The Universal Principles of Justice and Charity – Excerpt from: Christianity Unmasked

The Universal Principles of Justice and Charity

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3 – 7:27) is perhaps one of the most famous teachings of Christianity. In this Sermon, Jesus presents some basic and beautiful truths. The basic principles of morality, justice and kindness are articulated in this teaching clearly and concisely. But if you step back and look at the literary structure of the book of Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount takes on a different character entirely.

The underlying theme of the book of Matthew (and Christianity as a whole) is the exaltation of Jesus and the emphasis of humanity’s “need” for Jesus. The author of the book of Matthew presents the Sermon on the Mount not so much as a teaching on how to live a moral life but as an argument for the superiority of Jesus. Immediately after the Sermon (Matthew7:28,29) the author tells us how the crowds were amazed at the teaching; not because of the beauty of the truths they contained, but because Jesus spoke with incomparable “authority”. Key segments of the Sermon are introduced with the phrase: “You have heard that it was said to them of old time” and contrasted with “But I (Jesus) say to you”. This literary device accentuates the fictitious notion that Jesus is the originator of these universal truths and that they were unknown to mankind until Jesus uttered them to his audience.

But this is false. These universal principles of justice and charity were planted by the Creator into the heart of every man and woman; they belong to all of us. Every one of us is sensitive to an injustice that we suffer at the hands of another. We are all acutely aware that injustice is wrong and evil when we find ourselves at the receiving end of an injustice. This is the guide that our Creator gave us all to teach us these universal principles. Every civilization has produced individuals who have brought greater clarity to these universal principles through the lives they lived and through the words they uttered. Clarifying and articulating these universal principles is good and Godly; falsely claiming to be the originator of these universal principles is not.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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5 Responses to The Universal Principles of Justice and Charity – Excerpt from: Christianity Unmasked

  1. Could it be that the way Yeshua spoke in the Sermon the Mount was to emphasize on the comparison between people’s just hearing without action and Yeshua’s speaking what he says? YOU have HEARD…but I SAY…. not to show them he is the inventor of the message.??

    • Gean I have no idea what he said – but the author of the book (Matthew) is clearly setting up Jesus’ words as a contrast to the teaching of other teachers (7:29) 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

      • Concerned Reader says:

        True rabbi, but given that in actual fact rabbinic literature has equivalents to almost all of Jesus’ ethical sayings from this sermon, it is possible that you could understand it Gean’s way, especially since Mathew has a low christology (comparatively) to that of say, John’s gospel.

        Its also the case in Mathew that even though Jesus says horribly bad things about the Pharisees, nonetheless, he says in the same text that they have the authority to teach, that they posses the truth, but that they don’t share it, etc. (and that is why he is so pissed.)

        He hangs out with Pharisees a lot in the gospel of Mathew, (again comparatively,) one might say too often if the intent is to be wholly distant from them.

        While its true that the text contains antisemitic screeds (when read and abused by a non Jewish audience,) in terms of the literature of the 1st and 2nd century, and vitriol we find against others in that literature, and in Mathew’s gospel in particular, it seems (to me at least,) that his intention was to reprimand the Pharisees (and his own students) in the harshest way, because they actually know what the truth is according to Jesus.

        So, one might say, Mathew portrays Jesus as a horribly impatient person, with serious personality problems, (maybe even bipolar.)

        Just going off of what is written, and things written in literature of a similar Vein, (like some of the scrolls that call all Jews outside of the sect sons of Belial) this book shows JC trying to reprimand and correct.

        • Concerned Reader I never considered this – it is possible that Matthew wouldn’t sound as bad if he wouldn’t be read together with John. Now that you bring it up – it makes sense, to some degree. Matthew, as opposed to John, does recognize that the Pharisees posses truth. When it comes to your point about Matthew reflecting the language used by the Qumran scrolls, I respectfully disagree. I don’t believe that the writers of the Qumran scrolls were such kind and loving people so the fact that Matthew mirrors their rhetoric doesn’t do much to mitigate the petty hatred reflected in his writings.

          1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

      • thanks for reply. i was going to write, :Yeshua’s speaking what he acts” because his emphasis on action of what he believes or sasys is prevalent in Gospel of Matthew.

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