Jesus wasn’t Christian.

In Jesus’ time, there was no such thing as “Christianity,” and after Jesus died, Christianity as we know it today took a very long time to develop into its current form. 

Around the time of Jesus’ death, different groups of “Christians” formed, but most of them did not call themselves that.  The first use of Christian (those referred to as Christians in Antioch in Acts) was actually a kind of nick-name formed in an almost derogatory way to refer to people who “associated with Christ and/or his teachings.”  Christians didn’t even come up with the name themselves – most Christians were originally referred to as Nazarenes. 

So, obviously, Jesus was not a Christian in terminology.  But that isn’t all – many things that I hear Christians define themselves by today, you never hear Jesus do the same in the Bible.  Jesus did not define himself by his being against abortion or against homosexuality, though both did exist in his time.  He wasn’t a hardcore capitalism advocate, and judging by the things he said and did – like tipping over money-changing tables in the temple and advocating that, in order to follow him, rich people sell all their possessions and give that money to the poor – he probably wouldn’t be too fond of it if he were alive today.

Jesus wasn’t generally one to go around advocating all kinds of strict rules or being what you would call legalistic – on more than one occasion he discusses how love should supersede such legalism and criticizes the Pharisees for their inability to see beyond “what the scriptures said.”  (Sound familiar?)  Also, in Jesus’ time there was not yet a gospel to preach, in the sense that the whole crucifixion-resurrection thing had not happened yet, and even though Jesus – according to Christians – knew what was going to happen to him, he didn’t go around telling people that “unless you believe that I’m going to die for your sins here in a couple of months, you are gonna go to Hell!”  No, that’s not very Jesus-like.

What does seem to be Jesus-like is Love.  When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus dismissed all previous commandments that had ever been made and said love.  Not just of God, but of your neighbor (which I take to mean every human being on earth) and yourself.  That’s kind of a huge deal.  According to Jesus, it matters more that you live a life of love towards everyone than anything else God (supposedly) ever said to do!  Now, granted – I believe that the Bible has been altered in ways we have no clue about in order to suit much bigger powers’ interests, so I’m not trying to use it as an “absolute” in the same way so many Christians do.  However, I do think that in reading about the things Jesus said and did, you will see that he was constantly preaching love, love, and love

Imagine if Love were the Number One thing associated with Christians today.  Oh, what a World that would be.  (;

Much Love to you all,

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18 thoughts on “Jesus wasn’t Christian.

  1. Like your post! A few days ago I wrote nearly the same on my german blog 🙂 So let’s go for it and life the difference and love like Jesus does! 🙂

    1. Let’s do it. (:

      I took a German class in college, so your blog is refreshing my memory in German.. good thing Google translates, though, cause I can’t understand all of it. (:

  2. Great stuff! If only Christians were known for love rather than what we’re “against”…that’s a huge part of the battle I find myself in.
    One thing I’ll add, however, is that Jesus did have a gospel to preach…it was just not the “gospel” that many evangelicals have reduced the story to (believe Jesus died for your sins or else…Hell — like that sounds like “good news”). In actuality, the entire life of Jesus is good news (gospel) as He (as I believe, God incarnate) demonstrated a radical new way to…love!

  3. Nazarene, I like that. I might just have to start interspersing that with my usual identifier as an “eclectic spiritualist”. It’s exotic sounding enough that it still affords some measure of ambiguity. In fact, it’s gradually becoming a more established and accepted theory that Jesus traveled the world learning from other spiritual traditions, particularly eastern mysticism, before beginning his “ministry”. So is it possible that when he said “I am the Way”, he was claiming himself as an embodiment of the Tao? And doesn’t Taoism teach many of the same things? Making decisions with an eye towards communal well being (“love thy neighbor”), reducing reliance on material possessions (“if you would follow me, sell all of your possessions and give the money to the poor” “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven”). Are these concepts that we generally associate with the christian/catholic churches as they exist today?

    A lot of people claim to live by the mantra “What would Jesus do?” Well, what -did- Jesus do? He rebelled against corrupt theocracy, the Pharisees, that had become more about political power, material gain, and maintaining the status quo than spiritual growth, helping those less fortunate, and benefiting the (-whole-) community (not just the rich members). If the second coming happened today, how do you think he’d react to the current state of the church? Pedophiles sheltered by the Vatican, hate mongers like the Westborough Baptist Church and the KKK, and right wing conservatives claiming they’ve got “god on their side” while serving capitalist ideals, corporate sponsorship, and the holy dollar. And if Jesus reacted the way we think he would, how do you think the current power structure would react to him? Would they label him as a threat? A national security risk? A heretic? Maybe even a terrorist… Maybe the second coming already happened, maybe we’ve had an abundance of opportunities throughout history, but we missed it, because we weren’t paying attention. Maybe the real secret of the second coming is that he never really left to begin with. Maybe he’s always been with us, inside of us, and around us, and there are those who “by their works you will know them” who display his true essence, whose works are built on unconditional love/Agape, aimed towards benefiting the community and the environment, helping the less fortunate. Maybe they are him, incarnate, vessels for the Holy Spirit. (“…if you do not -Wake Up-, I will come like a thief, and you will not know…” “God is always talking to us, it’s just a matter of whether we’re listening”) But that, like everything I say, is just my perspective, one possible perspective, among an infinite number of other possibilities.

