Flags, Fears, Fanatics, Fools and Freedoms

It has been a while since I posted. There are many reasons for it, including ending my successful fight against cancer. So far, so good it appears. During that time I, and undoubtedly the rest of you, have been continually bombarded with news, issues, controversy, anger, pride, outrage and just plain stupid shit. Yes, it’s gotten that bad.

It appears to me that Toffler was more right than we ever believed, future shock is not only here, but it just passed by at the speed of comprehension and the waves it creates are fracturing the world into ever-expanding virtual communities that all have something to say and are able to say it right now. In fact, if you don’t get on your favorite social media engine and say it quickly, or tag onto what others in your speeding digital community are saying, the future will be the past and you’ll lose your spot on the bus.

Remember the bus? You are either on the bus or not on the bus. Now, however, there are thousands upon thousands of busses all traveling the digital highway, loudspeakers blaring, signs waving and rapidly dividing into more busses like a fertilized cell on steroids. You can get a ticket on the bus for the price of a Twitter or Facebook account, or with one of the other many social media (SOCMED) apps vying for your attention in the App store. Thought, consideration, reflection, rationality are not required, just an account, password and some kind of digital gizmo that will provide you with an onramp to the superhighway of dire clownage and knee-jerk bellowing train wrecks you will be certain to enjoy. There are plenty for everyone.

You can expect to find street fights like battle lines drawn up over one of the Confederate States of America’s Civil War battle flags by people who are ignorant of the reasons for that conflict; the civics-challenged governor of Oklahoma breaking the law by keeping the advertisement for one of the many the Ten Commandments posted on government property; like-minded science deniers who avoid understanding climate change or the fact that not providing real medical care to children is a crime; legislators and elected officials who are getting themselves prepared for Jesus’ next arrival when they will be whisked off to heaven and the rest of us will be in deep, deep trouble; fearful and ignorant people who believe all guns are evil and shoot people all by themselves; sappy new-agers who firmly believe that American Indians were all “native americans” who shared a basic culture and all believed in the “great spirit”; that acupuncture actually works and Sharia Law is good for you.

Everybody has a soap box. Don’t know what that means? Google it.

I can’t keep up. It’s like watching an explosion happen in ultra-slow motion. Something is happening, but we don’t know what it is. (You can look that one up too. Hint: Dylan) So, I’m going to focus on one topic today for the rest of this post.

When I got the idea to write The Q Fragments, it came primarily from my curiosity about what other information might be discovered in the world that would lead to actual evidence-based understanding of the life and times of the apocalyptic Jewish troublemaker from Nazareth who was co-opted by his followers into the popular modern idea of Jesus Christ.

Except for a certain number of followers of this blog, everyone knows that I am not a theist. It’s not that I’m an atheist, although I guess that’s a good definition, but it’s more that I put gods, divine beings, the supernatural and all who sail in them into the same category as the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, Odin, mermaids and the aliens to love to make crop circles. Please, if you want to congratulate me on finding Jesus, read my damn book first.

I felt that there was a very good probability that an actual Jew probably named Yeshua from Nazareth, a one-donkey town in the Galilee, did exist, was a local prophet, part of the apocalyptic tradition at the time, who collected a few followers, made enemies of the local Jewish temple authorities and eventually took his anti-establishment harangues to Jerusalem during Passover. Jerusalem, especially during Passover, was a tinderbox of bad vibes over the Roman occupation as well as a dangerous place for those who were outspokenly opposed to the requirements of Temple worship.

Jesus got into trouble with the authorities. We don’t know why. Like most people who crossed the Romans, he was promptly nailed up and left to die. Nobody really cared except for the few who were his friends and most of them ran away and hid. As Crossan said, those who knew where his body was taken didn’t care, and those who did care, didn’t know.

The story obviously didn’t end there. Anyone critically (objectively as possible) reading the later official accounts of Jesus, the “blessed” and official versions currently found in the Christian New Testament, will readily apprehend that the story comes quickly apart after the crucifixion. There are differences, some huge ones, prior to that, but really nothing like what is supposed to have happened afterwards. The stories are all different. They are not historical accountings of course, but one would think that at least the basic events would be similar when the writers try to explain what happened to prove that Jesus wasn’t actually dead. Or, maybe he was dead, as far as mortals are concerned, but then came back to life, or at least re-inhabited his body, and did contradictory things to prove to a few people (his followers, mostly) that he was really still alive.

All of the Gospels are made-up tales and of course don’t stand up to any kind of rational analysis or explanation. They don’t have to. The underpinning support depends on the belief that one of the supernatural beings, the Jewish god in this instance, can do anything, being all-powerful and all-knowing, so whatever outlandish, irrational and unprovable assertion is to be accepted on face value, without doubt, because if you doubt, you know what’s going to happen to you, right?

However, if one stops the tale with Jesus’ death at the hands of the Roman authorities, it is plausible that the actual events of his life served as the underpinning of the fantastic tales written decades later by people with no firsthand knowledge of him or his deeds. I attempt to show what some of those fantastical stories might have derived from – simple and ordinary events that were later twisted to serve religious agendas.

I don’t say too much about what might happen were something like the Q fragments discovered along with incontrovertable evidence that the Jew Jesus from Nazareth was a mortal, like the rest of us, and some objective accounting of his life and deeds were discovered. I think Walker’s final words serve well enough after Orem comments, “This is going to create a lot of trouble.”

“Yes,” Walker said sitting back in his chair. “Yes, it will.”

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