Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Directions Needed

We have just come down from one of the holiest of Christian holidays, Easter, and I cannot help but muse on the attendant fuss which seems to accompany these yearly rituals, most of which are deeply rooted in Pagan mythology. That the great majority of the populace knows little if anything about these pagan rites is a true testament to the power of the early Christian church and the continuing perpetuation of these myths "in Jesus name". But then they know, it seems little of their Christian faith either. If they did, the Revs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson surely would have no following.

Now a new Gospel has been found which flies in the face of accepted fact as regarding Jesus' last days. And if this new gospel is to be believed our entire view of the existing Gospels is brought into question. Could Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have gotten it that wrong? Weren't they eye witnesses to the events as they unfolded? No they were not. Rather than face arrest and imprisonment themselves, they fled. Certainly a betrayal as well. Were they perhaps jealous of Judas and his closeness to Jesus?

Written as it is, in Aramaic, the language Jesus and his disciples spoke, the Gospel, regarding Judas, would seem to be the more authentic. That Jesus was a political rabble rouser, should be acknowledged and one should perhaps look more closely at how Jesus operated to understand why the premise of Judas' betrayal being a "set up" is not as far fetched as it sounds. For a man who flew in the face of convention, as did Jesus, it is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Jesus flaunted his relationships with those whom society considered outcasts. The marginalized of society were His "base", and He scorned those who felt their wealth gave them privelage. He targeted the corruption amongst the Priests in the temple, He allowed Himself to become "unclean" by laying his hands on those who were ill (Leprosy) or dead (Lazarus). To deliver Himself into the hands of those who would wish Him ill is totally within the realm of possibility, if it served His purposes.

Today, however, there is a very large segment of the population who reject anything which is not from the mouths of those who preach a gospel of hatred They deny all those whom Jesus would have embraced, and even more incredibly, have stated that those who share the faith that Jesus practiced are not eligible for a seat in Heaven. How can this be? Jesus was most decidedly a Jew and absolutely, if the Easter Story is to be believed, in Heaven. Not only did He gain entry into heaven there are at least two thieves there with him.

Unfortunately, when you have a large segment of people who believe what these fear mongers say, you have the prejudice and hatred that leads to the crimes that Jesus tried to teach us to overcome. It leads us into wars. It villifies those members of society that someone else has deemed unfit. Why is there not more outrage from those who would understand that this is not the message of Jesus? Where are all of those who profess a belief in Christianity and certainly not the brand preached by these two yahoos and their ilk? Why are those who are in your face Christians not living by Jesus' rules?

It has always been easier to take the well beaten path then the road less traveled. Easier to perpetuate the myth than to try and debunk it. We have the road map, perhaps Mr. Falwell's base should refer to it more often, rather than taking verbal directions from a person who is already lost.

Susan B. Goodwin