August 14, 2019

"'Anyone who says, You fool! will be in danger of the fire of hell.' So says Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:22)."

"He claims that words spoken in anger are the moral equivalent of murder. But by chapter 23, he’s pretty angry at the religious leaders. 'You blind fools!' he shouts during a chapter-long rant (Matthew 23:17). He calls them hypocrites, snakes and vipers, everything — as the saying goes — but a child of God. We all know that insulting people is incompatible with Christian teaching. But Jesus actually did it quite a bit. Here are some of Jesus’ best insults...."

From "Jesus' best insults" by Dave Barnhart (in Ministry Matters), which I'm reading this morning because we've been discussing the insult "Fredo," which I compared to "Uncle Tom," which is an insult even though the fictional character Uncle Tom was originally conceived of as a Jesus. I got to wondering Did Jesus insult people?

80 comments:

whitney said...

Read the Bible

Craig Howard said...

When I was a young manager, I found it effective -- oh, about once a year -- to go completely off-the-rails-unhinged angry at my employees. When you're known as mild-mannered, it helps occasionally to let everyone know there's some spark there.

Rob said...

Yes, in Matthew 23:17 Jesus says, "You blind fools!" But that's not the end of it. In Matthew 23:18, Jesus goes on to say, "I'll fucking ruin your shit. I'll fucking throw you down these stairs." Praise Him!

Wince said...

"We all know that insulting people is incompatible with Christian teaching. But Jesus actually did it quite a bit. Here are some of Jesus’ best insults..."

Well, Jesus was known to take his stand-up routine on the road.

And give me a citation on the "insulting people is incompatible with Christian teaching". And don't give me "turn the other cheek". Why did he slap you in the first place?

Jeff Brokaw said...

A lot of people needed some good insults back in Jesus’ day. And through to today, unfortunately.

Otto said...

"I got to wondering Did Jesus insult people?"
Read the Bible.

Heartless Aztec said...

Insulted and whipped them for good measure.

Louie Looper said...

Most translations of Matthew 5:22 start “Anyone who is angry with a brother...” Brother generally indicates disciple or believer. Some translations that purport to be literal make it “Anyone who is angry with a brother without cause...”

narciso said...

By luke 20, he had admonished a good cross section of reespectable society, who had not abided by text.

narciso said...

Yes brother, is not familial but fellow believer,

Dave Begley said...

Yeah, Fredo Cuomo and Jesus Christ are moral equivalents.

Dave Begley said...

Rob: Great one! LOL.

Lucid-Ideas said...

WWJT

What Would Jesus Tweet?

What could you say in Aramaic in 140 characters or less?

Can the Sermon on the Mount be abridged?

Instead of flipping tables, what sick burns could the son of man throw at the money changers in the temple?

Possibilities.

rhhardin said...

Insults aren't spoken in anger. They can be, if you're a lowlife, but not in general.

rhhardin said...

Anger today is expressed by downvoting.

Oso Negro said...

My problem with the Judeo-Christian tradition lies in its central characters. In the Old Testament, we have Yahweh raging around like Pap in Huckleberry Finn if he had possessed superpowers. In the New Testament, we have Jesus meek and mild, laying down platitudes and parables that his subsequent followers spend millenia trying to explicate. He could have made it clear that you should care for the poor on your own dime, but no.

Andrew said...

When Trump referred to the MS-13 gang as "animals," several pastors tweeted out self-righteously that we should never call another person an animal, because Jesus wouldn't do such a thing. One frequent response on Twitter was, "Maybe Trump should have called them a brood of vipers."

Andrew said...

When Trump referred to the MS-13 gang as "animals," several pastors tweeted out self-righteously that we should never call another person an animal, because Jesus wouldn't do such a thing. One frequent response on Twitter was, "Maybe Trump should have called them a brood of vipers."

Birkel said...

No, Jesus told the truth.
And people felt insulted as a defense mechanism.

Just like Fredo Cuomo did.

Andrew said...

@Oso Negro,
It's called law versus grace.

Dave Begley said...

Ann is on a blogging and creative tear this AM.

What got into her? Classic Althouse.

narciso said...

By the time of the New Teatament, God had given up on reproaching his people, through supernatural means, they had abandoned him for four centuries,

The episode of the money changers is entirely in keepinf with rhe teacjings of isiah amd other prophets

mockturtle said...

