As a crusader of liberation of man and not a performer of miracles
The real Jesus Christ and what is professed today by the Church or Christianity at large today is like Chalk and Cheese. Today we celebrate Christmas, but we forget to give the day true respect. The Christian community immortalizes Jesus Christ for performing miracles like turning wine into water or resurrecting from the grave .Historically after the collapse of the Roman Empire the oligarchy of the Church became more powerful and morally as repressive. patronizing opressor classes. Who can forget the great crusades, the Spanish inquisition or even the Church giving shelter to the Nazi generals in World War 2.
Today whatever the great teachings of Christianity in essence the Church is blessed or blesses capitalism. It supports the worldwide trend of Islamaphobia and endorses many imperialist projects.It also in in an organised way launches a vendetta against all scientific thought like Darwin’s theory of evolution or Steve Hawkins .The church today is simply a tool of the opressive ruling classes, endorsing all profit motive.
However we must not confuse the teachings and life of Jesus with the practices of later Christianity or the Church. Without doubt he was crusader for the liberation of humanity or even a revolutionary in his own right. Who can forget how he confronted the Jewish moneylenders by destroying the very temple and openly condemned their exploitation of the common man. Historically very few have dealt such a striking blow in the very belly of the opressors as Jesus. He had powerfully idealistic overtones when preaching ‘Love thy enemy’ but also had Communistic shades when advocating ‘Love thy neigbour’ which imbibes teaching of serving the people.He galvanised poor masses in the manner of a revolutionary .This very feature inspired advocates of liberation Theology. In recent times many church priests have supported the revolution in Phillipines or even in Latin American countries.
Historians need to delve into the root causes of how team of crusaders for liberation turned into a ruthless oligarchic or opressive bureaucracy.
Ofcourse we have to respect views like those of Bertrand Russel who in a most subtle manner launched a tirade against the hypocrisy of Christianty.However he praised Christ as a monumental figure as a crusader for serving humanity. Ironically however much they condemned organised religion even Marx and Engels foresaw some revolutionary or humanistic leanings of Jesus. On the other hand today we have Scientific atheists today like Richard Dawkins who oppose social revolution. Today I would visualize the same Jesus at the very root confronting Operation Green Hunt in India, professing secularism to defeat Hindutva fascism ,launching a crusade against Multinationals and other manifestations of globalization, supporting the movements of the workers and peasantry and the war designs of imperialist nations. Whatever the invention of miracles the Bible recounts many instance of Jesus championing the poor .Even if Marxists are atheists they should not condemn those who belie in Christ, but attempt to mobilize them into joining collective causes against opression.
Today we have to strike a balance with supporting the progressive elements in Christianity and the Church and attacking the unscientific aspects of religion .We can reproduce the writings of Darwin,Bertrand Russel or Steve Hawkins in golden letters but need not blindly attack Christianity. Instead we should glorify the positive aspect of the Christian struggle for liberation against Rome. Wholeheartedly we should expose events like the Spanish inquisition but glorify how in recent times the Church has come to the side of revolutionary movements. Father Stan Swamy is a living example. No way can Jesus be classed as a Communist as capitalism did not prevail in his era and very primitive feudalism. Still while rejecting concepts like Miracles the Bible could be an invaluable source of research for progressive historians.
Jesus being crucified on the cross, symbolizes a crusader laying his life to liberate humanity from tyranny and even his teaching ‘forgive them for they do not know what they are doing’ is an expression of his mission to change the very soul of man.Ofcourse there are ambiguous positions like ‘turning your cheek ‘to your neighbour or enemy which compromise revolutionary spirit .A positive aspect of Christ was his experience in revolutionizing the ‘inner self’ .Without a spiritual change a true revolution cannot be launched.The ‘Semon on the Mount’ is an ideal example when he tapped the soul at the very core. I have no doubt that today Jesus would have been a major crusader against imperialism and capitalism. In a subtle manner it was revolutionary Che Guevera who emulated many attributes if Jesus.
Today we have to ressurect spirit of Jesus in accordance with the neo-global imperialist fascist offensive striking the world and explore those elements in Christianity that re coherent with creating a genuine liberated society. It is pertinent that many great Marxist revolutionaries were originally Christian liberation theologians. Thus it is not the physical Jesus resurrecting but his spirit blazing to liberate humanity.
Quoting chairman Joma Sison of National Democratic Front of Phillipines “I agree with the proposition that the tradition of Jesus Christ as social revolutionary is in dire need of resurrection against the Christian Right. There are certain acts and words of Jesus that side with the poor and powerless and that there are those that side with those in authority and condone the wealthy. But communists can have for allies Christians who are inspired by Jesus as a social revolutionary. Thus, the Christians for National Liberation (an association of Catholics and Protestants) is a major ally of the CPP within the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Although Christianity was a tool of Spanish colonialism for ruling the Philippines, the martyrdom of the Filipino priests(Gomez, Burgos and Zamora) generated national consciousness against the colonizers. Many Filipino priests joined the Philippine revolution against Spanish colonialism and against their Spanish religious superiors. The principle of continuing the unfinished Philippine revolution towards national liberation, democracy and socialism guides the Christians for National Liberation. The adherents of this organization and movement find support from the Constitution of the Modern Church (Mater et Magistra), proclaimed by the Vatican in the 1960s, which promotes ecumenism that means dialogue and cooperation among Christians, other believers in God and nonbelievers (including atheists). CPP cultural cadres quote from the New Gospel of Christianity todo propagit aamong the Christian masses and metaphorical artistic works and performances which avail of the figure and story of Christ as social revolutionary. The meeting ground of the communists and the Christians is the second great commandment which states, “Love thy neighbor” which also means “Serve the people”.
