“Jesus Christ was a terrorist insurgent,” The Tiny Man said with a grin as he sized up the rotund man at his front door. The Fat Man had come soliciting donations for a church fundraiser to support local soldiers deployed in the War Against Terror. “Forget everything you were ever told, and just read the New Testament for yourself.”
“I’ve read the Bible,” The Fat Man quorked defensively.
“Oh, I’m sure,” The Tiny Man replied. His snarky expression grew more contorted, condescension and angst twisting his sheepish grin in manic and unnatural ways. His eyes blazed with the almighty flames of what he would claim was gnosis but was more-than-likely no more than a bi-polar high. “But have you ever read the Gospels as a history? No strings of faith attached?”
“Well, it is—,” The Fat Man began.
“I mean,” The Tiny Man interrupted. “As a Christian you believe that Jesus was the Messiah, yes?”
“And you realize that in order for him to be ‘the anointed one’ of Hebrew prophesies requires that he not only be a righteous teacher but also a military savior and king, the liberator of Yahweh’s chosen people?”
“That was what the Jews were expecting.”
“Please, Hebrews,” The Tiny Man jumped. “Rabbinical Judaism is no older than Christianity. You might call the peoples of the Assyrian vassal state of Judah, the Southern Kingdom of Israel, Jews but that kingdom died six hundred years before your purported savior. To call the peoples of Galilee in northern Israel during the Second Temple years Jews simply proves your ignorance of the history. The fucking Tanakh and Talmud weren’t even complete.”
“The Old Testament.”
“Ya mean the Torah,” The Fat Man chirped.
“The Torah is only the five books of Moses, but I’m getting away from the point.” The Tiny Man took a breath to reboot his diatribe.
“The point being?”
“That your Son of God was in actuality a terrorist, far more similar to a Taliban insurgent than the holy crusaders of the Amerikan military, or even some cross-dressing pontiff.” He often spat the word American like a demonic curse.
The Fat Man was befuddled, a look of constipation welling in his expression that any bystander would take for an immanent and sure-to-be violent explosion of long idle beef and dairy remnants. The confusion fermented a rising anger, the result of decades of social programming and guilt that tormented his lower brain functions. A more feculent mood could not have been produced if The Tiny Man had actually reached within The Fat Man’s inflamed bowels and tied his intestines in knots.
If The Tiny Man had the will-power to derail this bully-pulpit train he would have. He was no stranger to the aggressive reactions of the fight-or-flight response elicited by vociferous dissection of the cognitively dissonant, a drunken hillbilly once cold-cocked him for simply “using too many big words”, but when he felt a point had to be made, it had to be made. The Tiny Man’s ideas swelled in him like a psychic priapism, only the syllogistic completion of his tirade offered sweet detumescence. He had tried on numerous occasions to simply write these things down, like Horselover Fats’ exegesis, but to him the written word was a form of masturbation; it relieved the tension but never really satisfied. Only dialectic copulation with another mind could truly satisfy. Unfortunately in this situation, as was more-often-than-not the case, the conversation was less an act of love-making and more a psychological rape scene. Perhaps it was more like date rape; both parties were willing, but one of them was sure to wake up ashamed and regretful.
The Fat Man certainly regretted engaging The Tiny Man in taboo conversation, but drunk on self-righteousness and indignation, he wasn’t about to back down. “If you hate America so much,” began his next interrupted platitude.
“Why don’t I get out?” The Tiny Man spat. “I don’t hate America. I love this country. It’s a beautiful place with a rich history of freedom and creativity. I hate the Babylonian State you call ‘our government’ and the blood-sucking leeches that populate its halls of power. I hate the senseless murder of innocent people and petty tyrants ‘to keep us safe’.” He actually used air-quotes. “No one is safe with the U.S. military in their backyard. If you had occupation forces down the road from your home you’d be planting I.E.D.s too. You’d fight for your freedom just like the fucking Taliban. Just like Jesus.”
“Jesus was not a terrorist!” The Fat Man looked near ready to weep.
“Then why did the Romans execute him?” The Tiny Man couldn’t look more condescending. “Or perhaps you’d like to blame ‘the Jews’.” He again resorted to sarcastic air-quotes. There is little more obnoxious than an autodidact at his pedantry. “Crucifixion was reserved for slaves, pirates, and enemies of the state. Aside from the pre-crucifixion flogging, the evangelists never mentioned Jesus toiling under the whip, and unless he liked to stroll atop the Sea of Galilee plundering fishing skiffs I’m pretty sure we can rule out piracy. I believe that leaves us with an enemy of the state, i.e. a terrorist.”
“Okay…” The Fat Man paused, whether he was contemplating a retort or simply trying not to chuckle at the image of a water-striding buccaneer Jesus, the tension had lessened significantly. “Maybe he was an enemy of the state, but he preached peace. He may have been a rabble-rouser and a threat to Roman rule, but terrorists are violent.”
“If Jesus and his followers were men of peace, where did Peter get the sword with which he cut off poor Malchus’ ear? And Judas Iscariot? Iscariot is a Hellenized form of sicarius, a dagger-man or assassin. The sicarii murdered Roman soldiers, tax collectors, and sympathizers. Then there is Simon the Zealot, another title given to religious freedom fighters, terrorists.”
“But Judas betrayed Christ,” The Fat Man replied.
“There are just as many sources, just as old as the canonical, that imply Judas was doing Christ’s bidding by informing on him.”
“Then why aren’t they in the Bible?”
“Those versions of the story aren’t exactly convenient for a Roman State religion.”
“Maybe not for Roman Catholics, no,” The Fat Man justified. “But I’m a Protestant and I’ve never read such things.”
“Not just Roman Catholics,” The Tiny Man continued. “When Constantine sought to reinstate Pax Romana, he recognized that he could gain great allies by joining the rising tide of Christianity. So he sublimated his sun god, Sol Invictus, and made common cause with the growing Christian Orthodoxy. From the Edict of Milan through the first few ecumenical councils, the Romans stole Christianity from the Jews- there were Jews by then, and the Gnostics. The Protestant Reformation may have scaled back some of the grotesqueries of the Roman faith, but it did nothing to restore historical or spiritual authenticity. All that aside, the Roman faith, modern Christianity, couldn’t abide an anti-Roman freedom fighter as Lord and Savior.”
“Just because Jesus had followers that were at sometime terrorists doesn’t mean he, himself, was a terrorist.” The Fat Man was grasping at straws. “I mean, he also had disciples who had been tax collectors and whores. I suppose he was a pimp as well? And a tax collector must have been collecting taxes for the Romans.”
“Considering the accusation of whore was most often leveled at Mary Magdalene, and repeatedly proven false, I don’t suppose he was a pimp. As for the tax collector, you don’t think the Taliban or Al Qaeda have moles among the U.S. forces and their allies?”
“What about turn the other cheek?”
The Tiny Man smirked, self-satisfied. “A better translation of that passage would be: if your enemy gives you the back of his hand offer him the other cheek. The point being: if he treats you like a bitch, make sure he realizes you are not. In other words, demand equality.”
The Fat Man turned a pair of wide cheeks and waddled off toward the next house down the block. The Tiny Man slowly closed the door. He, The Tiny Man, lowered his head, and as his heart rate diminished, he sighed a deep exhale. He shuffled toward the couch awash in shameful self-satisfaction.
Who does he think he is, they probably both thought. What an asshole. And, as such things go, they were both correct, but neither would ever be right…