Christians claim that God is the basis of morality which we should exemplify. Jesus taught that we should be perfect as God is perfect. The early Christians argued that we should be holy as God is holy. It is straightforward that we should look to God, and what He does, and mimic it as exactly as possible.

However, Jesus further taught that we must love our enemies and forgive them. Jesus wouldn’t command a moral that God doesn’t ascribe to, would he? Give humans a higher calling, a greater duty than God Himself?

If we are to love and forgive our enemies, why can’t God love and forgive His enemies?

Since I am posting on a blog entitled “debunking Christianity” I thought it only fitting to figure out exactly what it is I am supposed to be debunking. What is this thing called “Christianity”? As we all know, there is no set and steady definition, by which we can say with bright line precision –“this is Christian and this is not.”

Some claim following the Nicene Creed is necessary to be a Christians. Some Protestants say Catholics are not “Christian.” The Mormons continually are rejected “Christian” status by both Protestants and Catholics. Christian Science adherents attempted to upstage everybody by putting it right in their name, yet still are assured by many camps they are truly not “Christian.”

I even have seen atheists claim that, by certain definitions, they are “Christians.” In reviewing all of these claims, the one base-line definition in which everyone seems to concur, is that it means to do the things that Christ taught. If you aren’t doing that, then regardless of race, religion or creed, you are not being “Christian.”

Obviously the place to look, then, is at Christ’s teaching. One of the stalwart principles, the very reason Christians claim the superiority of Jesus’ words, is the concept of Love. And what does He say about that?

“…love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you,…” Matt. 5:44, Luke 6:27-28.

Jesus even points out that it is not to one’s credit to simply love those that love you. Even the pagans and sinners can do that. The identifying mark, the uniqueness of the Christian experience is the ability to love one’s enemies.

“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. “ Luke 6:32-33
“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Matt. 5:46

The Bible is replete with the claim that this type of demonstration of love is the defining characteristic of a person that is to be Christ-like. A Christian.

“All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:35
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:3-4
“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those how obey his commands live in him, and he in them.” 1 John 3:23
“Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8.

So far, simple enough. Jesus defines morality. Jesus tells us the moral code. “Love your enemies.” Having been informed by many theists that I am now an “enemy” of Jesus, I rest easy in the fact that He loves me, right? Unfortunately, this moral code of “loving one’s enemy” does not apply to Jesus Himself.

At the end of the Luke passage regarding love, Jesus states, “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) O.K. How is God merciful? He has mercy on whom he has mercy, and does not on those he does not. (Rom. 9:15-18) It would seem, that in copying God’s morals on mercy, the Christian can be merciful as those they want to be merciful, and not on those they choose to not.

All of a sudden, I am not so certain I like this “Christ-likeness.” It seems to have an ugly side to it. Jesus says, that it is to human’s credit to love those that persecute them, but when it comes to God, “He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink…” Matt. 25:41-42. It would seem we have a double-standard. Humans have to love those that persecute them. God does not. But if a human chooses to act like Christ, who was God, they are off the hook. No more loving those that persecute them.

Why are humans held to a higher standard than God, do you think? We have to exhibit more love than He can!

Now, Jesus said He is kind to the unthankful and evil, right? Luke 6:35. What does this kindness look like? Take a trip in the time machine, back to Moses’ day. Let’s observe the kindness Jesus shows to the unthankful and evil, shall we?

Numbers 31. The Midianites. “Kill every man, no matter what the age from 1 day to 100 years old. Kill every mother. Kill every widow. Keep all the virgin females to be your forced wives, as booty for the war.” I hope every moral barometer just blew off the charts.

Jesus is saying that the Hebrews, in exhibiting God’s love, had a right to kill and take virgins as wives (perhaps second or third wife at that). This is kindness to evil? (Assuming they even were evil) I would hate to see unkindness!

But imagine Jesus. Use the artist’s imagery, or your own. Picture his face, his eyes, his mouth, his chin. Place him in Jewish clothing. Now put him at the scene of Numbers 31.

