Gangs of swindlers
March 28, 2010 by Bill
For the next two Sundays, in this Easter season, we are going to be buried in Jesus talk and fantasy. For balance it is good to keep it all in perspective. The words of many of the world’s most respected and distinguished scholars come back to me. Their words can sharpen our mind/brain and save us from drowning in clichés and childish religious pablum.
SOREN KIERKEGAARD…known as the “Great Dane,” is still studied in every major university and theological seminary that is independent of Christian financial support. Kierkegaard put it about as bluntly as it can be said: “Gangs of swindlers have taken forcible possession of the firm of Jesus Christ and have done a flourishing business under the name of Christianity. The whole thing is what is known in criminal cases as forgery. And if you doubt me, my friend, all you have to do is read the Gospels about Jesus. The Jesus of the Gospels must be changed and altered drastically to fit the Jesus of official Christianity. The typical sermon about this Jesus is not only pure twaddle, but worse than that, total dishonesty. Christianity is played every Sunday. Artists in dramatic robes and costumes make their appearance in artistic buildings and now, dramatically play Christianity, or in short, play comedy.” So wrote Soren Kierkegaard, who is recognized as the father of Christian existentialism.
ALBERT SCHWEITZER…whose “Quest of the Historical Jesus” is still recognized as the classic of biblical studies, wrote this: “Jesus claimed none of the things that the church has claimed for him.” When asked by Norman Cousins “do you think anyone has ever lived who was as good as Jesus?” Schweitzer replied “Millions.”
DR. HARVEY COX…former Dean of the Theological Seminary, Harvard University, wrote “the clergy have abused, distorted, and twisted the story of Jesus for centuries.”
WILL DURANT…in his monumental 12 volume “History of Civilization”: “Paul created a theology about the man, Jesus, a man that he did not even know, 50 or more years after the death of Jesus, with complete disregard for even the sayings attributed to Jesus. Jesus got lost in the metaphysical fog of Paul’s brain.”
DR. MALACHI MARTIN…former professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, with a doctorate in Semitic languages and Oriental history wrote, “A quagmire of distortions, deformations and deceit has been piled around the character of Jesus. If Jesus were to appear in the Vatican or the Riverside Inter-church Center of this day he would have a hard time identifying himself. The greatest difficulty would be that he would find no room. Jesus Caesar is already there, occupying the executive suite, sitting at the green-topped table during board meetings, entering the sleek black limo to be whisked to the airport, or signing the immaculately typed orders for the government of the Jesus imperium. The church today is ruled by Jesus Caesar.”
DR. JOSEPH KLAUSNER…of the University of Heidelberg, from his book “Jesus:” “Jesus was not a Christian. He was a Jew. Jesus was a product of Judaism. He never even dreamed of being a prophet or a messiah to the non-Jews.”
We will never be redeemed by any archaic system of theology, but only by the birth of a new consciousness with an accompanying spirituality. New spiritual forms and symbols must be born. Our species and our planet waits.
Kierkegaard’s “Gangs of Swindlers” will be in full, color coordinated costumes for the next two Sundays, “playing Christianity”.