Monday, May 31, 2010

JTL Series: Revisiting Matthew, Chapter 7

Part 5 of my "Jesus the Letdown" series.
  • Verses 1 - 2: Don't judge other people. Well, a nice sentiment, but look at the sanction: in the same way you judge others, you'll be judged yourself. So judging itself isn't immoral, it's just God's exclusive right. But what about, don't judge other people because we're all in this together. Why couldn't Jesus have focused on the compassionate aspect of not judging, rather than making it into a sinful act, deserving of punishment?
  • Verses 3 - 5: Don't be a hypocrite. Make sure that you see clearly before you tell someone else that he/she doesn't see clearly. Fair enough. But I'm convinced that if Jesus had focused more on compassion for others, he wouldn't have had to say so much about hypocrisy. He really was just working within the conceptual framework of the society at the time, not introducing some radical new way of thinking.
  • Verse 6: Don't throw your pearls to swine. Again, it's useful advice, if you accept the "us and them" mentality that Jesus so obviously accepts. I would have expected something new and unusual from the Son of God. Also, in order to determine whether I should get my pearls out, I must first judge whether the person to whom I'm showing them is a pig. In what sense are we not to judge, if we have permission to judge this person to be a pig on whom my pearls would be wasted?
  • Verses 7 - 11: Ask and it will be given to you? Bullshit. Seek and you will find? Bullshit. A man won't give a stone to his son who asks for bread, or a snake to his son who asks for a fish. God's way better than that; if we evildoers know how to give good gifts to our kids, then how much more will God give us good gifts when we ask. Bullshit.
  • Verse 12: Do unto others. The Golden Rule, embedded in all this crap. This is the best that the Son of God can do?
  • Verse 13 - 14: It's hard to do the right thing. Fair enough. But again, the terror of punishment follows: "...small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." So most of us are screwed.
  • Verses 15 - 20: Know them by their fruit. This is perhaps the best thing Jesus ever said. By the miserable fruit he provided us, namely all this very human wisdom with nothing really divine anywhere, we can see that he was just a man, assuming that he even existed. Also, given that his pronouncements are mostly garbage, we have to assume that he was very charismatic. Otherwise no one would have paid any attention to him.
  • Verses 21 - 23: You can't be saved just by saying, "Lord, Lord" to Jesus and performing miracles. Jesus wants you to be good as well. I think that a real God of love would save everyone, even the hypocrites and charlatans.
  • Verses 24 - 27: Do what Jesus says, and you will be like a wise man who built his house on a rock foundation rather than a sand foundation. We can barely figure out what he's telling us to do. And even when we can figure it out, most of it just sounds screwy.

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