The Ethics of Jesus.


How ethical and moral are the teachings of Jesus, really?

The immorality in the biblical laws, commandments and rules, is found in the motivation behind them. You shall not kill/ steal from/ lie to a "brother" because it is "Gods will", not because it is an evil unethical thing to do to your fellow man. At the same time it's obviously fine to kill people outside your own tribe/congregation. God himself does this all the time by the thousands.

We would think that the teachings of a "God" or "son of God" should at least be coherent, consistent and with flawless moral. Well, the teachings of Jesus are none of these things.
The morality of Jesus teachings is at best dubious. Jesus is both tolerant and categorically intolerant in his teachings. Sometimes he shows signs of social consciousness; sometimes he is completely without such. Sometimes he reacts like a furious four-year-old when he does not get things his way, (ex: the fig tree story (Mt. 21:18-19, Mk 11:12-14.)), he renounce his closest relatives (Mt. 12:46-50; Mk 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21.) and he constantly threaten people with eternal torture in hell. To threaten people with eternal burning in hell for not believing in him as the true son of God, is not a particular ethical thing to do by any standard.

He tells his disciples to turn the other cheek, but he also tells them to slay his enemies before him. (Luke 19:27). He says, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Mt. 7:1) but Jesus himself judge all his opponents and enemies (usually to eternal torture in Hell) all the time. "He that is not with me is against me" (Mt. 12:30). He says "…but whosoever shall say, Thou fool [to his brother], shall be in danger of hell fire. (Mt. 5:22), but then Jesus himself calls people "Fool" on several occasions (Mt 23:17, Luke 11:40; 24:25).

The Golden Rule.
"You should do towards others what you want others to do towards you." Together with the rules of loving your enemies and turning the other cheek, these sayings are often seen as the main teachings of Jesus. Jesus is not particularly original in saying this. We also find this "golden rule" in the sayings of Confucius around 300 BC, and in the writings of the Chinese sage Lao-Tse, a contemporary of Confucius. In the Indian "Manus laws" we find that "we should be angry with those angry with us, but bless those who curse us." We find the "Golden rule" in the Buddhist "Dhammapada". And of course we find the Golden rule in the writings of Plato (428-347 BC). And in the writings of a Jewish sage with the name Hillel (ca. 80-60 BC) we also find this rule. The philosopher Celsus also tells us in the second century that this rule is not particular for Christianity, but actually very old. He also says that this "rule" is usually found in a lot less "rural and crude" form in the earlier pagan texts.

The teaching of loving one's enemies seems kind of hollow coming from Jesus, who does not seem to follow this teaching himself. Frequently he condemns his own enemies, calling them "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers" (Mt. 3:7, 23:33, Luke 3:7) and make a habit of threatening people with eternal torture in Hell. A hell of a nice guy.

Jesus often refers to his followers as his "flock of sheep" and he is the "good" shepherd. This is actually a heritage from the Sumerians 3-2000 BC, from whom the Assyrians got it, and later again the Egyptian god Horus was called "the good Shepherd" long before Christ. Anyway, sheep are not considered to be among the brightest creatures on this planet, and thus the analogy is very suitable for many Christian congregations. But to send his disciples forth "as sheep in the midst of wolves" like Jesus do (Mt. 10:16, Luke 10:3), is not what a "good" shepherd should do.

The prophet of Hell
Jesus is actually the main advocate for the idea of eternal condemnation to Hell in the Bible. No one talks more of Hell and eternal damnation than Jesus. He gives the believer two choices, either blind faith in him as God, or eternal torture in Hell. If you don't believe, you go straight to hell when you die, no matter if you have lived a flawless moral life and never thought a bad thought. If you don't believe you are doomed, on the other hand if you just believe and regret your sins, you can be a homicidal, psycopathic sadistic chainsaw massmurderer and still go to heaven according to the teachings of Jesus.Thus going to heaven and being a moral person is not the same thing.

The motivations behind your actions are crucial to whether they can be considered moral or not. If the fear of punishment is the only thing keeping a person from hurting another, that person is usually concidered to have low or no moral. Or if someone doesn't want to help an injured fellow person, unless he or she gets rewarded in some way, it's not what we call a moral or ethical behaviour.

The motivation for doing good deeds or moral behaviour in Christianity is the fear of God. You don't want to cross God because then you could lose your ticket to heaven, to your personal salvation. Thus the motivation for decent behaviour is purely selfish and egocentric. For serious Christians their relation to their God is often more important than their relations to other people. With God their personal eternal salvation is at stake.

The moral teachings of the Bible and of Jesus are unethical as the reason for being moral or ethical is the fear of God's punishment and of losing the reward of eternal salvation. The believer is not rewarded for moral and ethical behaviour, but for their blind faith.

Genuine moral end ethical behaviour don't need any motivational promises of rewards, or inhumane sadistic threats of eternal torture.

"Religion is an insult to human dignity.
With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things.
But for good people to do evil things,
that takes religion."

Steven Weinberg