Oh, for gods’ sake! Jesus of Nazareth: Just another self-help guru?

I have been having a sort of discussion about Christians who claim they are not religious … or at least not part of organised religion.

I’ll be honest and say up front I think this is a bit of a sham and  they are conning themselves,  but I may be very wrong.

Here’s the question posed by the person I am in discussion ( very loosely) with.

”So…what if we actually followed Jesus and let Him deal with all our toxic issues: anger, sexual objectification, treachery, manipulation, revenge, enemy hatred, hypocrisy, greed, insecurity, judgmentalism, and self-centeredness… would the world be so poisoned?”

My own observations are that this is simply nonsense. Not that the traits expressed in the above quote from the blog piece aren’t destructive, but rather that one does not need the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth, to recognize that these human actions are “toxic”. In fact, each could well be considered  anathema to any sort of genuinely positive, healthy, happy lifestyle.

It is at this point that there must be an ”Ah, but …” and of course there is, for  there is more to “Following” ( the teachings of) Jesus of Nazareth than simply eschewing formal religion, otherwise we could lump him in with the likes of many a Self-Help guru and then Jesus of Nazareth would be little different than a Galilean Tony Robbins.

So, do the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth “poison everything” as the writer asks?

Well, if we are prepared to follow every  “teaching”  as instructed, then quite possibly we could say: “Well, they most certainly poison some things.”

What do you lot think?

Ark.

 

 

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44 thoughts on “Oh, for gods’ sake! Jesus of Nazareth: Just another self-help guru?

  1. “Let me introduce you to my little frien’?” Offload all of your problems onto your imaginary friend? WWJD? First, who would say what Jesus would do (much is contradictory)? How would you query Jesus on topics not covered in scripture? And what if Jesus said “Sell all of your worldly goods and follow me?” … oh, he did?

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    1. I raised that particular biblical incident and was told that he was simply demonstrating greed for one thing and that the young man was still too attached to material things.

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  2. ”So…what if we actually followed Jesus and let Him deal with all our toxic issues: anger, sexual objectification, treachery, manipulation, revenge, enemy hatred, hypocrisy, greed, insecurity, judgmentalism, and self-centeredness… would the world be so poisoned?”

    How does “Jesus” (as this person understands/knows/believes) deal with our issues?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. If I’m not mistaken, even within Christianity there are variations of discourse about the sermon on the mount. So again, I’d ask, which “Jesus” . . . the Baptist Jesus, the Calvinist Jesus (the 3 tulip or the 4 tulip), the Jesus that’s part of the Triune God in the “O.T.” that walked in the garden or the “N.T.” Jesus that came to dump the “O.T.” and bring in a new salvation that itself spawned countless brands/sects/cults/isms of Christianity?

        I guess I might ask the person if he/she believes one needs Jesus in order to turn the other cheek?

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        1. For me, it is not the traits on his list but rather the fact there are other ”teachings” that are all part of the package that have to be followed …. or else!
          And it is these ”omissions” from the list that suggest there is an element of disingenuity at play.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. ”So…what if we actually followed Jesus and let Him deal with all our toxic issues: anger, sexual objectification, treachery, manipulation, revenge, enemy hatred, hypocrisy, greed, insecurity, judgmentalism, and self-centeredness… would the world be so poisoned?”

            It’s those “other teachings” that brings some Christians to

            claim they are not religious … or at least not part of organised religion.

            So they stick to or claim the sermon on the mount Jesus. That’s my point about which Jesus. But the non-religious religious prefer to stay away from Churchianity and stick to Jesus only. That’s how they see it. The Churchianity part, the religious part, that’s where the poison is, so they claim to not be Churchy or religious, only Jesus. They separate Jesus from everything else. The last thing a non-religious religious person wants to do is think on or acknowledge the “omissions.”

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  3. This rationalization to move away from religious belief while claiming to still be religious is mirrored in the rise of group identity labels… labels like gender… claiming to identify as, say, a woman when sexed as a male and expecting everyone to not just to go along with this charade but expected to endorse behaviours based on it. And if one disagrees on principle, then one is labeled as a bigot and – the worst of the worst possible slurs- intolerant!

    Identifying as a ‘believer’ without actually believing is par for the course in this new(ish) post modern ctrl-left language sweeping through classical liberalism where antonyms are suddenly synonyms, donchaknow…. where opposite versions of meaning conveniently become individual ‘truths’ of equivalent truth merit.

    And to help obfuscate the prevaricating identity issues even further, we have the whole ‘spiritual’ identity thing to keep the lines so blurred between what is true and what isn’t, between an identified believer and non believer, that no one can be held accountable and responsible for justifying what they actually believe – or don’t! – about gods or a god. This is just another example of how our collective social maturity level has regressed out of adulthood and back to the selfish ‘tween’ stage where we think we know it all and can fix our problems by making everyone else change…. if only we had enough state power to do so, and for everyone else’s good, of course. And of course Jesus can fix all our personal problems because, well, he’s Jesus, donchaknow, with godly power to Zap!, Ka-Pow!, Bam! those problems away with comic book superhero power. It’s so patently immature it’s staggering that so many people can be so gullible to go along with the fiction.

