The following is a small portion of the late Ruth Hurmence Green’s “The God From Galilee,” one of 41 articles in the Disinformation anthology, Everything You Know About God Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion, edited by Russ Kick. Other contributors include Richard Dawkins, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Rushkoff, and H.G. Wells.
In this 25-page article, this archetypal gray-haired granny simply reads the New Testament — particularly the Gospels — and reports what she finds about Jesus: his insults and angry words, his deceptions, his impatience, his contradictions, his hellfire and damnation preaching, his braggadocio, his purposely confusing parables, his refusal to heal a little Gentile girl, his failure to condemn slavery, his horrible treatment of his own family, etc., etc. The results will be shocking to most Christians, and even non-Christians will be stunned to learn that everything they knew about Jesus is wrong. Here are some tasty bits from this epic article:
Jesus bases his ministry upon the assumption that the end of the world is imminent and that he will return shortly and establish the kingdom he preaches. In the Gospel of Matthew alone, Jesus refers to this concept at least six times. “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). These words of warning are an exact repetition of those of John the Baptist, whom many mistake for the Messiah (Matthew 3:2).
Sending his Disciples out onto the circuit, Jesus reminds them: “For verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come” (Matthew 10:23). Again Jesus asserts: “There shall be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:28). He makes it clear, after describing his early triumphant return: “This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34).
In Galilee Jesus repeats: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). “The hour is come, and now is, when the dead shall hear the Voice of the Son of God” (John 5:25). Finally: “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” (John 21:22). Here Jesus speaks of the Disciple John to Peter. Paul and the other evangelist Apostles take up Jesus’ clarion prediction, still echoed today.
As a natural accompaniment to the wording of impending doom, verbal pictures of the End are majestically painted by Jesus on several occasions. His second coming will bring about the redemption of the Jews from the Gentiles, and the establishment of the Jewish kingdom of God.
Despite belief to the contrary prevalent today, Jesus was not a booster for family life. In the scriptures he treats his mother and siblings with something less than affection and respect. He does not marry or father children. After laying down rules about adultery and divorce, he proceeds to predict some rather astonishing effects that belief in him will have upon the family as an institution: “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:35, 36). From the time he is twelve years old and doesn’t bother to tell his mother that he is remaining in the temple, he seems to have no close ties to his family and discourages his converts from having any with theirs.
He demands that they drop everything immediately to become his followers: “And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead… And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but first let me go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:59-62). Two of his disciples actually leave their father mending the fishing nets (Matthew 4:21, 22).
It is a real puzzle where Christians today get their exalted view of the Christian family. And few Bible readers will understand the worshipful position accorded to Mary, for Jesus was rude to his mother at the marriage feast: “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” (John 2:1–4). And he was even more uncivil when she and his brothers waited at the edge of a crowd to speak to him, posing a question to his Disciples: “Who is my mother? And who are my brethren?” and indicating that the Disciples were now his family (Matthew 12:46–49). Then he added that all who do the will of God, “the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Before he departed this vale of tears, as God’s habitat for humanity this side of the grave has been described, the Savior of the entire world might have been expected to leave very lucid instructions as to how salvation might be achieved. And from his lips on various occasions do fall words that supposedly pinpoint “the way.” Such words should leave not the smallest doubt, for they deal with everlasting happiness or inevitable everlasting torment. Let these words be examined!
When a lawyer questions Jesus about the requirements for eternal life (in heaven, one assumes), Jesus asks the lawyer what “the law” says, no doubt referring to the Mosaic law. The lawyer answers: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus replies: “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live” (Luke 10:25–28).
No mention of belief in himself as the Son of God or the Redeemer of the world from sin! In other words, one does not have to be a Christian to be saved. Love for God and fellow beings suffices.
Consider, then, Jesus’ words at another time: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). To Nicodemus, Jesus also expounded: “He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:17, 18).
No mention of love of God and neighbor! Unquestioning belief is all that is necessary for salvation. There are no other stipulations.
Jesus’ above statements are categorical, but in at least one sense the two requirements are at odds, for Deism and Christianity are not one and the same in every case, not by far. For, although Christianity may imply love of God and one’s neighbor, such love does not necessarily imply Christianity. Thus, Jesus himself is presented in the scriptures as denying the need of anyone for a Savior.
But that is not yet the end of the puzzle. Jesus continues to put up conflicting guideposts: “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28, 29). No mention of belief in Jesus Christ or of love of God and neighbor! Now only good deeds assure one of “life.” No need here, or in above rules, to be reborn!
Read the entire article in the Disinformation anthology Everything You Know About God Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion, edited by Russ Kick, available on Amazon and in all good bookstores.
About the Article’s Author: Ruth Hurmence Green (1915–1981). The Iowa native received a journalism degree from Texas Tech in 1935, married, had three children, and settled in Missouri. Ruth, a “halfhearted Methodist,” first plodded through the bible when convalescing from cancer in her early sixties, calling the shock she suffered from reading the book worse than the trauma caused by her illness. “There wasn’t a page of the bible that didn’t offend me in some way. There is no other book between whose covers life is so cheap,” Ruth discovered, prompting her to write the enduring modern freethought classic, The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible (1979). When terminal cancer developed in 1981, Ruth, who always insisted, “There are atheists in foxholes,” took her own life, swallowing painkillers. In her last letter to Anne Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation on July 4, 1981, Ruth wrote: “Freedom depends upon freethinkers.”