I was asked today on Twitter why I would object to schools teaching children the morality of Jesus. Putting aside the question of whether Jesus existed, here are some examples of bad moral guidance given by the Jesus portrayed in the Christian Bible.
I will start by acknowledging that some parts of the Bible portray Jesus as giving good moral guidance. For example:
- Jesus says you should love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 13:31, Matt 22:39).
- He says you should pay your taxes and keep Church and State separate (Mark 12:13-17, Matt 22:17-22)
- He says you should treat others as you would have them treat you (Matt 7:12, Luke 6:31).
- He tells the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) and says whoever is without sin should cast the first stone (John 8:1-11).
However, each of the Gospels and the Book of Revelation also portray Jesus as giving bad moral guidance, that I believe it is harmful for schools to teach to children. For example:
In the Gospel called Mark
- Jesus says that the reason he speaks in parables is to confuse outsiders in case they understand him and are saved from Hell (4:10-14).
- He sends demons into a large herd of pigs who then drown (5:11-13).
- He says that cities that do not receive his disciples will be treated worse than Sodom and Gomorrha on the day of judgment (6:11).
- He criticises Pharisees for not obeying the law of Moses that anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death (7:9-10).
- He says that you should cut off your own hand and foot, and pluck out your own
eye,if they cause you to risk being thrown into Hell where the worms that eat them do not die and the fire is not quenched (9:42-48).
- He tells a man to sell everything he owns and give the money to the poor (10:17-21)
- He says that anyone who is not baptised will be condemned (16:16).
In the Gospel called Matthew
- Jesus explicitly endorses the barbaric laws of the Old Testament, saying: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to
fulfillthem. For truly I tell you,until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (5:17-18).
- He says that most people will go to Hell (7:13-14) where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (8:12).
- He says you should fear God who can destroy both body and soul in Hell (10:28).
- He says that he did not come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword, and that he has come to turn man against father, daughter against mother, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law (10:34-36).
- He says that anyone who loves their parents or children more than they love him is not worthy of him (10:37).
- He says that God will tell people who are cursed to depart into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (25:41) where they will be punished for eternity (25:46).
In the Gospel called Luke
- Jesus repeats much of the above bad moral guidance.
- He also tells his disciples, before the incident in the Garden of Gethsemane, to sell their clothes in order to buy a sword (22:36).
In the Gospel called John
- Jesus says that people are condemned or saved based on what they believe (3:18) and that God’s wrath remains on those who do not believe (3:36).
- After healing a crippled man, he tells him to stop sinning or something worse may happen to him (5:14).
- He causes some of his disciples to leave him when he says that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood to have eternal life (6:53-66).
- He says that people who leave him will be thrown into the fire and burned (15:6).
In the Book of Revelation
- When Jesus appears to John, he has white hair and eyes like flames, and a sharp two-edged sword comes out of his mouth (1:14-18)
- He tells one Turkish church that a woman called Jezebel had seduced his servants to fornicate, so he is going to kill her children with death for their mother’s sins (2:20-23)
- After bringing John to heaven, Jesus goes to war with the Devil. His robe is soaked in blood, he casts the Devil and his false prophet into a lake of fire burning with
brimstone,and he kills the Devil’s army using the sword that comes out of his mouth (20:11-21).
All of this puts aside the question of whether Jesus existed, and the question of how the Bible was written and by whom. I will address those questions elsewhere. This article focus only on examples of the bad moral guidance given by the Jesus portrayed in the Christian Bible, that I believe is harmful