‘If Hell Were Not Already Created, It Should Be Invented Just For You’

John Dominic Crossan. Photo: Donald Vish (CC)

John Dominic Crossan. Photo: Donald Vish (CC)

That’s quite an endorsement! John Blake reports on the “blasphemous” John Dominic Crossan, for CNN:

One of his first fan letters came from someone who declared: “If Hell were not already created, it should be invented just for you.”

Other critics have called him “demonic,” “blasphemous” and a “schmuck.”

When John Dominic Crossan was a teenager in Ireland, he dreamed of becoming a missionary priest. But the message he’s spreading about Jesus today isn’t the kind that would endear him to many church leaders.

Crossan says Jesus was an exploited “peasant with an attitude” who didn’t perform many miracles, physically rise from the dead or die as punishment for humanity’s sins.

Jesus was extraordinary because of how he lived, not died, says Crossan, one of the world’s top scholars on the “historical Jesus,” a field in which academics use historical evidence to reconstruct Jesus in his first-century setting.

“I cannot imagine a more miraculous life than nonviolent resistance to violence,” Crossan says. “I cannot imagine a bigger miracle than a man standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square.”

In another time, Crossan’s views would have been confined to scholarly journals. But he and his best-selling books, including the recent “Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography,” have changed how biblical scholars operate.

Crossan believes the public should be exposed to even the most divisive debates that scholars have had about Jesus and the Bible. He co-founded the Jesus Seminar, a controversial group of scholars who hold public forums that cast doubt on the authenticity of many sayings and deeds attributed to Jesus…

[continues at CNN]

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  • Anonymous

    Yeah, the thing people don’t like about Crossan is that his refusal to rubberstamp some authoritarian vision of a white-bearded thrower of thunderbolts forces people to be answerable for their own moral conduct. And that is a thing that is at fundamental variance with what most people see as the traditional benefit of religion: freedom from personal responsibility.

    He’s a deep thinker. I haven’t read all of his stuff or understood completely all that I’ve read. But he was my first exposure to real methodological rigor, and it was his stuff that showed me that it’s only possible to have a true appreciation of the spiritual doctrines of Christ if you make an objective effort to separate the various strata of the literature.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Yeah, the thing people don’t like about Crossan is that his refusal to rubberstamp some authoritarian vision of a white-bearded thrower of thunderbolts forces people to be answerable for their own moral conduct. And that is a thing that is at fundamental variance with what most people see as the traditional benefit of religion: freedom from personal responsibility.

    He’s a deep thinker. I haven’t read all of his stuff or understood completely all that I’ve read. But he was my first exposure to real methodological rigor, and it was his stuff that showed me that it’s only possible to have a true appreciation of the spiritual doctrines of Christ if you make an objective effort to separate the various strata of the literature.

  • Alturn

    Crossan’s is a far healthier perspective than believing that Jesus was ‘the one and only Christ’ and that unless you take him as your one and only saviour you are going to rot in hell.

    It would be better to get on with the new and allow the teacher of Jesus – the World Teacher Maitreya – to introduce himself on the tube. After that it is said he will introduce the historical Jesus, who it is indicated has been in the same Syrian body for over 672 years, to the public. Then the public-at-large will begin to see the distinction between an ordinary human and what humans evolve into over time – Masters of Wisdom.

    “Maitreya says: “First you are the disciple. When you realize, as Jesus did, that ‘The Father and I are One’, you become the Master. The Master is within you. The Almighty is within you.””
    “The experiences the Lord gave Jesus are being given to certain disciples today. But in the case of Jesus, his mind initially became possessive of those experiences. The mind tried to use these spiritual powers to achieve certain goals. He began to preach. The priests challenged him: “Can you free yourself, if you are God?” Jesus could do nothing at that moment. When Jesus was on the Cross and asked, “My Lord, My Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me?”, he was given a vision. He understood then that the mind should not run after spiritual forces. He was taught at that moment that the entire creation is the Lord’s.
    The prayer given out now by Maitreya was given to him. “Without the Lord’s will, nothing takes place.” Upon experiencing the vision, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
    Jesus was concerned about disparities between rich and poor. “In the eyes of the Lord, no one is rich or poor.” One should try to realize the Self. Thus one will use what one needs and pass on the excess. Jesus should have taught at that time: “Be not attached to riches or poverty”; “When you try to preach, you create nothing but limitation.” The true teaching is, “I am with you if you are honest, sincere, detached.”
    If you preach out of a personal desire, to cling to power, to maintain your position, you create “positive fear” because no one has experienced the Almighty.
    The moment you experience the Almighty, you are no longer what you were. You merge into Light straight away. This is why the Lord gives a vision in the form the mind can understand and the spirit can absorb.
    But Jesus was attached to that which he wanted to achieve (parity between rich and poor; justice). As his teaching was relative (because it was submerged in opposites), the Lord gave him a vision of Light. Then Jesus knew that the relative and the absolute are the two sides of Light. Jesus realized, in mind, spirit and body, that it is the same Light. Then silence prevailed. He was satisfied.
    “Even if you have reached a very high state of evolution, you cannot say ‘I am the Lord.’ You can simply say, ‘I am the messenger of the Lord.’ ”
    - World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported by Share International

  • DeepCough

    Crossan is not the first to demystify Jesus: Thomas Jefferson wrote a whole Bible stripping it of the miracles and leaving in only the ethics of Jesus Christ.

