Thursday, November 18, 2010

Luke 14:26 (New International Version)

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

Like the Buddha, Jesus tailored his message depending on who he was talking to. Remember, he wasn't trying to write a book, he was trying to get communicate with specific people and specific groups. In this case Jesus was being followed by a large crowd so he was trying to shock them, to challenge them. Jesus was not like some two bit tele-evangelist, trying to get as big an audience as possible. Instead he tried to drive people away, for their own good. So he gave them a teaching that is easy to misunderstand.

What does hate mean here? The hate is directed at specific relationships, that were embedded in tradition. Mother is role and a position, so is father and brother, and this is what must be hated. Not people, but roles. The roles are in you, it does not refer to other people. It is about how we think about other people, our attachments and preconceptions that put other people into roles. We are to love other people but we should hate and despise our own tendency to place people into roles, because this prevents us from truly loving them. When someone is in a role they are not themselves, they are the role. You cannot truly love someone who plays a role for you, because you see them through the role you have placed on them.


  1. Wow. Jesus says you can't be his disciple unless you hate yourself.
    What's your evidence that he was talking about roles?
    What is the explanation for the role you self plays?

    Rob, it seems like you'll bend over backward to get a good interpretation of anything Jesus says.

    Here's another one: Jesus only wants to spend time training people who are full of hate. The ones who are loving and compassionate don't need him.

    Here's another one: It's a misquote.

    What constrains your choice of explanation?

  2. Thanks for this comment. I posted it because it's very negative and I was in a bad mood, but then I couldn't leave it so I started to work our what I thought it meant. But this raises a big issue, so I should blog about it. I'll write some more about it but this is my short answer. You are correct to say that I am bending over backwards to get a good interpretation of anything Jesus says. You are also correct to say that it was likely a misquote because Jesus did not write down anything and the new testament was written by people who never met him. It is also possible that the historical Jesus really did have issues with his family. Meditating on passages from the bible should, in my opinion, have nothing to do with actual historical events. In my opinion, passages from the bible should be treated like zen koans or readings from the i-ching. The goal is not to figure out what the historical Jesus actually said or did. Instead the goal is to search yourself for the right explanation. You know it is the right explanation by a certain feeling. However, the point is not to find the right answer, the point is to achieve the feeling. Also, it is important to know that the rightness of the answer is transient. Like a koan, you cannot write down the right answer

  3. Actually, I should add that achieving the "feeling" is not the end goal. It is part of a process