Jesus: Not The Prophet of Peace and Love, But A Purveyor of Fear and Hate

Jesus: Prophet of Peace and Love or Purveyor of Fear and Hate?

Jesus Christ: The Unsavory Side of His Personality

Multitudes of Christian commentators over the past two millennia have proclaimed the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth to be unsurpassed tenets of spiritual wisdom and unexcelled guidelines for living a morally responsible life. 

Hundreds of millions of devout believers are absolutely convinced that they will conquer death and attain everlasting life because God sacrificed his son for their sins.

They are also convinced that Jesus didn’t really die. He was restored to life and subsequently ascended to heaven to spend eternity with his father, and soon Jesus will return to Earth to judge the wicked and rapture righteous believers up to heaven with him.

Countless books have been written extolling the allegedly commendable features of the “Christian worldview” and the “Christ-centered life,” but, by contrast, few authors have examined the unsavory side of Jesus’ personality and his less than-meritorious behavior and opinions.

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For this presentation, I’ve formulated, in a balanced fashion, two sets of ten principles based on Jesus’ pronouncements. Although his directives come from the canonical gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), additional documentation is abundant elsewhere in the New Testament epistles and letters.

The twenty precepts are listed along with the supporting Bible verses from which they derive. The cited verses and passages appear in this separate article.

This scriptural evidence will enable readers to answer for themselves the binary question that is the title of this article.


NB: This article is not made assuming Jesus literally indeed existed, but an evaluation of the character of the Abrahamic religious texts.

Read more: Did Jesus Exist? Why Doesn't Matter

Prophet of Peace and Love

It’s important to recognize that all of Jesus’ so-called unsurpassed teachings derive from the Hebrew scriptures or commentaries on them, specifically the Mishna, a fact documented by German biblical scholar Arthur Drews more than a century ago. 

Because all of the biographical items in the Jesus composite story were taken from the mythical lives of two dozen earlier savior gods, it can be concluded that there is nothing original in Jesus’ biography or his teachings.

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There is nothing original in Jesus’ biography or his teachings.

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 A pervasive theme in the Gospel is the sharing of possessions by Jesus’ disciples, which is consistent with his denunciation of wealth and his advice to not worry about the necessities of daily living because matters of this world are unimportant.

  1. The universal human duty is to help other people. Everyone has a moral responsibility for the well-being and happiness of others (Matt. 5:42, 25:31-46; Luke 6:30, 14:12- 14).
  2. The obligation to assist others extends to persons who subscribe to different value systems. They deserve the same treatment as friends and family members (Matt. 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-28, 6:35).
  3. The only acceptable form of human interaction is peaceful in nature. There is never any justification for interpersonal aggression or violence (Matt. 5:9, 5:38-39, 26:51-52; Luke 6:29).
  4. Regardless of the misbehavior, other people may commit, and no matter how serious the damage they may do, the only appropriate response is to forgive them (Matt. 6:14-15, 18:21- 22, 18:34-35; Luke 23:34).
  5. The goals in life that should be pursued are personal development and community service, rather than the acquisition of material possessions and wealth (Matt. 6:19-20, 6:24; Mark 10:21; Luke 14:33, 18:22).
  6. Criticism should be reserved for the examination of one’s own faults. No person is qualified to judge the motives of others (Matt. 7:1-5; Luke 6:37, 6:41-42).
  7. Personal enjoyment is an important aspect of human existence. Ceremonies and celebrations that commemorate major events and milestone occasions give life meaning (Matt. 9:10-13, 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 5:29-32, 22:7-14; John 2:1-10).
  8. Spiritual and religious exercises, including prayer, are intensely personal activities that should be conducted in private to be truly meaningful (Matt. 6:5-6, Mark 11:24-26).
  9. A compassionate society will be realized when self-interest becomes the standard by which concern for other people is measured (Matt. 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27).
  10. The infallible rule for monitoring individual behavior is the principle of anticipated reciprocity. We should behave toward others as we prefer to be treated (Matt. 7:12, Luke 6:31).

Purveyor of Fear and Hate

Old Testament law constitutes the foundation for the ethical and behavioral pronouncements of Jesus, as evidenced in his Sermon on the Mount where he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17). 

With God’s severe treatment of children in the Old Testament as the basis (see “God Hates Children,” American Atheist, Second Quarter 2017), Jesus commanded his followers to desert their families and abandon their children to join his missionary effort. 

If these Jesus-sanctioned family values were practiced today, a visit from child protective services would result and an arrest would most likely follow. 

The Old Testament’s patriarchal point of view dominates the sentiments and actions of Jesus that determine the role of women in his ministry. These episodes are too numerous to record exhaustively here, so this list contains but a few of them. 