He looks to his right. There a woman is running from a soldier, clutching her 2-year old boy to her chest, attempting to get away. Another soldier pushes her to the ground. She covers her baby boy. Pagan, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, it doesn’t matter. A mother will protect her child. She doesn’t care about rituals, or religions, or war. She doesn’t even care about dying. Just that her child will live.

The soldier thrusts his sword through her back into the boy. Killing a human outright is surprisingly difficult. Most would die from mortally inflicted wounds. The mother would pull away her son, who is screaming in pain and fear, and will watch him slowly die, while her own innards are sprayed upon his face. And Jesus watches this.

This is a bad situation. Christians need to read their tales as they are written. Not pretty them up with flannel graphs and pictures of bloodless swords and string and glue. Before imposing their moral system on others, they should take a good long hard look at their own.

Jesus looks to the left. A soldier has just killed a young man, and, expecting the same, his twelve-year old sister crouches next to the twitching body. The soldier shoves his bloody hand between the girl’s legs. (How do you think they determined who was a virgin or not?) His hand leaves a bloody mark. He pushes her over to a group of girls huddled and crying together. They have watched, and are watching their mothers, cousins and brothers die—screaming in pain. Her thighs slowly stick together with the coagulating blood of her brother. And Jesus looks on.

Jesus looks straight ahead. A group of soldiers is worn out from the killing. Both arms are covered in blood, as they have had to switch the sword from arm to arm, due to fatigue. They can hardly stand, due to the slippery blood. Waiting to recuperate, they gather in a circle around a few boys who are standing among their dead friends. Rather than wade in and kill them, while resting they wait. If a boy attempts to escape, the soldier would have to lift his weary arm and knock him down.

What look do you imagine on Jesus’ face? Even assuming there was some bizarre moral necessity that warranted the love exhibited by the killing of baby boys (they are explicitly mentioned!) so that the men could take virgin females as wives, do you think Jesus would have compassion on this horrible situation? Let’s see what Jesus does, shall we? “Count up the plunder, and make sure I get my share.” (vs. 26-28) THAT is what “kindness to unthankful and evil” consists of. THAT is what “being merciful as God is merciful” looks like. Jesus is mercifully relieving the bodies of their Gold, and the fathers of their virgin daughters.

It is at this moment that I breathe a sign of relief. Thank goodness Christians feel bound by what Jesus says! Otherwise, I could see the thought process of:

1. God loves His enemies.
2. God kills His enemies, takes their virgin daughters and their gold.
3. I must love as God loves.
4. You are my enemy.
5. *shudder*

My only hope is that these few words (not Jesus’ actions) keep them in check!

Why can’t God forgive his enemies? Shoot, I am not even trying to be an enemy of God. The evidence is overwhelming He does not exist, let alone be his enemy. We could equally say I am an enemy of Superman, or leprechauns.

Because of my occupation, I am often informed (and was on my initial blog here) about how I will or will not be able to argue my case before Jesus on Judgment day. This will certainly be an area that comes up:

“I looked for you. I searched history, philosophy, archeology, texts, articles, books, lectures, Sacred writings and even debated with any theist that would have me. As you can clearly see, I did not find you. I do not hate you (although some of your followers are pretty scary) I do not loathe you. I assumed, since you did not exist, that humans blamed their desire for virgins and gold on you.

“But now that I am here, apparently you will consider me an enemy. Then what was all that language about “loving your enemies”? Does that not apply to you as well? What about being merciful? Was that simply a ruse? The time on “debunkingchristianity”? Is making your followers think qualify as “persecution”? Then why create us with brains?

“I see you are hell-bent on not forgiving, not loving, and imposing impossible standards on persons you consider your enemies. Fine. Just remember, that, as humans, we did a better job of loving than you can. We can follow your morals better than you.”

When people tell me they find Christianity compelling because of what Jesus said and did—I look to what Jesus said and did. And safely say that I am not a Christian. Not even in being Christ-like.

First posted on 3/16/06