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.
John the Baptist, Christ's cousin, is an historical fact, due to the riot he started. One hundred and twenty thousand magis were killed in the riot and John was in prison. I guess the Magi did not take the sign of Christ's birth seriously.
And what does that have to do with Jesus' poop on his hands?
Try to keep up.
What moron poops on his hands??...
Too bad their were no corn cobs, like our midwestern ancestors enjoyed.
Well, apparently Jesus did. How else did they get so dirty?
yeah, nobody denies Christ's birth
John P. Tarver
When working in the field far from the outhouse a hand full of grass works well....
Do imaginary beings have imaginary poop?
Actually it was one of the Pope Pious's that invented indoor plumbing as I recall. And that's where we got the word poop from. When someone from the middle 47% would see someone go off to the bathroom, they would mutter under their breath "poop pious".
how zappa, luv it
Big deal, most believers already knew that. Nothing new. How about earning your living doing something useful for a change Mr. Moore?
I spent 10 years in parochial school and not once did anyone mention Jesus poop, not once.
If the Priests had thought of it you would have had to own some Jesus poop; or at least rent a log.
ooh, we be talking dirty now, this prof be so hip doncha know, wow we talking poop and everything, omg he is so cool
Science drives to eliminate ignorance, religion only promotes and exploits it.
Religion maintains ignorance, suppression of women, ideological rigidity, and fosters terrorism and violence. This is not an opinion; it is a historical fact.
Remote Islanders built fake airplanes out of grass and sticks hoping the WWII military would return and bring more spam to eat..
my kids went to church with my neighbor and they broke into a spiritual chant "J-U-S-E-S, J-U-S-E-S...". One chants, the others follow, hahaha, my seven year old girl pointed it out that they were spelling it wrong.
What this matter? Allah is only true God with jesus the false proffit!!!!
Allah rose to heaven on a alien beam of light...so much of religious history sound like a alien visit....
my invisible pink unicorn likes false profit
No Muslim will ever say that Jesus is a false "profit". No question about Jesus' prophethood but his divinity is another question.
"No doubt about Jesus' prophethood"? I call you on your bullshit in that statement. Present any prophecy by Jesus with a specific date for a future event in it, and then prove that the event happened on that exact date. So far, no one has ever been able to do that, and if you can't, your statement is a steaming pile. And since I doubt it, your claim is false out of the gate.
The problem is that we don't know who wrote the Old and New Testament. It was definitely not written by Moses or Jesus. It was written by PEOPLE and the so-called prophecies conbtained in there are not exactly words of Moses or Jesus.
Breaking News: Turns out Jesus was more imaginary than originally thought
Do you guys know that Hasidic Jews don't even see each other before their marriage? WOW, what a liberal nation.
Atheist Rox.. wonder if you will be LOL when you meet your maker!! kinda doubt it..
I have shared a good laugh with my mom and dad, yes.
Anyone who thinks Mary Magdalene was just another of Jesus' disciples has got to be screwed up in the head or in extreme denial . . .
I would not be surprised if jesus' and Mary's genes are going around today in the middle east . . .
Mary Magdalene was the head of Christ's Church and anoints him king of the jews; fullfilling a very important prophesy.
It would be nice if we could test Jesus' DNA to see who the real dad is.
"Joseph, you are NOT the father."
"Next door neighbor... you ARE the father!"
Oh hey guys I forgot to tell you Jesus took dumps outside. Yeah well since toilets were probably holes in the ground at that point, yeah we know.
Jesus is a Prophet – think with logic, not emotion. Find me proof from the bible where Jesus himself declares 'I am God' – you will never find it. People called him God, he never said so himself. Man cannot be God.
Jesus Christ is the Word, meaning Logos, the spell of creation. Jesus was a thought in the mind of God, from which all creation comes.
Luke 18:19 – "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good–except God alone.
He’s saying, “When you call me good, do you really know what you’re saying? If I am good in the ultimate sense, it’s because I am not merely a good person; it’s because I am God in human flesh.” – http://www.keepbelieving.com/blog/2010-2-16-why-do-you-call-me-good/
Exactly, we are ALL creations of God, as was Jesus and all the Prophets before and after him.
jschmo123 – that is an 'interpretation' of the bible. you did not get that from the bible. Jesus himself did not say 'I am God'. there can't be 2 Gods. Only 1 creator, only 1 God. Jesus is a Prophet created by God to send a message to man.
" I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes unto the Father except by Me." John 14: 6
" Jesus answered, The truth is, I existed before Abraham was even born." John 8:58
"Then Jesus said to them, (after He rose from the grave on the 3rd day): You are such foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the (OT) prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn't it clearly predicted by the prophets that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering His time of Glory?" Luke 24:25-27
" Then Jesus asked Peter; Who do you say I AM? Simon Peter answered; You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God! Jesus replied, You are blessed, Simon son of John, because My Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being." Matthew 16:15-17...