As the Pharisees believed that, because they followed the Law, they were not sinners, Jesus insulted them regularly and soundly. His message was: We are all sinners. We all need a Savior [The Lamb of God, our blood sacrifice].

Fernandistein said...

'You fool! will be in danger of the fire of hell.'

Definitely no Shakespeare (KJV?), but not too bad for an ESL guy.

narciso said...

This was the idiom of this nation into the 20th century:

https://biblehub.com/malachi/3-1.htm

Fernandistein said...

I was inventing a "savior walks into a bar" joke, but here's the illustrated version for our non-readers.

gilbar said...

seems to me;
that being IN DANGER of hellfire, is Far Different than being CAST into it. I see Nothing here speaking of falling, only of thin ice

Also, the word translated as 'fool' can also be translated as Godless. Accusing someone of being without GOD is as serious an accusation as could be made, and should not be said lightly

narciso said...

How could a tiny nation like israel defeat so many mations

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.biblegateway.com/passage/%3fsearch=Isaiah%2b45&version=NIV&interface=amp

Roughcoat said...

"We all know that insulting people is incompatible with Christian teaching.

Huh? Seriously?

gilbar said...

so, i read it as Jesus saying
Don't make Libelous lies, but if you are going to make painful truths; remember that sharp words have points too, just like knives

narciso said...

All sin is bad, its missing the mark, we are not all good, we have the potential to be, but sin marks our nature.

narciso said...

That is what dissapoints me about osteen, his is a thin pudding that has no nutrition, so it is with much of the prosperity gospel promoters, but social gospel preachers also miss the point.

jeremyabrams said...

An Uncle Tom is a traitor to his race, which makes the term a kind of "stay on the reservation"-intended insult, similar to "We don't need black faces that aren't black voices."

"Fredo" means, simply, the weak brother. It doesn't insult Italians, or even call one Italian a traitor to other Italians. It is par excellence an insult directed to the individual as an individual.

John henry said...

I just don't see the Fredo=Uncle Tom connection.

I been hearing people called "the Fredo of..." for 40 years. Not always about people. I recall hearing some car referred to as "the Fredo of the GM(?) lineup.

I seem to recall Dennis Miller calling Teddy Kennedy" the fredo of the Kennedy brothers"

John Henry

narciso said...

Wrong thread devere and john henry.

Sebastian said...

"Uncle Tom was originally conceived of as a Jesus.

Well, I don't think Uncle T ever insulted people, so obviously that impersonation didn't work.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"I know it was you, Fredo"

“He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me."

Saint Croix said...

People who want to know Jesus should join a Bible study, because that's where the action is.

Leo said...

So long as we can still Pity the Fool.

Mark said...

On the one hand, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compares the punishment for anger with the judgment facing murderers . . . Yet in Jerusalem, He Himself seems quite angry at the Pharisees as He pronounces a series of woes on them, even calling them children of hell. . . . What are we to make of these apparently conflicting passages about anger?

Here's an answer by one writer.

NCMoss said...

I listened to a sermon once that explained that if we tried to imagine our concept of what God "should" be like that it would hardly resemble that of God revealed in the Bible; and that in itself gave the Bible more credibility. The Potter (God) and the clay (us) is a good example of that.

mockturtle said...

Althouse always skates on thin ice when dealing with theological issues.

Fernandistein said...

Althouse always skates on thin ice when dealing with theological issues.

It's magical ice: if you fall through, nothing happens.

Saint Croix said...

You have heard that the ancients were told, "You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”

Jesus is doing a lot of things here. One thing is that he's trying to get us to think spiritually, and not just on material things. If you kill somebody, that is an awful sin. But it's also a crime. If you're caught, you'll go to jail or be executed.

On the other hand, if you wish that your neighbor is dead, and your hatred for your neighbor is overwhelming, but you haven't killed them, you haven't committed a crime. Your neighbor is still alive. No crime.

Jesus wants us to stop being so obsessed with the material world, and start paying attention to spiritual matters. It's a sin to hate your neighbor, and wish for their death.

Jesus wants us to think about not just what we have done (our crimes, or non-crimes). He wants us to think about the crimes we commit in our spirit. Think about our hatred, our anger, our fear, our greed, and so on. These are the sins of which the world may be unaware, but God knows all about.

