Editor’s note: Johnnie Moore is the author of Dirty God (#DirtyGod). He is a professor of religion and vice president at Liberty University. Keep track of him @johnnieM .
By Johnnie Moore, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Jesus was a lot more like you than you think, and a lot less clean cut than this iconic image of him that floats around culture.
You know the image. It’s the one where Jesus is walking like he’s floating in robes of pristine white followed by birds singing some holy little ditty. He’s polished, manicured, and clearly – God.
But despite the Christian belief that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, Jesus was a rather dirty God.
He was the “earthly” son of a carpenter, and life in the first-century was both more lurid and unfinished than our collective religious memory seems to recall.
To that end, I suggested recently to several astounded colleagues of mine that Jesus actually had to go to the bathroom, perhaps even on the side of the road between Capernaum and Jerusalem.
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What tipped them over the edge was when I insinuated that Jesus, like almost every other human being living in the rural world in that time, might have even had dysentery on an occasion or two.
Someone said, “You mean that Jesus might have had severe diarrhea?”
“Yep,” I replied, “That’s exactly what I mean.”
It seems like an obvious statement if you believe that Jesus was “fully God” and “fully man” (as most evangelicals believe and call the Incarnation), but to some of us it seems in the least, inappropriate, and at the most, sacrilege, to imagine Jesus in this way. We might believe that God was also man, but we picture him with an ever-present halo over his head.
But, actually, the Jesus of the Bible was more human than most people are conditioned to think.
I call this the dirty side of Jesus. He was grittier, and a lot more like us than maybe we believe, and that’s one of the reasons why so many thousands of people followed him so quickly.
They could relate to him.
He was the teacher from a small town who knew and understood the economic insecurity that was common in the first century. Times must have been rather tough for Jesus at points in his life, for he even spoke of being homeless, having to sleep on the ground with no roof over his head.
He also knew what it was like to have his message rejected and how it felt to be misunderstood. Jesus was regarded with such little significance in his hometown that one of his critics once remarked sardonically, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” Jesus eventually had to move to different city (Capernaum) because his teachings so infuriated the people living in his hometown that they drove him out of Nazareth and even tried to throw him off a cliff.
'Jesus Wife' fragment gets more testing, delays article
The real Jesus had dirt underneath his fingernails and calluses on his hands. He probably smelled badly from sweating profusely in the Judean sun on his long hikes to Jerusalem, and Jesus was, without a doubt, rumored to be a hypocrite or absolutely mad for all the time he spent with prostitutes and those afflicted with leprosy.
Not exactly have a clean-cut image.
He had a rather shady reputation.
Some people thought he was a revolutionary. The religious leaders called him a heretic, and others even accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton - in no small part because of the vagabond group of disciples he had with him. No serious religious leader of his day would have ever recruited such people.
For his core 12 disciples, Jesus included a tough-as-nails, bombastic fisherman (Peter), a chief tax collector named Matthew (the most hated popular figure of the time), an eventual traitor who was stealing money out of the offering bucket (Judas), a prolific doubter (Thomas), two jocks nicknamed the “Sons of Thunder” (James and John) and Simon the Zealot, a member of a radical political party which believed in using violence to kick out the Romans.
Jesus was sarcastic, too.
He often snapped back at the Pharisees with a tone fit for late-night television, and in a terribly embarrassing moment for all those around him, Jesus even called these respected religious teachers “snakes” that were probably sons of “Satan.”
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That’s not exactly the behavior of a sweet, self-help teacher with a halo over his head.
It’s the behavior of a frustrated man who might also be divine, but sure knows how it feels for annoying people to get under his skin.
Christians believe that Jesus chose to be born fully human, too, but why?
Lots of theologians have laid out opinions over the centuries, and in their opining they have tried once again to hijack Jesus’ humanity by defining it in philosophical terms. I believe it’s simpler than the philosophy and church councils and centuries of argument.
The brilliance of Christianity is the image of a God, named Jesus, arrived with dirty hands.
Jesus came in a time period when Greco-Roman gods were housed in gigantic temples and portrayed with superhuman powers and with superhuman physiques. Gods were believed to be far away from people on their mountains or hemmed up in their sanctuaries.
Jesus arrived in defiance of this prevailing imagery.
