An Atheist Sermon

An Atheist Sermon:

Rescuing Jesus - the greatest story never told

jesus teaching on mountain

pleni sunt caeli … the heavens are full

In the next page we will study why atheists like me admire Jesus so much - Jesus the teacher,
   but before we part, I want to tell you another story, one that you are never told.

This story - this sermon - has two parts:
        1 - the message   and
        2 - the challenge

1 - The Message:

The message is always the same,
whether it comes from a modern atheist like me, or my Master Jesus from 2,000 years ago:

Jesus taught that we could guide ourself  from within.
Instead of being channeled by the external forces of society and religion.

2 - The Challenge:

The message leads to a challenge:

        Do we have the courage to defy society, enact our love, and care for each other?
            Are we passive and dead, looking for a safe pigeonhole recognized by society?
            Or are we active and alive, willing to take risks for each other and 
                          seeing the costs not as sacrifice, but as fulfillment?

You know where these choices lead. They lead to two stories:

You know the first story - the party line of society’s public religion - magic:
     - betrayal, crucifixion, gods and angels, magic and miracles, leading to cathedrals and empires
     - all the religions in those days were full of magic, resurrections, etc. - Asclepius, Osiris, Mithras

But the other story, still found in the clues, is about humanity, love and commitment: 
    - to me a much more powerful and moving story of Jesus and his students:
    - After running from the authorities, they gathered their courage and returned:
                through fear and failure - to risk and action,  to rescue their Master and friend.

 You decide which you think is true.

Here is what I think really happened:

His students did learn what he taught, after all, and came to his rescue.

Jesus did not die on the cross. Some clues to this remain in the Bible: Gospels and Acts, and in other documents excluded from the Bible, such as the Gospel of Thomas.

Crucifixion usually took several days to kill you, mainly by suffocation, when your legs could no longer lift you to breathe. That is why the soldiers in the gospels broke the legs of the two crucified along with Jesus, to hasten their deaths, but oddly they did not break Jesus’ legs. They did stick him with a spear and blood came out, which only happens when your heart is still beating. Since death was usually seen as the cessation of breathing in those days, they reported to Pilate that Jesus was dead. Maybe they also doped him with the sponge as told in the gospels.

And so Jesus' friends got him off the cross in a few hours instead of a few days. Joseph of Arimethea, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene and others were well connected, and could to afford bribe the officials - soldiers and priests. The gospel also says they used about a hundred pounds of Aloe and herbs - also very expensive - and put Jesus in a tomb nearby that Joseph owned.

They got him down!I It probably took all they had, even Mary Magdelene’s every last cent,
but they got him down! Now that is what the love and loyalty that Jesus taught is all about.

Jesus was seen alive later by some of his followers, according to the New Testament. Probably he was revived by the rest and aloe. I also think his friends convinced him to get out of the Roman empire. Maybe he headed East down the Silk Road, where he may have spent some time as a young man. There is even a grave in Kashmir often atributed to him.

I smile when think of him escaping 
        and living in Kashmir with Mary Magdelene, playing with their babies.

Jesus was rescued, not resurrected like Osiris or Mithras myths - no magic or miracles needed, instead: 

Jesus was revived by the love of his friends, just as he taught them.

There is also a lesson here:
        Just when you think you have been put to the test by life,,,  and failed,
                remember, that just like Jesus’ 
                            you can gather your courage and return. 

May we all have friends like that - that come when we call.

May we all be friends like that - and come when we are called.


… more coming …                promises … promises to keep ... and miles to go before I sleep ...


NEXT >>>>> Jesus, A Master Teacher

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