Who Killed Jesus Christ? - The Usual Suspects
posted Feb 10, 2005 at 11:37PM
With Mel Gibson's ode to hardcore S&M still garnering headlines, and the Easter Season coming upon us, it is time to put to rest the question that invariably gets asked at this time of year: namely: Who killed Jesus Christ? Given that Jesus's message is a central underpinning of Western ethical ideals, and that the purpose of Western Civilization is to build an ethical society, the question is an important one.
The answer is simple. Jesus was killed by a priest. To be more precise, he was killed by a fundamentalist priest. The fact that these particular priests were Jewish was just a fluke of geography. Jesus would have fared no better under fundamentalists of Islamic or Christian origin, then, or now.
You could quiz all three on any variety of subjects: cultural, social, sexual, economic, and all three would give answers that would be indistinguishable from each other. All of these men think in exactly the same way, and view the world through exactly the same lens. In other words there is little difference between a Christian Evangelical like Ashcroft, and an equivalent high ranking cleric of the Taliban.
The only difference are the circumstances under which they operate. Whereas the Taliban cleric enjoyed supreme power, Ashcroft was restrained by the constitution, and a culture which prided itself in democracy and individual liberty. Of course the whole of Ashcroft's tenure can be described as an effort to free himself of those ethical, cultural and legal restraints.
If Ashcroft had his way do you really think he would be satisfied just with covering those classic nude Greek statues with blankets?. No. If he had unchallenged power he would have had them blown up in the same way the Taliban blew up those thousand year old Buddha statues. Not only would he have them blown up, his rationale would be exactly the same as that offered by the Taliban mullahs. They were "offensive". Offensive because they were a reminder that there was once great civilizations which rose to great accomplishment, without looking at the world through a fundamentalist lens.
What is also similar is the results you get when you put these people in charge. Every country that is run by fundamentalists is a tyrannical basket-case. The more power and influence fundamentalists have in shaping national policy, the worse that country gets.
In Western History the only time religious fundamentalists had complete control was that period of time we associate with the Dark Ages. Indeed the entire rise of Western Civilization on the world stage over the last 500 years can be described in terms of its success in battling religious fundamentalism (as well as their secular counterparts of fascism and Stalinist communism)
Nearly every advance, technological, medical, scientific, or in the area of social rights has occurred, not because of religious fundamentalists, but despite them.
A Quick Global Tour - America
Indeed that battle still rages today, most particularly in the United States, whose history could be presented as a case study for schizophrenia.
On one hand America is the most socially liberal, sexually sophisticated, sexually extreme country on the planet. It is the one country where "pursuit of happiness" is institutionalized within its Constitution.
It is a country that more than any other hitched it's wagon to scientific advancement, technological innovation and the use of complex financial methods to capitalize any idea and bring it into reality. It is the first country that truly championed universal public education thus institutionalizing the principle of equal opportunity.
The result is a society that has created more technologies and products than any other country. They have the most technologically equipped military. They have the largest integrated consumer market in history. Their championing of individual liberty along with a culture which honored risk taking helped create a popular culture that swept the planet. (Forget US bombs and missiles - the Mullahs see American culture as the real mortal threat to their control and they expend monumental energies to make sure their people do not get exposed to it.)
At the same time America is literally drunk with religion. An athlete can't fart in an arena without afterwards pointing up to the sky to acknowledge God's participation and guidance.
America is the only developed country which has such a high percentage of people who consider themselves religiously devout. The evangelical/fundamentalist religious right has had a continuing presence in shaping US domestic and foreign policy and the results speak for themselves.
The US spends the smallest percentage of GDP on social assistance. The have the most violent society in the developed world. They have the highest per capita percentage of its citizens in jail. They have one of the highest infant mortality rates amongst developed countries. Only Mexico has higher child poverty rates. With South Africa, the US is the only industrial nation incapable of providing universal health care to its citizens.
Starting with McCarthy, American foreign policy, with few exceptions, has been marked by a blundering adherence to inflexible linear logic which has resulted in a constant stream of catastrophes. For all their talk about being the champions of democracy, the US has assasinated or overthrown more democratically elected leaders than any other country in the world. They have allied themselves with a continuos line of right wing dictators who used the most brutal methods of force, torture and intimidation to stay in power. From Noriega to Saddam to Bin Laden, a good chunk of their energy and resources has been wasted in trying to clean up their own messes.
America loves to describe itself as the Land of the Free, but nearly all social progress made in America has been made over the howls and squealing of the evangelicals. Whether the issue was blacks playing baseball, or joining the military, or interfaith marriage, or women joining the workforce or even legalizing oral sex between man and wife - you always had to overcome the pollyanish doom-saying of the social conservative bible-thumpers.
Islam & The Middle East
Then there is the Middle East. Islamic scholars are always scratching their heads and wondering how the Islamic world fell so far behind the West. Of course the answer is simple: fundamentalism. How can you get anywhere when you have culture that cannot create anything with more than five moving parts? If it has more than five moving parts, whether a gun, an oil pumping station,or an air conditioner, it was designed by a Western or Asian country.
