Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Jesus Was Not a Hippie (Part One)

Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ came to Earth to spread a simple message of love, forgiveness and inclusiveness. Unfortunately, that message has been hijacked by organised religion, and by the Catholic Church in particular, who took his simple message and twisted it into a system of dogma, exclusion and prohibitions.

That's complete balderdash, of course. But it's balderdash I hear (and read) all the time. So often, in fact, that I've decided to go through the Gospels and pick out all the (many, many) sayings of Jesus which are glaringly at odds with the 'I'm OK-- You're OK', live-and-let-live philosophy which is so often attributed to him. So far I've only got half-way through the Gospel of Matthew.

It's true, of course, that all of Our Lord's words have to be understood in context. His teachings are a seamless garment. Nevertheless, I think this exercise in selective quotation is legitimate as a corrective.

Of course, it's still open to the advocates of a hippie Jesus to argue that all the following quotations are simply interpellations of the Catholic Church, or the Emperor Constantine, or some other sinister corrupter of Jesus's Simple Message of Love. But, of course, once we start disqualifying Scripture passages we don't like-- what we might call the Martin Luther gambit-- or discounting Scripture altogether, it's hard to see what we're left with besides the 'Jesus' we see when we look in the mirror.

The Bible translation used here is the New American Bible

Matthew 5:13: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.*

Matthew 5:20: "I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 5:22: "Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna."

Mattrew 5:25-26: "Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."

Matthew 5:28: "Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Matthew 5:29-30: "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna."

Matthew 5:31-32: “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

Matthew 5:48: "Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Matthew 5:14-15: "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."

Matthew 7:11: "If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him."

Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few."

Matthew 7:19: "Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

Matthew 7:21: "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,* but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."

Matthew 8:11-12: "I say to you,* many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

Matthew 10:14-15: "Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town."

Matthew 10:28: "And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna."

Matthew 10:32:33: "Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father."

Matthew 10:34: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword."

Matthew 10:35-36: "For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’"

Matthew 10:38: "Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me."

Matthew 11:21-24: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Matthew 12:31-32: "Therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."

Matthew 12:34: "You brood of vipers, how can you say good things when you are evil? For from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks."

Matthew 12:36: "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak."

Matthew 13:12: "To anyone who has, more will be given* and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

Matthew 13:19-22: "The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit."

Matthew 13:40-42: "Just as weeds are collected and burned [up] with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."

Matthew 13:47-50: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."


  1. Good project, M.

    People forget that Jesus talked an awful lot about sin, judgement, & hell - and the only way to avoid eternal damnation was to do what he said. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild ... not!

    You know, carry this on for all the four Gospels, put some commentary in between ... maybe lean on the Church Fathers for their reflections on these texts ... and you'd have the basis of a nice fat book that would really shock the PC crowd.

    blessings ...

  2. Jesus was honest, direct, clear. No fuzzies. There is a lot of tasteless salt around but some good signs of regrowth with the fraternity of clear thinking priests - who can celebrate in Extraordinary form too - no animosity - and spreading internationally. You have probably heard about it. Deo Gratias!