Was There A Real Jesus? And If So, What Did He Really Say?

Due to the number of questions I’ve received about Jesus, I think a podcast devoted to him is in order.

People addressing this material, from whatever angle, tend to have fiercely held opinions, cherry-picking facts around them. That makes these discussions very difficult, and I’ll do my best to avoid that trap. This is a fascinating subject, and removing dogmatic opinions is what opens it to us.

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Good Things in the Bible


The Bible has been loudly, publicly, and repetitively criticized for a long time, and it’s most vocal defenders have been those who demand that it be treated as a divine oracle. In other words, the public has been given a binary choice:

Either the Bible is horrible, or else it’s divine and you’ll go to hell if you don’t think so.

I think that’s a silly choice, but it’s the one most people see.

On top of that, I couldn’t think of a single reasoned defense of the book, though there must be a decent one somewhere. And so, I want to point out its value. Whatever its flaws (and it’s important to note that almost no one takes the really objectionable passages seriously, save for some atheists), they pale in comparison.

We’ll start with this:

Compassion for the “Other”

Consider, please, how many lives have been senselessly lost because of stirred-up hatreds. Rulers and court intellectuals have had an easy time portraying the outsider – the “other” – as an object to be hated and killed, and have left mounds of corpses in their wake… often with the two groups trading and intermarrying a generation later!

This barbaric call to butchery has been made over and over and over: People are told to hate the other, one nation rises against another, and so on, again and again. It’s a monstrous beast that rushes in when summoned.

So, can we ignore the benefits of a book that teaches the opposite? That teaches love of the other rather than tribal bloodlust?

This is precisely what we find in the Bible, and especially from Jesus. Consider what he says in this passage:

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Here’s one that addresses the same thing from a different angle:

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.

Here’s a call for loving outsiders from one of the earliest books in the Bible:

[The Lord your God] executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Added to all this is the great example of Jesus as he was being crucified: “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

Where but from the Bible or from people influenced by the Bible do we find such civilized and civilizing thoughts?


Where’s a young person to learn integrity these days? It certainly won’t be from politicians. Fortunately is does come from good families, good teachers, good coaches, etc., but even those channels frequently link back to the Bible.

From the Torah passage above (you were sojourners, so you should help the sojourner) to the wonderful story of Nathan using integrity to condemn David (too long to repeat here, but you can find it in 2 Samuel, chapter 12) to the following sayings of Jesus, the Bible teaches integrity over and over.

Whatever you would have men do unto you, do so to them.

With whatever judgment you judge, you shall be judged.

By your words you will be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.

Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.

If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

It would be hard to teach integrity more directly than that, and those are just some of the relevant passages.

Needless to say, integrity carries benefits into all areas of life and has follow-on effects that long endure.


There’s really nothing that cultivates human happiness, that supports human civilization, more than simple benevolence. Without it, we’re pretty well doomed. And demands for benevolence are found abundantly in the Bible. Here are a few of the more notable instances:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Rend your hearts and not your garments.

Let love be genuine.

If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge… but have not love, I am nothing.

He who does not love does not know God.

And Much More

There’s much more to be said, including things that don’t immediately leap to mind for most of us. Here are a few:

Endless calls for justice.

A God who speaks to the powerless, rather than to the mighty.

An individual spirituality rather than a collective spirituality.

The Bible teaches individuality by making God a distinct individual. With this pattern in the minds of men, they are less afraid to think as individuals. As a result, they tend to come up with better ideas and to produce better results.

The Bible glorifies men who have deep changes of heart. This not only allows us to start anew and improve, but it removes guilt for our past actions. There can be problems associated with this from a justice standpoint, but it has massively assisted human improvement.

A second-order effect of things covered above is the assumption of co-dominance: I’m not dominating you and you’re not dominating me; we can both be strong and friendly at the same time. Where this is absent, anger festers, compassion fails, grudges are never released, and endless volumes of energy are wasted in posturing and scheming. Where it is present, cooperation rules and massive accomplishments can arise. This teaching is also seen explicitly, here:

The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them, but it shall not be so among you.

Still Don’t Like the Bible?