So Jesus is expanding the definition of sin, to be way bigger than just worldly crimes you commit against people. It's a spiritual concept. It seems crazy to us, this idea that murder and hatred are equivalent. That's because we are worldly people, and to us death is a very scary, unknown, and unhappy experience. So murder is about the worst thing you can do to someone.

But what Jesus is suggesting is that a hateful and evil spirit is just as likely to be kept out of heaven as a hateful and evil and murderous spirit. Murder is just a worldly manifestation of what an evil and hateful spirit does.

narciso said...

Well the problem was following 10 rules were too burdensome so they became thousands.

J. Farmer said...

Gilbert Gottfried channeling his inner Jesus

Narr said...

Read whose Bible?

Narr
Many versions to choose from

gilbar said...

So Jesus is expanding the definition of sin, to be way bigger than just worldly crimes you commit against people. It's a spiritual concept. It seems crazy to us, this idea that murder and hatred are equivalent

Also, Lusting (in your heart) is the same as adultery
{but, NOT the same as being attacked in a canoe by a ferocious rabbit}

hombre said...

He is God and we are not. It’s a “do as I say, not as I do,” world for us mortals. That’s how I see it anyway.

mockturtle said...

Me: Althouse always skates on thin ice when dealing with theological issues.

Fernandistein: It's magical ice: if you fall through, nothing happens.


You misconstrue my comment. What I meant was that she displays a dearth of knowledge on the subject.

Bob said...

Jesus was furious with the religious leaders who were keeping the people from getting close to God. That's worth thinking about.

Narr said...

"Verily, I say unto you, they are the manner of folk that falleth to the ground and misseth,
yea, they know not one end of the spear from the other."

Narr
Sermon at the Dump, 10:57

gerry said...

Jesus told people the truth about themselves.

The snowflakes of His time took it as insults.

He was doing them a favor.

They murdered Him.

That decision had consequences.

If they didn't repent, they still feel insulted.

Char Char Binks said...

Do ye as I sayeth, not as I doeth.

Bay Area Guy said...

Phase 1: AA applies her "cruel neutrality" and rigorous intellectual curiosity to certain biblical texts, albeit from a modern-day, secular detached perspective.

Phase 2: As she approaches her 70s, basking in a comfortable, financially independent retirement, AA starts ruminating about the meaning and import of life in general, and her life in particular, and begins to connect with and find comfort in some of the Biblical teachings.

Phase 3: YOU're all sinners! STOP ALL THIS WRETCHED COMMENTARY ON MY BLOG, AND START REPENTING NOW! Jesus loves you!

h said...

Appreciating St. Croix's comment: I agree with the interpretation that Jesus says feeling an urge to sin is a sin itself. I think that's fairly standard interpretation. Probably many of us are old enough to remember when Jimmy Carter confessed that he had lust in his heart, and had "committed adultery" in his heart. Jimmy Carter was a Sunday School teacher, and knew his bible. But Jesus (son of God AND son of man) did get angry ("murdered in his heart") most clearly at the money changers in the temple. Matthew 21:12.

Unknown said...

Surprised that someone else hadn't mentioned it, 'fool' has a slightly different flavor today ('pity the fool'). Look at Proverbs for foolish man and fool, there are a large number of statements about the fool (not the least of which is more or less 'The fool says in his heart there is no God'). Calling someone a fool was about as serious a condemnation as could be made then.

gilbar said...

Unknown said... Surprised that someone else hadn't mentioned it,

Not that i'm blowing my own horn, but i posted this morning @8:32 AM
Also, the word translated as 'fool' can also be translated as Godless. Accusing someone of being without GOD is as serious an accusation as could be made, and should not be said lightly

toot! toot!

Paul Snively said...

"I have come, not to bring peace, but a sword."

Robert Cook said...

"When I was a young manager, I found it effective -- oh, about once a year -- to go completely off-the-rails-unhinged angry at my employees. When you're known as mild-mannered, it helps occasionally to let everyone know there's some spark there."

That seems crazy to me, and unnecessary under good management.

narciso said...

Indeed Bob, that's the gist of it, that's why he referred to Isiah from the first to the last, to Ezekiel, to Jonah, malachi at one point as mentioned above, because we believe we can do anything under our own power, we ultimately fail, but I would consider his a reproach not an insult, although the trendsetters of that day, took it as such,

Roughcoat said...

