Why Do The Gospels Often Show Jesus Using A Language Of Fear?through David Nelmes
I have written to you once before. A while ago now. I really like your site. I personally feel I need to hear that "God is a God of Love and He does not teach through fear or use fear in any way" rath...
Q: Why Do The Gospels Often Show Jesus Using A Language Of Fear?
I have written to you once before. A while ago now. I really like your site. I personally feel I need to hear that "God is a God of Love and He does not teach through fear or use fear in any way" rather a lot.
I would like to ask you just a couple of questions. I can understand how you would interpret much of the old testament in terms of this being man's thinking much of the time, rather than direct revelation of a loving God. But what do you make of those areas of the gospel where Christ himself uses what could be called a language of fear, of anger and wrath. The cleansing of the temple, some of the more critical denounciations of Jesus towards pharisees (declaring some of them as 'sons of hell') and actually, there are many more little and subtle indications within the gospels that I would say that Christ definately sometimes spoke in a way which was fear-inpsiring, rather than peace-inspiring.
If I were Judas, for instance, and I heard 'there is a devil among you' from Christ, I think I would have been pretty afraid, that the Christ himself calls me a devil. Would that not be a cause for fear? Whether or not Judas comprehended Christ as the Son of God, is for me, beside the point. An honest appraisal of this passage clearly demonstrates, as other passages do, that Christ sometimes did not use a language and a manner, that could be called 'loving' in the sense that you portray on your site.
Believe me, it would be much easier for me to agree with you. I would rather sense God as all-loving, always compassionate and merciful. But would I be denying him of something of his Holiness, if I refused to believe he never convicts us on those things which displease him?
(This is a reader submitted question. Its contents may have been edited, and all personal information has been removed)
A: If you look closely in the Bible's New Testament, you can see a pattern of what was "added to Jesus' words". Bear in mind that the New Testament Gospels were written decades after the events and that they were not written by the apostles themselves but by other individuals that admired the original apostles -- so there is no real sentence where somebody wrote what they saw. They wrote what they had been told and remembered.
When looking at God in the Old testament or Jesus in the New Testament, regardless of what they were recorded to have said or done, I know that they were not above following the spirit of their own teachings. If you think of it, if somebody is telling you not to drink and smoke, but they do, what meaning does it really have? Instead of being viewed as guidance from a loving friend, their message becomes one of demands from a tyrant. This is the way both God and Jesus are often portrayed when others have tampered with what was written.
In many cases, you can read what Jesus is saying and the spirit of the words are in agreement with his teachings of love and forgiveness and then suddenly the last paragraph or two concludes with a threat. My favorite example is where Jesus is asked about forgiveness. He makes a clear reference that you should just always forgive and he doesn't say the person has to have even asked for it or deserved it -- he just said to forgive -- but the chapter then concludes that if you don't forgive, God will not forgive you and you will be tortured. Jesus could not have said that last part. In contradicts the spirit of the love and forgiveness in the first part.
I don't think any of the alterations to the Gospel stories were done maliciously. You have to remember that almost all early Christians were Jewish and there is no way that their personal view of how Jesus should have acted, could not have strayed too far from how they believed their angry God of the Old Testament acted.
There was a day where Jesus woke up killed a tree and ransacked the temple. The story is written that he had justified anger because this is how the old testament God acts -- but anger is simply the result of not being centered and regardless of how things were written, Jesus was human too and it's very possible that if the story is true, he just had a bad day. There is no justifying his actions. Bad behavior is never justified. If the story is true, I know he later felt that his actions were not the better thing to have done. The concept that he was somehow totally perfect is an error in thinking. How could we ever aspire to be like him if he was literally God in a human body. He was human like you and I and he had faults, like you and I, but he made the better choices throughout most his life and that allowed him to be open for God to work through him in ways never before manifested. He said he was the Son of God. We are also the sons of God. He said the father and him are one. We are also one with the father -- or at least we could be if we are open to accept this undoing of the separation that occurred between us and our creator.
It's interesting that you mention Jesus' interaction with Judas because Jesus later says directly through A Course in Miracles that he could not have seen Judas's actions as a betrayal unless he felt he could be betrayed -- and if you truly love people as Jesus did, nobody can betray you or disappoint you because you can only see their actions as mistakes and cries for help, but never as an attack on you. In order for Jesus to feel betrayed and to have called Judas a traitor, Jesus would have lied when he said in Matthew 5:44:
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
Instead, with respect to Judas, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles (T-6.I.15):
These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, although its gospel is really only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted me as saying, "I come not to bring peace but a sword." This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught. Nor could they have described my reactions to Judas as they did, if they had really understood me. I could not have said, "Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" unless I believed in betrayal.
The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not believe in betrayal. The "punishment" I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?
Nothing physical matters. Jesus' mission was a spiritual one and anything that focuses on physical things or physical events were either added, embellished or simply doesn't matter. For example, there was no immaculate conception because that was not a necessary thing. Jesus was here to make a spiritual change and had nothing to do with anything physical -- no earthly kingdom -- not then or any time to come. He came to open a door for our spirits to once again connect to God and the last thing he or God wants is for us to spend an eternity trapped here in bodies. They both want us home.
To sum things up -- Jesus is our true brother and taught about the spirit of love and forgiveness. Any of the words written that he said that do not agree with the spirit of love and forgiveness are either not his words or they are misconceptions of what he was thought to have said.
A final thought -- would Jesus, after having embraced the forgiveness of his persecutors while hanging on the cross, later decide to return to the earth and kill millions and billions of people who simply did not know who he was? Religion teaches us many things about what we have to do, yet religion also makes God and Jesus exempt from practicing the spirit of their own teachings. That is not possible. God is either a God of fear or a God of love. He cannot be both or swap back and forth. Absolute love casts out all fear -- so is God love or is God the fear that love cast out? He can only always be just one of these things.
Seeing God: Perhaps For The First Time
This collection of articles may help you in Seeing God more clearly. The author believes God is a God of love, and his writings express the thought that God is a God of love and that He does not teach through fear or use fear in any way.