Atheists and Agnostics For Jesus

Most Christian churches, and especially the "right-wing" ones, loudly proclaim that Jesus is their Lord, but pay precious little attention to what Jesus taught. The right-wing certainly do not obey Him.
If the Gospels are true, or even mostly so, Jesus was a liberal, and died at the hands of the conservatives . Jesus taught that public prayer was hypocrisy, and that things like "In God We Trust" violate the commandment against vain use of God's name.

Jesus taught his followers to be modest, not to parade their religion in the street, and to care about the downtrodden and even about their traditional enemies, the people of Samaria (now Palestine). Mohandas Gandhi (I think he was a Jain) expounded and followed the same philosophy, and paid for it with his life. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an admirer of Gandhi, a true follower of Jesus, and also paid with his life.

In the seventeenth century, the devout theologian Baruch Spinoza distinguished between the adoration of God, and mere adulation.
It is my impression that in fact, atheists and agnostics like T.H.Huxley, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, A.J. Ayer, and Albert Einstein adhere more closely to what Jesus of Nazareth actually taught than practically any telly-vangelist, any clergy but the lowliest priest, or any "God Bless America" politician. Huxley says that the world is full of misery and ignorance, and it is our plain duty to do whatever we can to make it less miserable and less ignorant. And even although Albert Schweitzer in Lambaréné seemed just like the Presbyterian David Livingstone, when Schweitzer pleaded with the world's political leaders to abandon the folly of nuclear weapons testing and stockpiling, he did so in the name of "faith in humanity" - not faith in God.

Jefferson, while not exactly an atheist, was definitely not a Christian (neither, I believe, was any other of the first five US presidents). He nevertheless described some of the sayings attributed to Jesus as the work of a first class original mind, and that they stand out in the New Testament "like diamonds in a dunghill".

Thomas Paine, the most fiery pamphleteer of the American Revolution (or Colonial Rebellion), expressed his disdain equally for the Church of England, the Church of Rome, and the Turkish religion (Islam). He was also harshly critical of the Jewish parts of the Bible. Paine also made the useful distinction "Hebrew Scriptures" and "Greek Scriptures" rather than Old and New Testaments.

But George W. Bush, described as the most openly "evangelical" of recent presidents, whipped up the American people to a fury of religious warfare (Iraq is Islamic, but had nothing to do with the September 2001 attack), and systematically shifted the burden of his war budget from the rich to the poor.
What Would Jesus have Done?
Jesus would not have approved.
Jesus Would Puke.

George W. Bush claimed that it gave him a great spiritual thrill to stand on the hill from which Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount. What humbug!

Did George ever read the Sermon on the Mount? Does George actually believe that the meek are blessèd?
Does he really hunger and thirst after righteousness? He doesn't act as if he did.
Perhaps he believes "blessèd are the poor". His economic agenda is now spreading such blessings.
Or perhaps he was moved by "Blessèd are they that mourn." Making war is a sure way to spread that blessedness. But not all of those that mourn in Baghdad will allow themselves to be comforted, except by the hope of bloody revenge.


What Did Jesus Really Say?

Thomas Jefferson selected certain parts of the Greek Scriptures as original and benevolent thought, and res ipse loquitur proof that a benevolent original thinker did indeed say them. Other sayings attributed to Jesus actually contradict each other. The text that instructs Peter to lead the disciples directly contradicts the reply that Jesus is reported to have given when asked "Who shall be first …?" It seems likely that the Church of Rome might have inserted stuff that Jesus didn't actually say.

I find it perfectly reasonable to imagine an association of persons who do not believe in the existence of God, but who consider that much of the teaching of Jesus is still in advance of current thinking on economics and nationalism.


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