ" is incorporated into the title but
that the whole enterprise and thinking of Christianity is saturated with the
concept of God the Creator forever being the benevolent sovereign dictator and director, rather
than the good father of the family who sets the stage for his children to
blossom and thrive with equality and personal sovereignty. If I tried to direct the life of my son, he would
be stunned, and shocked at such a betrayal of our relationship as peers. He
would rightfully think I had temporarily lost my spiritual balance, firmly put me in my place,
and wonder about the future of our relationship.
The very essence of being a sovereign over other people is contrary to
the character of the creator, who actually insists upon primarily taking the role of
the servant instead of the Master or Lord. This is what the religious people
willfully cannot see, and of course not seeing this is the essence of sin.
Virtually no theologian understands this!
Christianity is often known as Judeo-Christianity because of its
incorporating as much of Judaism as it can into its doctrinal universe. All
the while being in denial that Judaism was ever and always the worship of
Saturn as God, and an almost thoroughly false religion. Christendom is not
open to cleansing itself from this influence and content. Most of the many
other errors, wrongs, failings, misunderstandings, and shortcomings of
Christendom have been addressed in other places on this site. See:
Christendom Analyzed, Christendom
Challenged, Christendom Condemned.
To publicly claim that God had raised from the dead a crucified man exposed
Christians to ridicule and shame. The very notion of a crucified
Messiah was a contradiction of terms and scandalously offensive to Jews. -
Alexander LaBreque in The Credibility of the Testimony to Jesus’ Resurrection
Largely the Standard
Given this and its foundation of the Bible being the word of God,
Christianity is a religion partly infused with false values. In the western
world via the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the
founding of America, etc. humanism has become the prevailing philosophy or
stance of the Western world, and
Christianity has largely had to become more humanistic. With the exception
of those stated and implied by Jesus, the USA Declaration of Independence
and Constitution have truer and more legitimate values than those of the
two Canon Testaments. Western governments in general hew to a secular humanistic
standard rather than a Christian one.
It is fashionable in Protestant circles to make a big
deal out of the Reformation, and some theologians astutely point out the
salient differences between the focus of it and the Rennaissance. Here is
what the theologian Jack Zwemer had to say:
"It was an exciting time
to be alive, not only because of the Reformation, but also because the
Renaissance had already gripped the hearts and minds of people. Realizing
the inhibitions and shackles imposed on human minds by the Catholic Church,
men saw deliverance in classical wisdom revealed to them by Byzantine and
Islamic scholars. They were filled with a love of learning and of freedom, a
desire for the cultivation of the arts and sciences, and a dedication to
human progress. They saw the promise of fulfillment in this life through
human effort, art and ingenuity.
"For a time it seemed
that the Renaissance and Reformation were to be linked together and finally
to liberate the human race. The Renaissance gave to the Reformation such
scholars as John Wycliffe, Erasmus and Melancthon. It restored a knowledge
of the Biblical languages and recovered the Greek and Hebrew texts of the
Scriptures. It provided the invention of movable type and faster modes of
transportation. It bred a spirit of inquiry, of tolerance, and of individual
freedom of expression. Finally, it gravely weakened the historic absolutism
of the papacy.
"But the ancient antithesis between primitive Christianity and Greco-Roman thought was a
fundamental barrier to the union of the Renaissance and the Reformation. The
faith and hope of the Reformation were in heaven; for the Renaissance they
were on earth. The means and end of the Reformation were found in Jesus; for
the Renaissance they were found in man. The concern of the Reformation was
spiritual; for the Renaissance it was material. The interest of the
Reformation was in the revealed and the dogmatic; for the Renaissance it was
in the rational and the experimental.
"Few Renaissance scholars embraced the Reformation. Most of them broke with it and
determinedly fought it. Even such a man of great learning and conviction as Erasmus, with his
inestimable contribution to the Reformation, ended by breaking with Luther."
- Jack D. Zwemer, "Birth and Death of the Renaissance".
The important clue is in the last sentence. Zwemer was committed to the
opinion that the two great truth-bringers clarifying the message of Jesus
were Paul and Luther. He would have us accept and applaud that in the
Reformation the dark superstition and oppression of the Roman church was
replaced by the liberating bright truth of the pretentious, superstitious
doctrine of substitutionary righteousness of "Christ" fostered by the
Reformation. Not completely well and good, because there being a vivid
contrast between the falsity of the Catholic doctrine and approach and that
of the Reformation—or even that the latter is preferable and better—does
NOT make the latter right or the truth. Contrast and difference does NOT
necessarily translate to one being wrong and the other right! But, such is
the sophomoric level of the prevailing theological thinking. The theological
premises of this site are a break with Paul and Luther, and we are not
impressed with either of them.
The person that is in love with the real Jesus,
with the unmitigated respect he showed for us as his children, and with the
freedom that he opened up for us to reclaim, just does not want to be
identified with these packages of false Christian religion and their dogma,
whatever the flavor, does not want to be
subjected to the vacuous sacraments, rites and liturgy, and can't possibly
fit in comfortably with the culture, values and expectations of Christendom any more than
with liberal Judaism or Islam. See:
Premise Regarding Christianity
By NOT being a Christian, I now miss and
lack NOTHING that is genuine EXCEPT numbers of fellow quasi-believers, but I will
take quality over quantity in this case.