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    1. Interesting idea. According to that equation, an extremist Christian, Muslim or Jew can exclude gay men from the definition of Real Man. That’s rather basic math. If one side gets to unilaterally create a definition and then apply it at selectively… there’s a problem. We’re back to the infantile discussions on the definition of the word marriage.
      A real man is one who has children? Who “mounts” a large number of the opposite sex? Who supports a family? Who establishes that definition and at what price? When a football player like Ronaldo checks White on his forms, do I get to say no? Should I make the case he’s cafe au lait in the light of a winter’s afternoon? Is it my right to qualify him on that based on my perception?

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      1. Yeah, not a fan of group identities and identity politics… although I see the need to use these very means to undo what institutionalized group identities and identity politics has historically wrought.

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    1. I think he is asking the question, rhetorical though it might seem on the face of it whether or not Jesus teachings could be considered poisonous.
      My argument is that Jesus teachings were not solely confined to what was listed in the quote, otherwise there would be no Christians and JC would simply be a Galilean Guru.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, let’s take 1 example; mat 5:21-22. We will assume they are the words of Jesus. Is not instituting thought crime to say one shall be judged if they are angry with their brother and in the next sentence to prescribe a cruel punishment for calling one a fool. So this I think is poisonous.
        In the sermon on the Mount he says you should turn the other cheek. This verse has been interpreted to advocate for non violence. To that extent, I think it is a good teaching.
        Finally, if we consider it a teaching, he said he didn’t come to amend the law. Rather he upheld it. If there is something poisonous in the law, Jesus upheld it and to that extent his teaching, in my view, is poisonous.

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        1. Agree 100%.
          I really do not think any ”Christian” can truly be a follower of Jesus because they are not Jewish.
          He did not come to establish any sort of New Religion. The bloke in the bible was born a Jew, lived a Jew and died a Jew. Period.

          Liked by 4 people

            1. Bruce explained it best on his blog. But it’s so very true.
              Jesus arrived to sort out the Jews … ”one jot or one: tittle shall in no wise pass from: the law, till all be fulfilled of the Law” and anyone else who didn’t toe the line … dust off the old sandals and , well to Hell with ’em, right?

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  4. I don’t know about the “Jesus of Nazareth” thing, but I do personally know believers who have abandoned their religion – not because of any philosophical dispute, but because they see all large social institutions as corrupt.

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    1. Well the church is corrupt from top to bottom. And just as a fish rots from the head down … all the little ”fishes” are to a degree rotten and have been corrupted likewise.
      Including those not in Denmark!
      😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. No one follows the beatitudes. Period.

    On a brighter note, sort of, was at a BBQ over the weekend and a girl who’d found a batshitcrazy evangelical church realised just how batshitcrazy it was and left. As per your post, she’s now a Christian without a church.

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  6. Gotta go out so haven’t yet blitzed the Comments—but I don’t get from the (bit ambiguous) quoted that ol’ Jeez is the one poisoning the world.

    I think the writer intended that Big J is the converse; and if we dumped it all on him/Him/Them/It to fret about we would be better off~?

    (Would the world remain so poisoned?) v. (would the world thus be poisoned?)

    I luv the Inglisch langwidge … it can be twisted by knaves etc etc and who would be any the wiser? And so they do … thus the Great Religions are set into their courses, and God fulfils Himself in many ways lest one good custom should corrupt (thank you, Mr Tennyson~!) (oops, gottag go …)

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    1. Well, I did not include the rest of the post, so I guess anything is open to interpretation. But he is trying to demonstrate …. and ironically align with, Chris Hitchens over his Religion Poisons Everything.
      Like everything that reborns tell us, it is all smoke and mirror, obfuscation and cherry picking.
      I could put up a link if you want to read the original, no probs?
      In fact … Here you go …

      https://melwild.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/jesus-subversive-kingdom-part-thirteen/

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  7. Ark,

    I ventured over to Mel’s blog and post you link-to and read quite a bit for one day. Here was one of my initial impressions. He writes in his “Introduction” (under his About page)…

    I do tend to have a bent toward being a bit iconoclastic toward popularly held beliefs in Churchianity that really annoy me and contradict the nature of God’s character and our awesome identity in Christ.” then later writes…

    My mission is to “prove” to the world around me that everything about Him is good, perfect, and acceptable.

    I found this not only a bit contradictory, but telling about the state of Christ’s modern Church. Why, on an organizational level are things in disarray, but on individual or small tiny (yet different) group levels “perfect”? If all Christians deeply believed the latter, then everyone would keep to themselves privately and not try to change the entire world population with incessant proselytizing/evangelizing, right!? So to further understand Mel, I asked him this…

    “Hi Mel.

    I’ve read your About page “Introduction” so as to know more about you personally, as well as 3-4 of your recent blog-posts. Out of curiosity I had four questions for you please:

    1. — Are you a graduate of any seminary/seminaries, and if so, which one(s)? At the moment I have not found any mention of this background on your blog.

