The other day, JT Eberhard posted a piece to his blog, What a Savior Looks Like, arguing that the Jesus character in the New Testament myth isn’t really much of a savior. It’s kind of a brilliant piece (although my idea of a savior isn’t Keanu Reeves kicking ass in slo-mo), with an idea that had honestly never occurred to me. He points out… oh, I’m just going to quote him:
If we rebelled against god (that guy wanted to keep us from having knowledge and he murdered whole civilizations, so if he exists I damn sure hope we rebelled!), what would our savior look like?
Imagine a city in which there lives a man of incomparable wealth and influence who kicked his children out of the house and into the street for wanting to go to college. Not only that, but he’s pretty much running around and killing everybody who isn’t obeying him. Sometimes he tortures them. It would be totally understandable for even his children to rebel, for clearly he is a crime lord. But one day a savior rides into the city and…
A) …engages the crime lord in battle, ultimately destroying him and giving the people of the city their lives back.
B) …joins forces with the crime lord and helps the crime lord enforce the “obey or be tortured” edict.
One of those sounds like a savior, the other sounds like the mafia demanding protection money. “Sure, I’ll keep my family from trashing your business if you just pay your 10% each month for the service and do everything we tell ya.” Are these ruffians also saviors?
A savior sides with the rebels against the oppressor. Jesus isn’t a savior, he’s an accomplice.
“Jesus isn’t a savior, he’s an accomplice.” Damn, can that boy write. I’m just sayin’, is all.
And he got a comment from Davis S., saying (emphasis mine):
I guess it depends on what perspective you’re evaluating the morality of it all from. This is a pretty good post from a humanist perspective, but from the Christian theological perspective, whatever God does is the very definition of good. It’s not necessarily good from our perspective, but it’s at least internally consistent.
And the top of my head just about came off.
Whatever God does is the very definition of good. Really. Do you seriously want to stick with that position?
Because this sort of thinking renders the entire concept of good and evil meaningless. It says that if God does something, it’s good by definition. Killing your own child; slaughtering people (including children) by the thousands; torturing people to death (famine, drought, tsunami, pediatric cancer, etc.) — all of it is good, by definition, simply because it’s God doing it. Even if it’s something that would be monstrously, irredeemably evil if a person did it.
Therefore, what “good” and “evil” mean for God are entirely disconnected from what “good” and “evil” mean for people. The concepts literally bear no relation to one another.
Which, if you believe that human goodness emanates from God, is entirely incoherent.
And I, for one, do not want the concepts of “good” and “evil” to be meaningless and incoherent. I want them to bloody well make sense and mean something.
As for, “It’s not necessarily good from our perspective, but it’s at least internally consistent”: Really? I mean… really? What kind of twisted ethical system puts “good” next to “internally consistent,” and decides that “internally consistent” is more important?
Christianity. Twisting human ethics into unrecognizability since 33 A.D.
UPDATE: A comment on Facebook by Avi Blackmore summed it up perfectly: “It’s basically a massive appeal to authority as an end-run around taking moral responsibility.” FTW!