On this page we deal with the mindless and hate-filled heart of demon possessed scholars and humanists. I may not make any comments after some of these items because I expect you to figure out what is going on in these twisted minds. If this page gets too far out for you, just don't come back. It probably is not the most important stuff in this journal anyway.
SOUR WINE IN OLD WINE SKINS
By Arthur Spiegelman
NEW YORK (Reuter) - Was Jesus the first Jewish comedian? Did he deliver the Sermon on the Mount and, if so, why was it so short? Is the Resurrection a true event or an example of early Christian mass hysteria?
As Easter Sunday approaches, the search for the historic Jesus -- the man, not the Gospel figure of miracle and mystery -- has hit the U.S. media with a loud, some would say blasphemous, thunderclap, leading to questions that many orthodox Christians would never have dreamed of asking. All three major U.S. news magazines -- including Time, which once caused a national fuss by asking ``Is God dead?'' -- had cover stories raising questions about what can be believed in the Gospels. Every television network is also on the case.
``Some scholars are debunking the Gospels. Now traditionalists are fighting back. What are Christians to believe?'' asks a concerned Time Magazine. Newsweek says people are ``Rethinking the Resurrection'' and U.S. News & World Report asks about Jesus, ``Who Was He?''
The stories in the three magazines may be just calendar journalism -- Easter, after all, is on Sunday. But they also reflect the growing influence of a group of Christians spearheaded by the Jesus Seminar, 75 self-appointed scholars who hope to create a new Reformation by showing that the historic Jesus was a humane teacher who did not walk on water, resist Satan in the desert or raise Lazarus from the dead. Some of the critics of the Gospels as a work to be read as factual history say that rather than rising from the dead, Jesus's body may have been eaten by dogs, a traditional Roman way of disposing of crucified criminals at that time.
They also say the Resurrection could have been an act of mass hysteria as Jesus's faithful followers were unable to come to terms with his death. Many of the new breed of gospel critics also doubt whether Jesus uttered many of the quotes attributed to him in the Bible, including the Sermon on the Mount.
``The Jesus Seminar has been going on for a decade and what we did was deliberately move the debate on who Jesus was out of academic circles. We made a deliberate, pragmatic attempt to let lay people know what was going on,'' said John Crossan, a former Roman Catholic priest.
Crossan, a professor at Chicago's Depaul University, and his colleagues question everything about Jesus save perhaps that his mother's name was Mary.
One of the seminar's leaders, Robert Funk, said he wants to ``set Jesus free from the scriptural and creedal prisons in which we have entombed him. We aspire no less than to roll away the stone from the door of the rock-cut tomb.''
U.S. News quotes Funk as calling Jesus a secular sage who satirized the pious and championed the poor. He added, ``Jesus was perhaps the first stand-up Jewish comic ... Starting a new religion would have been the farthest thing from his mind.''
Comments like that have traditionalists reeling. They have launched a counter-attack, saying comparing Jesus to a comic or calling him a peasant revolutionary or another wise Buddha, as some have, weakens and subverts the Christian faith.
``The Jesus Seminar people are in full flight from their background. They began as fundamentalist Christians and are now fundamentalists of another kind,'' said Kenneth Woodward, the religion editor of Newsweek.
He said his concern was that the leaders of the historical Jesus movement were ``weakening what is remarkable about him. His social teaching is not that remarkable and diluting him into a kind of 1960s revolutionary is not interesting. What is interesting is that he says, 'Not my will but thine be done.''' Woodward asked if people are willing to die for an idea, for an egalitarian society or a sexually inclusive one or for something bigger -- the promise of eternal life and salvation.
``There is a quote from Ernest Bloch, the German Marxist philosopher, that sums things up: 'In an age when Roman senators vied to see who could get the most blood of a steer on their togas, thinking that could prevent death, Christianity was in competition for eternal life, not mortality,'' Woodward added. After the debate on the Jesus Seminar movement, Americans can get ready for one on the meaning of Genesis. Public Television says it will be airing a major series questioning the biblical account of the creation with Bill Moyers as host.
The series is already advertising itself this way: ``In the Beginning, there was sex, violence, murder, jealousy, rage, seduction, greed, power trips and snakes. It made a Good Book. It makes a great television series.''