The Bible is taken as history by many. Its compilation three centuries after the time of Jesus suggests more unknowns than knowns. Research quickly produces countless sources of information regarding the time and circumstances of the are in which Jesus live, but fee contain reference to Jesus or his followers. Archaeologists have excavated many sites in the are and around it. There are great numbers of artifacts, some written and some objects.
Flavius Josephus wrote extensively of the time Jesus lived and more. His Antiquities of the Jews was extensive and colorfully written. Though there are no known copies of his original manuscripts, there are copies, but none are thought to have been created earlier than a thousand years after Joseph died. Those were copied by Christian monks. It must be understood that the available material in heavily disputed by scholars. Jews consider him a traitor. This is substantiated by the evidence that Joseph wrote his Antiquities and other documents while living in Rome under the protections of Titus Vespasian, the military leader who conquered and razed Jerusalem. The reports of the conquering, its causes, and aftermath are numerous and monuments to the Roman victor still stand in Rome. It all took place during what is considered to be the missions of the Apostles commissioned by Jesus according to the Bible.
Logic demands that the life of Jesus is considered as concurrent with the Jewish-Roman wars. There were arguable three. Some contend there were only two. All concede that there was horrible carnage and destruction that ended around 136 years after Jesus. The result was what the Jews refer to as the Diaspora, the scattering of the ancient Jewish people. Many scholars have spent incalculable hours studying and writing about the information and opinions they derived. Somewhere among it all must be the truth. It must fall to each individual to choose what to believe. But the truth is not subject to the choices or opinions of anyone. It is the indelible and inexorable facts that constitute the past and truth. There is no rational way to evade the fact that the events and people of the New Testament were deeply affected by the circumstances of their time, a time of wars both civil and international or tribal depending on one’s relative understanding and etymology.
Study of the available information regarding the time and place surrounding the life of Jesus is beyond exhaustion and intention of this student. All I can do is try and be content. So far, my study has given me deep sorrow that compels me to disdain for humanity. The bloodshed and destruction of history condemns humanity and helps in the understanding of my time on Earth. The Jews were evidently a violent and warring people. The Bible is replete with accounts too horrible to conceive. Roman and Jewish records are equally if not more horrible, and horrors involving many other peoples mix into the account of history making is difficult to have respect for humanity and love for one another. This is why unconditional love is so important.
We can study all we want, but we cannot change history. We can change our records of it. We can have any opinion we choose of it. But history remains regardless of everything. It has not passed my notice that there is opposition to that statement. Lunacy is not uncommon. The only thing we can change, anyone and everyone, is the future. Unless we make a serious and persistent effort, the future will resemble the past. Nothing can be done to make amends for the past. Reparations, revenge, social adjustments, and revision can do only damage to the future. Jesus says in the Bible that the Apostles should love one another as he loved them. It was a love that was unconditional. The narrative in the Bible depicts Jesus as so loving mankind he loved his enemies, turned the other cheek, and gave his live by torture in service to mankind. Historical or not, the recommendation is the only way the future can be make different than history and perhaps the only way for mankind to have a future. It is the only worthwhile objective for each and every human today and tomorrow that we find a way to bring unconditional love to our hearts.
The Jews say they were given the Law directly from God. The Christians say they were given their way by Jesus. The Muslims get their ways from the Qur’ an. They all three prescribe love as the way. They command people to not kill. There is no way to reconcile the history of Jews, Christians, or Muslims with that command. It is even said the Moses, who received the Ten Commandment directly form God, took the Israelites as if a marching army to invade and kill the inhabitants of the Promise Land in total contradiction to the command against killing. They say God told them to do it in direct contradiction to his own law. Reason cannot ignore the facts. If the other command in the Ten Commandments had been manifest in the hearts of the Israelites or the Christians and Muslims to love one another, the bloodshed and killings could not have happened. It is time to take a different tack. Love is the only way.
I have tried to describe a future in which all mankind live in unconditional love for one another. I will not attempt to do so again here. Instead, I ask you to try to imagine it. It is easy to do. Just set aside all objections, suspend disbelief just as you do watch cartoons, and imagine seven billion people living in unconditional love tomorrow. The world will begin to change in your mind. I predict a rebirth born of the vision you will see. Make it so.