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.
This is like arguing about if Santa is from the North pole or the South... pointless
Or which of the Three Little Pig's house has the largest resale value.
Well, not quite. For centuries everybody is arguing about Jesus, not Santa. Why? You see there is a reason for that and it is strong enough to continue this argument.
The article is one thing which is disgusting, the reponders of the article are another thing, also disgusting. Writing about the Christ and understanding who Jesus is, is not to be taken lightly. To set the record straight Jesus is not God, but the son of the Most High, our creator, the Almightly, the Alfa and Omega, Jah, YHWH, Jehovah get it? Furthermore Christ in numerous scriptures made refernece to his father, yes folks he did indeed have a father and also was God's first creation that also in the written word. Taking the orginal writings out of context and treating Jesus like so called dirt clearly shows the mind set of people today and their understanding of true spirtuality and respect for both the Almighty God and his son Jesus Christ. One final point his ransom sacrifice that he made available to mankind was the ultimate sacrifice, giving up his life while on earth in physical form showed his love for the human race. That sacrifice allows for sincere repentance and also provides the way for the human race to learn more about the wonderful promises that his Father, Almightly God has in store for those who attain the accurate and truthful knowledge of his word. Yes folks Jesus is more than what you think, he delivered an opportunity for everlasting life in the future here on earth, a resurrection of both the righteous and unrighteous in the the future, the earth to be restored back to perfection and balance, the animal kingdom to live in harmony with mankind, perfect health, peace, happiness, security under one government ruled by the Christ and eventually to be taken over by his Father which all those who are obedient and love justice, peace, happiness, people and respect the earth will live forever.
For those opposers who believe this will never exist, read your history as to what happened in Noah's day, Lots day, Jeremiah's day and numerous other bibical accounts which will show those who resisted and disobeyed there creator and subjected themselves to foreign gods and idol worship were destroyed. History will repeat itself but on a much grander scale, a final judgement and a decisive end to all this wickedness here on earth.
history? all those names you suggest are only fables.
So how do you reconcile your logic with the decline of Rome? ....being that Rome embraced Christianity in the 3rd/4th century and spread it by force.....
According to the Noah myth, a 600 year old man, his three sons and their respective wives re-populated the entire human race after a global, catastrophic flood. If you can swallow that one, you also must believe that God created rainbows as a promise to Makind that He would never again commit unicide.
The story of Lot paints a strange picture of who God considers "righteous".
I wouldn't consider a man who would throw his vir/gin daughters to a ravenous mob to be ra/ped "righteous". And lest we forget, shortly thereafter, Lot had a drunken, incestuous or/gy with those daughters.
Most Christian sects are Trinitarian – IE: they believe that Jesus IS God. Perhaps you're not one of those who worships and Trinity and still considers himself a monotheist, but the majority of your Christian brethren are.
The 2nd Coming/armageddon were supposed to have happened 2,000 years ago.
“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
—1 John 2:18
“Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.”
– Matthew 24:34
The biblical definition of a generation can be found in Psalm 90.
"The years of our lives are 70; and if by reason of strength they be 80 years, yet most of them are labor and sorrow; for life is soon cut off and we fly away."
26 Psalms 90:10
This is confirmed in the Gospel of Matthew.
"Therefore all the generations from Abraham down to David are 14 generations; and from David down to the Babylonian captivity are 14 generations; and from the Babylonian captivity down to messiah, are 14 generations."
– Matthew 1:17
Matthew is using the Psalm 90 definitions of Generation in order to tell a specific chronological story.
The much lauded Jewish carpenter has been thoroughly dead for 2000 years and will remain so.
roy, that is a lovely fantasy, but entirely divorced from reality.
