- Verses 5, 6, and 10: Jesus promotes family values in a big way by dedicating three whole verses to the treatment of children. He told us emphatically that we should not torture them, abandon them, mutilate their genitals, enslave them, allow them to starve, have sex with them, marry them, buy and sell them...oh, wait. No, he didn't say any of that. I wonder why, if family values are so important to Jesus, he gives us such empty commands concerning kids: welcome them, whatever that means, don't look down on them, and don't cause them to sin. Wow, that's deep stuff.
- Verses 8 - 9: Suspicious repetition concerning amputation of sinful appendages and gouging out of sinful eyes. Why do the people who insist on the literal interpretation of Genesis still have their hands, feet, and eyes?
- Verse 12: Jesus seems to think that a man with a hundred sheep who discovers one missing will leave the other 99 unprotected in order to find the one lost sheep. Jesus really should have tried some carpentry parables. He obviously didn't know anything about simple economics. Only an idiot would risk 99 percent of his estate in order to recover a one percent loss.
- Verse 14: "...your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost." I guess he's talking about children again when he says "these little ones". But wait. God is not willing that any children should be lost? Haven't we already learned that even a sparrow, which is worth far less than a human, can't fall out of a tree apart from the will of God? How is it that children can be lost in spite of God being unwilling to lose them? And surely, children are "lost" all the time, when they get a little older and decide that the gods aren't real. And God knew all along that they would be lost in this way.
- Verses 15 - 17: If your brother sins against you and you've exhausted all the ways of correcting him to no avail, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Didn't he say not long before that he wants us to turn the other cheek? How can you turn the other cheek and at the same time attempt to get your brother to repent of his so-called sin against you, even going so far as to disown him? Also, didn't Jesus set an example of being nice to tax collectors? Why didn't he say something like, "...treat him as you used to treat tax collectors"?
- Verse 18: Suspicious repetition and total gaff. "Whatever you bind on earth...whatever you loose on earth..." Earlier he said this only to Peter, which apparently resulted in Peter becoming the first pope. But now he's saying it to all of his disciples. Sounds like Peter will have to share the keys of heaven with his pals.
- Verse 19: Jesus is a liar. There's no other way to look at it. He says, "...if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven." Bullshit. How many millions of people have agreed wholeheartedly and begged God for things that he never did? How many Christian kids have begged God to let their mother survive cancer? How many Christian parents have begged God to let their child survive cancer?
- Verse 22: Forgive your brother many, many times when he sins against you. Well, that's a nice thought, but didn't he just tell us to call the brother on the carpet, and then to treat him badly if he doesn't repent?
- Verses 23 - 35: A hideous story about a servant who shows no mercy to his debtors after being shown mercy by his creditors. For starters, the story ends with the unmerciful servant being tortured. Didn't Jesus ever hear the saying, "Two wrongs don't make a right?" Also, he says that the servant is to be tortured "...until he should pay back all he owed." How can someone pay anything back while he's being tortured? The final insult is that God will torture us until we can pay back what we owe, unless we forgive our brother from the heart. So if we follow his instructions from verses 15 - 17, then we'll be tortured. And how will we ever pay back what we owe?
Monday, June 21, 2010
Jesus the Letdown: Revisiting Matthew, Chapter 18
Part 11 of my "Jesus the Letdown" series.