    1. Haha well, I like your perspective! Thanks for sharing. (; I do think Jesus would be unhappy with the state of affairs of the church if he came back today. Interesting to think about if he’d be labeled a terrorist… I can see him doing some crazy stuff! I don’t think a lot of people would like him, that’s for sure. The hippies would, though… (;

      1. Interesting you should mention that. I’ve felt the same way about hippies and other “counter cultures” for a long time. It was the hippies who spoke most loudly about the transition to the Age of Aquarius. It was among the hippies that many of the early “Children of the Shift” (indigo, blue ray, and crystal children, as well as star seeds, like Sun Ra and the person who inspire David Bowie to write Ziggy Stardust who’s name is unfortunately escaping me at the moment) found refuge and acceptance. Where else could someone proclaim “I’m not from this planet” and be answered “Whoa dude, that’s awesome”? I for one thought it was most appropriate when Andrew Lloyd Webber made Jesus Christ Superstar and had everyone dressed up like hippies. I’ve been thinking about putting together a production of it reinvented for the new counter cultures, like goth, punk, emo, etc.

  4. Perhaps rather than the Bible being altered (which I don’t think it has), it is us who has altered our interpretation of it. That’s very possible since we humans are by nature egocentric and tend to interpret things from our own frame of reference. We tend to see it through the goggles of our own culture, which will inevitably cause issues considering it was written within another culture and language.

    And even our criticisms of it will fall short, because our criticisms come from our own frame of reference. Just a thought. 🙂

    1. I suppose that is a definite possibility! I do think some things have been added to it as well as purposely kept out of it though. There’s quite a few gospels that didn’t make it in! But hey, what do I know? (;

      1. Yes the ones that were kept in were kept because they were written within 50 years of Jesus’ life (in the lifetime of eyewitnesses). The ones which were kept out were ones written centuries after, so there was a reasonable reason they chose and discarded as they did. It wasn’t the conspiracy people make it out to be 😉

      2. Actually I think I linked you to a study guide and them I couldn’t find a full text paperback. But I did find a full text kindle edition here http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004DNWVRU/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1375882315&sr=8-2&pi=AC_SX110_SY190
        He also did a DVD documentary of the info which aired here on public television a couple of years ago. It was quite good as well. I enjoyed learning about this in my studies because I was taken back by how much data there is, especially when so many people (who are not historians) think there’s nothing on it.

      3. That’s a good point about the dates. I’ll have to look into that more. Personally though, I know I’ve gotten a lot of benefit from reading the gospels of Judas, Jesus, and Mary (which was recommended to me by Unconventional Spirituality). I feel that they are consistent with the overall biblical message based on what Jesus actually said and did. They’ve helped me connect and relate with the Divine Presence on the level of an intimate relationship, which so far seems to be the prevailing ‘point’ in my understanding of the gospels.

      4. Bother I just wrote a reply and it seemed to have disappeared.

        I basically said I don’t think there’s any problem reading those later “gospels” for encouragement etc. it’s just that they’re not considered historically reliable because they weren’t written by eyewitnesses. No reputable historian attributes them to their namesakes: they’re not believed to actually have been written by James, judas, Thomas or Mary etc. They’re certainly interesting for sure, but not accepted in the biblical collection because of their unreliability. If you check out the book I linked above it outlines the criteria that was used when the selection was chosen for biblical inclusion. It’s very informative.

        I am sure they’re interesting and even sensational, but historians do not regard them has historically reliable as they do the included texts.

        Hope I have helped somewhat. 🙂

      5. Another thing of which to be aware is that historians not only regard the biblical gospels as historically reliable but they consider the writings of Paul as more so, because Paul’s letters were written earlier than the Gospels (within a few years of Jesus life). Thus historians regard Paul’s theology and narrative as a reliable representation of what the early Christians witnessed and believed regarding Jesus. The conspiracy that people dream up about Paul being later and different to the early Christians is nonsense as far as scholarship goes. Conspiracy theories sound interesting and give people an illusory excuse to reject biblical sources, but they are more fictional than anything else.

        Many writings over the years by people from all cultures and faiths can give us important guidance for living a spiritual life of love and service and they are good for that. And people who go on about conspiracies and so forth show themselves to be ignorant of years of historical studies that have gone into this over the years. Attention they get, but attention is no measure of truth.

        And I am happy to be open minded and consider broad perspectives. But there’s a difference between considering and accepting. And I don’t accept conspiracy theories and later gospels because they simply don’t measure up to the standards if reliability to which I was taught to aspire at university.

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