Friday, May 13, 2016

Why you probably aren't a Christian (but something even better)

Over the years my homies have suffered their share of my rogue theologies but nothing sends them into hurls and recoil as much as my confessing that I'm not a Christian. Bible studies that center on being a Christian commonly conclude in hysteria and once or twice I ended up duct taped upside down to the bathroom ceiling.

My homies, you see, are Christians first and foremost, and reasonable only after all other avenues of sapience have been exhaustively explored. With all those bloodthirsty immigrants and terrorists lurking on the horizon these days, declarations of allegiance are like secret passwords and the confident examination of alternatives has been long retired in favor of banner waving, rally crying and mud slinging to all things other.

But, as He said through the words of Isaiah: Come and let us reason together (Isaiah 1:18).

In old Israel, you see, a king was not crowned but anointed into office. The verb for that is masah and an "anointed one" (a king), was called messiah. In Greek this verb is chrio and the corresponding noun is christus (from whence comes our word Christ).

When in 63 BC the Roman general Pompey put an end to the royal Jewish Hasmonean dynasty, nationalistic Jews arose who resisted the Roman occupation, and aimed to reinstate a Jewish king on the throne of Judea (see John 6:15). Since the world at that time spoke Greek, such a Jewish king would have been known as christus. These nationalistic Jews in turn would have been known as christianos or Christians; those pertaining to the anointing. When Jesus arrived and it became clear that nobody but He was the real Christus, things became complicated.

In the Bible, all people who held a unique office had unique names. That's why there are only one Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, David and Solomon in the Bible. The name Jesus, on the other hand, was as common as Bobby is to us today. That means something.

Anybody who held any intellectual clout in the old world adopted as surname the place where he enjoyed his formative education or held his signature sway. That's why we speak of Paul of Tarsus, Archimedes of Syracuse, Simon of Cyrene and Hypathia of Alexandria. The biographers of Jesus (who knew what they were doing, I must insist) didn't tie Him to Bethlehem (to subscribe to His royal descent) or even Jerusalem (to accentuate His intellectual leaning) but to Nazareth, and Nazareth was either such an obscure hamlet that no other writer of that time mentions it, or else it's not a town at all but rather a moniker that means "Scattered".

In other words: the name Jesus of Nazareth perfectly paraphrases as John Doe from Anywhere, and a reader without bias or preconception may surely be forgiven to conclude that the gospel writers deployed this name as literary device to make their central points extra very clear.

The gospel of Jesus explains that the ultimate manifestation of humanity lies not in an empire in which every individual is subject to the whims of one deified emperor (even if he was dubbed King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Son of God, Savior of the World, as was Augustus, who reigned when Jesus was born; again no coincidence) but rather in the autonomy of every human individual, whatever named, wherever from. For humanity to reach its ultimate potential, every human must be an anointed king: someone without an earthly superior, someone wholly free and therefore entirely responsible for his or her own actions.

The authors of the New Testament overly explained that the followers of Jesus do not pertain to the anointing but partake in the anointing (2 Corinthians 1:21, Hebrews 1:9, 1 John 2:20). And please let that sink in: Pertainers to the anointing are not the anointed king but support the anointed. Followers of Jesus do not support the anointed but are anointed. They are Christs.

The Greek word christianos occurs three times in the Bible:
  • In Acts 11:26 the author notes that in Antioch the followers of Jesus were first called Christians. That's usually explained as referring to the birth of the word, but obviously the author expresses his frustration about their divine liberation movement being confused with some noisy political party.
  • In Acts 26:28 Paul reasons with Herod Agrippa, after which the king snickers that Paul is so convincing that he might actually turn him into a christianos. This is sort of half-funny because although Herod's family ruled Judea as puppet kings, they were Idumean and not Jewish, and doubtlessly suffered their share from nationalistic opposition.
  • In 1 Peter 4:14-16 it's made even more clear: If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed. Don't get into a situation in which you might be accused of being a murderer, thief or evildoer (simply by not being one), but if misinformed folks start calling you christianos, then take courage in the name Christ (and obviously not in christianos). 

Followers of Jesus are not Christians but Christs. Not some distant emperor but every Christ is Son of God and Savior of the World. Not some leader in a fortress somewhere will guide us to the New Jerusalem but the liberty and autonomy of every person under God. The Creator Himself communicates directly into the heart of everyone who is anointed with the Holy Spirit, and there is no authority higher than that.

After the Jewish revolt of 66-70 AD, three centuries followed in which the Roman empire attempted to subdue the most corroding revolt of all: the belief that one individual -- any individual -- mattered and had value, even as much value as the next dude, even if that were the emperor. The Roman Empire could only function if its subjects shivered in fear for their leadership and asked no questions. Talk of abolishing all rule, and all authority and power (1 Corinthians 15:24) and "don't call anyone your leader" (Matthew 23:10) was treason of the highest order and detrimental to the Roman state machinery.

But this idea proved so attractive to the plebs that no amount of slaughter and torture could kill it and make it stay dead; it kept resurrecting! These people had no leader to assassinate, no capital to sack, no regalia to desecrate. They sprouted up everywhere, like green grass amidst the boulders of Rome's temples. They ignored political borders like birds on their trek. They worshiped nobody but the actual Creator alone. They studied nature to learn of the divine (Romans 1:20) and wouldn't hear of the magic rituals that kept belief in the empire going.