Roy, if I may ask, what about the article is disgusting? I don't think the author is minimizing Christ's deity nor his importance. I don't believe that the author intended to imply that Jesus was simply a dirty guy walking around claiming to be God's son. I believe that he is helping an audience who perceives Jesus as this person walking around all white and glowing in the middle of the middle-east. In fact I tend to agree with him. Think about it... remember Christ washed his disciples feet which would have been unheard of in that time. Wouldn't He also have dirty feet that needed to be washed? Jesus came to this earth, bore the same temptations we did and walked the same dirty ground that we walk on just to be among us. I'm not sure what is disgusting about that.
do you seriously want to live forever?
there are undoubtedly people in your life who are not "saved". they may be fine, decent, giving people...
are you comfortable with the idea of themm being tortured forever?
are you comfortable with the being who would sentence them to being tortured forever?
if you answered yes to either of those questions, both you and your god are petty, vindictive pr1cks
so, this is my way of telling you that your bible babble means nothing to those who do not accept the dubioius authority of that iron age comic book.
so, f off, boy
To those who reply, why are you arguing with this person? Some people you should just leave in their ignorance. You will never convince this one just leave it alone.
Hey Roy.. Well said.. its nice to see that there are people that read between the lines of the bible and not just plain text like yourself! Its a messed up world we are living in.. wish we had more people like you spreading the word of God and educating people. But like God said: " Forgive them for the just dont know"
God Bless you!!!
You should seriously be locked up in a padded room.
roy; keep up the good work. others go to jw.org to learn what the bible really teaches. free of charge.
Really? You mean jesus, as a middle eastern Jew, did not have blonde hair and blue eyes?
The site of Nazerath can only be provably dated back to several centuries AFTER Jesus' time. Furthermore, the site could have only supported a small extened family, not an entire village. It was also surrounded by tombs and Jewish people would never have built a village in such proximity to tombs. There are no contemporary non-christian references to Jesus's childhood, early adult life, miracles, preachings, etc.... There are no references to christians or jesus anywhere outside a tiny region in the middle east. Not one other culture mentions him, yet he supposedly performed miracles and preached to massive crowds.
OK, since we are talking about fictional people. The question on everyones mind is Santa dirty or clean? Does Santa poop, and what about reindeer poop?
I don't believe that Santa does.
When in doubt ask, seek and search the Truth. Jesus, peace upon him, is best described and understood in the Quran. God said “Verily, the likeness of 'Îsa (Jesus) before Allah (God) is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!" – and he was. (Chapter #3, Verse #59).
Jesus (PUH) was described and mentioned more than 33 times in the Quran. Also, Miriam (May God be please with her) was described in Quran close to 40 times and there is one Chapter that is called” Miriam”
Here are additional verses;
"And indeed, We gave Musa (Moses) the Book and followed him up with a succession of Messengers. And We gave 'Îsa (jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), clear signs and supported him with Ruh-ul-Qudus (Gabriel) .Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not, you grew arrogant? Some you disbelieved and some you killed.
( Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #87)
(Remember) when the angels said: "O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allah gives you the glad tidings of a Word ["Be!" – and he was! i.e. 'Îsa (jesus) the son of Maryam (Mary)] from Him, his name will be the Messiah 'Îsa (jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), held in honour in this world and in the Hereafter, and will be one of those who are near to Allah."
( Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #45)
And will make him [('Îsa (jesus)] a Messenger to the Children of Israel (saying): "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I design for you out of clay, a figure like that of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's Leave; and I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I bring the dead to life by Allah's Leave. And I inform you of what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely, therein is a sign for you, if you believe.
( , Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #49)
O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah 'Îsa (jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, ("Be!" – and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Ruh ) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: "Three (trinity)!" Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God), glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.
( سورة النساء , An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #171)
He was (and is) the God who became dirty so that the world’s souls might be made clean. AMEN!
As Jesus, you sir do not know my work.
"No evidence supports that claim. It's called the "God of gaps" argument. You cannot insert your god where your understanding ends just because you don't have an answer. To do so is intellectually dishonest. Besides, you must first prove that your god exists before you can attribute actions, abilities or desires to it."
I think I'm going to tattoo this across my chest. "I don't understand, it must be some omnopotent, unearthly being, much greater than I.....Oh, how might HE must be to be so un-understandable, I am in AWE! Everyone!! Come hear about my invented, mighty, powerful spirit, for he will SMITE you if you do not!!!" Makes me sick.
Also include that the bible was written by MAN, not god. I find it amazing that those who decided there needed to be a book to tell us how to live our lives was compiled from individuals they call "prophets". It also amazes me that they CHOSE what to put in the bible per their own desires. I have no problem with people believing in god, just don't tell me that if i don't i'll go to hell. Hmmm, sometimes living on this blue ball in space feels like that already, just look around at how we treat each other sometimes.
