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.
So people are crazy if they talk to God...but All the GOP Candidates in the last election said God told them to Run For the Office...Whoa....
This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first:
John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."
Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."
Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"
John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."
Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"
John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."
Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."
Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"
Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."
John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."
Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"
Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."
Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"
John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."
Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"
Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts
out of you."
Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"
John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."
Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"
John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."
Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"
Mary: "Well, He gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."
Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"
John: "Hank has certain 'connections.'"
Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."
John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."
Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."
Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."
Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"
John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."
Me: "Who's Karl?"
Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."
Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"
John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."
From the Desk of Karl
1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
2. Use alcohol in moderation.
3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
4. Eat right.
5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
6. The moon is made of green cheese.
7. Everything Hank says is right.
8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
9. Don't use alcohol.
10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.
Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."
Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."
Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."
John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."
Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"
Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."
Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"
Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."
Me: "How do you figure that?"
Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"
Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."
John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."
Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."
John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."
Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."
Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."
Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the Moon was somehow 'captured' by the Earth has been discounted*. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese."
John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!"
Me: "We do?"
Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."
Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"
John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."
Me: "But...oh, never mind.
So is this how South Park got started.....Write a Screen Play maybe HollyWood will give you a show, or movie...
Thanks for a waste of internet time and space!
Why does this generation seem to want to find the dirt on Jesus (no pun intended)? Why just leave it be...?
religion has stuck its nose into everyone's else's business long enough. The pendulum is swinging back against it now. There is simply no reason to coddle your childish believes any longer.
@End Religion, well good luck. Religion has been around for thousands of years with Christianity being around not as long. Religion has more to do with a set of principles or beliefs for lack of better wording than it has to do with anyone specific person, and it's quite normal for someone to have a set of principles to live by, that is if you just live by animal instincts alone...
Yes, you have wonderful beliefs, like blacks, women and gays are not equals. Beautiful sentiments your loving god has there, fella.
Of course both are imaginary beings, but the true story is Satan is GOOD and God is EVIL. Satan tapped God on the shoulder and asked God please don't flood the earth and kill all those innocent children. God answered and said "Bra ha ha ha! I am allmighty god and can do what I want. It would please me to see those babies drown in agony! Bra ha ha ha!". Satan said "that's wack, dude! You are one cruel, sick, evil monster". So Satan left heaven and promised to help mankind against the evil imaginary God. Then one day all the people grew up and realized God and Satan are both imaginary so they went away hand in hand as boyfriends forever. That is after God asked Satan's forgiveness for all of the mean spiteful things he did. The End.
If you believe in a "God" who has the power to stop the suffering in the world but chooses not to, you are suffering from a very serious mental illness called religion.
Religion should be treated with ridicule, hatred and contempt, and I claim that right.
Right. Especially when they cram it down your throats trying to convert us heathens. It's all around us, on billboards, statues and the back of our money. Stop the virus!
It is impossible for me to agree more with this statement. However, I will go a step further and say that religion is a dehumanizing tool that was fabricated to control people.
How evil a monster this mythical "God" is. Thank god God is imaginary, for the story of God is a story of a cruel mass murderer. If god is all powerful and all knowing and perfectly good, he would not bring people into the world knowing that they would go to hell and be tortured forever- a perfectly good being would never do such a thing.
If god is all powerful and all knowing and perfectly EVIL, then god would create people knowing in advance they were going to burn in hell forever.
Oh yeah, other examples of gods evil ways:
1. Murdering innocent children during the flood
2. Murdering Job's family
3. Telling Abraham is kill his son
4. Killing the innocent first born children in Egypt
5. Requiring a human sacrifice for the salvation of mankind
Clearly god is not love, he is pure evil. Fortunately for us he is purely imaginary.
