Most Christians have a warm, loving image of Jesus. Jesus is the "Prince of Peace" and the "Lamb of God" in their eyes. But is this image accurate? If you had never heard of Jesus before, and you decided you wanted to learn about him by reading the Bible, what sort of person would you discover?
The dictionary defines a jerk as a "foolish, rude, or contemptible person" [ref]. Another dictionary throws in the word "fatuous" as well, and then defines fatuous as, "vacuously, smugly, and unconsciously foolish". [ref]
Given these definitions, can we make the case that Jesus was a jerk? Let's see what we find when we look at God's word.
A person who is a hypocrite is certainly a jerk. No one likes a hypocrite, because hypocrites are smugly foolish. And Jesus seems to have a problem with hypocrisy. For example, one of Jesus' most famous lines is, "Love your enemies," as he says here in Matthew 5:43:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."
He reiterates the message in Luke 6:26:
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
That seems simple enough. And wouldn't you expect Jesus to love his enemies? Yes you would, unless he is a hypocrite. Therefore, what we find in Mark 16:15-16 is surprising. It shows us how Jesus treats his enemies:
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned [to hell].
This is "good" news? Jesus doesn't love his enemies at all. In fact, you don't even need to be an enemy -- even those who would rather not "believe in" Jesus are condemned to eternal torture in a lake of fire. This level of hypocrisy is the kind of thing you expect from a jerk. For further examples of hypocrisy and contradiction, try comparing Matthew 5:16 with Matthew 6:1, or John 14:27 with Matthew 10:34, or 2 Kings 2:11 with John 3:13, or Exodus 33:11 with John 1:18, or Mark 9:40 with Luke 11:23.
In the same way, a person who breaks his promises is a jerk. We can see that Jesus breaks promises by looking at Mark 11:24:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14 we find the same thing:
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
When a person says, "ask anything in my name, and I will do it," what does he mean? Presumably, Jesus means that if you ask for anything, he will do it. What else could he possibly mean, unless he is being dishonest? And Jesus does not say it once. He says the same thing over and over again. In Matthew 7:7: "Ask, and it will be given to you." In Matthew 17:20: "Nothing will be impossible for you." In Matthew 21:21: "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." You may have noticed, however, that Jesus is lying. You can pray for all sorts of things and nothing will happen. We all know that. A person who breaks his promises like this is clearly a jerk.
What if Jesus tells stories that are completely untrue? For example, take Matthew 4:8 as an example:
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
The problem with this story is that the earth must be flat for it to work. From a tall mountain it is impossible to see "all the kingdoms." Even standing on Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain on earth, the farthest you could see is 250 miles to the horizon [ref]. Yet we know that at the time of Jesus, there were thriving kingdoms in China, India, South America, Europe, etc. So clearly this story could not have happened. People who are dishonest like this are jerks.
Another easy way to see that Jesus is a jerk is to recognize his bigotry. In Matthew 15:22-26 we find this telling conversation:
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
Jesus calls this woman a dog because she is not the right nationality. That is both ridiculous, and a clear indication that he is a jerk.
If you are a person who steals other people's stuff, you are a jerk. In Mark 11:1-3 we find this transaction:
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you doing this?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.' "
How many times have you had some jerk say, "let me borrow this and I'll return it in a minute," never to see that person again? It is a common scam. And that's exactly what Jesus does. The disciples take the colt, but if you search the scriptures you find that they never bother to return it. Wow - what a jerk.
By the way, that is not the only place in the Bible where Jesus steals something. In Matthew 8:28-34 Jesus steals an entire herd of pigs and kills them all.
Have you noticed that in many cases Jesus is childish and emotional, rather than thoughtful? People who act like this are jerks. Here's an example from Matthew 18:7-9:
"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
This statement is totally ridiculous on several different levels. First, something like a hand cannot "cause you to sin" -- your brain causes "sin." Every intelligent person knows that. Therefore, gouging your eye out or cutting your hand off is useless. If you have a problem with "sin" and you are going to amputate something to solve it, you would need to amputate your brain, since that is where all "sin" originates.
But if you think about it further, you realize that Jesus has completely missed the actual remedy. If you are having a problem with unproductive behaviors, what you need to do is either educate or rehabilitate yourself. You would do that by talking with a counselor or seeing a therapist. Amputation is an absurd prescription, as every intelligent person knows. Jesus is not only a jerk -- he is an idiot. He dispenses advice that is completely useless, and recklessly dangerous as well.
