Christ makes sense from a marketing standpoint

By Corky Thatcher

I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m going to say Christianity is popular. After all, who can think of a manger without thinking of Jesus?

But is it popular because it’s right? Or does Jesus just have one hell of a PR team?

pr is all about selling. Get people to think what you think–about a product or an idea–and stop any criticism or critical thinking the best you can. With television ads, Nike slam-dunks criticism for making their shoes with third-world child labor.

But Christianity goes further: from boycotting films, to burning books, from the Scopes monkey trial to the Spanish Inquisition. Makes you wonder… with this kind of pr and the talent of say, a Jerry Lee Lewis, the sky’s the limit.

Christianity: it’s all PR. Christians ability to limit criticism makes Christianity so popular.

And its adaptations. Country to country Christianity spread by appealing to whatever each community held to be important. Depending on which interpretation of the bible you take–forget one verse, stress another–it can be the perfect religion for you. Gays can forget Leviticus 20:13 and stress the forgiveness in Christianity. Rednecks can do just the opposite. The socialism in Jesus’ teachings appeals to the poor. The self-righteous were sold by the fire and brimstone.

Sure, Jesus was a swell guy. I grant him a high degree of morality. But he wasn’t the most moral person.

He had great ideas that unfortunately many professing Christians ignore. For example, there’s the idea, borrowed from Lao-tse and Buddha 500 to 600 years prior, "whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Even better is: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor."

But however high a degree of moral goodness we grant Christ, as far as wisdom and virtue go, Buddha and Socrates did better. It’s just that Buddha and Socrates don’t have disciples with as good a grasp on rhetoric as Jesus.

Jesus had serious defects in his moral character. The most serious being a belief in Hell. It’s hypocritical to think of Jesus as the most forgiving, tolerant person ever if he believed in eternal punishment.

His vindictive fury against those who ignored his preaching is an attitude unfitting for a sage. Much more fitting is Socrates’ urbane treatment of those would not listen. Unfortunately, indignation is a better base for an organized religion.
Jesus even said things that caused unspeakable amounts of misery. The intolerance can’t be defended. Jesus said that all who speak against him and the Holy Ghost would never be forgiven in this life or the next. No person with much kindness would put that much fear and terror into the world.

Jesus had his faults. Of course, you never hear about it with the work of such an amazing PR team.

But the problem is that if Jesus wasn’t the most moral person who ever lived, how can Christianity be right? How can you be a Christian and not believe that Jesus is the most moral person that ever lived? Even if you don’t believe Jesus was divine, you have to believe that he was the most moral and wisest person… otherwise how can you be a Christian?

You can’t.


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