One of the best films ever made about Jesus, Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ
, catches a lot of shit from Christians (many of whom have never actually seen it) for portraying him as a deeply disturbed guy who was prone to mood swings, and often just behaved like a total jerk to his closest friends and family. Since the faith of Christianity revolves around worshipping Jesus and taking his life as a model to be emulated, this sounds like a legitimate gripe. Until, that is, you crack open a Bible and discover that the Jesus presented in the gospels is a much bigger asshole than Willem Dafoe played him as.
He’s not a total shithead. He gives the Sermon on the Mount, saves a prostitute from being stoned to death, and heals (I think it’s fair to say) more than his share of the sick. But skim those first four books of the New Testament, and I think you’ll agree that . . .Jesus Could Be a DickBut I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. —Matthew 5:28
Adultery is wrong. Nothing controversial there. But, according to Jesus, adultery isn’t just the physical act of fucking around on your husband or wife — just thinking
about it counts, too. The moral implications of this are pretty chilling; Jesus implies there is no moral distinction between sinful thoughts and sinful deeds. Is this just for adultery, or are we meant to think of other sins this way, too? Is thinking about killing someone, even in a fleeting fit of anger, the same thing as actually picking up that ax and burying it in their skull? Making this standard even more draconian: Jesus doesn’t even say that the woman being lusted after has to be married! All he says is “whosoever,” meaning any-goddamn-body on the planet. So a single guy who fantasizes about getting it on with a single girl is an adulterer, even though it would technically not be adultery if they actually had sex. It’d still be fornication, which I’m sure Jesus, Sheriff of the Thought Police, wouldn’t like either, but you can’t win ‘em all.For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. —Mark 4:25
Reading this, it’s no wonder that most Christians in America are so hysterically opposed to communism — the founder of their religion preached the exact opposite. Jesus tells the multitude that has gathered to hear his famous parable about the sower of seed that God’s way is to give more to those who already have plenty, and take from the destitute what little they have. So that’s where Ronald Reagan got the idea!Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. —Luke 8:33
Jesus finds a naked guy who has been possessed by demons, and heals him by casting them out. Sounds like a nice thing to do, right? And it would have been had Jesus, the all-powerful son of God, sent the demons back to Hell, as he apparently did every other time he exorcised someone. Instead, this time Jesus sends the demons into a nearby herd of pigs, who promptly run off a cliff and drown. I’m sure the farmer who owned the pigs and depended on them for his livelihood appreciated having his livestock killed en masse for no reason at all. Had Jesus grown bored with simply casting demons out? Is there any reason for him to murder a whole herd of pigs, other than to prove what a colossal nutsack he could be?He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. —John 12:40
The Gospel of John is where Jesus brings out his major league dickhood. First there’s this delightful tidbit Jesus shares about how God has made some folks unreceptive to Jesus’ message of salvation on purpose, so that more people will go to Hell. Get this straight: according to the Bible, God has set up the universe so that nobody
gets to Heaven unless they accept Jesus Christ as their savior, but he has also caused some people to reject that salvation on purpose
, damning those people to an eternity of torture in Hell. A few verses later, Jesus tells the people that he has come to be “a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” — which doesn’t include the poor bastards who God has intentionally kept from believing in him, who will have no chance to escape an infinity of unimaginable torment. Thanks, Jesus!And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, “My servant lieth at home sick.” . . . And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. . . . And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. —Matthew 8:5-13
One of the most egregious of the Bible’s many moral shortcomings is its treatment of slavery. This passage from Matthew is a perfect example: a Roman soldier tells Jesus that his slave is at home sick. Instead of telling the centurion that God hates slavery and that he should free the slave immediately, Jesus commends the soldier on his faith and heals the slave without objection. So the dying slave gets a long-distance cure from the Son of God, only so he can get out of bed and get back to doing his master’s bidding. Jesus Christ: The Messiah Who Cares (Just Not About Slaves)!But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! —Mark 13:17
Ah, misogyny. The Bible just loves to smack around women, and Jesus is no exception. Here, Jesus is talking about the last days, the end of the world, and singles out pregnant women and mothers nursing young children to suffer particular hardships. Why? Who cares?! Suffering is only bad if it happens to someone with a penis!And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. —Luke 8:20-21
Jesus’ mother and brothers come to see him, and he tells them to piss off, that his followers are his real family. What happened to all that “honor your father and mother” bullshit? I’m sure Jesus was busy and all, but how big of a prick must you be to give your own mother the brush-off after the woman immaculately conceived and virginally birthed you? Most women would have told that angel to go fuck himself when he showed up talking about impregnating them with the seed of the Lord. Not Mary. She knew people would think she was a slut, maybe even her old man, but she went along with it anyway. And this is the thanks she gets. Bad form, Jesus. You’re the savior of mankind and you can’t take a second to talk to your fucking saint of a mother? Take your salvation and cram it.Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. . . . Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? . . . Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. —John 12:3-8
Jesus lets this woman pour expensive scented oil over his feet, and when Judas suggests that it might be better to sell the oil and use the money to help the poor, Jesus’ reply is, “Fuck you, Judas. I’ll be dead soon, but there will always be poor people around.” John attributes Judas questioning the use of the oil to his greed, suggesting that he really wants to sell it and keep the money himself, but I don’t buy it. I think Judas gets a bum rap from Christians. He’s always cast as the villain for betraying Jesus and enabling the crucifixion. But I ask you, wasn’t getting crucified the entire purpose of Jesus’ life? Wasn’t he born solely
to die on the cross for the sins of humanity? It looks to me like Judas, who is described elsewhere as the only disciple whom Jesus called a friend, was only doing what Jesus wanted him to. It also seems, judging from his concern for the poor while witnessing that pricey foot massage, that Judas was more interested in giving aid and relief to the poor than Jesus was. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Jesus could be a dick.