You forgot murdering and enslaving thousands of innocent women and children in Numbers: 31
Unfortunately, the "god" you envision is the kind of government you probably envision too. I don't know if you are a parent, but I am. If I give my children everything they desire, if I am totally in agreement with them, if I chose never to punish them for their misdeeds they will be spoiled, rotten brats. We know this from experience and it has always been a common theme in stories throughout time. God is not evil. God is a just God. Let me give you an example: A young man comes before a judge and is charged with theft. The judge finds him guilty and fines him $500 or a week in jail. The young man does not have the money to pay the fine and thus must serve jail time. As the judge presents the sentence, he takes off his robe, walks down from his bench, goes over to the bailiff and pulls out his checkbook. He writes a check for $500 to the court and hands it to the bailiff. He then turns around, walks back up to his bench, puts on his robe, grabs his gavel, strikes it down and says "paid in full"...'you are free to go". Why? You see the judge was the young man's father, but because he must be just, he finds his son guilty and upholds the law which requires a penalty. He steps down as judge and becomes the boy's father only, pays the fine and once again returns to his bench as judge. God is the same with us. he does not want to make us mindless and "perfect" in which we all are like programmed robots. Yet God is holy and righteous and gives us free will. Like any parent, we can dictate and make our children live a restrictive and completely disciplined life or we can give them guidance and let them chose thier own path and take responsibility for their own actions. God has done the same with us. he loves us like any parent loves thier child. He also has rules to live by and gives each us a choice, nothing forced. Because man chose a sinful life, He made a provision to pay the "penally" for breaking His laws. He chose to take off that "robe", step down and become man and pay the penally himself in the person of Jesus Christ. He could have simply come to Earth, demanded complete obedience and unleashed His wrath. He didn't. Like with the Jewish people, time and again God saved the jews and time and again the Jews turned thier backs from God. No, it is not an evil God, but a very patient and just God that took our penalty Himself so we can have everlasting communion or fellowship with Him. It truly is sad that so so many people do not understand this simple truth. It is a love story, not a scary one. Finally, God knew that most men would reject His sacrifice. The Prophets foretold of a suffering servant who would be disposed and rejected by men. We are a selfish creature overall, yet God is a loving God who still chose to die for our sins.
I don't think some who responded to my earlier post have read it fully but anyway i just want to end this finally stating that faith is a matter of faith. So those without it wont realize the truth because they perceive reality through their five senses only. But their is another part to reality which is achieved only when the inner eye is opened. Don't intend to say anymore cause this can go on for ever. God bless and take care everyone.
People who do not believe in your version of god know the truth.
I'm sorry "Person", but "God" is an element of mythology, therefore "it" cannot "bless". Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".
Jesus was born into a world of sin, thus Jesus was dirty like us a sinner also with all emotions felt. The reason God gave himself through Jesus Christ was to redeem everyone in death from the clutchs of Lucifer. While we still walk on this earth even those who believe will deal with trials and tribulations as those of the unbeliever, the difference is that those who believe in Jesus that he died on the cross and came back from the dead on the third day is a firm belief we all share as Christians, the redemption that is yet to come in death. A true believer in Christ never looks to richs on earth, instead they are supposed to follow in the path of their saviour, humble and giving in love, that is supposed to be the trueness of Christ. If God was so unloving of a world full of sin he would never have given himself as an offering to save the souls of all those who sin and he would never have allowed his creation to flurish after Adam and Eve messed up. It must have been something for an unloving God to sit and sew fig leaves together to cover Adam and Eve after their eyes were opened. All God asks for in this life is to give him thanks for anything good that happens in your life while we are all still here, give of yourself freely, love one another, these are the basics of Christianity. Jesus said you would notice the sliver in my eye, when you yourself do not even notice the plank in your own eye, many are blind and can not see, Christianity is not a blind faith either, to believe in something that you have never seen, is like kneeling before God and saying Father I believe in a Love without reward.
Proof Every Christian Goes to Hell by End Religion
1) The only irredeemable sin against your Lord thy God is denying him, the Holy Spirit
2) To deny is to refuse to admit truth of or to refuse to give that which is requested
3) Any sin is to deny god of his commandments
4) Therefore, even one sin results in a soul that cannot be forgiven. Sin once, and you're going to hell whether you repent or not. Since Christians are "born into sin" they're automagically damned to hell and cannot be forgiven.
End Religion reading your reply, isn't that the reason why Jesus was born into the world to take away sin in death? That is faith in Christ.
william: but, he didn't die. the best you can say is that jesus had a bad weekend for man's sins
@willy: you've never sinned? if so, your track record is better than jesus!
Sam that is correct he did not die, he was reborn washed clean of death of all the sins that proceeded him into death. When he came back from the grave he was transfigured and Mary did not recognise him at first, he was a changed person. I was thinking also for those who are born into this world who are physically blind, do they take it on faith that what they are told what they touch is a real object? What of those who are both blind and can not hear. All the books of the bible, original texts point to something that is more than just this world. There was a good movie a few years back called Contact it was about religion and other life in the universe, sorry to high jack my own posts with a movie.
End Religion everyday I walk on this earth I walk in sin, it never goes away. I will sin until the day of my death like everyone else. Jesus was a sacraficial lamb laid on the alter his flesh and blood was given to everyone who believes. John 3:16... For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son for whoever believes shall not parish, but have eternal life. Our lives here is a stepping stone into something better that we can not physically see while we are here.
@willy: great then you can follow the logic and see that no matter what you do you are going fast and furiously straight to hell when you die?
This just in:
Jesus is a myth.
Also, there is no such thing as Santa Claus.
Are you so sure.....
