Jesus: A Hammer in the Temple of the Serpent
There is an old saying that goes, "in the temple were built that hammers that destroyed the temple." Jesus was that hammer, and the temple he came to destroy was the very tree from which Adam and Eve had eaten from in the Garden of Eden, where the serpent had promised that, if they would but eat its fruit (and drink its wine?), they would "be like God, knowing good from evil." And the only 'temple' that teaches everyone that they should strive to "be like God" today, and which "like God" proclaims an infallible knowledge of "good and evil," is institutionalized religion itself.
Most Christians think that the Bible is a story that, like the U.S. Constitution, is essentially the foundation upon which their religion, and more specifically their "Church," firmly rests. For Christians the world over, Christ came to "free" humanity from original sin. But what exactly was the original sin?
We are told that the sin of Adam and Eve was one of "disobedience," but disobedience to whom? To God, we are naturally told to believe. But if we have yet to determine if such as thing as "God" exists in the first place - besides a million other questions we would naturally have is such an idea were true - then we are left to wonder to whom it was, exactly, that humanity was collectively accused of disobeying.
The only ones who can offer us an answer with a straight face and an air of authority to such a question, however, are those who want us to accept their religion as unquestionably and infallibly true in the first place. They, in other words, want us to believe we are imperfect sinners, so that they may provide us with their special brand of cure, which will not only restore our soul to a far better health than any other, but will extend our life and our mirth equally into eternity.
That not a single person on the planet today would ever accept such a tale as true, if the name of our alleged "savior" - who happens to be the same God we so deeply offended in the first place, and who's forgiveness we only obtained through an act of contrition that involved the brutal murder of his own son, no less - was Daffy Duck, deters not a single educated mind from "believing" that our sinful and all too fallible nature has done nothing to impair our ability to know the difference between pure charlatanism and the unvarnished truth of an institutionalized religion.
By being put to death as both a human and a divine sacrifice, therefore, and to his own loving and merciful father (who happens to be himself), Jesus is therefore believed to have paid for all sins everywhere, including the original one that set us all on our miserable way from the start. And in so doing, the alter of human sacrifice became the cornerstone upon which God would write His new covenant with mankind, and build a new religion. That a religion which was founded on the brutal murder of a man condemned to death as a heretic, would go on to defend its ever growing wealth and power agaisnt "the gates of hell" by similarly murdering countless others for heresy as well, only serves to reinforce the "belief" in the believer that their institutional religion is undeniably from God.
People get this generalized view equally from both the Catholic Church and countless other Christian churches as well, because all Churches and all religions wish to retain the very power they wield over their "flock." The "truth," however, is that Christ as the Shepard came to lead people out of the bondage of religion, collectively and completely.
Like Moses leading his people out of Egypt, Christ came to raise to the ground those pyramid structures of pomp and power that reside in institutional religions, and return God to the people. And he intended to do this by taking God out of the temples, where He is held everywhere for ransom by those who have only ever falsely claimed to speak authoritatively on his behalf, and giving Him back to the people as a whole. And that is the very reason why both the Pharisees and the Sadducees wanted Jesus dead.
And like the "Grand Inquisitor" in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, Christ posed the greatest danger of all to institutionalized religion, because while the latter needs people to believe their souls are broken so they will submit to the tyranny of spiritual rule, the former knew that this was in fact the very lie that had lead Adam and Eve to loose the garden of Eden in the first place.
St. Augustine became a favorite of the Catholic Church for keeping the lie alive that we are all born sinners, thanks to the original sin committed by Adam and Eve, of course. And that only by our worship of Christ as the perfect human superman-god, could we ever hope to escape the eternal hell that all of our miserable sinful hides so rightfully deserve.
Pelagius, on the other hand, saw it differently, and felt that people were not born guilty for what someone else had done. While Augustine's was revered by the Catholic Church for convincing the masses that they needed to rely on a "God" that most had never thought to doubt existed in the first place, it became clear in retrospect that his arguments only strengthened the church by convincing ever more people of their need to depend upon it for their salvation.
What, in other words, would people think, if they began to question if God existed, or if they wondered why they should believe they were born broken and commanded to be well? Or like Pelagius, what would become of a Church that people did not need to depend on to save their souls from eternal hellfire? In fact, Native Americans who were presented with this narrative found it counter productive to start with such an absurd and unverifiable assumption, especially given the evil such Christians willingly engaged in to spread to faith.
And if more people had the same skepticism of such a story as Native Americans, the Church knew their pews would be empty, and the power they derived from their institution would be drained from the Church as the blood is said to have been drained from the body of Christ.
That the Catholic Church only ever endorsed the arguments and the theologians that convinced people of their need to rely ever more on the Church itself, never occurs to those who defend that Church, even when they condemn all other man made institutions that cleverly rely on the same kind of manipulation.
If a political party makes claims about the dangers to human survival caused by climate change, for example, the alert and thinking Catholic will naturally denounce the ruse as simply an attempt to manipulate people to depend on that party to fix a "problem" that is pure fiction. But if the Catholic Church itself only ever convinces people of their need to depend on the Catholic Church, lest their eternal salvation be lost, the same Catholic would think, without a hint of irony, that only a fool would doubt the authenticity of such a claim.
But if we look at the history of the prophets of Israel and the Twelve Tribes, all of which would've been well known to Christ even though it is quite intentionally left out of the education of every Christian today, we see quite clearly that the sole reason why Jesus said 'I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands," was not because he was simply talking about himself, but because institutional religion, which seduces humanity to "be like God," has only ever lead us to treat each other like the devil.