Killer Jesus?

Years ago, I posted a series of Sunday musings about Christianity. I wound up being listed on a Christian blog as a worthwhile Christian theological writer (rather amusing to this non-theist) and was graced with a Christian “Food for Thought” award by Citizen Tom.

Today, I have occasion to add something to that list of posts: Sam Harris, a well known anti-religious author and speaker, has asserted that Jesus commanded his followers to kill those who do not accept his rule.

This would place Jesus in precisely the same position as Allah and Muhammad of Islam, as the Qur’an contains many verses to the effect that killing non-adherents is not just permissible, but a duty. But is the assertion about Jesus well founded?Here’s the Biblical quote Sam Harris uses, from Luke 19:27:

27 but those my enemies, who did not wish me to reign over them, bring hither and slay before me.

This seems clear enough, and Harris goes to town on it seventeen minutes into this video:

He’s convinced that this was the rationale for the Inquisition, and demonstrates an essential truth about Christianity. But others have taken issue with this characterization, as for example in this video:

I find the refutation fairly compelling, and the lack of that “parable” or storytelling context in Sam Harris’ presentation to be disappointing. When his devotees on his blog try to defend this, they are certain that Jesus was comparing himself to the a rapacious, murderous king in the parable. But nothing else in Jesus’ statements in the Bible seem to have anything comparable to this.

I have written in the past about people who assert that Christianity is every bit as bad as Islam, and is an excuse to do horrible things. I disagreed.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle


  • tannngl

    You’re right! It is the progressive atheist who uses the sneering etc.

    I am sorry anyone has not welcomed you in conversation. It’s certainly not in obedience to our Lord Jesus. And it’s silly in a forum!

    Glad I found your blog!
    But I must get some sleep. I’m canvasing neighborhoods tomorrow for signatures to put Cruz on our primary ballot!
    I’ve signed up for your blog post notifications.

    I’ll be watching for them.

  • tannngl

    I realize that, Keith.
    I met you on ‘Necessary and Proper’, Jeff’s blog. I was pleased that you weren’t such a non thinker as others I have encountered.

  • I have found most atheists on the net to be pretty hatefilled toward me.

    I am saddened to hear this, but I am also hoping that you realize that it is not true of me.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • While the sneer of elitism is sort of basic to the left, many of them believe that Christian beliefs are actively harmful — to society, to them, to their children. Many of them consider raising a child in the Christian faith to be literal child abuse, and push for laws to have the government intervene and take the children away from such parents.

    Then the government can raise them to be devout leftists. As you’ve seen, I disagree vehemently with such people, despite nominally being of the same non-theist “creed.”

    But I must sadly report that this effect works the other way as well. I have been involved in conservative forum threads where my participation was welcomed. But when the direction of conversation causes me to I mention that I am a non-theist, the attitude changes and I am no longer welcome. This effect is fairly consistent, despite the growing number of non-theist conservatives in the US.

    Nevertheless, I work for common cause rather than challenging them. We need to work together to save this country, or we will fail.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • tannngl

    I am a follower of Christ Jesus.

    I have found most atheists on the net to be pretty hatefilled toward me. I’ve encountered them in twitter, wordpress and Christian or other forums. It’s so interesting that they feel they must disavow my belief in God. Not only that, almost all have started contentious conversation on the subject of Christian faith and as the conversation progresses and I don’t agree with their belief in no God, I’m called names. This is clearly what children do when they can’t have their way. Or it’s what bullies do when they can’t force someone to do something. Of course, next could come violence…

    I think I may understand this. The intellectual and moral superiority they exhibit assures them how correct they are (and assures others who may be listening in). The sneering and mocking helps show the inferiority of the Christ believer.

    It still kind of dumbfounds me that so many of the atheists I have encountered behave this way. Why is it so important to them that belief in Christ is wrong?