In order to respond to this pertinent question ‘did God send Jesus’ let’s pay heed to the very words of the master found in the Gospel of John 17:21. During this prayer to God the Father, Jesus expresses hope that the world will know that he was sent by God.
that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
According to Jesus unbelievers will know; that God had sent him when they observe the love and unity within the Christian community. The implication is that they will then convert to Christianity out of admiration. If it is genuine then Jesus was sent by God and a powerful argument is born to convince skeptics that Jesus; must be the Son of God, his love is an awesome thing to experience and Christianity “is” thus the only “true” religion.
However the converse also applies if love and unity is not found in Christianity then God did not send Jesus. So are Christians completely at consensus with each other as Jesus has prayed for and do they love outsiders (unbelievers, gays, atheists, skeptics etc.)? Does Jesus live in them and do they live in Jesus? And does Jesus really love you as an outsider to the faith, if you reject him?
There are many different cultures, ethnic and language groupings under the Christian banner and as a result of this one would not expect there to be conformity but one would nevertheless expect to find Christians united in fulfillment of this prayer of Jesus. But to any outside observer Christians are anything but united. According to Jesus if he was sent by God there would only be ONE united Christian Church. But there is not. There are many Christian Churches competing for your dutiful allegiance, hard earned tithes and offerings.
Even the main tenets of Christian dogma are disputed between: Catholics and Protestants and Orthodox and Pentecostals and Charismatics and Liberals and Evangelicals. They are all at odds with each other. Each one thinking they have the true revelation from God. Each one has valid point’s criticizing the other ones position.
Some believe in the Genesis creation story while others accept theistic evolution. Some believe in the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection while others do not. Some believe the Bible is to be taken literally others do not think that is wise in today’s scientific world. Some think that the Pope is Gods representative on earth others think he is the devils representative.
Some believe Jesus has already come back again, others think he will come back again before the tribulation or in the middle or at the end. Some think Jesus can heal today others say miracles ended in apostolic times. Some say you must speak to God in angelic tongues, others say that is not necessary. Some say you must go to Church, others believe that is not necessary as where ever you are; is the Church.
Some believe in the trinity others think that it is wrong to do so. Some think that Jesus is God (Jesus only) others that Jesus is the Son of God and some think that he is God the Son. Some think that you must baptize converts by total submersion in water and only if they are at the age of understanding others think sprinkling water on babies is okay.
Some say you must go to purgatory (pre heaven) before heaven and only if you are in their Church. Others say you must be “born again” and you will be married to Jesus in heaven – even if you were a serial killer or mad dictator before you became “born again.” To some churches homosexuality and woman preachers are kosher while in some others it is of the devil.
The problem within Christian circles is not only division, but divisiveness, within congregations as well as between (and within) denominations. If there are a hundred people in a particular congregation you would find almost just as many different interpretations of God and his will. Every one has his own pet doctrine, idea and opinion. Christianity is whatever you want it to be. Go to any large Town and you will find four Churches of different persuasions opposite each other at the same four-way intersection vying for your allegiance. In some Towns you will find congregations splitting in two or more parts as elders rebel and start new daughter churches in defiance of oversight.
The truth is that Christianity has never been a monolithic faith. Even in apostolic times the different apostles opposed one another. Paul and Apollo did not sit at the same table. Paul did not submit to Peter, James and John’s revelation of Christianity and vice versa. Even Churches under Paul’s oversight were racked with disunity, division and “false teaching”.
Paul in acknowledgement of this disunity does damage control by reprimanding the divided Corinthian church by saying to them that they have chopped up Christ into little pieces. In a pathetic attempt to engender unity to the “body of Christ” he asserts, despite evidence to the contrary that there is only one God, one Jesus, one baptism and one Church. Despite Paul’s and many other Christian apologists desperate efforts down through the centuries this lack of Christian consensus does not impress convince or persuade any outsider to believe that Jesus was sent by God; rather the contrary, Jesus remains hidden by all the confusion. Where is he? If God sent him the whole world would know.
In fact the obvious disunity, division and schisms are proof that Christianity is man made and not divine. The body of Christ has not been built by God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost, but by men. The gates of hell were not needed to bring the walls of the Church tumbling down the unfulfilled prayer of Jesus has sufficed. The Church is supposed to be the “body of Christ” with Jesus as the head. But that is not the case as the thirty six thousand different Christian Churches (and counting) bare testimony to the fact that there must be thirty six thousand different and competing : Lord Jesus Christ’s, baptisms, faiths, Father Gods, “bodies of Christ”, creeds etc Which one is the true one? Which one was sent by God?
Many honest Christians accept that there is no unity within Christianity and this understanding motivates them to pray for unity – alas in vain. Embarrassed Christian apologists tell us that they are already united by; having one Lord and one Father and one Baptism. But that is not really true because the Church IS divided and that makes the prayer of Jesus look stupid. We have a hard enough time understanding one another living in today’s world. We disagree about everything and we are constantly correcting misunderstandings about what we have said. So it stands to reason that this prayer of Christ’s set up Christianity to fail.
The only way Christians can wriggle out of this conundrum is for God to reveal himself today on the great issues that divide Christianity. Let Jesus and God reveal himself to us like he/they did to the apostles. In the meantime, the disunity within Christianity illuminates the fact that the Holy Spirit failed in his mission to bring unity down through the centuries. This fact provides more than sufficient evidence that God did NOT send Jesus.
When faith and not evidence is the basis for what you think then anything, you imagine to be true can be believed. And when your subjects are superstitious, gullible and illiterate they will believe anything you tell them. In the next part we will expose the other half of the unity/love issue to scrutiny and see if Christian love is deep, real and vital or superficial, fake and imagined.
