When I first started writing non-fiction, I was mostly concerned with religion and trying to explain why I thought everything I was taught as a kid was a fabricated alteration of the truth. As I matured, I realized that not only can you not fix stupid, but you can’t reason with it either. That doesn’t mean I quit talking about religion, I just spent a whole summer re-learning everything.
See, when we were kids, we were all taught that the Bible was basically this rosy happy-go-lucky epic story about the history of the Jews and the awesomeness of Jesus. As we got older, we learned about the Apocrypha and, at least in my case, were told that those books were basically the work of the Devil and that anyone who read them was a Satanist. (The Apocrypha, for those less-religiously inclined, are a group of books deemed unworthy or heretical by the early Christian churches, and were primarily used in Gnostic circles (Wikipedia Gnostic, because I’m not about to explain that train wreck here.))
Basically, Gnosticism is like Scientology, but with Jesus.
But if you just use your brain, you’d know that the entire history of the Jewish people (even before World War II) isn’t exactly a fairy tale. The more likely reality is this: Jesus and his rag-tag group of followers were legendary. Their stories were spread far and wide long after they had died. They’d be comparable to Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln, Chuck Norris, or Santa Claus. By that, I mean people believe they existed, but future generations have developed really awesome (albeit probably fictitious) stories about their lives.
Here are six examples of those stories that, if they are true, just make these Bible guys even more interesting.
Why It’s Awesome: A few years ago the History Channel made this big deal about how the Gospel of Judas was found and that historians and translators had finally gotten the whole thing translated and understood and that humanity was going to be rocked with this new found information. I didn’t watch it, but I’m sure aliens were involved.
|I’m not saying it was aliens, but…|
Here’s the summary: We already call BS at the beginning because the book says it’s a “secret conversation” between Jesus and Judas (a Gnostic attribute). The story picks up when Jesus is with the disciples praying over some food. Jesus gets all mouthy and tells them that they don’t even know who they’re praying to, which makes the disciples mad.
Judas, who comes off as that one douche bag friend we all have that has his nose up the boss’s tail, stands up and talks about how Jesus is from the realm of Barbelo. Jesus then takes Judas aside and says something along the lines of: “Bro, check this out, you’re going to get me killed, but you’re going to be a rock star in heaven after you do.” Jesus then proceeds to tell Judas about Nebro and Saklas, who were responsible for creating earth and the human race. Basically, it’s a bunch of Gnostic nonsense that reads like a Scientology pamphlet.
In the end, Judas “betrays” Jesus, just like he did in the New Testament, but rather than getting another perspective about how Judas offed himself, the book ends. Boo.
Why It’s Awesome: In Rome, First Pope Peter is at odds with this magician named Simon. See, Simon was doing his magic and those gullible Jews thought he was doing the work of God, even though Peter was adamant that Simon was the Satanist and he was the true man of God. So, to settle the debate once and for all, the Jews wanted Peter and Simon to fight it out.
Reluctantly, Peter goes to Simon’s house to fight. He sees a dog chained up and walks over to it. When he released the dog from the chain, the dog turned around and proceeded to have a conversation with Peter that went something like this:
Dog: “Sup Pete?”
Peter: “Yeah tell that punk Simon to come out here so we can throw down.”
Dog runs into Simon’s house, stands up on its hind legs, and tells Simon to go fight Peter. Simon, obviously blown away by the talking dog, says nothing. Marcellus, a random member of the crowd, had seen enough and went to Peter to ask for forgiveness and claimed that Peter was really God’s man.
|“Simon, get out here. You’re needed.”|
After Peter gives Marcellus a big bro hug, he looks to the rest of the crowd and sees a man snickering, probably making gay jokes. Peter says to him: “Bro, you make jokes? Why don’t you tell them out loud for everyone to hear, Mr. Comedian?” After this, the guy starts screaming and throws himself into a concrete wall for no reason whatsoever. Crazy, right? We’re not even halfway done with this story.
Simon, who by now had changed his soiled underwear, told Dog to tell Peter he wasn’t home. Dog runs some smack on Simon about how fat his mom was and then ran back to Peter to tell him what Simon said. After Dog tells Peter the news, THE DOG DIES. The crowd, amazed, asks Peter to perform another miracle. Rather than bringing Dog back to life, Peter walks over to a dead fish, obviously someone’s dinner, and throws it in a bath tub, where the fish comes back to life. But we’re still not done.
|Bringing this back to life would have been the real miracle.|
A few days later, Simon finally got the balls to show his face in public and did so by FLYING. Yeah, Simon could fly. So those crazy gullible Jews were once again back to worshiping Simon. Peter, obviously sick of this guy, asks God to cause Simon to fall out of the sky and break his leg in three places.