Constantine the not-so-great
Finally, in the fourth century, aspiring-emperor Constantine had a brilliant idea. If he couldn't bring Moses to the mountain, he would bring the mountain to Moses. If these terrible rebels wouldn't succumb to the personality cult of the Caesar, he would make the cult succumb to them! And so Constantine made John Doe from Anywhere the impromptu Caesar.

It took some work, but with the help of large numbers of scholars, Christianity was formalized to fit precisely the mold of Roman Imperial Theology and to seamlessly take over its primary function: the control of the masses.

It was announced that there were no myriads of anointed free individuals, there was only one: the Christ, the emperor of the universe in whose direct stead the earthly Caesars ruled. All other people had to bow down and obey the one and only Christ who was represented by the emperor for everybody's convenience.

The relationship between the one and only Christ and the Creator and His Spirit was explained in such a way that monotheism was effectively abandoned. The Trinitarian dogma solved a problem that had never occurred to anyone in the thousand years of Judaism, and although it was wholly artificial, it also neatly provided a parallel between the new faith and the old Capitoline Triad, which was worshiped in the heart of Rome.

The Capitoline Triad
The "descent into hell" of Jesus likewise is not discussed anywhere in Scriptures and is nothing but a revival of familiar Greco-Roman myth.

Shepherds don't abide in the field in dead winter, yet the birth of the Christ was stuck to the year's shortest day, following the cult of Sol Invictus.

Likewise Easter was Astarte's spring festival reloaded.

The word saint, in the Bible consistently applied to all believers, became a religious rank. Its blessed cluster quietly usurped the familiar image of demi-gods that once surrounded the throne of Jupiter in praise.

The highest good in this new Christianity was compliance to the social order and thus its leadership. That is why in most Christian churches people sit or stand in neat rows, listening to one preacher without the right to engage him or challenge his thoughts. This arrangement is not natural (God-made) but mimics the philosophies behind the modus operandi of a Roman legion.

Jesus' most central message of individual freedom via inspiration by the Holy Spirit was simply erased and was replaced by esoteric knowledge that had to be studied. Its fraternity of practitioners became society's new elite, and entry into its embrace was governed by elaborate rituals that revived the magic of yester years.

People today are tempted to think that the main struggle on earth is faith versus science, or Islam versus Christianity, or greenlings versus McDonalds, but no. The most fundamental and most cosmic struggle on earth is that of autonomous individual versus empire, also known as, you guessed it: Christ versus Antichrist.

You can recognize a typical empire by its leadership cult, its disdain for the common bloke and the uniforms he is made to wear to nullify his individuality. You'll recognize an empire by its rigid organizational manifesto and insistence on membership administration and ranks, labels, categories, stamps and passes, symbols, and usually a wide spectrum of elaborate promises and oaths by either the representatives or else the replacements of God on earth.

You can recognize free individuals by the absence of all these things and the blind hate imperialists have for them.

Look at the house-style of the Nazis. It's precisely the same as that of Caesarean Rome, and the only difference between Hitler and Augustus is that Augustus won.

Both Rome and Germany hated Jews, because both worshiped their machine-like state and Jews embodied something beyond political non-compliance and subversion: the worship of only the Creator.

People like that can't be opposed, debated or enticed. You can't convert them into the state religion because these people aren't religious to begin with. That is why the exasperated 1st century Roman historian Cassius Dio could call atheism "a charge on which many others who drifted into Jewish ways were condemned" (67.14).

It's nice to be liked, but there are more important things than that. You'll have to crawl away from a beating now and then, but by God don't kneel to any regime, not to the Romans, not to the Germans, not to any of them. We belong to God, and we stand continuously in His presence, blameless with great joy.

Don't pertain, partake!


  1. Yes Constantine was a control freak who has lead many astray. But this religious system is thankfully being rejected. However the trinity is in Genesis 1 -3 verse 1 God verse 2 The Holy Spirit verse 3 The Word Yeshoua. Shalom truth seeker.

  2. Hey Anika, of course the relation between the Father, Son and Spirit is pretty solid (as per the texts you refer to and many more) but I think that the Trinitarian Dogma does not describe this relation accurately. In fact, I think that the nature of the One and Only God was forcibly shoehorned into the Triad. Nobody in 1,500 years of Bible writing spoke about the Trinity the way the Trinitarian Dogma does. It's artificial and contrived and is of little virtue.

  3. So when using our words, as weapons or as healing (our tools), does evoking the name of Jesus have power or not? Someone full of Spirit may not need the name, but if you're under bandage... There is freedom in the name. Is it simply the belief that it is so?

  4. This is a most interesting read. It seems to have overshot the runway but it only seems..the concept of trinity was nevery mentioned in the bible and it's contrivance is just man's attempt to describe a mystery that is beyond us. God is God and he transcends counting, numbering, description and his attributes are invisible and not yet revealed to us so "trinity" is a manageable approximation by man. I honestly believe that we ain't seen nothing yet. Jesus the Christ is probably the part of God that was humbled to deal with man so we dont get incinerated by the majesty of all of God. Maybe just maybe. We know in part


Be nice.

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