And Atheist Scientist believe man evolved from low life forms....So what will man evolve into if this evolution continues....Man will eventually give way to the next level of intelligent being on Earth....like our ancestor did to modern man,......are we just a link in the chain of evolution that ends with the creation of a super intelligent being that can create a whole universe...Hmm and right now we believe the Universe is billions of years old...what if we are not alone as intelligent life forms in this universe..and there are many others out there..and some so much more advanced they would have ability that we would call God Like....What then if we were visited by them??
Santa has dirty hands too from climbing down chimneys.
And Santa has smelly Farts too from a bad diet of cookies and milk...
Weak minded humans still playing with this absurd myth. now a discussion about Zeus please.
Does that mean dirt is not real either?
Excellent. But I could find no way to share this from phone or iPad to an individual via straight email. Maybe I overlooked it, but that would be so helpful. Christ could not have truly experienced being a man without all the trials, tribulations and temptations of man. It is good to be reminded of that.
If you find a way to share this story, be sure to pass along the fact that the bible is complete fiction and jesus never existed. Thanks!
How beautifully simplistic. In my opinion, this article portrays Jesus as he was meant to be seen by the world. A common man in the flesh, but Godly in spirit.
how about instead of portraying jesus as you feel "he was meant to be seen," instead portray him factually non-existent?
If Jesus existed, he likely wiped his backside with his hand.
So the above picture would be a very accurate depiction of what you would see if Jesus reached out to shake your hand or heal your infirmities.
Those with strong faith in God, who is love, gets the path revealed to them in time. Those who are sincere and have a deep longing to meet their creator. Those brave souls who tread on that path will merge with the Lord. There is a path to God, but before merging with God one must become a perfect human first. By the guidance of a living Saint like Jesus was in his time, one can accomplish the goal and achieve God-realization. But the key to the whole path to God is the need of a living Saint. This only comes with great fortune and the mercy of the Lord. By people's own deeds some are close to God and some are far. That is why some have aversion towards spirituality while some embrace it with love. When we act selflessly for others even at the cost of our own life, that act is Divine. More we act selflessly and more we remember the Lord the closer we will be to him. Then eventually all questions get answered.
those with a "deep longing to meet their creator" will have done it by now
I'm sorry, "Person", but "God", "the Lord","a living Saint", and "Divine" are all elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".
Relativity and Quantum Mechanics require a sentient being outside the universe to mke the universe real.
Reality meet the Grand Delusion
that may be a theists opinion, but is certainly not fact.
More likely, the thinking being to which you make reference exists inside the universe, or more appropriately, inside existence. The fundamental laws of existence, once they are more fully understood, will perhaps be seen as predictive of the eventual evolution of conscious thinking beings such as ourselves. The concept of the existence of a thinker (creator) outside of the universe is the same as the concept of the existence of a thinker outside of existence and thus fails a test of coherency.
Nevertheless we must recognize that man is a psychological animal who finds himself, perhaps not so rationally, wishing for the existence of a benevolent God who will comfort his loved ones who have departed. She most likely does not exist, but there is room there at the origin, within the set of laws still waiting to be discovered, for a requirement of her existence and her decisive acts in order to bring humanity into existence.
If she does so exist, her character is plainly evident to us in the visible decisions she makes as to the manner in which we are given to live with one another. Observing the decisions of God in a patient and rational manner, we see that her character is not at all like the creator of hell described in the Bible, Quran and Torah. That god demanding worship at the cost of eternal pain has never existed. We can all see this by simply closing those old books and opening our eyes to observe the decisions of God.
For more on this read the Decisions of God article at http://decisionsofgod.com
I wonder if Jesus Christ really believed this claim that he was the son of god...or was that even something that existed so much during his life or after his cruficixion and supposed ressurection? It is obvious to me that his actions were a reaction to things that were common knowledge to people living in the MIddle East at the time, specifically I guess Judaism. For someone so important, there is remarkely little written about him from contemporary sources, at least that is still in existence. I sure he was talked about though.
Jesus did not exist but is a creation of Flavius Josephus. In case you're just joining the game, the bible is complete fiction.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people still accept ancient mythology and primitive superst!tion as fact. It's a sad statement about the level of intellect of most Americans. Why is it that people can't use their brains to actually THINK about this nonsense using logic, reason and objectivity instead of just blindly accepting ignorant nonsense.
Which religion you believe in depends almost entirely on where you were born. If you're born in India, you're a Hindu, if you're born in China, you're a Buddhist, if you're born in an Arab country, you're a Muslim, etc. etc. because you've been indoctrinated since birth to believe it. That doesn't make ANY of it real. It just proves you don't think for yourself.
Hit the nail on the head with this comment, couldn't of said it any better.
Science is always changing, but Christianity doesn't.
yay! Sunday! Nonsense day!
I have to say that I always believed in GOD, especially when I had cancer (stage 1) and was cured. But with the Newtown CT situation, maybe not so much.
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