Is Jesus Outdated?

Do you believe the Bible sayings attributed to Jesus about peace and love, etc . . .

  • were never plausible advice for living life properly
  • may have been plausible advice for living life properly at one time but are no longer possible
  • were plausible advice for living life properly then and remain so today
  • other – please explain

0 voters

Regardless of whether one believes Jesus was born to a virgin or was the son of God any more than the rest of us, most people would admit that the Bible makes him out to be a really good person and attributes some good quotes to him. But how plausible is his advice? For example . . .

Mathew 5:38-44

Does this mean if someone physically assaults you you should not fight back? No more self-defense classes, just turn the other cheek.

Does it really mean you should give to every person who asks of you – every moocher, deadbeat and panhandler?

Does it mean after the terrorists attacked the US on 9/11, the US should not have gone across the world invading nations and killing people, but should have shown its love for the terrorists?

Mathew 7:1

How can one not judge in modern society? Civil and criminal litigation should be abolished, because it is wrong to find one person liable to another or to find a person guilty of a crime? Is that what it means?

Do these types of sayings make any sense? Did they ever?

[quote=“Mother Theresa”]

Mathew 5:38-44

Does this mean if someone physically assaults you you should not fight back? No more self-defense classes, just turn the other cheek.

Does it really mean you should give to every person who asks of you – every moocher, deadbeat and panhandler?

Does it mean after the terrorists attacked the US on 9/11, the US should not have gone across the world invading nations and killing people, but should have shown its love for the terrorists?

Mathew 7:1

How can one not judge in modern society? Civil and criminal litigation should be abolished, because it is wrong to find one person liable to another or to find a person guilty of a crime? Is that what it means?

Do these types of sayings make any sense? Did they ever?[/quote]

Matt 5:38 - 42
Luke 6:29,30
Matt 5:43 - 48
Luke 6:27, 28, 32-36.

Renounce any form of retaliation. Leave all vengeance to God. Love by choice and not by circumstance. Let mistreatment by others remind you to overcome their evil through love.

It is an insistance on positive good in the face of evil in terms of personal insult, legal contention, forced labor and requests for gifts or loans.

The New King James Version puts it this way

[quote]You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, …[/quote]

This is a little more accurate and to the point. Makes the average Christian seem a little less of a push over eh.

Matt 7:1 is talking about assuming the position of supreme judge. Jesus does not forbid criticism, opinions, or the condemnation of wrongdoing. What he forbids is censoriousness, the spirit of faultfinding the overlooks one’s own shortcomings while assuming the role of supreme judge in regard to the sins of othes.

I think that takes care of the courts.

There is more, but I wouldn’t want to sound preachy. I have questioned the same things myself time and time again. And, um, believe it or not, I studied Christian ministry. I was to be a pastor. Eeek - how the mighty…

You see, there are so many ways of treating and taking Christs’ word. Love your enemies being a good example. OK I love them. And do good to them that hate you. Hmm, OK this is a very complex thing, isn’t it? If my enemy is a vicious man who beats his wife and kids, than aren’t I doing him a service by kicking his ass, if that ass-kicking sets him straight? So, turning the other cheek is not necessarily pacifism.

I think the thing that is cool about the New Testament is that it does not resist modern interpretation. That in itself, makes it worthy of the its future.

However, the SCIENCE that the Bible was born of and into can NOT resist modern interpretation. Modern science breaks the biblical science apart. Christ walked on the water. Eh, sorry, not in modern physics. Divine ascension? I’ll pass on that.

BUT, and like my Aunt Cindy, this is a big but…psychologically, the science and literary reality of the Bible does not resist modern interpretation. Walking upon water may be a metaphor for overcoming one’s personal fears (read demons), the water may represent one’s fears and desires. So by walking upon them (the water) one may have overcome one’s fears.

[quote=“Mother Theresa”]
Does this mean if someone physically assaults you you should not fight back? No more self-defense classes, just turn the other cheek.[/quote]

Yes. Martin Luther King is the best example for this arguement. He used these teaching as an example to support his use of Ghandi’s arguement for non-violence as a way to end segregation. In his book “The Strength to Love”

MLK says this:

[quote]
Does it really mean you should give to every person who asks of you – every moocher, deadbeat and panhandler?[/quote] Yes because 1)the Father already knows your needs, so your giving is already supplied for you to give(Math 8:25-34) Or as it teaches in Luke 6:38 -If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more and running over.

One judges in modern society because we are following man’s law not the law of God. Jesus’s point of not judging was that 1)it will come back to you 2)how can you judge someone when you are just as tempted by sin and 3)leaves no room for brotherly love.