Jesus didn’t come flinging lightning bolts from a mountaintop, or playing politics in Rome. He came to live in a typical Middle Eastern village called Nazareth that was home to a couple hundred typical people. He didn’t decide to brandish his power, but to spend most of his time with the powerless and disenfranchised. And when he started a religious movement that reshaped history, he did it in the most profound and anticlimatic way:
He let himself be killed, and then he busted open a tomb.
In Jesus we meet a Savior who understood the desire to sleep just a few more hours, and who had to control his temper sometimes. In Jesus we find a God we can relate to because he chose to relate to us.
He was the God who became dirty so that the world’s souls might be made clean.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Johnnie Moore.
Frankly anything regarding religion I see on CNN is suspect. Socialists like CNN are at odds with religion because it threatens the government monopolies of hearts and minds. There can only be one Lord, and to the socialist its the government and its supreme leader.
Wow. I hope you don't own guns.
So, they do not fall to their knees and kiss the a$$ or your "lord", they are socialists?
And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”
Uh, to be not as harsh as it really sounds, you totally lost the argument when you slighted the Pharisees. Get to know them more. I think he may be in fact the political leader/figurehead of the Pharisees. Try newworldencyclopedia.org, its a wiki for academes. ;)
Kudos to Mr R.E. De Leon for that, totally made me rethink about it, that it took me till this year to check out. Boy was I a hypocrite!
Wow look who got mad real fast. At least atheists are always there to prove any Christians point.
Actually, you were abusive.
@ derp says the guy who has absolutely no evidence of evolution (fossils of apes that "became" human are simply an extinct species), a never ending "life of humanity", that there isn't an afterlife (I don't believe you've died and gone to nothing and came back to proclaim, "Hey guys, I died and guess what, there's no afterlife! Wow this changes everything!") People like you just get on to religious threads and whine about things you don't understand. If atheists are so against religion, then why do they get into religious threads? The answer, their souls are seeking the Lord!
What a rambling pile of condescending shit you just posted.
Your life on this earth is a stepping stone up to heaven or down to hell. It's up to you.
You said, "Your life on this earth is a stepping stone up to heaven or down to hell. It's up to you."
That sounds an awful lot like Pascal's Wager.
In effect, Pascal's wager states that while we can't know with absolute certainty whether the christian god exists, a rational evaluation should lead to a belief. If having to choose between believing (in the christian god), or not believing, the reward for being correct, and the price for being wrong, tips the balance in favor of believing.
It says, if you believe and are correct, you will gain heaven, while the price for being wrong is nothing. On the other hand, if you don't believe, it says you will gain nothing for being right, yet lose everything if you are wrong. So, belief results in a win/neutral, and non-belief in a neutral/lose position, tipping the balance clearly in favor of the "belief" position.
Why Pascal's Wager is a fallacy:
a) Pascal's Wager assumes that there are only two options.
b) Pascal's Wager assumes the christian god doesn't care whether someone actually believes, or simply goes through the motions.
c) Pascal's Wager discounts the price paid for belief before death.
d) Pascal's Wager vastly overestimates the odds for the reward and the risk of punishment.
Positing only two options is ridiculous. There are, of course, thousands of possibilities when it comes to gods. Based on the evidence available for these gods, it is not reasonable to assume one is more likely than any of the others. To increase the odds of a positive outcome of this wager, the believer would have to believe in, and worship, every possible god. Including the ones that haven't been invented yet. Aside from the drain on the available time, it presents the problem that quite a few of these gods are pretty selfish. They frown upon believers believing in other gods. In some religions that is enough to not be eligible for the reward (making the belief position a lose/neutral one).
Also, just going through the motions and pretending to believe may fool your community, but it can't fool an all-knowing god. It is very unlikely that anyone would gain the ultimate reward for simply faking belief (making the belief position a lose/neutral one).
The price paid for the belief position isn't nothing. It involves going through the rituals, day after day, week after week. It may have severe side effects on physical and mental health. Sex life suffers, too.
In estimating whether the cost of any given action is worth it, an evaluation of risk versus reward is in order.
Risk is (simplistically) the chance that a negative event occurs, multiplied by the cost of that event. As an example, being hit by a meteorite carries a very high cost (probably death), but since the odds are extremely low, the risk associated with it is low. Similarly, the chance of getting rained on is pretty high, but the cost is very low, representing also a low risk. On the other hand the cost and chances of, and therefore the risk associated with, a traffic accident are high.