Many fictional stories are written around characters that some can relate to. It draws in an audience.
Jesus was as clean (inside and out) as any human could be. Those who follow his example and give proper worship to his father,The only true God, will understand why others want to criticize but are ready to help and teach them.
bwahahahha! how bout that part in Matthew where he acts like a d ! c. k deriding other ppl's religious practices. yeah i love that one. very godly of him.
kso, please stop commenting on what you know nothing about.
This essay is EXCELLENT!! Because if he was nothing else in the 1st Century he would have been dirty. That is what makes him such a wonderful Savior and God, he BECAME dirty to make us clean. Wow & Thank you!
It's just a story, nothing more.
Jesus' blood-alcohol content was off the charts!
1000 to 1 I bet this writer don't have balls to say controversial negative things about Muhammad, Alah and Islam.
there is nothing controversial or negative about this article. if you believe in jesus, he would have lived as a man. with all that entails.
How right you are taurus, that's a given.
he is the vice president of a prominent, very conservative christian university. what authority woud he have to be writing about islam?
i would wager that this man knows far more about the bible than you do
your paranoia is amusing
"allah" is the arabic word for god. it is used by both muslims and christians
what negative things has this writer stated?
I do and if my savior Jesus Christ doesn't exist then they don't either and if they were real and were the right way to go I think they would be getting the same treatment Jesus does because he is real. Amen
I do and if Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior is not real then they are not as well because if they were and were the right choice to make then they would be treated just as bad as Jesus. Amen enough said
A"dirty" Jesus is the reason the Scriptures won't go away. Our "earthy" human experience is firmly imbedded in the Bible. Whether the subject is finding a speck in another's eye while ignoring the plank in our own, mourning at the grave of a loved one (Jesus and Lazarus), forgiving the woman caught in adultery while confronting others with their own hypocrasy, its all there. Even in Genesis we see man turning himself into a slave with his new Freedom of thought. We don't find much genuine human experience in Origen of Species or other scientific treatise. THis is what atheists miss when they classify the Bible as a fairy tail or fable. Until human nature changes, the scriptures will always be relevant.
I can't find a good recipe for eggs benedict in The Origin of Species either. That's not its purpose.
You speak of genuine human experience. That is exactly what is missing from the biblical accounts of this guy Jesus. What is more essential in any human life to love another in a committed pair-bond? And nowhere in the bible does Jesus experience such a relationship.
I am not catholic but I would be "damned" if I would take counsel about my wife and family relationships from a man who has never been married.
Wrong. The Eggs Benedict recipie is in the appendix. Not a big fan of Darwin's Hollandaise, but it is passable.
Origin of Life – IF you are so smart and know how it happened THEN reproduce it.
Reproduce something that complex with our technology? You might have to wait a few hundred years before our technological advances reach that high. Although if religion didn't frown on science and try to kill anyone who thought differently then we would have been far more advanced.
And what kind of technology are you waiting for to reproduce it? I think technically you do not know how it began and you are sharing somebody else’s fantasy.
Read Romans 10:9.
Jesus is our Savior. You can be saved by applying the message.
I would not call Him dirty. His heart is so pure that people would not notice the dirty hands. He was the fully human and He had to have dirty hands therefore.
Origin of Life: Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics
Dec. 20, 2012 — A coherent pathway - which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells - has been traced for the first time in a major hypothesis paper in Cell this week.
yep, good times
The leading hypothesis for the origin of life on our planet (thermal vent hypothesis):
(note it doesn't involve "gawd dun it wiff spelz")
The good times are on the way. More people need to see date Dec. 20 2012 for the find of life.
Jesus was Dirty God because he travelled to India for two years.
Why is it so hard for an atheist to believe that it's possible of a higher intelligence than us in the universe and that it's possible that this is where life originated. The answer is that yes it is possible, no matter what anyone says. So if it's possible then it can't be eliminated from theories. Evolution ends at the big bang theory and there is nothing after that for scientists.
No evidence supports that claim. It's called the "God of gaps" argument. You cannot insert your god where your understanding ends just because you don't have an answer. To do so is intellectually dishonest.
