Byron, a good on-line friend of mine, shared this paper with me. Actually, at over 100 8-1/2"x11" pages, it's more of a book than a paper. Byron sent it to me and asked me to read it. So, I felt a little obligated. I'm always in the middle of two or three books at a time. So, it took me a couple of months to get to it. But, when I did. Wow! There are some very "dangerous" ideas in this paper. Once I started reading it, I could barely put it down.
Basically, the paper is about the historical or pre-Easter Jesus as he is often called. The author uses the term "Joshua Ben Adam" (Jesus- son of man) to differentiate between that Jesus and the Jesus "created" by the church "Joshua Ben Parthenos" (Jesus- son of a Virgin). The author is insistent that the assertion that Jesus being G-d Himself, being born of a Virgin and being omniscient and omnipotent actually minimizes the important of His life, death and resurrection. I found the article fascinating and and extremely practical in how we deal with each other on a day-to-day basis and how we deal with the concept of G-d.
Here is a passage from the document to give you an idea about it. This is about G-d, not Jesus. But, it'll give you an idea of the thinking of the author.
I've put the paper up here in PDF format. You can download it and read it. Click on the arrow to the right of the file to download it. I'd love to discuss it with you. Oops. Someone told me that wasn't working for them. Try this link. Joshua Ben Adam
God can be a Dangerous Idea
Any vision of God which is other than the supremely human God is an appalling danger to humanity. The idea of God as a non-human, vertical, authority is the most destructive weapon ever let loose on the earth. Where atheism has destroyed its millions, theism has destroyed its tens of millions. In God's name the worst tyrannies and inhumanities are legitimized by becoming sacralized.
Let the idea of God being a vertical authority above us be accepted, let the idea that this relationship takes precedence over human relationships be accepted, then the door is wide open for every human atrocity, tyranny, deprivation of liberty and destruction of human rights. This is how a sensitive human being like Saul of Tarsus got caught up dragging Christians in chains before the authorities. He put devotion to his God before human obligations. In the same way good men got involved in torturing people in the Inquisition or carrying out Pogroms against the Jews. For sure they were human enough to hurt as they kicked against the goads of their own human consciousness, but the higher authority called God made them do these inhuman things.
Calvin agonized over burning Servertus at the stake. This bloody intolerance was not behavior true to Calvin's own human nature. For sure he had to violate his own human sensitivities to do it, but allegiance to a higher authority which he worshipped as God made him do it. As long as a vertical authority called God is separated from our horizontal relationships to our fellow humans the agony of doing inhuman things in God's name will be repeated.
"For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." (Romans 7:19). Millions have been slain and continue to be slain in God's name. At this very moment somewhere on earth someone is being hacked up or blown up in God's name.
God is absolutely the most destructive idea let loose on this planet. This idea has caused more war, bloodshed, misunderstandings, strife, tyranny and terror than anything else. Nothing has held people in so much darkness, bondage or blocked human progress so much as the idea of God.
Christians have thought the world was in darkness through want of the Christian God. So they have gone out to convert the world to the God of original sin, hell and blood atonement. A God of blood savagery and total vindictive revenge, dressed up in garments of love and mercy, produced a totalitarian system which has survived the collapse of every other totalitarian system. Why? Because it sacralized its rule and kept people captive with the idea of God.
Anyone who can't see that the idea of God is dangerous, bloody dangerous, hasn't read any history and doesn't realize the appalling amount of crimes against humanity done in his name. And it has not stopped. The world today is a powder keg because there is an idea of God between the ears of millions of people that's more dangerous than all the explosives you could muster in this world.
That many want to dress this idea of God up in a benevolent guise makes no difference. It may be worse because, in the guise of 'God is Love', the idea becomes more seductively dangerous to human freedom and existence. It is safer to believe in no God at all than to believe in this God above, that is, in this God of the vertical dimension.
Of course, we are dumb fools if we fail to acknowledge the source of all this inhumanity done in God's name. It is because God is made to be an authoritarian, non-human reality. This always works to take away our freedom, destroy the possibility of loving others and turns us into the image and likeness of beasts.
Joshua ben Adam laid the ax at the roots of the vertical order with a new doctrine which put a supremely human God on the human level of freedom and love. His image and likeness is not seen anywhere else.
If God is not an authoritarian figure above the human horizontal line, then nothing else is above that line to demand from us blind obedience, submission and loss of human freedom. There is no Bible, Creed, hierarchy or religious laws that can exercise an authoritarian rule over us. Whatever is human may stand on the line of equality with us, but every other icon must be placed beneath our feet. (Psalms 8:3-6)