Guess what happens next? If you guessed that Simon fell out of the sky and broke his leg in three places, you get a gold star for the day. The crowds, obviously swayed by Peter’s ability to make Simon fall out of the sky, start hurling stones at Simon and worshiping Peter.
But, as cool as that story is, no one ever came close to the legendary status Jesus E. Christ had…
|The “E” stands for Emmanuel. Not a joke here. I have to be serious sometimes.|
Why It’s Awesome: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is allegedly the missing story of Jesus’ childhood written by his brother Thomas. Early Christians threw it out because, well, you’ll see. If these stories turn out to be true, I think it makes Jesus a more endearing character.
Alas, here, Jesus is playing by a creek, on the Sabbath (for those who aren’t privy to Jew-culture, doing anything on the Sabbath is a big no-no). Kid Jesus, who is around 6 years old right now, is molding cute little sparrows out of the clay. A pious Jewish man walks by and starts scolding Kid Jesus about his physical activity on the Sabbath.
|I was going to do a Mel Gibson joke here, but it was too easy. Instead, you get a Jewish man.|
Kid Jesus, who was already quick on his feet at such a young age, snaps his fingers and the sparrows come to life and fly away, making any evidence of any wrongdoing disappear. I imagine Jesus looking at the man with a smirk on his face saying, “What now?”
Why It’s Awesome: Obviously central heat didn’t exist yet, and you know how brutal those Israeli winters can be, so Joseph sent his son James out to get some firewood and Kid Jesus followed him. While out gathering wood, a snake bit James’ hand. Kid Jesus, being the Son of God and everything, blew on the wound, and the pain immediately went away.
|Precisely the reason I don’t go into the woods.|
But Kid Jesus, covering all his bases, then dealt with the snake. Actually, the passage doesn’t say how he did it; all it says was that the snake exploded. Jesus Christ blew up the snake. That. Is. Awesome.
Why It’s Awesome: Here’s where you give credit to Joseph and Mary for being good parents. They weren’t all like “My kid’s the Son of God, he don’t need no schoolin’” like some parents would do. Nope, they sent his little Jewish butt to school.
Jesus’ first round at school went well. Zacchaeus, who may or may not be the same midget from the New Testament stories, was ashamed that Jesus was so awesome and knew so much more than he did that he got really depressed and basically wished to go lay on his death bed.
|This is the kind of crap Kid Jesus could have easily dealt with.|
The second time around in school for Kid Jesus was much different. Because the Greeks were enforcing their culture in the area, Kid Jesus’ teacher resolved to teach him the Greek alphabet. Kid Jesus, being the snarky little kid he was, went all philosophical on the true power of Alpha and Beta. The teacher, obviously being shown up by a little kid, got pissed and smacked Kid Jesus on the head.
There’s a little problem with that: You don’t hit Kid Jesus. Jesus cursed the teacher, who then fell flat on his face and died. Kid Jesus, realizing that school just let out early, went home. When Joseph saw Jesus skipping in the front door, he immediately knew what had happened and told Mary: “Do not let him go outside of the door, because those that make him angry die.”
Now if you’re paying attention, that’s the first person Jesus has killed that I’ve told you about, but this is what led up to Jesus getting that sort of reputation…
Why It’s Awesome: So Kid Jesus is strolling along Manna Avenue in downtown Nazareth when a dumb little kid who wasn’t watching where he was going ran into Kid Jesus. Here’s where, if the story turns out to be true, the saying “What Would Jesus Do?” actually lines up with the first thing we’d do if we were in that situation.
|Then Kid Jesus strikes him dead.|
Kid Jesus, brushing the dirt off his robe, looks at the kid and says: “Thou shalt not go back the way thou camest,” which is Old English for “Drop dead, you little snot.” And that’s exactly what the kid did. However, the news isn’t all bad. Jesus later brought everyone he killed back to life, and even performed a few good deeds.
So remember, the next time someone cuts you off and nearly causes you to swerve off the road and flip into a ditch, take peace in knowing that Kid Jesus probably would have made that person’s car explode.