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Loaves and Fishes Or Ananias and Sapphira?
December 4, 2019
by William P. Meyers

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Prosperity or Terror?

In much of the Christian Gospel, Jesus talks in parables. He sometimes makes it clear he is not telling literally true stories by interpreting his own parables. Of course Jesus often performs miracles, and those miracles are much of the basis for the Christian belief that one should believe Jesus was God and let priests boss you around.

Among the more famous miracles is that of the loaves and fishes. Unlike many Jesus stories, this one appears in 3 of the 4 gospels, and is pretty consistent. Jesus begins with five loaves and two fishes, and feeds a multitude with them. In Matthew [14:14-21] this begins just after Jesus receives news that Herod the Tetrarch had John the Baptist beheaded. Then he feeds 5000 and has leftovers. In Mark [6:38-44] the words are close to identical. In John [6:1-13] the John the Baptist story is left out. Instead the story is placed just before Passover, but many of the details are the same.

The story of Ananias and Sapphira is less well known, but if you went to Catholic mass when I did (long, long ago) you heard it once a year. Ananias and his wife Sapphira "sold a possessin, and kept back part of the price." The Apostle Peter knows somehow, and lectures Ananias. "And Ananias, hearing these words, fell down, and gave up the ghost; and great fear came on all them that heard these things." Then the same for Sapphira [Acts 5:1-10].

Now clearly Ananias and Sapphira were murdered for not giving all their possessions and money to the early Christian cult. Which means that Peter & crew were having trouble making ends meet. If they could multiply loaves and fishes like Jesus, all they needed to do was set up a bakery and fish market. They could have fed the whole bloody world.

And upon that Rock, Peter's willingness to terrorize the early Christians, a Church was built. Perhaps the tale of Ananias and Sapphira was made up, like so much of the Gospel. Just a little extra nudge to get a donation, in case fear of hell did not do the trick. It is hard to know. We know Jesus and his initial Apostles were illiterate. No one writes or reads anything in the Gospels. The mythology was written down later.

Still, we are stuck with a lot of Christians in the U.S. and world today. I have not found most ordinary Christians to be particularly bad people. They don't seem to commit crimes or do good at any different rate than non-Christians. I don't have a problem with Church ladies who feed the homeless or mind their own business. But I do have a problem with people not bothering to think for themselves. I have a problem with teaching hatred of non-Christians. And I have a problem with hypocrisy. Whether true story or myth, the biblical Jesus had a problem with hypocrisy. True, it is an almost universal human trait, and it is often an unconcious process.

The tale of Ananias and Sapphira is the key to the New Testament. It shines a light on the alleged founder of the Christian and Catholic Church, Saint Peter. He murdered people and, unable to perform miracles, sought followers to grab their material possessions. As Jesus said, a bad tree does not bear good fruit. Christianity is rotten to the very core. Get over it, and start behaving like a wise human being.

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