Monday, December 21, 2009

Did Jesus say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

People complain about the war on Christmas–that is the much ballyhooed political correction of the winter holidays. Did Jesus say Merry Christmas? Well, of course not. Christmas wasn't a holiday in those times. But would Jesus say Merry Christmas today? From all reports, Jesus often mingled with people who believed differently from himself. It's not likely that he would go out of his way to make people feel uncomfortable. So, if the point of saying Merry Christmas is to insist on one's own beliefs, I'm guessing Jesus was a Happy Holidays kind of guy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Did Jesus travel to India?

Just like Martin Luther King, Jr. learned much from Gandhi, so some have suggested that Jesus learned from the Buddha. A few coincidences make this theory plausible. Firstly, Jesus' life story has a serious gap in it. We see Jesus at birth, when he is a tween and not again until his ministry begins when he is grown man. His story has plenty of time for him to travel by foot or by treacherous sea to India.

The problem is there is nothing we know of that would compel Jesus to do this. One could argue that God told Jesus to go and guided Jesus to the correct person in India, but there is no record on either side of the Indian Ocean to suggest this.

What is more likely is that people have seen the commonalities between Jesus and Buddha and taken it to mean they must have been of one mind. Some have seen this coincidence and thought it proves they were after the same peace, the same God.

Did Jesus Smoke?

Tobacco is a new world crop, so if Jesus did smoke, it wasn't tobacco. There is the possibility that Jesus used marijuana, but even then it wasn't likely in a bong or a pipe or even a joint. Some have even suggested that Jesus' healing was actually a numbing from using cannabis infused oils to anoint those he healed.

Many people ask this question to get a sense as to whether Jesus would condone smoking. There is no evidence that Jesus would call smoking sinful except that smoking often hurts others and can be inconsiderate.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Did Jesus write?

In Ben Franklin's Autobiography, he tells his readers that if they would like to be humble to see Socrates or Jesus as examples. The irony of his statement, probably not lost to Franklin, is that neither of those gentlemen wrote a word of their own story.

Jesus almost certainly knew how to write as many stories have him interpreting the scriptures. In another story he makes marks or writes in the dirt in front of him. If Jesus knew how to write, why didn't Jesus write down his own story rather than let others write it down for him.

Perhaps Jesus didn't see the point of his ministry to be canonized instruction. Or perhaps Jesus was afraid that writing down his own story might lend too much authority to the words and close the door to interpretation.

Or maybe Jesus knew what Franklin knew, humility demands that you not write down your own story.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Did Jesus Give to Charities?

Ignoring the logistical problem that this questions poses–specifically, that there were no charities as we know them today–we can still ask whether Jesus gave his wealth to good causes.

Firstly, Jesus didn't have much in the way of wealth. His ministry was fueled by people along the way. They fed him and gave him a place to stay. Jesus, in that sense, was a charity case.

While Jesus likely had skill as a carpenter, there is no evidence that Jesus ever made much of an income or really engaged in what we might call the formal economy. This would make it difficult for Jesus to give to a charity.

There are cases where Jesus volunteers his time. In fact, this is mostly what we know about Jesus. He went around helping people out, performing miracles, and never asking for money or even credit.

Jesus is a big believer in giving away wealth. He tells one man to sell everything and give it to the poor. The man didn't do it, as far as we know.

Did Jesus give to charities? Wealth, no. Talent and time, yes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Did Jesus Masturbate?

I asked this question to a preacher friend of mine. She reminded me that he was, indeed, fully human... which means he probably did.

But then, Jesus was also without sin, which means no lusting. Well, it's pretty hard not to lust when masturbating. This leaves at an impasse.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Did Jesus Wear Mandals?

While it is well documented that Jesus wore sandals, it is unknown whether those sandals would qualify as mandals. Two schools of thought on the mandals v. sandals debate that still transfixes Bible studies around the world.

The first school of thought holds forth that all sandals in that day were mandals because mandals offer the maximum foot protection among open-toed footwear. Flip-flops and mere sandals came about later once shoes obviated mandals.

The second school points to Jesus's self-imposed poverty. Many people think that both sandals and mandals coexisted in that day and that mandals would have inevitably more expensive. Jesus, being a simple man, would have opted for the less expensive option.

The debate has further been complicated by gladiator sandals. Because the Romans were the occupying oppressors of Jesus's day, it is unlikely that Jesus would wear Roman footwear, but it is also possible that no other styles but gladiator sandals were available.

The truth is, that Jesus wore Jesus sandals–a flimsy shower shoe of a woven sandal.