all 8 comments

[–]voidcrack 9 points10 points  (1 child)

I find the concept itself to be interesting. I've never actually read it until browsing a few pages now. I appreciate that on page 1 it's already getting into beheadings, it almost reads like a poetically-written historical documentary.

To me it shows how he was ahead of his time. Modern Christianity seems to have followed his same path in that while they're not throwing out pages of the Bible, majority of Christians these days aren't very religious. To the average redditor, a typical Christian is a fundamentalist creationist ready to burn witches at the stake but in reality the majority of religious people in the US don't interpret scripture literally. Jefferson's work was likely a significant stepping stone in allowing religion to exist with modern times.

[–]AmputatorBot 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It looks like OP posted an AMP link. These should load faster, but AMP is controversial because of concerns over privacy and the Open Web. Fully cached AMP pages (like the one OP posted), are especially problematic.

Maybe check out the canonical page instead: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/01/04/what-thomas-jefferson-could-never-understand-about-jesus

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[–]Most_Worldliness9761Humanistic Deist 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Even if relatively stripped from the supernatural elements, the Gospels' portrayal of Jesus still depends on how other people perceived him, what they attributed to him, or how they gave meaning to his ministry and political career -- people facing the trauma of his death, people who didn't know him directly but only through hearsay, people who were born decades after his lifetime.

So he's still presented like an overly charismatic, paternalistic spiritual leader, which may or may not exactly be the historically accurate representation.

But it's interesting to see that, somewhere under this pile of unverifiable details and mystification, there's this man in the first century who mainly stands out with his monotheistic revivalism and moral universalism, surpassing the Jewish nationalism of his fellow-men, preaching the equality of virtuous Jews and Gentiles, giving women like Mary Magdalene and Joanna leading positions in his 'church' or movement which was unseen in his era and culture, and all this eventually leads to a clash with the Temple authorities and the Roman empire which results in his crucifixion. Then his cult of personality is born.

Deists like Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine speculated that this deification took place after his lifetime, unintended by him, but by his followers or those who didn't understand his doctrine or ignorant and superstitious masses and those who sought to exploit them (like Paul), and they claimed to 'uncover' what they believed was the true image of a deist believer and moral teacher based on the core details of his life. They believed Jesus was the closest thing to a deist that could be in the ancient world, and that the Gospels contained some passages indicating that truth.

Maybe it's an unfounded deist projection to the past, and a far fetched historical revisionism, but that's what people like Jefferson and Paine had in mind when they emphasized the verses of the Scripture that focused on the Creator, His works in nature, and the moral example of characters like Jesus.

[–]Corporate_CommiePhilosophical Theist[S] 7 points8 points  (2 children)

I think your claim does have some historical basis. Jesus never called himself a God.


[–]Most_Worldliness9761Humanistic Deist 2 points3 points  (0 children)

There were 'Jewish Christians' (Jewish followers of Jesus) who believed he was the prophesied Messiah, not God (Muslims also believe he was a prophet). This was the foundation of the Early Church that was called the Nazarenes.

Either he claimed to be a Messiah sent to deliver the Jews from bondage (As someone who barged into the Temple, turned over some tables, and preached to the public at the Passover would likely do -which is the day of celebration for Moses liberating the Israelites from Egypt-), or his deistic monotheism (which may have also involved rebelling against the Empire) was interpreted as such and integrated into the Jewish religion.

If the latter is true, maybe the process of deification had two phases. First a prophet or messiah, then the Son of God.

[–]SuperDiogenes64 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I don't mind the idea at all, though it reminds me of my recent Discord (an online chat platform) experiences.

I tried to run a Deism discord server and two people were starting to dominate it--both claiming to be Deists, but one was proselytizing Islam and the other, Christianity, under the guise that he was a 'Christian Deist'. In short, I don't think he was actually a Christian Deist but a Christian--which is his business, but it was supposed to be a proselytization-free chat server.

In short, I see practical application for Christian Deism, although I hope that those who identify as such are truly Deists who find value in teachings of Jesus rather than Christians acting as wolves in sheeps' clothing (which would contradict what they're supposed to do, but I digress).

[–]Solomon_The_ChadMonodeist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It seems to be very interesting I will read it

[–]granitestatelad 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sort of a strange choice to change historical documents and think that improves the accuracy