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The past few weeks it seems that I may have been a little harsh on one Mr. Christ who hailed from Nazareth some 2000 years ago, give or take. If anything I wrote brought offense to some readers, please know that was never my intent.

I have the utmost respect for this Man who was the first known as Jesus.

It is they who distort his words, pervert his actions, and shame his existence to suit their own narrow agendas with whom I take umbrage.

Jesus may have been God and Man, as the sweet Franciscan Sisters of the Blessed Kunegunda (I'm not making that up) beat into my head on a daily basis for eight years; He might have been something else altogether, as modern science and "Star Trek" tend to suggest.

Whichever theory is correct, of what we know Jesus always spoke gently and of kindness. At least, that's what His biographers remembered decades later.

One thing the Sisters were up front about was that the Epistles and Gospels were not set to "paper" until many years after Christ's time had passed. Unfortunately, far too many fundamentalist, evangelical preachers tend to omit this fact while instructing their congregations as to which righteous candidates they must vote for.

How convenient the fundamentalists' selectivity in Biblical passages, failing to mention how Jesus looked at a coin and noted folks should leave the business of Caesar to Caesar, the business of God to God.

Hence, because the Roman Catholic Church is pragmatic in its non-verbatim approach toward acceptance of the The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, most evangelicals deny inclusion of Catholics as true members in the realm of the "faithful" Christians.

Not only is that blatantly un-Christian in spirit, it is antithetical to Christ's own words (taking them as literally as the modern evangelicals): "Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I shall build My Church." Peter was the first Pope, making him the founder of the Catholic Church of Rome.

There was no other Christian church until Martin Luther protested and broke from Rome in the 16th Century. This is why all non-Catholic Christian religions are called "protestant."

Here, though, we see the first pitfall in a long list of abominable bastardizations of "your opinion doesn't count" in the name of Jesus - Americans who belong to the original Church established (allegedly, I'll admit) by Jesus' own words are not even considered Christians by religious fundamentalists; folks so addled by blind faith mixed with fear of hellfire and damnation they are possessed of an inability to employ common sense reasoning while misunderstanding their mandatory daily Bible readings.

We know today that our elderly suffer from any number of a wide range of debilitating impairments - strokes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, adult ADD, just to name a few. It's also pretty much accepted among Catholics that the 12 Apostles were not learned men, and most likely could neither read nor write. There wasn't a secretary taking notes when Mr. Christ was speaking or performing miracles.

Not that He didn't truly make brilliant statements and use wonderful parables, mind you, giving mankind a wealth of valuable concepts to ponder and live by. As to the miracles, well, by the time those were actually documented, the remaining loyalists were spread out all over the Holy Roman Empire. So many years had elapsed that all logic dictates the likelihood was few if any who had witnessed Jesus in the flesh would have been around to dispute the accounts.

When considering the life of Jesus Christ, one has to realize there was no mass communication, no formalized system of education existed, and, out of all the thousands upon thousands of people who witnessed Him (Jews, Romans, Arabs, et al), only 11 Jewish followers passed the story along.

At that, the documentation was not forthcoming until at least 20 to 30 years after the fact, when dictated to scribes. So, the possibility arises for errors from lapses in memory.

The various scribes may have misinterpreted events and facts, or added embellishments to make the stories more interesting, creating more misstatements of fact. These stories weren't inked all at once, but over long periods of time, leading to more flaws in accuracy.

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An erstwhile Philosopher and sometime Educator, Jerry Tenuto is a veteran of seven years service in the U.S. Army. He holds a BS and MA in Broadcast Communications from Southern (more...)
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