[quote=“jdsmith”]. Hmm, OK this is a very complex thing, isn’t it? If my enemy is a vicious man who beats his wife and kids, than aren’t I doing him a service by kicking his ass, if that ass-kicking sets him straight? So, turning the other cheek is not necessarily pacifism.
[/quote]

I speculate that Jesus would not agree with this. My thought on his turning the other cheek, is not to ignore the action, but not to be so quick meet force with force. Love cannot exsist where there is no space for it. So,in the case of the spousal violence, Jesus might consel one to find out why this man desires to treat his wife in such a degrading way. Seek to understand this human’s reasoning for needing to cause pain and have control thru violence. Change the man through loving him out of his pain…


Bassman wrote:
[quote]Jesus does not forbid criticism, opinions, or the condemnation of wrongdoing. What he forbids is censoriousness, the spirit of faultfinding the overlooks one’s own shortcomings while assuming the role of supreme judge in regard to the sins of othes. [/quote]

I think he does forbid criticisms,opinions or the condemnation of wrongdoing as they are forms of judgement, as with Mary Magdeline whom he saved from stoning “let the first to have not sinned be the first to cast a stone.”(sic)

[quote] jesus says turn the other cheek
thats why jesus is dead[/quote]

Seriously though MT, it really looks to me like you’ve already made up your mind. Personally, despite not being Christian, I think many of the teachings of Jesus, like the ones you quote, are excellent ideas and I wish I could live up to them. Unfortunately human nature interferes with the effectiveness of them, because for every person who is following them - say, for example, the give to those that ask thing - there’s someone who’s just in it for themselves - in this case, who’ll abuse the goodwill of those others and scab everything they can while never giving to anyone else.

And I have to disagree Namahottie - I don’t think opinions and some forms of criticism (particularly constructive) would be forbidden. I don’t see how having an opinion is necessarily judgemental.

[quote=“The Doobie Brothers”]I don’t care what they may do
I don’t care what they may say
Jesus is just all right with me
Jesus is just all right[/quote]
If Jesus is outdated then so is Buhdda, Moses, or most other gods, teachers, and leaders. People are the same today as they were 2000 years ago. Jealous, illogical, evil sons of beeches.

BTW Nama, the one very overlooked common reason that MLK and Ghandi were so successful using non-violence to change the status quo was because the they used a pre-existing Western system of government against itself. They came up through the system and changed it from within.

Now, a bunch of non-violent protesters were crushed into mush trying to use the same techniques in China a few years back.

If they had reacted to the violence with their own violence…who knows where they’d be now? .

Complete pacifism is pointless if the enemy is prepared to kill you, not just beat you into submission. Turn the other cheek indeed

[quote=“Namahottie”]
I think he does forbid criticisms,opinions or the condemnation of wrongdoing as they are forms of judgement, as with Mary Magdeline whom he saved from stoning “let the first to have not sinned be the first to cast a stone.”(sic)[/quote]

Criticism of values of society or things that are completely in conflict with biblical values is not standing as the supreme judge in a situation. Standing up for righteousness, condemnation of the work of “the dark side”. Condemnation of a wrong action does not need to be critical of the person. Really. Saving Mary Magdeline from stoning was saving her from a fatal judgement. Really it is saying not to think of yourself as any better than anyone else and that we don’t have the right to judge others in that way.

Come to think of it, we should condemn the actions of 911, but have a biblical love for the misguided souls that perpetrated the deed. That’s a tough one. Imagine having to love the sinner Osama Bin Laden, but hate the sin. That’s a tough one.

Oh, how I wish my concordance was not sitting in New Zealand. I’d love to be looking up Greek and Hebrew right now. Instead I am looking through an old bible that I’ve had for 14 years now. Full of pen marks, but sadly hardly opened since I’ve been in Taiwan.

However, for the most part, I am inclined to agree with Namahottie if taken in the context of her statement. In that case the translation stands to be true. Bible translation is, at worst a guess, and at best a poor science.

[quote=“jdsmith”]BTW Nama, the one very overlooked common reason that MLK and Ghandi were so successful using non-violence to change the status quo was because the they used a pre-existing Western system of government against itself. They came up through the system and changed it from within.

Now, a bunch of non-violent protesters were crushed into mush trying to use the same techniques in China a few years back.

If they had reacted to the violence with their own violence…who knows where they’d be now? .

Complete pacifism is pointless if the enemy is prepared to kill you, not just beat you into submission. Turn the other cheek indeed[/quote]

Agreed. Did you know that the “meek” actually means “power under control”. It’s knowing when to use the power that you have. Imagine if someone were the son of God, with ultimate power at their fingertips. Now imagine if that same person reacted in the same way that an average person would. We’d all be dead.