To create and make something you actually have to look at, and understand the world as it is, not as it is described by a narrow ideology, written a thousand years ago. Of course in the western secular framework, learning how the world works is a never-ending journey, with each answer only showing the path to new questions to be investigated and debated.
In fundamentalists societies, there is no need for investigation or debate - everything you need to be taught about the universe is in their bible. Compare that to the secular world where you can find thousands of books just on how to play tennis, or soil geology, or the mating habits of Scandinavian butterflies.
They like to blame their problems on Western Imperialism but that is only because of the oil. When the oil runs out, or if the West were to actually draw on its capacity for technological innovation to free itself of oil dependance, the Middle East would quickly fall off the map in terms of global relevance. They have nothing a free thinking man would want.
It is not coincidence that Africa is the fastest growing source of Orthodox Catholics and at the same time careening into a chasm. There religious fundamentalists of every tribe and stripe chop tens of thousands of each other as a regular occurrence. Whole countries cannot even feed themselves.
Africa is a motherlode of wealth, gold, diamonds, oil, platinum, with an abundance of arable land and mind-boggling beautiful landscapes that tourists would flock to. It doesn't matter..because the way they view the world through the lens of fundamentalism they cannot take advantage of this wealth. They have no framework to deal with anybody or anything that is outside their immediate group. It is for this reason that all the well-meaning billions of dollars of aid and capital has been little more effective than feeding hay to a dead horse.
Israel of course in another example. Hardly the "light of nations" they once aspired to be, they are more a garrison state, hanging on economically only through great assistance from US Aid. It is a perverse historical irony to see the Israeli military forcing Palestinian families out of their homes, bulldozing their houses to make "breathing space" for Jewish settlers. What can one think when you hear some Jewish man, wearing one of those little black caps, screaming into a mike that the only "solution" to the situation is to wipe all the Palestinians out. Only 60 years after the Holocaust, Israel, because of religious fundamentalism, has become what it once mocked.
Of course, it is not difficult to find their mirror image on the other side of the wall. Islamic fundamentalists whose only goal in the life is to oversee the destruction of Israel and the wiping out of Jewry from the Middle East.
The politics of religious fundamentalism is inevitably the politics of genocide.
All For One, One For All
Fundamentalism is truly an equal opportunity mental disease. Like a mutating virus it can easily adapt to new hosts and conditions with only slight alteration. Even in altered form though, it perennially works to reinforce its own kind. Israel is a classic example where fundamentalists of one stripe use the rhetoric and actions of the other to justify their own existence.
An almost universal trademark of fundamentalism is that they use themselves as the "measure of all things". Anything in the world around him that does not fit within that "measure", anything that is different or outside of his ideology, is immediately perceived as a deadly threat that must be eliminated.
And it is amazing how narrow that "measure" can be. The Taliban would beat men whose beards were not long enough and stone women who wore mascara. Different skin color? You might as well be from another planet. Fundamentalism and racism are inherently linked as half-cousins. There is a reason why many US white supremacist groups name themselves after Christian religious orders.
Of course almost anything to do with sex and eroticism drives them rabid. Purple Tele-tubbies, Sponge-Bob, Brittany Spears' belly button or Janet Jackson's nipple are all threats of an apocalyptic nature which has fundamentalists shrieking like old women.
In Saudi Arabia women driving a car is considered an act of depravity. It was only in the recent past that the Pope made it permissable for sex between a man and a wife to actually be pleasurable! It is a good bed that in the Middle East that a good percentage of the male population don't even know that women can have orgasms.
So it didn't really matter where Jesus showed up, or even when - his message and sermons would have been regarded in the same threatening light by these people. To them Jesus is an athema, and his message a direct repudiation of their way of relating to people and the world around them.
Treat your enemies with kindness? Hah!
Do unto others as you would want them to do to you? Oh Please!
Love your neighbor as you would love yourself? Sure but here is the real rub. Christ said that even the pagans love those who are like themselves, but the true mark of love is to love those that are different from you!!
This basic ethical principle is of course the exact opposite of the fundamentalist credo. Their guiding principle would be to "love" only those who are exactly like themselves, only people which fit into thier "measure of all things"...If you are not for me..I will destroy you
In America there is no doubt that Jesus would have suffered the same fate as Martin Luther King. He would be considered a subversive, a communist, or in today's lexicon, a terrorist sympathizer.
The Truth Will Set You Free
The bible warns society to be on the look out for false prophets, the Anti-Christ and his followers who declare they are speaking in Jesus's name, but use it to spread hatred and death instead of love and peace.
So it is important to understand that when you see Ashcroft and Bush and the rest of the religious fundamentalists who now hold power in America - they may profess to be in direct communication with Jesus, but the reality is that these are exactly the type of men who would have him crucified. Their followers represent the screaming crowds who looked upon the spectacle with joy and up righteous euphoria.
As for everyone else, the people who were asleep at the switch and let these people take power, the one who say it's "not so bad" - they represent those cowering followers who stood around with their thumbs up their butts, while they watched their best man get nailed to a fucking cross.
The above is written for educational/entertainment purposes only. Under no circumstances should it be mistaken for professional investment advice. The commentary simply reflects the opinion of the authour on the current status of the market. It is prone to error and to change with no notice which itself is again prone to error.