  • Alturn

    Crossan’s is a far healthier perspective than believing that Jesus was ‘the one and only Christ’ and that unless you take him as your one and only saviour you are going to rot in hell.

    It would be better to get on with the new and allow the teacher of Jesus – the World Teacher Maitreya – to introduce himself on the tube. After that it is said he will introduce the historical Jesus, who it is indicated has been in the same Syrian body for over 672 years, to the public. Then the public-at-large will begin to see the distinction between an ordinary human and what humans evolve into over time – Masters of Wisdom.

    “Maitreya says: “First you are the disciple. When you realize, as Jesus did, that ‘The Father and I are One’, you become the Master. The Master is within you. The Almighty is within you.””
    “The experiences the Lord gave Jesus are being given to certain disciples today. But in the case of Jesus, his mind initially became possessive of those experiences. The mind tried to use these spiritual powers to achieve certain goals. He began to preach. The priests challenged him: “Can you free yourself, if you are God?” Jesus could do nothing at that moment. When Jesus was on the Cross and asked, “My Lord, My Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me?”, he was given a vision. He understood then that the mind should not run after spiritual forces. He was taught at that moment that the entire creation is the Lord’s.
    The prayer given out now by Maitreya was given to him. “Without the Lord’s will, nothing takes place.” Upon experiencing the vision, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
    Jesus was concerned about disparities between rich and poor. “In the eyes of the Lord, no one is rich or poor.” One should try to realize the Self. Thus one will use what one needs and pass on the excess. Jesus should have taught at that time: “Be not attached to riches or poverty”; “When you try to preach, you create nothing but limitation.” The true teaching is, “I am with you if you are honest, sincere, detached.”
    If you preach out of a personal desire, to cling to power, to maintain your position, you create “positive fear” because no one has experienced the Almighty.
    The moment you experience the Almighty, you are no longer what you were. You merge into Light straight away. This is why the Lord gives a vision in the form the mind can understand and the spirit can absorb.
    But Jesus was attached to that which he wanted to achieve (parity between rich and poor; justice). As his teaching was relative (because it was submerged in opposites), the Lord gave him a vision of Light. Then Jesus knew that the relative and the absolute are the two sides of Light. Jesus realized, in mind, spirit and body, that it is the same Light. Then silence prevailed. He was satisfied.
    “Even if you have reached a very high state of evolution, you cannot say ‘I am the Lord.’ You can simply say, ‘I am the messenger of the Lord.’ ”
    - World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported by Share International

    • Baph777

      “It would be better to get on with the new and allow the teacher of Jesus – the World Teacher Maitreya”

      Had me up until that sentence.

  • DeepCough

    Crossan is not the first to demystify Jesus: Thomas Jefferson wrote a whole Bible stripping it of the miracles and leaving in only the ethics of Jesus Christ.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NGOWOKTAA5PI3WHOAZCY6XELGA DanielF

      Jefferson did not continue to call his resulting book a bible, but an ethics manual.

  • Anonymous

    I think I might check out one of his books at the library now

  • MoralDrift

    I think I might check out one of his books at the library now

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    A great article. I’ve enjoyed mythology, history and religions of the world for decades now…and here’s a guy who gets it. Inspiration doesn’t have to be dressed up in fraud to make it worthwhile. The amazing part is that most people seem to ignore the genuinely inspirational…and cling desperately only to the elements of fraud….but at least people like Crossan are fighting the good fight and devoting neutral scholarship to the subject.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    A great article. I’ve enjoyed mythology, history and religions of the world for decades now…and here’s a guy who gets it. Inspiration doesn’t have to be dressed up in fraud to make it worthwhile. The amazing part is that most people seem to ignore the genuinely inspirational…and cling desperately only to the elements of fraud….but at least people like Crossan are fighting the good fight and devoting neutral scholarship to the subject.

  • micasaestucasa

    heh heh right one man

  • micasaestucasa

    heh heh right one man

  • amuenp

    He is clearly divided against Jesus, first giving him credit and then trying to take it away.. , he is divided against himself.

  • amuenp

    He is clearly divided against Jesus, first giving him credit and then trying to take it away.. , he is divided against himself.

    • Baph777

      Well, since it sounds like you belief in a Fundamentalist version of Jesus which is a totally fabricated interpretation that basically only exists to keep The Haves in charge and The Have-Nots pacified, then you’re totally divided against reality.

  • Baph777

    Well, since it sounds like you belief in a Fundamentalist version of Jesus which is a totally fabricated interpretation that basically only exists to keep The Haves in charge and The Have-Nots pacified, then you’re totally divided against reality.

  • Baph777

    “It would be better to get on with the new and allow the teacher of Jesus – the World Teacher Maitreya”

    Had me up until that sentence.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NGOWOKTAA5PI3WHOAZCY6XELGA DanielF

    Jefferson did not continue to call his resulting book a bible, but an ethics manual.