Quoting comrdae Mercedes Sanchez “If Jesus really existed, he was undoubtedly a social reference for questioning the society of that time. Today, he would probably be in Delhi with the farmers, or in the northeast defending the citizenship of minorities, or in Kerala fighting against pseudo-communists who use the same tactics as the extreme right for their own benefit. Any religion only causes problems even if it is lived differently in each country.What really matters in his thoughts has been twisted by the church covered with an incredible hypocrisy and nowadays…many are confused about him. There are those who confuse Jesus and Christianity and reject him instead the institution.”
“Remember that Catholic celibacy was not established until the 12th century and it was out of lust as a pope upon being rejected decided that if he could not have sex with whom he desired, no one would. It was then, when the internal struggles for power increased and there were three popes at the same time fighting for power and control of the rich Catholic Church. That struggle lasted about forty years if I remember correctly. Since then and until the 20th century, things have not changed much. There have been schisms in Christianity creating divisions. Catholicism is the most traditional and conservative school. Its norms are brutal for today’s society but fortunately for the Church and the Catholic believers, in the 20th century there were those who, getting up the courage, decided that this had to change and started a new current called “liberation theology” whose members were rusticated by the Vatican but never stopped practicing as priests even though they had partners, children and social struggles ( Stan could very well be one of them). They participated in the social revolutions in Cuba, Honduras, El Salvador, Brazil, Nicaragua….people like Camilo Torres, Ellacuría, Helder Camera, Claudio Cardenal… and many others.””
Quoting blog Necessity and Freedom in article ‘Re-Proletarianisation of Jesus’
“t was this Jesus, so admired by Eugene Debs and the author Bouck White, who penned the first radical interpretation of Jesus in his Call of the Carpenter, that must be resuscitated. Both Debs and White considered the message of Jesus, which had cultivated a small but devoted following as striking fear into the hearts of the religious and political powers of Jesus’ day. According to Debs, this was the reason for Jesus’ execution.”
He denounced the profiteers, and it was for this that they nailed his quivering body to the cross and spiked it to the gates of Jerusalem, not because he told men to love one another. That was a harmless doctrine. But when he touched their profits and denounced them before their people he was then marked for crucifixion.”
“He denounced the profiteers, and it was for this that they nailed his quivering body to the cross and spiked it to the gates of Jerusalem, not because he told men to love one another. That was a harmless doctrine. But when he touched their profits and denounced them before their people he was then marked for crucifixion.”
“Historically we know that this interpretation is correct, due to the fact that crucifixion was a punishment for a political crime against the State, not religious heresy. Jesus was executed because he was leading a nascent peasant and artisan based revolution in a region of the Roman Empire that was under less stringent controls due to its lack of proximity to Rome. The tradition of the radical Jesus also posits that the destruction of the temple, and the tearing of the curtain, after Jesus’ death was not a supernatural event, but a riot launched by followers and sympathizers right in the seat of the regional religious and political power.”
“But what does this mean in our contemporary setting? Because religion is still with us, especially now that Christianity serves as a part of the dominant ideological state apparatus used to oppress the masses, we must soberly grapple with our own interpretations of Jesus. For communists I find this question to be negligibly important. However, I do believe it is important for us to challenge the prevailing narrative, so often used to justify the existing economic and political order, on its own terms, but with a revived counter-narrative based in a biblical tradition that is just as revolutionary as it is spiritual. Even in our own secular political tradition, which correctly eschews religious dogma, many revolutionaries which we admire were at least formally like Jesus. Both Lenin and Mao operated on the peripheries of empire, and based themselves amongst the poor and downtrodden, just as Jesus did.”
“Unlike today’s Christians, many of which often uphold the “justness” of our own society, the communists are the ones who advocate for the end of the exploitation of labor, for the radical transformation of social relations, and for a mass emancipatory movement to smash the old society and build a new one, as Jesus himself did. The radical Jesus, whether we believe in the supernatural elements of Christianity or not, is an integral part of our own revolutionary tradition, one that is in dire need of resurrection.”
EXAMPLES OF JESUS AS A CRUSADER AGAINST ENEMIES
And what did Jesus have to say about the exploitation of Labor, was he on the side of Capital and absentee landlordism as the modern purveyors of right-wing Christianity would have us believe?
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. – James 5:1-6, KJV
Harsh Thakor is a political commentator