Slaves fared even worse than women, thanks to Jesus’ unquestioning acceptance of the institution of slavery. 

Eight of his forty parables include servants as prominent figures, and he never condemned this immoral human relationship. Moreover, he explicitly authorized the cruel master-slave relationship when he recommended beating disobedient slaves, even if they are unknowingly disobedient. (Luke 12:47-48: 

The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 

But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.) 

  1. The vast majority of humankind faces an irrevocable eternity of horrific torture for failure to obey inviolable biblical commandments and teachings (Matt. 7:13-14, 7:26-27, 19:17; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26, 13:22-30; John 8:51, 12:48, 15:6).
  2. Sacrificial offerings of innocent creatures are efficacious for the expiation of sin and for healing disease, especially the shedding of human blood for the remission of collective guilt (Matt. 5:23-24, 8:4, 26:28; Mark 10:45, 14:24; Luke 2:22-24, 5:14, 22:20; John 1:29, 3:16, 6:53-54; 1 John 4:10).
  3. To achieve the highest calling in life, acolytes must permanently separate themselves from family members, including parents, siblings, spouses, and children (Matt. 10:34- 37, 12:48-50, 19:29; Mark 3:34-35; Luke 8:19-21, 14:26, 18:29-30).
  4. Children are the possessions of their parents and should be punished severely for their own misbehavior as well as the transgressions of their ancestors (Matt. 10:21, 15:4, 24:19; Mark 7:10, 10:29-30, 13:12, 13:17; Luke 12:51-53, 19:43-44, 23:28-29).
  5. Atonement for sinful thoughts and actions requires the physical mutilation of limbs and eyes, including emasculation to preserve godly purity (Matt. 5:29-30, 18:8-9, 19:11-12; Mark 9:43-49).
  6. Divorce and remarriage are prohibited in almost all circumstances, with the single exception of documented spousal infidelity. Marriage to a divorced person is proscribed (Matt. 5:32, 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18).
  7. Demonstrations of religious dedication include exorcising demons, glossolalic possession, viper-tempting, consuming poison, and faith-healing (Matt. 8:16, 8:28-34; Mark 5:9-17, 16:17-18; Luke 10:8-9).
  8. People can be forgiven for all of their sins, except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which can never be forgiven, because it is the eternal sin (Matt. 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10). 
  9. Acceptable human relationships include communal ownership of property, subordinate status of women, involuntary servitude, and collective punishment (Matt. 10:15, 11:20-24, 27:55-56; Luke 8:1-3, 10:38-42, 11:27-28). 
  10. Those who renounce worldly success, desert family and home, eschew personal needs, and devote one’s mortal life to Jesus will be rewarded with everlasting existence (Matt. 6:19- 21, 6:25, 10:39, 16:25-26, 19:21; Mark 8:35, 10:21; Luke 9:24, 12:22, 14:33, 18:22). 

Analysis and Conclusion

We use logical principles or rules of reasoned thought to reach valid conclusions. One class of strategies for logical reasoning is that of syllogisms, which includes the framework known as the alternative syllogism. In this syllogism, the major premise specifies two alternatives connected by the words “either…or,” where “either” may be inferred. 

If the minor premise affirms one alternative, this does not compel the conclusion that the other alternative must be false. This is because the major premise only restricts the options to two possibilities. 

Contrary to popular misconception, it does not limit the choice to one alternative or the other. In fact, both alternatives may be true at the same time. 

Now we can answer the question posed in the article’s title. Jesus is both a prophet of peace and love and a purveyor of fear and hate. Of course, students of the gospel know that both ten-point portraits are thoroughly accurate, scripture-based summaries of Jesus’ mandates. 

This conclusion is fully supported by the verses and passages cited. It should be pointed out that Jesus did not always obey the instructions he promulgated for others.

For example, he exempted himself from the command to forgive others, because he was perfectly willing to send the majority of humankind to hell forever. And while he condemned interpersonal violence, even in self-defense, he hypocritically incorporated extreme violence into his five Matthean slave parables (Matt. 18:23-35, 21:33-46, 22:2-14, 24:45-51, 25:14-30). 

While the two sets of Jesus’s ethical decrees are clearly not fully compatible with moral visions, just a few precepts and directives are explicitly contradictory. 

As such, they accurately reflect the multiple personality disorder of the mythical central composite character of the gospels. 

Of course, believers will still refuse to acknowledge this biblical truth even when confronted with the overwhelming evidence that Jesus is not an exemplary role model for humanity.

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Brian Bolton

By Brian Bolton

A retired psychologist living in Georgetown, Texas.

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