In John 17 we showed how the prayer of Jesus had failed as regarding unity in the Church. The Church is not anything but unified hence God sent Jesus. The other side of the unity/love coin if you may is Christian love. When outsiders see Christian love, they will know that God sent Jesus. Let us hope that love passes our analysis and does not fail like unity as proof did.
At the time of Jesus people lived in a barbaric, harsh and loveless world. So in order to stand out from the competing faiths Christians were ordered to reveal the “Love of God” to all and sundry. God, brothers in Christ, enemies and even the unlovable were to be unconditionally loved by professing Christians. This God kind (agape) of unconditional love is, from above, from God himself and is not a normal kind of love. Does this command make any sense at all and do Christians love as God said they must as proof that God sent Jesus?
The bottom line is that Christians are enjoined by their faith to love others, regardless of how badly that person has gone wrong; they think that, by the grace of God, that that person could someday be brought to disconnect themselves from their sin by repentance and salvation. Thus the motive for charitable acts of love is ultimately to create more Christians.
Taken literally, this means that Christians are enjoined to love, say, people who throw acid into the faces of little girls to keep them from going to school. Indeed, Christians are enjoined to love tyrants, serial killers, traffickers in sexual slavery, corrupt politicians, terrorists, fanatics, con men who cheat the elderly out of their life savings, Sangomas who carry out human baby sacrifice etc.
This is one of the many cases where Christianity, by setting up an impossible and undesirable ideal creates conditions that guarantee self-deception, hypocrisy and failure. Jesus by calling his followers to love everybody has set them up for a fall, just as he did with his command for unity:
Dear Christian I am talking to you, can you in all sincerity love someone like Zimbabwean murderer tyrant Robert Mugabe, or Libyan murderer tyrant Gaddaffy or Syrian murderer tyrant Assad – If not you have failed God and if you can you have failed man kind and don’t tell me God does it through you because that is nonsense as you are supposed to be God’s witness on earth.
Christian love is very superficial and in practice is anything but unconditional. It is love without empathy. The only things we can love while not empathizing with them are inanimate objects. Any other object of our love is something (someone) that we deeply empathize with. Christian love seems to be an instance of professing and cheering.
Christian love in practice is conditional and most Christians only “love” you; if you look like them, think like them and believe their particular version of nonsense (doctrine) and follow their particular rules and regulations. Ask Jews, Muslims, blacks and atheists if Christians love them and you will be surprised at the answer. The average Christian calls; atheists “Satan worshippers”, Jews “Christ killers” and Muslims “spawn of the devil” and no way will they mix with people of color. They have their own Churches. If you are a; fornicator, gay, alcoholic, drug addict, Goth, un-teachable, doubter, unbeliever, heretic etc. you will be kicked out of fellowship (with love).
Catholics and Protestants hate each other. How do we know this? Easy they do not fellowship together. They have fought wars against one another, thankfully in the past. Apart from wars the same applies with the smorgasbord of thirty six thousand different Christian Churches. They are competitive religious rivals and are in opposition to one another so how can they love each other? Do you really think one Church is impressed with another Church stealing their members? What about competing Pastors vying for some authority and prestige from the only pulpit in the Church? Do you really think they love one another? Do you really think any Senior Pastor or Tele Evangelist will take kindly to some upstart muscling in on his territory? There is more love between Mafia gangsters than in you average Christian assembly.
Christ’s love in practice is also conditional and depends on you accepting him. If you reject him as the Son of God, due to lack of concrete evidence, you will spend your eternity being tortured in hell for the finite crime of unbelief. How can that ridiculous outcome even be construed as love? So Jesus only loves you, if you love him. If you reject him, his love cannot save you from hell. Unconditional love would love you even if you reject him. You would be in heaven even if you did not respond to his love. That is true love. The Christ kind of love is manipulative and based on the “fear” of God and not the much lauded, fantasized and imagined “love” of God.
Christians fantasize about the love of God. It is not real. It is imagined. It is an ideal. They believe that the perfect concept of love is found in Jesus (God) who died for us on a cruel Roman cross. This is the pinnacle of divine love and it heals, gives a reason for living, makes you worthy and lasts for eternity. In fact, the Bible reveals to us that it is the love of God that draws us to him.
This love is so wonderful that it cannot be measured or understood. Jesus is the most worthy being in the universe. He is the only begotten Son of God. He expressed his love in the most tangible way possible. He chose to suffer and die so that we could go to his mansion in heaven and not to an eternity in Hell.
Your sins are forgiven and you are worthy, and accepted in the beloved. We have all heard the children sing “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” Love is the greatest thing there is in the universe and it is this concept of love (which is nothing more than to be in love with love) that is comforting and addictive when it fills an emotional need in our lives. Let’s repeat that again – Christians are in love with “love”. Get it now? Every one has there own idealistic opinion of love and then that becomes the “love” of God.
If Christians cannot be trusted concerning unity and love can they be trusted about any other things they sprout forth as absolute truth such as: Creationism, inerrant Bible, healing and other miracles, answered prayer, heaven and hell, Satan, Jesus, and God etc? No sir it stops here in modern times, the hitherto unstoppable Christian juggernaut has been derailed, they will get no additional opportunities to bamboozle and defraud us.
There credibility is shot. We are not living in the pre-scientific, pre-Darwin first century when superstitious Bible doctrines and claims could not be verified, substantiated and tested, where people had no choice other than to believe myths and fantasy.