The Jesus Delusion - Heinz-Werner Kubitza - ebook

The Jesus Delusion ebook

Heinz-Werner Kubitza

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Opis

The Bible is the most overrated book in the world, and Jesus of Nazareth the most overrated person in world history. These are some of the propositions which the author, who has a doctorate in theology, formulates in his examination of the Christian religion. In a very readable and often humorous style the book asks whether the Bible really is such a good, ethically valuable book, as the Churches always claim, or whether the God of the Old Testament is not rather an irascible war god while the New Testament announces the destruction of all unbelievers at the end times: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16: 16). The book also asks whether the Churches are right to invoke that Jesus of Nazareth whom they announce as the Son of God. After all, academic research has long established that the real Jesus was very different and had almost nothing in common with the Jesus of the Churches. Christianity has been driving through history without a driver's licence. This book is addressed both to believers who do not shy away from confronting uncomfortable facts, and to those people who have nothing to do with the Church and who have always suspected that something in Christianity is not quite right.

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Heinz-Werner Kubitza

The Jesus Delusion

Heinz-Werner Kubitza

The Jesus Delusion

How the Christians created their God: The demystification of a world religion through scientific research

Tectum Verlag

Heinz-Werner Kubitza

The Jesus Delusion. How the Christians created their God:

The demystification of a world religion through scientific research

ISBN: 978-3-8288-6514-3

(Dieser Titel ist zugleich als gedrucktes Buch unter

der ISBN 978-3-8288-3538-2 im Tectum Verlag erschienen.)

© Tectum Verlag Marburg, 2016

cover illustration: istockphoto.com © CreativeArchetype

All rights reserved

www.tectum-verlag.de

www.jesus-delusion.com

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

1THE EMBARRASSING GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

Yahweh – God of war and violence

A hodgepodge of history in the Old Testament

Career of a God – part 1

The Old Testament – deficient ethics

2THE QUESTIONABLE GOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

Career of a God – part 2

Can a God change himself?

Jesus – a religious fundamentalist?

Dubious stuff in Paul’s writings

The terrors of the Apocalypse

So which God it is supposed to be?

3JESUS OF NAZARETH – A DEMYSTIFIED SON OF GOD

The silence of the sources

The long march to the gospels

The theory of the two sources

Paul’s lack of interest in Jesus

The gospels – questionable sources on Jesus

Pious cheating to the higher glory of God

It started with Paul

Invented authors’ names

Falsifications by the synoptic authors

John – a whole gospel as pious fiction

Old and new research on the life of Jesus

Jesus’ birth and lineage

The appearance of Jesus

Legends of the birth

Jesus, a disciple of John the Baptist?

John baptizes Jesus

Jesus’ cardinal error – the Kingdom of God did not come

Proclamation of the Kingdom of God by Jesus

The role of Jesus in the Kingdom of God

Embarrassments – the adventism of the first Christians

Jesus did not want a world mission

Jesus as a miracle worker and exorcist

Are miracles possible?

Was Jesus’ teaching really new?

Positive aspects in the teaching of Jesus

Dubious matters in his proclamation

Contradictions – final remarks on Jesus’ ethics

The execution of Jesus

The reinterpretation of the defeat on the cross

Idealizations in the gospels

Who is to blame for the death of Jesus?

The beginnings of Christian hatred of Jews

Inconsistencies in the trial of Jesus

Why was Jesus killed?

Other turbulent figures around Jesus

The legends of the resurrection

Hypotheses on the original miracle of Christianity

Contradictions in the records of the resurrection of Jesus

Apparitions of an undead person

“If Christ did not rise from the dead, your preaching is in vain”

So who was Jesus in reality?

Who did he think he was? – Jesus’ self-concept

The gradual apotheosis of the man Jesus

Christianity as an error of world history – preliminary conclusions

4IN THE SORCERER’S FOREST OF DOGMAS – THE MAIN TEACHINGS OF CHRISTIANITY

True God and true man – contradictions as higher wisdom

The Divine Trinity

A bloody redemption on the cross

A distorted view of the world and of human beings

The mythological derivation of sin

Sin in the service of the Church

Poverty and shortcomings in the view of man

Defamation of women

Celibacy and the degradation of marriage

Mythological explanations of the world

Hell

Purgatory

Abolishing limbo

Devils, demons, and exorcism

The angels

The cult of Mary

The misunderstood mother of God

Virgin birth

Glorification of Mary – debasement of women

Belief in the Bible and biblical fundamentalism

Christianity as an ideology and esotericism

Religion is ideology

Belief is superstition

Religion and esotericism

Esotericism as a sellout of the mind

Is Christianity an esotericism?

Prayers

5IN SEARCH OF CHRISTIAN VALUES

On the value and shamefulness of the Ten Commandments

Evil words in the Bible

Are faith, hope, and love really virtues?

Jesus, a dubious model

Where do our values really come from?

Why still Christianity?

