—the oracle of Man ...
Jesus did not start Christianity. Quite the contrary. Christianity started Jesus.
Christianity is in fact a thoroughly contrived religious movement, based upon little more than a deep longing in the human soul for some sort of hero to arrive on the scene and make it all better.
There can be little doubt that, if Jesus were here today (the actual historical Jesus, not the literary character the church manufactured), he would have nothing to do with it. He would bear little more than revulsion for it, and very likely castigate it in the same spirit with which he railed against the Sadducees and Pharisees.
Christianity could also be called Messianity. The word is—obviously—based upon Christ which is but the Greek word for Messiah. Both words (Christ and Messiah) mean anointed.
Anointing refers to the act of drizzling oil (usually olive oil) over the head. It is a rite that was administered to a new king just before he assumed the throne (or a new high priest before he took office). It was thus an essential aspect of a ceremony, one that ushered in said new king or high priest.
This means that all the kings of Israel were messiahs (and would have been called christs if the OT had been written in Greek), because they were anointed.
Interestingly, there was one king who was not a king of Israel who received an anointing:
And the Lord said unto him (Elisha), Go, return on thy way to the wilderness
of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.
I see no reason whatsoever why we may not conclude from this that Hazael was also a messiah.
An honest appreciation of this anointing ritual makes it difficult to understand how exactly Jesus was a messiah (or christ). There is no mention of him being anointed that I am aware of.
The biggest problem we face with messianity, however, lies in its complete absence in the Old Testament. The Christians, you see, claim that Jesus was a particular kind of messiah, not just any old kind. They adamantly insist that he was promised by God in the Old Testament, which means that their faith is ultimately based upon the Old Testament.
But when we undertake a thorough examination of those ancient scrolls in an effort to find these promises, we invariably come up empty handed.
Now, to be sure, there are many verses that the Christians claim make reference to the Messiah, but none of them are Messiah-specific. When we take a hard look at the scriptures they cite, it is easy to see that they are assuming considerable liberties with their interpretations. It is not stretching it to argue that the Christians are literally forcing Old Testament passages to fit their preconceived ideas on the subject.
In truth, there is not a single passage in the Old Testament that unequivocally states (or otherwise supports) that which the Christians claim.
Messianity, in other words, is a purely human invention!
There is no record in the Old Testament of God promising a special messiah. The people (of Israel) were always ignoring the law, getting themselves into trouble, and falling into captivity. When they found themselves enslaved, they naturally cried out to God for deliverance.
They (the people mind you) literally contrived the idea of a powerful anointed king saving them from their bondage and returning them to the splendor (the good old days) they enjoyed under king David. This is the reason that Jesus (or anyone who was thought to possibly be the Messiah) was so often referred to as the son of David.
The messianic ideal was purely horizontal, spread from human to human. But the human beings who so fervently believe in it insist that it is vertical, promised from above by God.
The point is simple: if there is no special messiah, then there is also no christ (just a different word, remember, for the same thing), except in the desperate faithless yearning of the people, no promise from God, just speculation on the part of the people (usually wandering around in a state of abject misery).
There is no reason for God to send a man to do His job. The kingdom of God was so named because God was its king. There came a time in Israel's history when the people grew a bit weary of this, of having a non-human king. They approached Samuel (the priest/prophet ) on this matter and begged him to anoint a human king for them "like the nations."
Samuel was not at all happy with this development and sought the council of Yahweh on the matter, who graciously relented and advised Samuel to concede to the will of the people.
God did not come to Samuel with the instruction to anoint a human being to be the king. No, it was the people who came to him. The idea of a human king issued from the unhappiness of the people.
The same is true of Messianity. It is not God's idea. It sprang up in the restlessness of the crowd - of people!
But to hear the people talk you would think the idea was God's own brainchild.
Another totally absurd idea associated with the christ word is antichrist. This term has the power to strike irrational fear into the hearts of Christians (and gun-toting rednecks) everywhere.
To understand what the word antichrist really suggests, recall for a moment what happened in the early years of this country. There was some debate about whether the new government should be a monarchy or a democracy, or even a form of aristocracy.
If you favored a monarchy, you might be referred to as pro king; if you were opposed to it, anti king. In the same way, if you are opposed to the idea of a christ (which, like the presidency is nothing more than an office) then you are anti christ, i.e., you do not believe in the office.
In this sense, I am an antichrist. I do not believe in the office. And I don't believe in it because I can find no record of God ever saying anything about it.
If I were set on embracing a religion of some kind I would at least like to believe that it might be sponsored by God, as opposed to being a mere contrivance of a group of fearful people.
But Christianity is a purely human religion. As far as I can tell, God has nothing to do with it.
November 7, 2004