30
Sep
08

Jesus the Grifter

So, it was brought to my attention recently through the comment thread at another blog that Jesus was the ultimate con-man.

Imagine my surprise. Well, that’s it. I’m going to stop doing this blog and renounce Jesus.

Or not.

Look, I understand a lot of folks don’t buy into Jesus’ divinity. But as much as I can see how they come to their views, I find the notion that Jesus was a kook—who gathered around himself 12 easily led automatons who mass-hallucinated his return from the dead—far, far more believable than Jesus as con-man.

But hey, let’s entertain the notion for a moment. For Jesus to have been the ultimate con-man, here’s what he had to pull off (mind you, this mixes the skills sets of a grandmaster stage magician, con artist, orator, community organizer and master manipulator):

  • Jesus had to convince not only his followers, but also a priesthood and government (both of which were predisposed to think him a fraud), that he could cure obvious ailments (blindness, leprosy and paralysis).
  • He had to convince his immediate followers that he was able to calm storms in pretty much an instant, as well as cause food to multiply.
  • He had to convince a lot of Hebrews that he was the messiah and that a healer and teacher would be the messiah, at a time when the kind of messiah people wanted was a leg-breaker and sword-swinger who would get rid of the Romans.
  • He had to survive a brutal beating after being condemned to death but before being crucified, without once giving into the temptation to save himself possibly by recanting the notion that he had declared himself the son of God.
  • He had to fake his death on the cross, arrange to be buried alive, and then be spirited away before he died wrapped up in his tomb.
  • He had to convince his apostles that he could walk through a wall, after they thought he was dead, and perform other tricks and convince them they were real miracles.
  • He had to fake his ascension into heaven.
  • He had to do all of this so convincingly that his remaining 11 apostles would risk their lives for years to preach that he was the risen son of God.

Wow!

That’s a lot of risk for a guy to go through for a con, don’t you think? And pretty hard to pull all that off without slipping up over a three-year period. And let’s see, for all that effort and risk to life and limb, his ultimate goal was, um…hold on…whoa…yeah.

Folks, the only reason to pull off a deliberate con that elaborate is to get something fantastic out of the deal. Power. Money. Prestige.

By being dead, Jesus couldn’t enjoy any of those things. And if he was “fake dead,” then how was he profiting or going to cash in? From the loads of money that the early church was raking in? Oh, that’s right, the early church was mostly struggling not to get wiped out by the Romans and the Jews, and it wasn’t anywhere near the fabulously wealthy thing we see with Protestant mega-churches and the Roman-Catholic Vatican.

Yeah, ultimate con-man indeed.

Don’t be fooled folks. If you want to believe Jesus was a nut (rude, but I’ll forgive you) or that he didn’t exist (doubtful, given the historical record), fine.

But con-man?

Give me a break. It sounds good as a soundbite from a non-believer and it might sound good to another non-believer who doesn’t bother to think things through.

Me, I’m not conned.

(Image: “Christ in Profile” by Georges Rouault)

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2 Responses to “Jesus the Grifter”


  1. October 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I meant to tell you a few days back that I enjoyed this post immensely.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    October 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks, man.

    BTW, I’m going to try to get one more “Cleansed By Fire” installment out before you leave town, if I can. If not, you know where to find anything you missed when you come back from the “vacay”, particularly now that I have that portal page going.


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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