"But Ilúvatar knew that Men, being set amid the turmoils of the powers of the world, would stray often, and would not use their gifts in harmony; and he said: 'These too in their time shall find that all that they do redounds at the end only to the glory of my work."

Johnathan Birks said...

And then the Lord said, "Thou art smart, not dumb like everyone says. Thou art smart and thou dost deserve respect."

Roughcoat said...

Calling someone a fool was about as serious a condemnation as could be made then.

True. Interesting to note, however, a rather different definition of fool that evolved over the millennia, roughly in parallel with that of the tragic definition: namely, the fool as a sly trickster, the "wise fool". The medieval jester was one such. So was the Norse god Loki, and ... Bugs Bunny. They exist, and have existed, in the written and oral traditions of every human culture, and their antiquity is great, going back to the dawn of human sentience and speech. Anthropologists argue (and I agree with them) that the trickster and tarbaby stories are the first oldest of all stories invented by humans to entertain themselves, explain the world, and engage meaningfully in the mysteries of existence.

This kind of fool, needless to say is very, very dangerous. Jesus was this kind of fool.

Phil 314 said...

Raca!

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roughcoat said...

Many of Jesus's stories -- his parables and whatnot -- are structured like trickster stories that were spoken around campfires tens of thousands of years ago to teach and enlighten listeners through the use of metaphor.

Along the lines of: "One fine summer day, coyote and crow were walking together when they met up with Sly Fox, who presented them with a riddle ..."

For coyote and crow, correctly guessing the answer to fox's riddle might be rewarded with a bunch of tasty grapes. For men who grasped the meaning of one of Christ's parables, the reward might be the Kingdom of Heaven ... or, at the least, insight into how to gain access thereto.

Christ was also a "trickster," in the best and most ancient sense.

traditionalguy said...

Cut the Nazarene some slack. He was cursing the people who were abusing his chosen ones by applying a strict law of Moses for atonement by animal sacrifice that was actually cash protection money. The Reformation did the same thing by applying Paul’s gospel.

A guard type personality will attack the attacker of his charge. Thank God for sending us one when we need it. And beware of a guardian type man who lets his temper out . He owes you no mercy.

I'm Full of Soup said...

I wonder if Mr. T was aware of this?

I'm Full of Soup said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

One of the thing to remember: Jesus was the lineal heir to the throne of David. So was not just a teacher talking to them, it was their rightful King.

traditionalguy said...

Time to rewatch Unforgiven. Clint Eastwood got an Oscar for best Film with his spot on portrayal of a Jesus figure who
Is a guardian personality. The Apostle’s Creed reminds us that personality is coming back to judge the living and the dead with judgement based on how they have treated his brothers and friends.( that would be thenJews and the Christians)

Otto said...

Did Jesus insult people? Did Ann insult Jesus by asking the question?

Narr said...

"The fool says in his heart there is no God."

Gee, I wonder why either fool or genius would announce her disbelief among such a flock as those ancients. How eager some people are to dump the rancid history of religious bigotry and intolerance, successful for thousands of years in silencing alternative ideas, behind a curtain and pretend that all that stuff was just some bad apples, and not the policy.

Narr
Fergit, hell!

tim in vermont said...

My big brother told me that thing about going to Hell if you called somebody a fool. I thought he made it up!

tim in vermont said...

"Clint Eastwood got an Oscar for best Film with his spot on portrayal of a Jesus figure who
Is a guardian personality. “

I didn’t know Jesus killed people for money.

tim in vermont said...

"Many of Jesus's stories -- his parables and whatnot -- are structured like trickster stories that were spoken around campfires tens of thousands of years ago”

The “walk on water” thing sure looks like that to me.

Fernandistein said...

You misconstrue my comment.

And you mine.

What I meant was that she displays a dearth of knowledge on the subject.

I meant that nothing happens because that doesn't matter.

Joe said...

The key is "in danger of"; This is just a variation of the very wise words: "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.)

What follows is simply brilliant and, even if you don't believe in the divinity of the bible, is a great moral code. Its crowning ethos is "whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them".

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

“What I meant was that she displays a dearth of knowledge on the subject.

I meant that nothing happens because that doesn't matter.”

Except shaping Western Civ (and by extension, well, pretty much the rest of the world) for two thousand years. Other than that, zip.