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For every Action…

I read through the sermon on the mount recently, and I love it. But, I also hate it a little bit too. Let me explain. Jesus’ words are very sharp. He clearly defines right and wrong, and brings expectations to a whole new level. I’m reminded of my days working an after school program for kids. Whenever we gave instructions to the kids there was list of things we had to cover, one of them was expectations. They had to know what we wanted from them, seems kind of obvious when you give instructions. Jesus set really high expectations for his followers. But that’s not all he did, he clearly explained consequences, both good and bad. Within his great sermon he specifically mentions eternal consequences 22 times. He mentions worldly rewards almost just as many times. This is where the love hate relationship comes into play. I like the Jesus who preaches only specific passages from Paul’s letters about grace and forgiveness and the impossibility of fulfilling the law, and the grace that makes it all okay. I like that Jesus. Sadly he doesn’t exist. Jesus laid out expectations, and they naturally (in his mind it was natural) were related to eternal consequence.

Now, let’s look at what this means to us in terms of apologetics.
Christianity, in my opinion, has been abused. Men have manipulated it for their ends, like all other religion-ish ideas. This is done because religion seems to have a window into eternity, and thus has the authority to judge actions based on their worthiness to receive good rewards. This is easily manipulated. For example, the Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition. The Salem Witch Trials. Not acceptable.
Now my question: What part of Jesus’ core teachings (the sermon on the mount) endorsed any of these afore mentioned atrocities? Perhaps it was his “hate your enemy” and “an eye for an eye” teachings. Maybe it was the “look but don’t touch” rule regarding women. Or perhaps even glorious teaching “judge others who are wrong”. Do you see where I’m going with this? If anyone ever does anything determinably evil, or less than desirable, they are not dong it of Christ. It is from something else.

Religion is poisonous. Jesus is prosperous. Humanity is cancerous. Jesus is a cure. Manipulation is toxic. Jesus is a vaccine.

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