I believe [trust] that there was a man named Yeshua who walked the dry and dusty roads around the Sea of Galilee about 2000 years ago. During his last few years of life he became known as an itinerant preacher and, as such, drew followers who travelled with him. He spoke out against excesses among the upper classes and the leaders in the synagogue as well as those who collaborated with the ruling Roman Empire. This later action ended, not surprisingly, with his execution by the Romans. This action was commonplace in the empire.
After his death some of his followers began to elevate him to god-like stature, not unlike the custom of the Greek culture of the time. Elements from other Greek heroes and gods crept into his biography and then they were cemented through writings known as Gospels, all of which were written by Greek-speaking authors. Ironically the same empire that killed Yeshua helped spread the fantasized version of his life and death to many parts of the empire and beyond.
That’s my take. Anyone is free to disagree because, after all, this is about beliefs with very few facts.
Luckily for me, my parents were more churchy than Jesus freaks; we were rule-bound but not soaked in Jesus.
Yet I have come to know an entirely different set of Christians here in my later life who seem to have been soaked in Jesus, much like the pickling process of a cucumber.
Rather than a salt/vinegar brine, the Christian is fed a constant diet of Jesus from early in their childhood. It is reinforced at church school, weekly services and at home. Jesus rules, to play with puns. “Jesus in the morning, Jesus in the evening, Jesus at supper time!” Psychological propaganda early and often. In the end, much like the gherkin, that which began is not what ends up.
Up here in my neck of the woods [northern Ohio] I do not encounter Jesus fanaticism as much as my former-Ohioan down in Mississippi. He often notes that the folks down there eat and breathe Jesus 24/7. Some 900 miles to the north the Jesus fanaticism has become more diluted although not entirely extinct. There are stronger pockets especially in the rural areas whereas in the many Ohio urban areas the fervor is much more muted.
So, one might inquire, What does this have to do with politics? Really? Tongue in cheek, of course. Is it any wonder why Ohio is Blue and Mississippi is Red? Jesus rules the Bible Belt. Well, not actually Jesus. Rather Leviticus rules the Bible Belt as well as Deuteronomy. You know, the Old Testament. The ‘old law’ that Jesus attempted to change. That law. So, in reality, the simplistic message attributed to Jesus becomes intertwined with the ideas found written in the Torah.
Confused? Well just remember this: ‘Love one another’ has an asterisk. Leviticus trumps John.
Even more confused? That’s because your brain, like the lucky gherkin that hid from the picker, did not get pickled.