Jesus really existed... He chose to be humble as a man an not a GOD.... If he had of exercised his power as a GOD... you must understand it would have changed the course of history and the time we live in now. He's ALPHA and OMEGA!! He seen it all the way to the end!!! We will never understand fully the Divine Structure of the GOD diety. We were created by it and the truth is were just men....
Jesus still did not say "I am GOD". Read the bible and you will find many verses stating 'Your father in Heaven' and 'You are the sons of God' to other humans as well to Jesus. Does that make all of them God? Read the Bible properly and open your eyes.
Matthew 26:63-64 (NIV): The high priest said to [Jesus], "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.
Mark 14:61-62: Again the high priest asked [Jesus], "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
Luke 22:70: They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" [Jesus] replied, "You are right in saying I am."
Why do people persist in denying that Jesus claimed He was the Son of God? Many, many other examples besides the above: the healing of the paralytic (Mark 2:1-12), the response to John the Baptist's followers (Matt. 11:2-6), etc.
Proving a negative is impossible and athiests are an hoot.
That just isn't true. What physical universe do you live in?
Let me guess – you were home-schooled by a flock of chickens.
The sentient being outside the universe that makes the universe real only provides the one.
I thought you said "home-schooled by a flock of christians"
Which would be a worse education: flock of chickens or flock of christians?
At least with chickens you'd learn how to eat bugs and stuff...
"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.”" +++++ Actually, Jesus probably rarely came in contact with Pharisees. They were a very minor, not-in-power sect at the time of Jesus but by around 80 A.D. they competed with Matthew's Christians for converts among the Jews to the North of the Holy Land. That's why Matthew embellished his Gospel with bad Pharisees.
The Real Truth of How Jesus Looked...
In some ways I agree with what the author is trying to say, but as for the other things he said, I won't even deal with it…
First, I at least want to give the author credit for admitting and believe that Jesus existed. That's much better than reading an article where some idiot can only talk about the fact they don't believe he existed…
As for Jesus walking around with scruffy dirt on his hands, I don't know about that. Jesus knew he was the Son of God. And he knew he had to be representative of that. And Jesus also knew the minds of people and how the devil would use the least little thing to distract them from hearing the truth. Imagine if Jesus was teaching a message and some follower or bystander looked and noticed all the dirt on his hands or on his clothes. The bystander would suddenly forget about the message being taught and would become solely focused on why didn't Jesus wash his hands. Jesus knew this and was aware of this, and thus had to be conscious of his appearance at all times for the people's sake. I can confirm this is the case because my pastor was that same way. My pastor told us how he had to be meticulous about doing certain things, like making sure he didn't have bad breath or about his appearance, or the devil would use those things and play with those things in the minds of the people. And you can bet Jesus was that same way. So yes, Jesus may indeed may have looked ordinary and like you and me, but I'm sure he never forgot to wash his hands and face etc…
The final issue I want to address is that the Jesus who walked the shores of Galilee was NOT beautiful or handsome like most images you see depicted of him. The real Jesus didn't look like that and was not a handsome guy in that way. Instead, Jesus looked like a plain and ordinary guy. As proof of this, there is a scripture in the bible which states, "Isaiah 53:2 -…and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.". Meaning, the real Jesus wasn't beautiful in outward appearance. He had no beautiful or handsome features that would make a person desire of him for that. Jesus could have created and fashioned for himself the most beautiful body of all to come in. But he didn't. He didn't because he hated world beauty. He hated world vanity. He hated lust. He hated sin. And he hated what the world thought was beautiful. How many people today are mistreated and discriminated against all because of how they look? Jesus hated that. So the real Jesus fashioned for himself a plain and ordinary body that had no beautiful features in it. In fact, my pastor told us that Jesus did that because he didn't want people following him because of how he looked or for outward appearance sake. Instead, he wanted people following him because of the truth and the Word of God he was teaching and because he was the Son of God, nothing more. So Jesus was not beautiful outwardly. He had a face that had no beautiful features in it. He looked like a plain and ordinary guy. To see beauty in him, you had to look beyond his physical appearance and see the God component. And that is precisely how Jesus wanted it to be. So don't believe the false images you see of him with people depicting Jesus with long flowing hair, a trimmed beard, and with handsome features. The real Jesus didn't look like that. Instead the real Jesus looked far more ordinary and just like you and me. Yet he was the Son of the living God….
This is moronic
I commandeth you to go outside.
I doubt he looked like you unless you're from the middle east. Athiests and Agnostics don't deny that Jesus was a historical figure, they just don't believe the other stuff.
I stopped at paragraph #2. That was enough heresy . . .
I'm sorry, "Perfect Truth", but "God", "the truth", "Son of God", "Word of God" and "Son of the living God" are all elements of mythology, therefore all of 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".