Here is another emotional outburst from Mark 11:15-16:
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.
Is this a smart thing to do? Is this the kind of behavior you expect from a thoughtful, rational adult? No, it is the behavior of a child. Surely the all-powerful son of God could come up with a better plan than knocking over tables in a one-time outburst.
In Mark 11:12-14 we find another emotional reaction:
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it.
Later we learn that the tree is dead.
Let's see. The son of God is hungry. He approaches a fig tree. The tree is out of season and has no fruit. Jesus wants fruit. So he kills the tree. What a total jerk! Why didn't he wave his all-powerful hand and cause figs to appear? Or how about borrowing a raisin from someone and turning it into a 5,000 baskets of figs? Only a true jerk would kill something out of spite.
Here is one final example. Let's say that you want to really jerk people around. One way to do that would be to constantly contradict yourself. Therefore, we find Jesus saying this in Luke 14:26:
Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.
OK, so if we hate everything, we can be Jesus' disciple. That's a great message from someone who elsewhere says, "Love your enemy" and "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." And don't forget that one of the commandments is to honor your father and mother. So which is it Jesus? If we want to be your disciple, should we love our enemies, our neighbors and our parents, or should we hate them? Only a jerk would create a totally contradictory set of requirements like that.
What if you want eternal life? What do you need to do? Presumably you need to hate everyone and life itself. Then in Luke 10:25-28 we find another requirement:
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Is that true? If you do this, will you have eternal life? Actually it is not true. In Luke 18:18-22 Jesus says:
"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
The answers in Luke 10 and Luke 18 are totally different. This clearly means that Jesus is making this stuff up as he goes along. Which is something that a jerk would do.
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"
"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Then in John 6:53-58 we find an additional requirement:
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."
That sounds grotesque, doesn't it? And it totally contradicts what Jesus just told the two guys in Luke 10 and Luke 18. And what about Matthew 18:2-3:
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And [Jesus] said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
How, exactly, does one "become like little children?" For example, little children frequently believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and often will fight fiercely with their sibblings. Are we, as adults, supposed to take on these qualities? Jesus does not really say, making this requirement totally nebulous.
But is it true? If you "become like little children", do you get to go to heaven? No, actually not. In reality you have to be "born again" in order to see the kingdom of God. In John 3:3-8 Jesus says:
"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
That is about as clear as mud, isn't it? But that is what Jesus says, and it totally contradicts all the other stuff he said.
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
But let's ignore the contradiction for a moment. Is this true? If we become like little children... in fact, if we regress all the way to infants by being "born again" of water and the Spirit, do we get to go to heaven? No... Jesus is wrong again. Because in Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says this:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
This is getting absurd, isn't it? Pharisees and scribes are adults, not children. And if you read the Bible, you know that the pharisees are anal nut-jobs. But that is what Jesus says. Forget the "born again" stuff and the children -- turn yourself into an anal nut-job instead. Our righteousness, and our adherence to the laws of the old testament, must exceed that of the Pharisees in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Which means we need to start killing a whole lot of people.
And then there is the famous verse, John 3:16:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
So which is it??? What do you have to do to have eternal life and go to heaven??? There are probably 15 other stipulations scattered throughout the Bible. There is no way to know which is right, and they all contradict each other. But now that you have looked at all this stuff, one thing should be crystal clear: Jesus had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.
The most amazing part of all this is that "eternal life" is a total fantasy. No one gets eternal life, because what Jesus is peddling is a scam. Every biologist will tell you with certainty that all of life is a chemical reaction. Therefore, the whole idea of a "soul" is a figment of human imagination. See Chapter 27 for details.
When you add all of these examples up, the truth is completely obvious. Jesus wasn't "the son of God." Jesus was a total jerk. He was a fatuous person if there ever was one. And he was a snake oil salesman besides. The fact that "Christians" cannot see this shows the depth of their delusion.
Go to the table of contents > > >
New York Times Coverage
discussed in a
New York Times piece
by N. D. Kristof.
For a counter-point to Mr. Kristof, please see
Recommendation by Sam Harris
Sam Harris recommends WWGHA in his book Letter to a Christian Nation.
Endorsement by Richard Dawkins
In a New York Times Letter, Richard Dawkins calls WWGHA a "splendid Web site."