I’ve just spent the weekend in Florence.
When I wasn’t eating ice cream I was looking at the inside of churches. One such place of worship (Santa Maria Novella), unsurprisingly, has lots of pictures of Jesus on the walls. It was as I was staring at the nails in the feet and hands in one of these (The Holy Trinity by Masaccio) that it really hit home how violent this whole Jesus thing really is.
Imagine if someone appeared today who peacefully went up against the ruling power, gradually turning millions of people to believe in love and tolerance for thousands of years. But then millions of other people took those teachings on and used them to justify killing millions of other people. How did that happen? How did loads of people turn a (supposed) root belief in being nice to one another into the exact opposite?
This would be down to the Bible and its openness to various interpretations. Christian fundamentalism is the practise of defending the ‘fundamentals’ of a literal reading of the Bible, sometimes with violence. Does that conflict with what Jesus supposedly taught? Looks like it, but then there’s so much in the Bible that sends people off in another direction. How do you deal with heretics and those who would threaten Christianity when the Sermon on the Mount preaches loving your enemies?
So here we are with lots of nice Christians and lots of violent ones, all coming from the same teachings. So either they don’t believe the teachings or they think, somewhat ironically, that it’s justifiable to ignore them for the greater good of defending them:
If (and I’ll say for the record that I’m an atheist, so I find this quite a sizeable ‘if’) there was some big plan of a creator to make us all nicer people by sending his son down here to tell us how to behave, then he really ballsed it right up. I guess people who defend God would say that it’s our free will that made it all go wrong, but then the creator supposedly created us, too, including this ‘free will’ that seems to mess up his plans so many times. Then he gets annoyed at how naughty we are. Well, he (very supposedly) created us. If he didn’t want all this bad behaviour then he should have made us less prone to faults, or at least accept his part in those mistakes and started again, or given us a little running adjustment, like an OS update. Surely that would be a piece of piss for someone who is omnipotent.
So a guy whose life ended with nails in his feet and hands inspired millions of people to kill millions of other people, despite his express intention to do the exact opposite.