CAREER OF A GOD – FINAL PART (IN PLACE OF AN EPILOGUE)

LITERATURE CONSULTED

INTRODUCTION

The Bible is the most overrated book in world literature. Because it contains the basic writings of what is still the world’s largest religion and is printed in great numbers in almost every language, even people outside the Church attribute a certain quality to that book’s contents. The Bible benefits from a cult of the classics, which demands respect even from those who are not at all Christians. It is praised although most people have scarcely read it. And it undeniably has had an effect on history.

However, having a historical effect does not necessarily imply a high quality of the contents. But there exists a dogged and persistent rumor that the Bible is valuable reading matter, that it mirrors not only a faith but also a worthy ethic, that it gives orientation and meaning, and so that it can be recommended for reading, particularly to adolescents.

But that is false; or at least, it is no longer true today. The writings of the Old and New Testaments are ancient texts that not only no longer have any relations to modern society, but that in innumerable passages contradict the most elementary social and legal principles of modern, liberal society. Many patterns of behavior and premises of the Bible are inappropriate for people today; and in many passages, the Bible in fact shows in an exemplary manner precisely how not to act. This is not even a criticism: the Bible is a relic of a former time, a remnant from an epoch and a paradigm which rightly belong on the rubbish heap of history. The first chapters of this book are dedicated to a justification of this thesis: they provide an insight into the many abysmal, frightening, and absurd things in the holy writings of Christianity.

The prestige and influence of the Churches was greater in the past. In ten to twenty years, people unaffiliated with thae two major Churches in Germany will form the majority of the population. Although the Churches are becoming more humane and compassionate, rare behavior in their history, their faithful are still leaving them. On the other hand, the person of Jesus, their alleged founder, still enjoys undiminished popularity, even among expelled opponents of the Churches or devotees of the esoteric subculture. Jesus yes, Church no – that short formula describes the attitude of many contemporaries. It is a view of Jesus as a righteous man with a good message, whose violent death at the hands of the powerful can evoke honest sympathy even from non-Christians.

But was Jesus’ message really so good? Is he really suitable as a model, let alone as a God to be adored? Historical researchers are mostly agreed that the Jesus proclaimed by the Churches, and even to some extent by the Bible, never existed.

Just as the Bible is the most overrated book in world literature, so Jesus could be the most overrated figure in world history. A central chapter will therefore present the findings of scholarly research on who Jesus really was and what can definitively be attributed to him. It will also clearly mark out the shortcomings, limitations and sometimes abysmal notions of that wandering preacher from Galilee. The findings are not always agreeable for believers, or for secular admirers. Many would prefer to avoid such a detailed examination.

What has the Church done with the teachings of Jesus? Did he really play a leading role in the fashioning of the Church and its doctrines? Did the Church show deference to him? Or was he rather only given the role of the janitor in the theological opera? These questions regarding the Church’s dogmas will be considered in connection with the chapter on Jesus, and there too the findings promise to be interesting.

We then set out in search of those Christian values that are constantly invoked, not least in sermons by politicians. Everyone thinks they know what “Christian values” means, but actually defining them becomes harder the more intensely one examines them – like a fata morgana that gets increasingly fuzzy the more one tries to bring it into focus. A lot of what constitutes a modern polity has nothing at all in common with Christian roots or premises. Indeed, we should be relieved that our society is not based on the oft-invoked biblical or Christian foundations. Christianity is vastly overrated as a source of ethics and as the basis of a modern society.

This book aims to shed critical light on the principles and the expressions of the Christian paradigm which has shaped Western history for more than 1,500 years. It points out the huge divergences and discrepancies between the teachings of the Christian Churches and the teachings of the man whom those Churches falsely cite as their origin. Scholarly research, especially research on the New Testament using scientific methods, has largely and adequately demonstrated the emptiness of the foundations of Christianity. The truth about Christianity is in principle no longer a question of belief, something one can decide for or against. Before one even gets to all the dogmas that require belief, Christianity has already failed the preliminary historical examination. Historical research has resolved the question of the truth of Christianity in a more enduring way than all the libraries devoted to dogmas ever could have. The question of a decision is no longer raised at all; the question now is merely whether one is personally ready to accept these results or to close one’s eyes to them. The Christian paradigm can be regarded as disproved, and the question of its truth as resolved – with a negative answer. That is so despite the fact that Christianity itself will certainly continue to exist for centuries, just as the Germanic and Roman deities lived on for centuries after the victory of Christianity.

Though the closing bell has sounded on religions, the patrons are not willing to let even the most experienced host turn them out onto the street. The Churches, as sociological and institutional entities, are pertinacious in their ability to stay seated. The faithful want to believe, and they can only be approached with great difficulty with arguments in this area, which for them is a matter of life and death. Nevertheless, or for that very reason, critical arguments are not a waste of time; they are all the more necessary.