But this contradicts yourself. The typical, normal appearance of a typical normal carpenter. That's what would have made the appeal. A regular guy, a working stiff...the guy you'd want to go to the bar with and order a few drinks and sit around laughing with. But he had a message, and it was incredible. I think the author came to a good, albeit a bit rough, conclusion of Jesus. He was a man. A human. And he was loved not for his appearance, but for his message. This is what I believe, anyway of Jesus. I don't think people would have seen dirt if they themselves were the ones working the fields and fishing and making things of wood and stone. They would have seen a man, like them, who spoke of forgiveness, understanding and love. How amazing that would have been to witness, especially in that era. Satan on the other hand, would have had the noble or wealthy, "Do what I do and I can make you wealthy too..." clean, well dressed and beautiful. That would have stood out among the people more than a man who was as typical to them as each other. I'm not hurt to think of Jesus as a human. On the contrary it shows a love from God to bless us with someone who could walk, talk, sweat and bleed as one of us as a vessel to connect to His people. It would show a compassion, a respect for mankind, and a love for us that went beneath the glow of light and power, the one of the purest of hearts. To me, this article says to me what may be an uncomfortable facet of belief, but one I can accept if perceived in a light of understanding. The light that Jesus tried to teach to us all.
Seriously he gave a good rub and tug.... and he saw that it was GOOD
Atheists seem to spend endless amounts of time, effort and money to disprove something that supposedly doesn't exist! That makes my faith in Christ stronger all the time! Thank you Lord...
Atheism has nothing to do with trying to disprove anything. You have it all wrong.
Atheists do that because they don't have a life and they don't want anyone else to have one either...
Is Satan a lessor god? In ancient Greece Zeus was the head honcho, he came from Cronus, and he was fighting his brother Hades from time to time. Satan lives for ever, can perform magic, knows where we are at all times aka omniscient. Satan seems on par or greater than most Greek gods, yet Christians do not think of themselves as polytheistic? I mean Greeks had plenty of Gods that did not create the world but they still consider them Gods. Would Satan be a god with bad values but Yaweah can will kick his butt on the 3rd rock from the Sun. Of all the spots to fight in the universe this is where the wrastling match will take place.
If you get this one, I get the next one...
This article has NOTHING to do with atheism.
To "rougewave"… Then why do so many atheists spend enormous time trying to prove Christians wrong? Anybody with a brain already knows that God exists. But atheists can't accept that and all they do is try to convince us we're wrong...
I'm sorry "Correctlycenter" and "OpposingView", but "God", "Christ" and "Lord" 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: "EPIC FAIL".
Not even close to what religious people spend to convince everyone of the existence of their deity without an iota of evidence.
Of course Jesus is real. It's a historical fact. Nobody today can disprove him, but we have to have faith, or hope; a belief that he saved us. It is a choice to believe or not and a choice to have a relationship with him. This Gentleman made a choice to write this artle. I doubt they had hand sanitizer back when Jesus was on earth, but that's fine. Jesus is still mine and my wifes savior.
and also my savior, not mine savior
Jesus historical? Yes. Divnie? No.
Jesus said, "Why do you call me good when ONLY GOD IS GOOD". This statement clearly states that he is not God.
" In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and He was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that He didn't make. Life itself was in Him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." John 1: 1-5...
" Grace and peace from the One Who is, Who always was, and Who is still to come; from the seven-fold Spirit before His Throne; and from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful Witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the Commander of all the rulers of the world.
All praise to Him Who loves us and freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us." Revelation 1:4-5...
The following scripture proves you wrong...
1 Timothy 3:16 – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh (Jesus), justified in the Spirit (Jesus), seen of angels (Jesus), preached unto the Gentiles (Jesus), believed on in the world (Jesus), received up into glory (Jesus)...
Good thing you added the "jesus" yourself in brakets. You just proved my point. Jesus has been made into God because of interploation just as you did it. I'd love to see a statement in which Jesus says " I am God. Please worship me". But when it comes to interploations then we can also interpolate many other things also.
I'm sorry, "Proud Muslim", "Correctlycenter" and "OpposingView", but the Abrahamic "God" is an element of mythology, therefore all of 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: "EPIC FAIL".
@ Opposing View, That's Timothy (or whoever authored the book of Timothy) calling Jesus god, but where does JESUS calls himself god? Obviously you didn't read Proud Muslim's statement carefully.
And yet Jesus will come to stand with Mohammad, and Jesus will lead the army to fight Shaitan. That kind of puts him somewhere on your 'do not irritate him,' list doesn't it? ijs
We can argue over this topic over a lifetime and you will not change me and vice versa. My final suggestion is that we wait for our death and then we will see who is right or wrong. Agreed?
I make diarrhea sometimes,does that mean I'm GOD?
Especially after fast-food.So that means McDonald's must be GOD-sent,divine food
I think that what lionlylamb calls the inner cosmos going supernova.
you are a real idiot
Why need to insult?
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