This I Believe

Frank - Gilmanton IW, New Hampshire
Entered on July 10, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: Christianity

Do I believe in Jesus?

I believe that there was a man named Jesus of Nazareth, that he was an teacher and leader who spoke with great charisma and passion, that his life was an example that we can still follow today, and I am even willing to accept the notion that his mother’s husband might not have been his biological father. There could have been perfectly normal reasons for that, however. I do not believe that Jesus died for anyone’s sins, and I do not believe that he would have wanted to be remembered for having died for anyone’s sins.

What really annoys me about Christian teachings is that it puts so much emphasis on Jesus’ death and so little on his life. It was during his life that he found the divinity that rest within us all. It was during his life that he tried to help others find their divinity through his stories and the examples he set. It was during his life that he reached out with love to the outcasts that most people in his society wouldn’t go near. It was during his life he, a man who had probably never learned to read or write, debated with the most educated men in the region and made fools of them. And it was during his life that he faced those who would judge and execute him without fear, hatred or violence. By dwelling on his death and not his life, the Christian church does his memory a disservice and badly distorts the message he tried so hard to share with his followers.

To me, sin is not so much an action as it is an attitude. I view sinners as people who, knowingly or unknowingly, cut themselves off from the rest of the world, who build walls around themselves and will only see and hear whatever reinforces their personal views. People who do these things find it easy to declare wars, to destroy nature, to hurt this world and the people who live in it. If there is an “original sin,” it has to be apathy.

Jesus’ death did not magically wipe this taint from anybody. In fact, for some it may have made things worst. All over the world Christians claim that because Jesus died for Christians and only Christians, and the non-Christians deserve nothing but contempt. I’m not saying that all Christians are like this: Mother Teresa had to be one of the finest people of our time and she’s a credit to Catholics everywhere. Sadly, she was a quiet one.

I suppose that the answer to your question is yes, I do believe in Jesus. I also believe that if he could have seen what later generations would do with his life story, he would have chosen to live his life as a simple carpenter, his greatness known only to the woman he would have married and their children.