WILLIAM EDELEN: Jesus Was a Great Humanist

The Contrary Minister

The fact that Jesus was one of civilization’s greatest humanists must be like a burr under the saddle blanket for those who spend mindless hours blabbing about the “evils” of humanism.

In religious humanism, people are the first and primary consideration. People are more important than authoritarian, dogmatic, brittle, religious laws, creeds, rules, theologies, beliefs and man-made doctrines. In a very blunt and direct attack on such absurdities, Jesus placed humans front and foremost.

Nothing so infuriated him as to see religious doctrine become more important than people. It was against the religious law to feed or heal a person on the Sabbath. With scathing words.Jesus let them know that “the sabbath was made for people… people were NOT made for the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)

Religious laws and institutions are not sacred. Creeds are not sacred. Theological dogma is not sacred. Man-made doctrines are not sacred. Jesus attacked authoritarian religion at every turn, replacing it with a humanitarian, humanistic religion.

Jesus’ insistence that “the kingdom of God is within you,” as well as many other biblical passages, is a clear expression of a non-authoritarian position.

The spirit behind his parables and teachings is totally humanistic with a blinding emphasis on the importance of human beings, their needs, their potential, their divinity — pointing the way toward the full development of the human potential for excellence, love and brotherhood.

The vast majority of the evils inflicted upon humankind today are the product of dogmatic, religious authoritarianism — not humanism.

If you can bear to read the history of the Christian Church after it departed from humanism, I encourage you to do so. The beauty, goodness and justice of humanism will become obvious when placed alongside the hundreds of thousands of people tortured and killed by the authoritarian church.

Look at Islamic fundamentalists, dogmatic Protestants and Catholics killing each other off in Ireland, etc.

The followers and propagators of dogmatic, authoritarian religion all have the same mentality, whether “Christian,” Communist or Nazi, as Eric Hoffer wrote in his classic The True Believer. They live with the fantasy that only they possess the truth.

From my Columbia University Encyclopedia: “Humanism… a way of life, and a philosophy that asserts the dignity and worth of human beings and their capacity for self-realization and an emphasis on lasting human values.”

“Teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the archaic doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up the source of fear which has only placed vast power in the hands of the clergy and priests. Such a doctrine is not only unworthy, but fatal, and has done incalculable harm to human spiritual progress.” ~ Albert Einstein


Brilliantly said William! Always look forward to reading your wisdom!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 🙂

If only more people could understand this the world would be a much better place. Thank you dear teacher. 🌹