“Jesus did a trade” – Outreach Media

Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Thoughts | 3 comments

Words. They’re how we communicate. They’re the tool we use to express ourselves and to understand eachother. They allow us to educate and influence people. We can manipulate them to have multiple meanings, or one clear meaning. They are particularly powerful, and are shared by all human societies. Language and words.

Holy books are written in words, and are continuously being read and interpreted by people to decipher their meanings, as if behind the words there is a greater truth than the story presented. There is of course more to the story, these texts having been written by men who had their own agendas, wants and desired outcomes. (See in particular the Council of Nicea and Emperor Constantine where, instead of the purported purpose of the council being to bring everyone together under the “true Christianity”, his desire was to bring about a unity among a disparate kingdom and to be able to live as a human god himself, under whatever guise that took.)

We need to remember that people will tend to interpret texts in a way that confirms beliefs already held, or backs up a viewpoint they wish to push. In this way, the words of the Bible can be read in many different ways, and just about any man’s viewpoint can be reflected in this book.

Outreach Media’s latest poster reads “Jesus did a TRADE His life for yours”. This is obviously an attempt to relate to the workers of the younger generation, those who take up a trade in order to make a living. The pun is terrible, playing on the word “trade” in its two common meanings (“trade” = swap or exchange, and “trade” = an occupation requiring skilled labour). The pun here is twofold, for it’s said Jesus himself was a carpenter (interpretation? Was he also literally a shepherd?) And this “tradie” traded his life so we could live forever.

In the Outreach Media page on this entry, they give their 10 second tretise on trading and the economy, the systems upon which we depend for daily life, and then turn it around to say that none of that matters;

“So if you turn to Jesus now, you will survive when you meet God face to face. Great news indeed!”

Yes that is great news. I feel better already. The biblical verse cited is;

“…you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Peter 1: 18-19)

It’s that old chestnut. God had a son (which is himself), who died on the cross for our sins (which he decided were bad, and caused us to do anyhow) to be reunited with God (himself again), so that we could live forever by his side. And from all this, our hero, Jesus (God) died anyhow. Could this all be misinterpretation? Could the stories from the bible merely be a series of parables, each with an intention in mind? If this is the case, isn’t it also possible that the bible verses which prohibit the ploughing of a field with an ox and an ass simply be a way to tell people how to farm better? That eating seafood is a bad idea when you live in a desert (I mean would you eat the scollops at the Alice Springs pub?)

It seems to me that ALL of the stories of the bible have one of two intentions; to teach people how not to die really early from poisoning or stupidity; and to control the masses, especially women. How we interpret them is up to us, but I can tell you with some certainty that their intentions at the time of writing have been skewed futher by the intentions of those interpreting them historically and today(same goes here for the Koran, which can only be interpreted from Arabic by a male cleric.)

I think when you enter into a debate about the biblical passages with a mindset that humans are and have always been inherently self-interested, the words of the bible take on a new interpretation and meaning. Consider the Council of Nicea, Constantine in charge, trying to bring some sort of unity to the people of the Roman empire. Would he allow the words used in the bible to go against his political aspirations and personal deification? He had total control over the situation, so of course he wouldn’t. He was only interested in stopping the in-fighting inside the empire, chose the coolest religion of the time under whose banner to trumpet his ideas, and made his empire more powerful than ever. The words of God didn’t matter to him if they didn’t match his wants and intents. We can imagine what it must have been like, and because of this, our romanticised ideas about the eccumanical church in the 4th century seem somehow much more human, and less like a fairytale.

Do some research, think for yourself and try to see why people are telling you the things they do. There are motives and intentions behind every action. Everyone wants their interactions with you to have a desired outcome. This is not cynicism, this is fact. Once you get this into your grey matter, the clearer the intentions of these stories become.

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  1. I’ve eaten loads of scallops, oysters, baramundi, and prawns at pubs in Alice Springs… never had a single upset tummy. ;)

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    • Haha yes well maybe I should have said “… if there was no refrigeration” :)

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  2. Nice one Marti – “Do some research, think for yourself and try to see why people are telling you the things they do” is great advice :)

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