The choice whether to mitigate a risk depends on, among other things, the severity of the risk, the cost of the mitigation and the tolerance of that risk. In the above examples, the cost to mitigate each risk are; exorbitant, low and high, respectively. Methods to reduce or eliminate the risk of meteorite impacts are cost prohibitive and far exceed the risk. An umbrella and a check of the weather forecast effectively mitigate the risk of getting rained on, and is easily worth the cost. Car crashes, and their after-effects are mitigated to various degrees by expensive technology (from street surface technology to driver training, airbags and traction control). People bear those costs to their financial ability and tolerance for the risk.
A similar reasoning applies to reward. The choice whether to pursue a reward is guided by the perception value of the reward, the perception of the odds of gaining the reward and the cost to pursue it.
In the belief versus non-belief question, believers tend to irrationally overestimate both the reward for belief, and the risk associated with non-belief.
Oooohhh....empty proxy threats.....how scary.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
I'm afraid her cover's been made.
Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?
Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):
Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.
James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):
During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.
John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):
I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.
Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):
If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.
Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
For instance, just last week we learn of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting. You have WELS which is perhaps just as extreme fundamental, and then you have ELCA which already performs gay marriage where legal. And that's just some of the Lutherans. Several other major denominations in the U.S. exhibit these same polar extremes. There may be a core belief in Christ, but none of them interpret their wonderful little book the same way. Conflicted right from the very beginning, as evident of the religions splintering from the beginning and its splintering ever since.
Doctrines are not necessarily interpretations of Scripture. Don't you know this? Oh I forgot, you are an Atheist!
fred, aren't you a pastor?
Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heb 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Heb 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Please learn to walk in the many footsteps of Bilbo. In His name I pray...
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty wet hole, filled with the ends of earth worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole, with nothing to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort."
From the book of Bilbo, 1:1
"Gozer the Traveller will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldronaii the Traveller came as a very large and moving Torb. Then of course in the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex supplicants they chose a new form for him, that of a Sloar. Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you." (Goz 3:25-78,676,936,563,456)
No Christian has ever proven the non-existence of Gozer, so he must be true. Time, life, matter and energy must have an origin, and science cannot explain it, so Gozer did it.
wow, blob.....very convincing.
iit's sounds like you are an anti-christ
Johnny Moore is a damn idiot.......i did'nt know that photography was invented that long ago.......
stop talking rubbish, read the bible and understand what you are talking about. Where did he get that picf of the dirty hand??? What proof has he got that Jesus was a dirty God, crikey, that's the limit now, idiot!!!
God is real. Jesus is real. The Holy Spirit is real. Angles are real. Heaven is real.
Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.
Next round of baseless assertions?
And all the Angles spake unto us, the Lords children, of Geometry and Mathematics and then didst they furnish us with protractors and squares and other such wonders with which we might understand them better. And then they didst flee, for M.C. Escher came forth from the dark underbelly of the world and totally futzedwith them.
Angles are indeed real. One out of five ain't bad.
TD......you know, making assertions does not prove anything.
The guy who wrote this needs to get a life.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison
2 Corinthians 4:17
Dream on, kid.
There is not one single shred of verified evidence that anything of the sort actually happens.
This is my experience... Thank you.
MY personal testimony.
A thought to consider without an ego response
I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
The world denounces truth....
Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.
Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.
The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.
Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.
We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .
Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
See the truth...
do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..
Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .
Trancsend the temporal world.
Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .
Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.
Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.
Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....
Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.
You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.
Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.
I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .
Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?
Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.
once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it
You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved
Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.
The fact you post the same type of crap over and over again is proof you have an ego problem!
IT'S ALMOST TIME TO REUNITE WITH HIM, I CAN FELL IT DEEP DOWN IN MY SOUL, HE'S COMING BACK ANY MONTH , WEEKS, DAYS, EVEN HOURS , GET READY, GO AND TELL YOUR LOVE ONES ABOUT JESUS, SO THEY DON'T STAY FOR ALL THE BAD THINGS COMING TO THIS EARTH, BEFORE THE SECOND COMING OF THE KING OF KINGS!!!!!!
Could you please ask jeebus to show how to work the caps lock key?
Meet him halfway. Do you have a sidearm, or tall buildings where you live?