This book is therefore addressed to members and friends of the Christian Churches who are not afraid to be confronted with ideas that question the premises on which their lives and beliefs are based. It may open them up to new insights and lead to a better exploration of reality, but it may also make habitual, comfortable perceptions appear dubious and shallow. They may feel some discomfort, but perhaps it will be all the more eye-opening.

The book is also directed to critics of Christianity and to those who have always had an inkling that something must be wrong with Christianity. This book will give them the opportunity to support their correct feeling with arguments. In fact, there is quite a lot to be said about Christianity as it exists today and about how it developed.

Hence this book should be viewed as being in the best Enlightenment tradition. One must not concede the argument that the Enlightenment is old hat, and in particular that criticism of religion is a relic of the 19th century—certainly not as long as the opposite is preached every Sunday in innumerable churches. However, this book is not a contribution to a systematic atheism. It deals exclusively with Christianity, the main religion in the author’s cultural sphere. Christianity is also the religion which has been most closely examined by scholars. Certainly there is a strong suspicion that other religions, if they were seriously submitted to scholarly research, would be found to be equally shaky.

Let us clear up a misunderstanding right from the start: the words Jesus delusion in the title of course do not imply that believers are somehow religious “madmen”. One finds decidedly likeable and friendly people among Christians and the clergy. The purpose is also not to defame believers or their beliefs. But even among critical and non-religious persons there can sometimes be found an interesting phenomenon, islands of irrationality; think for instance of the Karlsruhe philosophers who are convinced of the truth of homeopathy, or of politicians who regularly read horoscopes. Sideways leaps into superstition, which seem to be a quirk with such people, form part of the essence of religious believers; they form the foundation of their entire world view, and they are a permanent sin of adultery against reality. Of course believers do not want to think of themselves as superstitious. But as historical and other research has shown, the Churches and their dogmas are precisely that: forms of organized irrationality.

Believers simply have to put up with the fact that assertions such as the one that a God the Son, having become a man, died on the cross for our sins, that he was resurrected from the dead, and that he is a part of a divine Trinity, are being dragged out of the ecclesiastical darkness and the mustiness of the confessional into the comparatively bright light of historical observation. Doggedly clinging to traditional and allegedly eternal and sacred doctrines despite the clear evidence of their historical development, asserting that there is an imaginary world apart from the world that can be empirically experienced, or the expectation of a Hell with eternal tortures or a Paradise (with or without virgins) as well as a life after death – all these really are features of delusion.

1THE EMBARRASSING GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

Non-Christians might well ask first of all: what sense can I make of an old God? And why all the fuss over a few ancient texts? But the texts are not limited in time to Antiquity. Even today, the Churches still indefatigably recommend reading the Bible, children in schools and in religious instruction are still confronted with these texts, and a life according to “biblical principles” is still something that pious folk and the orthodox strive for. But the biblical writings, in their concepts of God and man, cannot be reconciled with humane and liberal principles.

The largely positive picture of the Bible is due mainly to the fact that we take it on board only in fragments. The faithful are offered a bowdlerized version by the Churches, a selection from the texts that is meant to feed the faithful only those passages that are easy to digest. A juicy roast is sold to the faithful as a vegetarian meal because of its vegetable garnishment. This is the mining technique, used consciously by the Churches but also unconsciously by Bible readers: they pick out edifying and positive passages and filter out whatever does not fit into their view of things.

Jesus of Nazareth the man is of central significance for Christians. If they understand him, people think they have understood the Bible, even the Old Testament. In later chapters of this book we will deal in detail with Jesus of Nazareth, about whom there is quite a bit to be said. But before turning to the alleged Son, let us look first at the alleged Father, the God of the Old Testament.

Yahweh – God of war and violence

Despite all the whitewashing by the Churches, and to their embarrassment, the God of the Old Testament comes across as a war god in numerous passages. Yahweh is the one who leads the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt and from whom they receive the land of Palestine, which of course they have to take from its rightful owners. God’s favors to Israel often come in war. And the God Yahweh still has a completely naive relation to war and murder. He does not just permit wars of aggression and extermination, he explicitly orders them. That God seems to have no ethical scruples; gentlemanly restraint is not his style. God is the Lord of Sebaoth, the God of hosts, which the Churches (they still use the title today) now like to refer to as “the heavenly hosts”, but which in the original meaning describes a bunch of warriors. Yahweh was a god of war.

The wars that Yahweh calls on his people to fight are then, of course, holy wars, and Israel’s victories in battle are signs of his power. He himself joins in the fight. Before the crossing of the Jordan we read:1

Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee (Deuteronomy 9:3).

The taking of the land is understood by Jews and Christians alike as a blessing from God. From today’s point of view it was clearly a campaign of conquest and extermination and was marked by extraordinary cruelty, yet it is justified on religious grounds.

When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be,  all the people  found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city,  all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities  very far off from thee, which  not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee  an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: (Deuteronomy 20:10–16)

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!