Besides, you must first prove that your god exists before you can attribute actions, abilities or desires to it.
Lou, because we have no evidence to support your hypothesis. The answer isn't "yes" it's not testable, we have no concrete evidence. It's not a theory, it's a religion, if you'd like, it's a hypotheisis, which means it's an idea that no one can prove. You are really confused as wot what evolution is and the Big Bang. The Big Bang is the beginning of our entire universe, it's expansion. Evolution is a scientific theory which means it has been tested and proven. If it had not been proven it would still remain a hypotheisis. I suggest you do some reading on the scientific method and the scientific term "theory" before you ramble on about something you don't understand.
Sure it's possible. I don't have any reason to believe that such a thing exists, so I don't change the way I live my life to fit that particular theory. Once I encounter some evidence, I'll reconsider.
However, I'm not ready to make the leap from "a higher power might exist" to "this particular higher power exists and here's what he wants us to do" because all the stories I've heard about that are ridiculous and so unlikely that I dismiss them without concern.
Also The Big Bang Theory has nothing to do with Evolution, other than both being scientific theories. They make no reference to each other, and one could be disproven without disproving the other.
They are smart enough to avoid the right answer. They claim to be scientific, empirical and yet believe every si-fi they read. They get a scientific book and believe in it. None of them have ever verified (tested) 99% of the “facts” that they read about. They are believers and dreamers of the modern age.
@lou: "Why is it so hard for an atheist to believe that it's possible of a higher intelligence than us in the universe"
It isn't hard. It is possible there was a creator. No one knows.
"So if it's possible then it can't be eliminated from theories. Evolution ends at the big bang theory and there is nothing after that for scientists."
Why should any theory or hypothesis be forced to have god in it? Just because it *is* possible a creator exists, it doesn't mean we have to assume that it does. In fact because there is ZERO evidence for any creator it is more probable there isn't one – note I am not saying "because we don't have proof that means there isn't a creator." I'm talking probabilities, which is what science deals with since, i think aside from math, there seem to be no absolutes.
Science may describe what happens to a golf ball when we putt it on a green toward the cup, and it may be repeated with a high degree of similar outcomes, but that doesn't mean one day when the ball is putted that it won't simply disappear. The probability is so small we rely on the ball not disappearing when putted, and that it will act a certain way, but it is not an absolute.
Science has postulated some things beyond the big bang, such as the concept of the Multiverse, but they are hotly debated because in this case you are correct – science cannot yet "see" beyond the big bang, so the hypotheses cannot be tested. Yet.
"Why is it so hard for an atheist to believe that it's possible of a higher intelligence than us in the universe and that it's possible that this is where life originated."
because they do not see any proof of it?
why is it so hard for theists to leave it at a creator and not make it a god?
Zero evidence??? What about design concepts taken from virtually everything that humans have not made. It is like looking at the Picasso paintings and saying: “We do not have evidence that this painting has an author”. Foolish!!! Very foolish.
'Why is it so hard for an atheist to believe that it's possible of a higher intelligence than us in the universe'
I have no trouble accepting that there may be a higher intelligence somewhere in the universe but that does make that intelligence a diety that actually created the universe.
@TEHb: Yes, zero verifiable evidence. Please let me know what part you do not understand and I will attempt to explain it to you in terms you understand.
"Zero evidence??? What about design concepts taken from virtually everything that humans have not made. It is like looking at the Picasso paintings and saying: “We do not have evidence that this painting has an author”. Foolish!!! Very foolish."
Just because some things are designed does not mean everything is designed. A painting is a -known- man (or elephant) created objects. We can see someone paint, we can see elephants paint, it is testable. However, looking at a tree and saying "It must be created because paintings are created!" Is not logical. We have never seen anyone just produce a full giant tree on it's own. We have never seen anyone or anything start a universe.
Proof? The dude said he was going to rise from the dead and did. Specific names, places, and witnesses were mentioned to back up the claims.
There is no evidence to support Jesus rising from the dead except for 4 gospels whose authorship is still disputed, and doesn't agree on the details of either the crucifixion or the resurrection, not to mention you have only one of the 4 books mentioning zombies rising from the graves all over and preaching, when there are no other accounts of it.
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