Personally, I’d give someone one hit, turn the other cheek, but if they went in for a hit on that one, well… they’d find out that this little frame is deceptive and find themselves on the floor. Not getting a hiding. I know Christian security guards who have never flattened anyone. They do know how to control the situation without getting out of hand. You should have seen the size of the security guards at my old church. Rugby League players - HUGE. Great on and off the field - never out of control and greatly respected for it.

[quote]People are the same today as they were 2000 years ago. Jealous, illogical, evil sons of beeches.[/quote] You see, that’s what really bothers me.

It is pretty easy to rationalize an answer to your question MT for an Idealist like me. Jesus’s teachings are a priori and they speak for themselves. The example about presenting the other cheek is a classic. It illustrates poor interpretation imo. You have to embrace Jesus’s vision to understand that elusive choice. If you fight back, by hurting your offender, you only hurt yourself further. Besides, if everyone agree, who’s going to hit you in the face?

Jesus is very hard to follow. He loses me sometimes…

BTW, thanks MT for starting such an interesting and thought provoking thread. :notworthy:

I was having a discussion with a christian missionary in Chiayi the other week and he asked my why I told my friends that death is a part of life.

Of course he thinks that death is the next great adventure lol

When he asked my what I thought about the crucifiction of Christ… I answered…

" It’s a waste of wood "

When asked why I didn’t have faith I replied " false hope gives false comfort". We both had a good laugh.

Let’s face it. Humans have big egos and they can’t accept that death would mean the end of their paltry existence. God, the meaning of life, and all that jazz.

You’d better enjoy your time now cause only the dead know how good it is to be alive.

As for the bible, it makes good bed time reading in hotels.

You can have good principles in life without worrying about Jesus being outdated.

Unfortunatly what JC, Buddha, Moses, Mohamed or any other long gone religious man has said or written will never really be known.
What we have today in the Bible (pick your version), the Quran, the Vedas scriptures, the Talmud etc

I chose “other” because, in a sense, they’re all true, and they’re all false, depending on the situation. The problem is that there isn’t one single principle, rule, or law that will work for all times and in all situations. There are times, even today, where “turn the other cheek” is the wisest and/or most sincere show of love. But not always.

But Jesus’ teachings, if you approach them from their historical context, make sense in a different way than we might think about them today. For example, as the messiah, he came to break with Jewish laws and customs… ie. turn the other cheek was meant to overturn eye for an eye. Yet, eye for an eye is still relevant in some situations.

[quote=“Danimal”] There are times, even today, where “turn the other cheek” is the wisest and/or most sincere show of love. But not always.
[/quote]

I would realy like an example of such times. Honestly. A simple one.
You come home after work and find your family murdered. The killer is still there and he proceeds to attack you with a knife. Let’s say that for unexplained reasons you actually walked in the house with a loaded rifle.
What do you do? You die or you get vengence and save your own life?

I liked Igorveni’s post above. “Love brings love”. It seems like some sacrifices will have to be made to break what seems to be a negative cycle. I see it as such anyways. Others think it’s all pink.

Obviously you go the heaven, and your killer has to deal with the guilt of going to hell.

Unless your killer repents his sin at the last moment accepts God as his savior, then both of you can talk about your differences for all eternity in heaven.

[quote=“hatch”][quote=“Danimal”] There are times, even today, where “turn the other cheek” is the wisest and/or most sincere show of love. But not always.
[/quote]

I would realy like an example of such times. Honestly. A simple one. [/quote]
One of my co-workers was bad mouthing me in meeting last fall. Actually, from what I hear, it was more like slander, but I digress. Anyway, against the advice of my supervisor and several co-workers, I didn

remember that jesus turned over the tables of the moneychangers at the temple. he wrestled with temptation in the desert. he was no pushover, he was human too. the ideal is peace but we are human, he knew there are limits to our tolerance.

The problem is not really one of being “out of date.” Come on, the question of whether and when to turn the other cheek can’t be all that different for us, even taking into account that we live in a capitalist society instead of a slave society.

The question of “did he really say that” is also interesting, but let’s agree to talk about the genius who said all that Sermon on the Mount stuff–whoever he was, either Jesus or an unknown redactor. (If you don’t agree that the author is a genius, then perhaps you will be more favorably disposed to Gandhi or Tolstoy, who did.)

I would say something similar about the problem of reconciling this to the more ass-kicking side of Jesus. Yes, it’s an interesting question, but it’s a different interesting question that the one about how to live.

The big problems are practical: Is it better to turn the other cheek etc., than not to? Why? What is the underlying goal here? To fill the guy who beats us with admiration for our capacity to endure pain?

Can a whole society live this way (disbanding their armies and dismissing their tax collectors, for instance), or just some people within the society (like monks)? If the latter, then should each of us decide for ourselves (as the Quakers say), or consult some sort of spiritual advisor (as the Orthodox say)?