    2. — If not a seminary graduate, how did you receive your license to pastor? There are many (hundreds of?) methods in the U.S.

    3. — Are speaking-in-tongues a valid spiritual gift still active today (i.e. evidence of the Holy Spirit within) or did they cease after Pentecost? Why or why not.

    4. — Is Cornerstone Church affiliated with any denomination or is it non-denominational, or “other”?

    Thank you Mel and kind regards to you and yours.”

    Let’s see how this goes. 😮

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He replied rather quickly! This was his answer…

      Hi Professor Taboo. To answer your questions:
      1 – I am not a graduate of any seminary. My college degree was in engineering before I went into Christian ministry. I was trained informally in a ministry school for several years by a non-denominational organization. I was ordained by them after that in 1991. I’ve also been in active ministry for over 30 years. I am also an avid reader and life-long learner and have extensively studied theology and church history, including Eastern Orthodoxy.
      2 – I received my current ordination with Foursquare (ICFG, see #4) after taking their polity courses and undergoing evaluation, and was appointed to my current position in 2005.
      3 – Yes, I believe in the gifts of the Spirit. I am not a Cessationist, although I do agree that these things can be abused. 🙂
      4 – Cornerstone Church is affiliated with the International Church of Foursquare Gospel. http://www.foursquare.org.
      You’re welcome.

      I’ll leave his answers to #1, #2, and #3 for everyone’s own opinion and the significance of his “ordination” process.

      I have some thoughts about the ICFG that he and his church are affiliated with. Begin here: http://www.foursquare.org/leaders/credentials

      First, the ICFG is not really unique or any different than any other U.S. Christian ministry and outreach. For credibility and church/spiritual unity, Mel and the ICFG should agree with that assessment. There are equally as many successful, thriving humanitarian organizations around the world and in the U.S. that are non-Christian.

      Second, all humanitarian groups like this offer a massive Placebo-effect for its members. This panders extremely well to common human nature for a desire to “belong” and be accepted. Humans are gregarious.

      These two beg the question, what makes Mel, the ICFG, or any other (seemingly altruistic) people or organizations — mainstream orthodoxy or “non-denominational” — special, other than in a universal common denominator fashion not at all exclusive to Christianity? And here Ark, you often stir the ego pot with passionate born-again Christians. They DO NOT want to be marginalized despite the fact they have no elite jurisdiction to truth, spirituality, goodness, wisdom, or direct link to any Supreme Being. Just traveling the globe to the 6 inhabitable continents and their subcultures will clearly demonstrate there are millions-billions of other non-Christians doing “good” and “perfect” for the world. And it has been that way for well over 1,500 – 2,000 years!

      Then, in my experiences with Fundy-Evangy Xians, they MUST sufficiently answer why they believe God speaks directly to them and gives them preferential treatment — as their New Testament teaches — over all non-Christians today and throughout time. Once they start these “apologetics” then things soon turn into a circus and none of them totally agree with each other! Hahaha. 😉

      I also find this comical Ark, when Mel told ColorScorn that ‘you can’t just leave it/him alone with all your questions and let it be.‘ HAH! The same can just as equally be asked of him, which leads me back to my initial point…

      …keep God, Christ, Yeshua/Jesus, Heaven, Hell, etc, etc, et al…to yourselfs, PRIVATELY, in your own home and NOT in public! Simply introduce yourself as __(name)__, I am a human being from planet Earth… and STOP! then the world would be a much better place! 😛

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Anytime a group or leaders (dictators?) preach and demand strict, silent, conformity, that’s when people should really ask questions, especially scrutinizing questions, and more questions OUT THA WAH-ZOO!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As Chris Hitchens once remarked. Unlike Christianity,at least when you die in North Korea you can finally get out!

        I can’t find the thread you commented on. Just tell me the name of post if you don’t want tot link back.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Ark, for you and anyone interested,

    I have attempted to carry-on a CIVIL conversation about the real theme of Jesus’ ministry as written in the synoptic gospels. It is not by any means a harsh spirit of HATE and firey judgement. On that, there is no doubt from a sizable majority of (true?) Christian theologians. Here was my question/comment for Mel and ColoredScorn…

    ColorStorm (and/or Mel):

    We all know prior to the Fall that God created all things, sinners and saints, in His likeness. I wonder if a COMPLETE stranger (“sinner”) knocked on your front door, if you’d invite her inside? To eat with you and your fellow believers at your dinner table? To offer her a place to sleep the night? What would you do? How do you speak to her/them, a total stranger-sinner. In what manner and tone do you respond to her/their questions? And does God’s grace, patience, or forgiveness have a time-expiration on it!?

    Please read 1 John 4:8 and John 8:1-11 and offer your exegesis/hermeneutics, as well as the Trinity’s exegesis/hermeneutics. Thanks.

    It will be very interesting to read their responses and determine just how closely their attitudes toward “God’s sinners” reflect that of the Son’s unequivocal attitude. 😉

    The direct link to the comment-thread:
    https://melwild.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/jesus-subversive-kingdom-part-thirteen/comment-page-1/#comment-8008

    Liked by 1 person

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