Here has always been one of my major distastes for the Jesus-savior concept. It’s like a person you aren’t interested in constantly asking you out on a date. If you aren’t attracted to or interested in that person, then they aren’t going to have anything to offer you, and repeated inquiries into the matter just gets irritable.
I do not find the person or message of Jesus to be inspiring, particularly meaningful, or fulfilling for my life. I say this as someone who studies thehistorical Jesus in higher education. The historical Jesus was most likely a radical, apocalyptic prophet, predicting imminent cosmic intervention and a reordering of social hierarchy and religious customs. His manner of teaching and interacting with people, as depicted in the Gospels, is often inamicable and even brutish. He mostly wants to talk at people, and when people present counter-arguments, they are usually depicted as either secretly wicked or blind. Even people who ask well-meaning questions are often depicted as foolish for failing to grasp some point.
Going around as an itinerant prophet complaining, likewise, is not the best way to institute social change. It’s all talk, but what did Jesus effectively change about social conditions in Palestine during his lifetime? And while Jesus is said to perform miracles, why did he do so for one tiny sliver of human history, in one tiny geographical region? Why couldn’t Jesus visit more areas and other periods of human history, so that everyone could tell, without relying on hearsay, that he had special powers of a divine nature?
I don’t find Jesus’ eschatology to be appealing, and even repulsive. Lots of imagery about “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” references to families being divided, and parables that have clear butts to the story’s moral. If I were present at the Sermon on the Mount, I’d either argue with Jesus or walk away. Sure, there are some beatitudes that sound nice, in a platitudinous way. But Jesus wasn’t promoting freedom and prosperity for all of mankind. For the poor to become affluent, the rich would suffer. For someone to be the first in the Kingdom of Heaven, someone else would be last. I don’t even find Jesus’ movement to be aesthetically pleasing.
Jesus is not someone who I would want as a friend, let alone as a thinker I looked up to, let alone as my “savior.” He’s someone who I simply have no interest in, personally. There is no person in the world that is well suited to be a friend, romantic partner, or teacher with everyone else. Different people with different personalities will want different things. To be told by complete strangers, therefore, that they know Jesus is needed in my life simply sounds pompous, inconsiderate, and demeaning. I’ve studied Jesus, and I am not interested in following his person or message. I’d rather follow other teachers and even other religions, even if I weren’t an atheist.