Thanks Ricky. I think we all forget over the thousands of years that he's still coming back. And sine we aren't reminded of this delusion every single minute of the day, it is nice of you to come shout your insanity at us. You want some credibility, get this Jesus dude to actually come back.
Very well put, are GOD the King of kings became dirty so we may be made clean, if that's not the best love story ever, I do not know what is! Glory to GOD for his mercy and loving kindness towards mankind. Thank you Jesus for dying for me and all of us for that matter! Can't stop praising GLORY, GLORY GLORY TO THE MOST HIGH!!!!!!!
Religion is a manmade club like any other, with rules by which to segregate and perks to make the club feel special from other clubs. The club gets together periodically to reinforce the delusions of members. Many branches of this club have dues which most call a tithe. Each club redefines words so its intolerance seems righteous.
You've chosen, or were likely born into a family who joined, the club that aligns best with your own fantasy concerning how to minimize your fears in life. You and others in the club are afraid so you've made up a god that soothes you by making decisions for you, helping you feel less alone in the universe, and promising you life everlasting. The various club gods offer perks to induce membership such as seeing dead relatives, virginal sex partners, planets to rule or even one's own god status.
The Jesus you believe in never existed, was and is king of nothing. The bible is a collection of stolen, modified, pre-fabricated myth and forgeries about a non-existent deity. You don't have to be afraid. You do not need religion.
Deal with the lack of afterlife by celebrating life and family in the here and now. Be responsible for your own decisions. Be kind to the earth and others on it. Forge a path with determination, or "go with the flow" and let life determine the course if you're the lazy type. Either way, you don't need a god or a club for any of that.
Your right, life on this earth can be thought of as a stepping stone to something greater. I have a responsibility to let you know that you are stumbling on the stones. Don't stumble over Christ. Don't stumble.
spelling error, you are right, not your right
Life on this earth is only the beginning of the story.
Says the guy with absolutely no evidence whatsoever of an afterlife.
And I have a responsibility to let you know that you are full of dung
The best way to avoid stumbling over Christ, who will actively try to trip you up, is just to hop right on over him as if he doesn't exist.
Atheism is the new KKK they skulk around here spewing hate in ignorance and insult everyone and everything without regard to people and hide behind the anonymity of the internet, sounds just like the KKK
Same could be said for religion. Santa is satan to a dyslexic
I don't believe in god.
How hateful and intolerant of me.
Whining christian blowhards.
"Atheism is the new KKK"
And christians are the old KKK.
The KKK was primarily christian protestants. Moron. They weren't atheists.
This book "Understanding prayer, Faith and God's will", is dedicated to all who believe (in Jesus), and to those who haven't .
About the book:
Do unanswered prayers cast inner doubts on your faith? Do you seek God’s will for your plans but are not able to discern His guidance? Do you face perpetual problems of job insecurity, financial burden and health issues?
“Understanding Prayer, Faith and God's Will” present biblical truths not realized before – truths that we can see and apply in our human journey. It clarifies wrong notions we have about prayer and God's will, and strengthen faith with knowledge.
There are 12 chapters in this book:
1. Inner Doubts
2. What does the Bible mean?
3. Prayer: What did Jesus Intend to tell us?
4. "Why doesn't God answer more prayers?"
5. To Pray Again
6. Does Sin impede prayer?
7. Faith in God
8. How does God call people? (if He has a designated plan for them)
9. Understanding God's Will
10 Being in God's will
11 Journey of the Bible
12 Reading the Scripture Fruitfully
you-tube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPxQfh_I0dk
http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781620241431. Released Feb 2013, available at Barnes & Nobles, Amazon
"Do you face perpetual problems of job insecurity, financial burden and health issues?"
Completely healthy, financially independent, great marriage and family.
Looks like god favors atheists.
You don't need another fictional book to learn about prayer. A sentence or 2 will do. Prayer works as well as wishing on a 4-leaf clover.
The best way to know about God is to see what He said about Himself. In the Bible, Jesus refers to God as his Father, and God refers to Jesus as His Son. During the transfiguration, God said, "THIS IS MY SON, LISTEN TO HIM!!!!!
the best way to know god is to ask in prayer. throw away the bible. it was writte, edited and translated by man
Prayer does not accomplish anything at all.
Don't you think this pope prayed for better health so that he would not have to resign?
God screwed him.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.