There are a couple of times of year which I worry about – Christmas and the interfaith effort, and then later Easter. The problem with Christmas, is that the interfaith movement starts around Thanksgiving, and then slowly builds to try to punish anything Jewish, and reward anything relating to Jesus, so that by the time Christmas rolls around, one is supposed to be happy to be Christian. “It’s ok to be Jewish all year long, but then Jesus was born and all that changed…”
So, who do I think Jesus was? To the best of my critical ability, I give him credit for being a revolutionary Jew who sacrificed his life in the name of “reform”. I think that because religion was such a strong force at the time, that to counter that force and effect change, a “new religion” evolved.
To Jesus’s credit:
1) He stood up and said “no”, when the adulterer was to be stoned.
2) He was an advocate for an oppressed poor class, and lived his life, mostly, in solidarity with it.
3) He was killed in solidarity with a thief, not positioning himself above the thief in his death.
I’m pretty sure that there are other things that should be noted, but not to take away from these 3 things, I will stop here.
It was not easy to stand up to religious authority in those days. The penalty was often death. Some change was important.