16 April 2006

Easter re-visited

I was recently prompted to re-visit an old post of mine ("Uoy Sevol Natas") that I stuck out there in April 1998.

My post was an attempt to put two and two together on some logical inconsistencies that struck me about Christian dogma.

More recently, I have become convinced that it will take a mind a lot more powerful than mine to put it all together in a way that doesn't use God's "get out" clause. That is, His "ineffability".

To gist my post from that period, the key points that I made were as follows:

  1. At least some of the Bible is a lie;
  2. God was not a good bloke;
  3. God is a homophobe;
  4. Judas Iscariot was a saint;
  5. The Holy Spirit is none other than Satan; and
  6. God is neither perfect nor omnipotent.

Anyway, it was with some interest that I read an article this week about a Gnostic Gospel according to Judas which has been recently discovered.

On top of this was an interesting doco on the ABC, narrated by Christopher Eccleston, which investigated who was responsible for Christ's death, called "Bible Mysteries".

Now, while I'm not so quick as some to judge who did what to whom, it always struck me that pinning the blame on Judas Iscariot was more a convenience thing, if nothing else.

What Bible Mysteries did was examine who the prime suspects were, and narrowed it down to three:

  • Pontius Pilate
  • Caiaphas; and
  • JC Himself.

Leaving JI out as a suspect caught my interest.

Actually, in hindsight, I'm gunna start calling him by his name, or at least his "surname". JI sounds a bit like "Jemaah Islamiah".

The doco went through and itemised why it believed that these three were responsible.

I felt that Pilate's inclusion was clutching at straws a little bit.

Basically, Pilate told everyone that he was washing his hands of the whole thing. Well, what was he to do, really?

Caiaphas, Annas and the rest of the Sanhedrin had whipped up a lynch mob which was out for blood. Should Pilate have encouraged them by saying that this gathering was illegal and that if they didn't disperse, there would be carnage?

Pilate, as governor of Judaea, a self-governing Roman province, would not have had any interest in potentially losing troops from the local garrison if he could help it. Yet Pilate handed JC over to the mob despite the fact that he considered Christ to be innocent - again, what was he to do?

The Council of Nicaea sealed Pilate's fate by stating unambiguously that "Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate", indicating that Pilate should shoulder some of the blame for this, but is this warranted? Anyone would have caved in to this mob.

After all, when threatened by the church, Galileo recanted his views. We don't regard Galileo as having "sold out" - we regard Galileo as having been sensible.

Caiaphas was an obvious choice. But no Annas?

It does appear that Caiaphas would have had more impetus to shaft Christ - after all, he was the current sitting high priest. Annas was 'retired'.

I sided with the producers on this one.

If anyone killed JC, it was Him.

The evidence was compelling:

  • Christ came in to Jerusalem in what would have been a pretty defiant entry that would have ruffled a few feathers.
  • Christ was out to get attention when He unleashed a six-pack of whup-arse on the commercial activity in the temple forecourt; and
  • He did, point blank, command Iscariot to betray Him.

I had to agree that if anyone was out to get Jesus here, it was Him.

The programme's producers were perhaps a little oblique about this, but the truth of the matter is that they could have summed all this up in a few short sentences:

  1. He had to fulfil a celebrated prophecy by dying and coming back to life again.
  2. He had to give just enough powerful people the shits for them to want Him dead
  3. What better place to annoy a concentrated bunch of powerful people than the biggest city in the area, home to the Sanhedrin, and capital of the province?
  4. How better to get noticed than by running amok in the temple forecourt?
  5. He had to arrange for someone to betray him. Judas was a pawn who was used.
  6. He had to be put to death. This would have been easy if you had got the first 5 of these points right.
  7. As high priest, Caiaphas would have been forced to do something. Threatening the power of the high priest by claiming to be the Son of God probably sealed it.
  8. Pilate would cave in to a lynch mob. "Incidents" would have been frowned upon back in Rome.
  9. To summarise, Christ himself played everyone like they were accordions. Not even Macchiavelli could have done it nearly as well.

As far as I can tell, Christ was dead lucky that he wasn't born in this day and age.

Except for a few African countries, lynch mobs are harder to whip up now.

People tend to forget your name if a few thousand others get massacred at the same time.

2 and a half crosses for stringing me along. 2 more for actually having a Semitic-looking cast.

No comments: