Saturday, June 15, 2013

It's Time!

Someone just said:

"It is time to start taking the teachings of Jesus seriously."

It's about time someone stood up and said that.

That's sarcasm on my part, of course. Heavy sarcasm. People have been complaining all through the history of Christianity that the teachings of Jesus are not being followed. There's no point even in my mentioning who said that just now. Could've been any one of a great number of people. Of course. Chances are you have heard someone say it, word-for-word or pretty close, 1 to 5 times in the past week, more if you attend church. What it's time to do is to face why that is: because those teachings don't work. A state whose leaders profess to follow Christian teachings is always going to be full of contradictions, because the major function of a state is to enforce behavior deemed to be acceptable, and people following the example of a man who didn't lift a finger to save himself from a horrible death, and the teachings of someone who told his followers to give more to thieves who robbed them and not to resist or even try to evade people who assaulted them, are not going to be able to enforce anything. To claim to follow that example and those teachings is either, in very rare cases, to risk dying a horrible death oneself at an early age, or, the rest of the time, to live in constant self-contradiction and make-believe.

All of this seems so perfectly obvious to me that at first I saw no point in blogging about it. But then I reflected on just how often people say:

"It is time to start taking the teachings of Jesus seriously."

And not just Christians. Atheists too, of the Monty-Python, We-don't-like-Christianity-but-Jesus-was-a-bloody-good-bloke variety. As if the problem all along had been that people just wouldn't follow the program. Not that the program was... flawed, to be overly polite about, cuckoo-bananas, to come right out and say what needs to be said.

It's so obvious once you grasp it. But once again I'm blogging about an insight I didn't arrive at on my own. Once again, Nietzsche pointed it out to me -- in his book Der Antichrist, his last book, which he dashed off in a few furious weeks just before he went completely and permanently cuckoo-bananas. (Once again, I wonder how much his breakdown was due to syphilis, as is so often assumed, how much to the strain of some other very severe long-term physical problems, and how much to the strain of see such things so clearly and being surrounded by people who didn't see them at all, the strain of knowing that it would take the world at large centuries to catch up with him.)

Obvious, once you grasp it, that the teachings of Christianity are extraordinarily divorced from reality, even compared to the teachings of other religions. But would I have grasped that if I had not started to read Nietzsche 17 years ago, urged on by a friend from Austria who was prone to exclaim things like, "Nietzsche vuz right! Ve must protect ze shtronk against ze veak!" Perhaps the grasping of it was so long ago for me that I'd begun to forget how profound it is, and how I hadn't gotten there without help. And that the blokes in Monty Python, and others who swim along in the strong, strong currents of our culture and don't question the background assumption about how fine a teacher and role model Jesus is, be he historical or mythical, aren't dumb by any stretch of the use of the term. Perhaps it was high time indeed that I published this post.

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