Monday, 16 January 2012

Easter - Conspiracy or Cock-up?

If we are to believe the Bible, and apparently some still do, we are supposed to believe that the Jesus story was all part of a divine plan. According to whoever wrote the chapter attributed to 'John', "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whomsoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

So, the whole thing was planned. God intended for Jesus to be put on trial, condemned to death and executed because, for some reason, in some inexplicable way, this was going to save the world, or at least those who believed the story.

Leaving aside the whys and wherefores of that plan and what passes for the rational thinking behind it, how does the rest of the story stack up in view of it?

Let's just recap the main points:
  • Jesus came to Jerusalem, apparently knowing everything that was going to happen and that the whole thing was planned.
  • He had to be identified to the Roman soldiers by Judas.
  • Simon Barjona, aka Simon Peter, whom Jesus earlier had named as the 'Rock upon which I build my church', then lashes out with a sword and cuts off a centurion's ear.
  • Jesus has to intervene in the fracas and tells Peter off. For some reason, Peter isn't arrested for the assault.
  • Judas is then ostracised by the group and is so mortified by guilt that he tops himself. Jesus does nothing to stop this.
So, if the whole thing was planned, which of Judas and Peter ensured the plan worked?

Clearly, Judas. Peter tried to put a stop to the plan to 'save the world'. Yet we see poor old Judas treated as a pariah and no one lifts a finger to explain to him that he was a key player in the game; that he had ensured the world got saved. And yet Jesus stands by, supposedly fully aware that Judas was just playing out his predestined role, consciously or otherwise, and lets him go down in history as the archetypal traitor; next to Satan, probably the most hated figure in Christendom.

And Peter, who was so badly off message he was in danger of wrecking the whole scheme, is still the 'Rock'; Jesus's chosen successor.

Finally, Jesus himself, if the scribes who wrote the chapters ascribed to Matthew and Mark are to be believed, lost the plot at the end and thought God had forsaken him. Strange that, for the person who was supposedly god himself, but moving on...

Does that stack up to you? Does that sound like a well-managed master plan being run by an omniscient master planner and inerrant judge of character?

It sounds to me more like the plot of a Keystone Cops movie. Either that, or the scribes who wrote this stuff weren't capable of putting a coherent story together and probably never fully understood themselves the story they were supposed to be telling. I suppose the ability to write in those days was no more a guarantee of the ability to think rationally than it is today.

And to think, people kill other people for not believing this stuff, and claim the right to interfere in all aspects of our lives because they do. Should we blame the Bible's authors for the stuff they wrote, when they were probably only doing their best, or should we blame the unthinking and credulous people who believe their nonsense?

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