Jesus as an ex-Lover


Jesus is certainly fictionalized in the various stories about him that survive. See my post, “How do you view the Bible’s Jesus?” where I illustrate the variety of images non-believers and Christians have of Jesus.

One of these views is that Jesus’ story was not based on a real person but made up out of whole cloth– they are called “mythicists”. Naturally, Christians wholeheartedly reject this theory, but I am often surprised at how vehemently some ex-Christians also reject the theory.  Today I came up with a theory as to why their feelings may be so strong:

When someone breaks up with a lover, I have seen the following responses to be common:

  1. They think he/she was a complete jerk / idiot (or some other such thing).
  2. They get angry at the person who introduced him/her to the ex-lover.
  3. They get angry at that ex-lover’s friends who remain his/her friend instead of also rejecting him/her.
  4. They get very depressed and self-loathing – hating their own stupidity.
  5. They say, “Oh well, moving on.”

For ex-Christians who are vehement about not entertaining mythicism arguments  I wonder if part of it is because doing 1, 2, or 3 is far less painful than 4, though 5 is obviously often the best goal.

If Jesus as an ex-lover of yours, it may be too hard to admit that you totally deceived yourself and easier for you also to do 1, 2, or 3 above.

Question to readers: What do you think?

Caveat: Yes, I realize that warning others about the dangers of religion can also be good and not necessarily tied up with psychological complexities.  I’m just saying, we have complex minds.




Filed under Philosophy & Religion

7 responses to “Jesus as an ex-Lover

  1. When even entertaining a mythicist idea in my mind, I found a mixed feeling of 4 & 5. I wouldn’t want to believe or disbelieve the mythicist view based on my emotions, I really want the truth. If it is that I have been utterly deceived all this time, I want to know and put closure to it.

  2. I have seen at least as much vehemence and apathy from people of all views. So I don’t think that the level of emotion tells us anything about the views themselves but only about the people holding them.

    I think that you need to include the stance “vehemently against mythicism because, having been duped by dubious claims in the past, they now stand staunchly on the side of what scholarship concludes.”

  3. @ James McGrath,
    Indeed, that is exactly what this post is trying to emphasize. To quote you:

    I don’t think that the level of emotion tells us anything about the views themselves but only about the people holding them

    So, if a person feels like a fool for buying into some version of Jesus, that feeling will strongly affect their next view.

    Sorry, I thought I was obvious about that.
    As for your last point, I understand that is position and that you hold it strongly and that you think that hold it strongly because you think it is right.

    @ Alice,
    Well, no matter whether there is any historical person on whom these fables are constructed or not, you and I both deceived ourselves strongly with the versions we embraced prior, didn’t we. We don’t have to decide on the degree of myth before we admit that to ourselves and take to heart, eh?

  4. I think its hard to beleive that anyone who adopts 5 was actually invested in whatever relationship it was that they are walking away from. You may have been invovled to some degree but i find it hard to beleive that once you have had an intimate relationship with someone that you can just walk away. At least that’s not what my experiecne has been and certainly not that of my clsoe friends. They’ve been abel to walk away from random relationships, where in effect they were jsut using the other person (if it had gone on for a while) or had not yet formed a close bond. – but not ones that they were really involved in.

  5. @clapham,
    I think you are very right. Leaving an intimate relationship (imagined or real) usually takes time, with lots of healing. The deconversion process that Alice (above) writes about, illustrates that well. My exit was slow too with many issues to address. When people leave other religions with different gods, the same applies.

  6. Chris

    I never really loved him. Being a lifelong atheist and non-Christian. But in learning about him, I have come to have the reaction to him as ex-Christians do. Put me down for all five.

  7. @ Chris,
    I just wrote a post about “lifelong atheists” — if you are interested, give us a comment there too.
    I do find it interesting that you went through all 5 — how could you hate your stupidity for believing in an invisible friend if you never had one?

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