If you still don’t want the book, fine, that’s your choice. But if you want our civilization to drop the Bible and move on without it, you need to give us an appropriate replacement before we ditch it: something that teaches these lessons better than the Bible does.

Without that, we’d be tearing a hole in the heart of our civilization.

* * * * *

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

Is Bitcoin More Dangerous than “Cartel Money”?

bitcoin cartel moneyI’m going to use a couple of passages from the Bible (the original set of moral standards for our Western civilization), followed by an examination of both Bitcoin and cartel money, to see how they hold up in comparison.

As for my use of the term “cartel money,” it’s the best short description I know for the dollars, euros, yen (and so on) that we use in our daily commerce. They are produced by secretive and monopolistic groups of private banks. That rather precisely matches the definition of cartel.

Principle #1: For wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

I think by now we have all heard the big accusation against Bitcoin – that it is used for “money laundering” – made especially by the money cartels (the European Central Bank first).

First off, that doesn’t make sense to me. A currency is supposed to be neutral – that is its purpose. So, accusing a currency of money laundering is like jailing a knife for murder. But, that’s not precisely the point we’re addressing here.

Rather, the question is: do the cartels do the same thing that they condemn?

You bet they do!

Read this story on HSBC. Then read this one on Wachovia. These banks laundered hundreds of billions of dollars – knowingly – for violent drug lords. And it gets worse: No one from either bank went to jail. Neither bank was shut down. Neither bank suffered more than a minor fine.

So, how much of a concern can money laundering really be to the cartels and their politician partners? Clearly none, or very close to none.

And, since the cartels accuse Bitcoin of being used for bad things, let’s be clear about the situation: Every mafioso on the planet uses cartel money. So do all the drug smugglers, terrorists, and pornographers.

Does Bitcoin accuse the money cartels? Nope. Bitcoin has no official operators to speak for it at all.

It is true that many Bitcoin users accuse the cartels of being manipulators, but, at least for now, there is no Bitcoin cartel that is even capable of manipulating the currency.

So, round one goes to Bitcoin: The cartels very clearly condemn themselves, and Bitcoin clearly does not.

Principle #2: Everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light.

When Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto posted his Bitcoin paper in 2008, he laid everything open for all to see. Then he wrote the Bitcoin program and left it “open source,” so anyone could see the programming.

The process of creating cartel money, on the other hand, is mostly hidden, purposely confused, and isn’t even taught to most Econ majors. And if you think that’s just my opinion, here’s one from the esteemed economist John Kenneth Galbraith:

The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it.

The argument is made, of course, that the process of creating dollars, etc. is very complicated, and that people don’t understand it because of that.

I don’t think that’s true, but even so, let’s compare it to Bitcoin: Making bitcoins is also complex, but Bitcoin enthusiasts have been working night and day to explain their new currency and how it works. I’ve seen them cornering people at birthday parties, trying to make them understand.

Round two goes to Bitcoin also. Bitcoin wants to be seen and known, and the cartels surely do not.

It all comes down to the reason “why.”

Satoshi Nakamoto began the original Bitcoin document by saying that he wanted to, “allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” He goes on to say that he was creating,

an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.

In other words, Satoshi wanted to remove the necessity of one man ruling another in the area of money. Furthermore, he did it, then went away.

As for the motives of the cartel, we can’t really tell. The visible heads of the Federal Reserve are certainly not the owners of the Federal Reserve, and the US government refuses to reveal the names of the owners.

Perhaps the closest real examination of their motives comes from a renowned professor who worked for them for a few years. Professor Carroll Quigley of Georgetown – and a major influence on none other than Bill Clinton, wrote this in his book Tragedy & Hope:

The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank… sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent rewards in the business world.

So, was Quigley right? I have no solid proof that he is, but he would be an awfully hard witness to impeach. One substantiation that comes to mind is a recent comment by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. In the midst of a political fight, he complained, “The banks own the Senate.”

That’s not really proof either, but it is interesting.

You can make up your own mind on the banks, but Satoshi’s motives are fairly well beyond question.

I think it is clear that from a moral standpoint, Bitcoin is far, far better than cartel money. (As are silver and gold.)

So, the next time you hear someone calling Bitcoin dangerous and evil, don’t let them get away with it!

Paul Rosenberg