Proof 35, from “God is imaginary”, asks us to “examine Jesus’ myopia”. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it is also known as shortsightedness, or nearsightedness. So with that out of the way, let’s examine this “proof”.
Mr. Brain begins with this statement:
If you think about Jesus, you realize that his biggest problem is an incredible case of myopia. We can see this myopia quite clearly as we look back at Jesus’ time on earth. The obvious question that any intelligent person is forced to ask is this:
If Jesus is God, then why didn’t Jesus use his omniscience and omnipotence to actually do something magnificent and beautiful on earth rather than squandering his “power” as he does in the Bible?
Well, the question itself begs a question, but maybe the question will be answered if we read a little further, such as here:
Think about all the problems that Jesus could have solved. At the very least, Jesus could have transcribed passages into the Bible that would have ended sexism, racism and slavery forever.
That statement assumes, without explaining why, sexism, racism, and slavery are a problem, and that Jesus didn’t address them using his “power”. The Christian understands that the problems inherent with sexism, that concludes that one sex is somehow better than another, racism, that one race is somehow better than another, and that slavery, in which one person is essentially property of another, are problems that only exist because of the sin nature of man.
Then Marshall makes these statements:
As the simplest example, think of all of the suffering that slavery
has caused. Millions upon millions of people have suffered through the bondage and the remarkable brutality of slavery because Jesus and his Bible fully support it. If Jesus had simply made a clear statement — “Slavery is forbidden, free all the slaves” — he could have prevented all of that suffering. Yet Jesus did nothing of the sort. Instead, Jesus endorsed slavery.
Lets’s examine this. Mr. Brain fails to define exactly what form of slavery he is referring to. The Bible describes at least three forms: that of bond-servitude, where an individual contracts to another for a period in exchange for money either paid up front or on the back end; that of involuntary servitude, through breaking the law or war, both of which the Bible prescribe definite regulations for; and chattel, where a person is treated like property rather than a human being, often gained through means of kidnapping, which the Bible condemns in both Old and New Testaments.
Also, the argument could be made
that it is not the institution
of slavery that has caused harm, rather the attitudes
of the slave holders, and it is that which has caused the suffering. What I notice is that while making his accusation, he actually never gives any evidence through textual support, but I’ve given an answer here
But, let’s say that Jesus did make a statement like the one that Marshall wished he had, what would that have meant in a culture steeped in an economic system that had been built upon that institution? There would have been absolute, utter chaos, that probably would have ended in further suffering and death as the Roman army put down a slave revolt (apparently Marshall has never seen the movie Spartacus
) with their usual flair for abject brutality. Jesus, being omniscient, knew what would happen, and decided to take a long-game view
, and began changing hearts that resulted in the abandonment of the institution of slavery for almost 1000 years in Europe.
But, Marshall goes on:
In the same way, Jesus could have chosen women to be six of his apostles and made several speeches on the topic of women’s equality.
Jesus never even questioned the equality of women to men, but Mr. Brain makes the logical error of equality, which has to do with value, to sameness, that they are identical. Men and women are equal, as GK Chesterton pointed out in his book What I Saw in America, when in comes to the question of equality,
“(One) may realise that equality is not some crude fairy tale about all men being equally tall or equally tricky; which we not only cannot believe but cannot believe in anybody believing. It is an absolute of morals by which all men have a value invariable and indestructible and a dignity as intangible as death.
Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith) (2012-05-12). What I Saw in America (p. 17). . Kindle Edition.
Jesus treated all people with value, even those of different race, sex, or economic position, giving them the respect due their status as an image bearer of God, however he did not treat them the same. But it is by the Holy Spirit, that Paul could make this statement,
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 4:27-28)
The world does not have the means to define or describe exactly what equality is, only God, and he has done that through his creative and redemptive work in Christ, points I’ve answered here
Aside from making several other statements that would have been meaningless to the people in that day and time, and completely ignorant of God’s will and intention, Mr. Brain really makes no argument go support his assertion. So as I close, let us give consideration to this from the book The Character of Jesus, by Charles Edward Jefferson:
By limiting himself our Lord came off conqueror. He succeeded. What is it to succeed? It is to do the thing for which we were created. The most galling of all experiences is the failure to do that which is most worth while. Jesus attempted to do one thing only, and that was to perform the work which his Father had given him to do. At the end of his life he could look into his Father’s face and say, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” It was indeed time that the Father should glorify the Son! Jesus’ life on earth covered only thirty-three brief years, and yet he did the greatest piece of work ever accomplished on the earth. It is wonderful what a stupendous task can be accomplished in a little time if a man is only willing to keep at it. We mourn unwisely when we mourn disconsolately over lives that seem to be cut off at noon. Let a man strive not to live long but to do his work, and if he does it why should we lament because he dies at noon? (p.114-115, The Character of Jesus, Thomas Crowell & Company, 1908).
Jesus came to complete a task, to redeem those he had been sent to save, and give them a task to change the world.