Was Jesus Portrayed as an Imperfect Teacher of Moral Growth in the Gospels?

A good teacher of humane self-development should move away from “ought” and focus more on “how to”.

Agents of Change
Co-existence

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Photo credit: iStock

By Daniel Gauss

Jesus is portrayed in the Gospels in many laudatory ways. He was compassionate and forgiving and did not return harm to those who harmed him. He showed the highest respect for women where women had few rights. He cared about the poor and socially rejected. He was brave. Yet, there is a big flaw in the Gospels involving how Jesus’ higher and more humane values were taught. The writers of the Gospels failed to adequately explain how it might be possible for us to live up to those higher values, taking it for granted we could work this out ourselves. Let me please try to explain this insight I recently had.

The Dalai Lama wrote a book called The Good Heart (1). In this book he takes a look at aspects of the Christian religion which intersect with Buddhist teachings. The chapters are, in fact, a series of lectures he gave on a number of famous Gospel quotes. The first quote he tackles is the famous “Love your enemy!” text from Matthew 5:38–48. He points out that this sentiment is also expressed in a famous Mahayana Buddhist text from one of his favorite authors.

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Agents of Change
Co-existence

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