© Wikimedia Commons
I thought I'd begin this rant by sharing some of my thoughts on the historical figure known as Jesus of Nazareth. I think we can all agree that, unlike some of the other subjects I have weighed in on in the past, this is one on which people do not tend to have strongly held points-of-view, so there is little chance that I will offend and alienate readers right off the bat.
So let's jump right into it then with observation #1: When the likely outcome of an unwed pregnancy is death by stoning, people can be really creative liars.
Nothing in the least bit controversial about that ... right? Let's move on then to observation #2: It is fully understandable why the lie was told, and even why many people in that era might have believed it; what is more difficult to understand is why tens of millions of people around the world still believe it 2,000 years later.
I doubt that I've lost anyone yet, so let's quickly move on to observation #3: Jesus was initially described as coming from a line of men who worked with their hands, which was later interpreted to mean that he was a carpenter. Given though that the primary building materials in the land of his birth were sand and rock, it is far more likely that Joseph and his sons were stone masons. Just saying ...
Observation #4: Jesus of Nazareth's real father was undoubtedly a Roman citizen. Some have speculated that he was the product of rape by one of the notoriously ruthless Roman storm-troopers, but his later actions suggest to this completely impartial observer that it was more likely a consensual coupling and that the father was someone of considerably more importance than a mere soldier.
Observation #5: Jesus was very likely a controlled Roman asset. Just as, nearly two thousand years later, the obviously controlled asset known as Jesse Jackson replaced the slain Martin Luther King, and the equally controlled asset known as Louis Farrakhan replaced the eliminated Malcolm X, so it was that Jesus was maneuvered into position to replace the executed John the Baptist, who had, I'm guessing, become a bit of a problem for the Roman overseers.
The message that the emergent messiah delivered to those living under the brutal hand of those Roman occupiers was, by any rational analysis, exactly the wrong one. It was a message brimming with advice about loving neighbors and turning cheeks ... a message that constantly reinforced the notion that it was better to be poor and oppressed than wealthy and powerful, for the poor, you see, were going to spend all eternity in the glorious 'Kingdom of Heaven,' while the rich were going to burn in the fires of Hell (unless they were somehow able to steer their camels through the eye of a needle, or something like that).
It was, in other words, a belief system seemingly designed specifically to suppress any thoughts of rebellion amongst the unwashed masses. And the beauty of it was that no one would find out if the fabled Kingdom of Heaven actually existed until it was too late for them to get a refund.
I know what you're thinking here: "But Dave, didn't the Romans execute Jesus, and do so in a horrifically brutal and sadistic manner - you know, like in that Mel Gibson torture-porn flick?
Maybe they did and maybe they didn't. Even if they did, that would not necessarily prove that Jesus was not a covert Roman operative. Most all assets are expendable if they become more valuable dead than alive. And it's pretty clear that for the last couple thousand years, Jesus has proven his value as a dead martyr. But was he crucified? I tend to doubt that he was.