Allan's Perspective is not recommended for the politically correct, or the overly religious! Some people have opinions, and some have convictions ..., what we offer is Perspective!

(Sometimes I feel like I'm just a bobble-head on the highway of life!)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Nick the Dick!

Dear Friends: "Let's get things back into perspective!"

Many years ago I worked with a guy called Nick who was the top salesman in our company about three out of every four months.

The strange thing about Nick was that while he always wanted to be the top dog and winner, he also wanted everybody else to lose!

I'm sure there s some psychological term for this sort of behaviour, but being around this sort of a person is extremely irritating ......, to say the least!!!!!!

Yup, Nick would think nothing of stealing your customers while telling everybody else what a rotten salesman you were.

The most vexing thing about him was that management knew exactly what he was like, but gave him free reign because he produced results for the company.

As a result his behaviour never came back to bite him during all the time I was there. (This was also one of the main reasons I eventually left the company!)

Unfortunately this same situation exists within the American political system at this time. Both the Democrats and Republicans not only want to win at every opportunity, but they also want the opposition to fail in everything they do.

These partisan policies are slowly strangling the country and making the whole kit-and-caboodle almost impossible to manage. Political parties are shouting at each other rather than talking to each other, and the only sensible solution to this impasse is to introduce a third party into the mix.

This way there is no right or wrong, or black and white anymore folks since everyone will have to compromise in order to get anything done.

The way I see it anyway!


Sunday Morning Funnies # 744



With all the new technology regarding fertility recently, a 65-year-old friend of mine was able to give birth.
When she was discharged from the hospital and went home, I went to visit.

'May I see the new baby?' I asked.
'Not yet,' she said 'I'll make coffee and we can visit for a while first.'
Thirty minutes had passed, and I asked, 'May I see the new baby now?'

'No, not yet,' She said.
After another few minutes, had elapsed,
I asked again, 'May I see the baby now?'

'No, not yet,' replied my friend.
Growing very impatient, I asked, 'Well, when can I see the baby?'
'WHEN HE CRIES!' she told me.


'WHEN HE CRIES?' I demanded. 'Why do I have to wait until he CRIES?'


'BECAUSE I FORGOT WHERE I PUT HIM, O.K.?!


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Airline humour: 


1. "As you exit the plane, please make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."

2. "Last one off the plane must clean it."

3. After landing: "Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."
4. As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Washington National, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. Whoa!"

5. After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced: "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted."

6. From a Southwest Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight XXX to YYY. To operate your seatbelt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seatbelt and if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are travelling with two small children, decide now which one you love more."

7. "Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but they'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you or your money more than Southwest Airlines."

8. "Your seat cushions can be used for flotation. In the event of an emergency water landing, please take them with our compliments."

9. From a Southwest Airlines employee: "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only four ways out of this airplane."

10. Pilot: "Folks, we have reached our cruising altitude now, so I am going to switch the seat belt sign off. Feel free to move about as you wish, but please stay inside the plane till we land. It's a bit cold outside, and if you walk on the wings it affects the flight pattern."

11. From the pilot during his welcome message: "We are pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately none of them are on this flight."

12. This was overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day. During the final approach, the captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the flight attendant came on the PA and announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seatbelts fastened while the captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

13. Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

14. An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a, "Thanks for flying XYZ airline." He said that in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally, everyone had gotten off except for this little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sonny, did we land or were we shot down?"

15. After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the flight attendant got on the PA and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt up against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal."


16. Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of us here at US Airways
 


Saturday, June 24, 2017

What's the matter with Qatar? NOTHING!

Dear Friends; "Let's get things back into perspective!"

All of Qatar's neighbours, led by Saudi Arabia, have jumped on Qatar for a perceived variety of misdeeds and misnomers, to the point that they have broken off diplomatic relations with the kingdom and virtually isolated it from the rest of the Middle-East.

And for what, you might ask? (Go ahead, ask!)

Because Qatar, and especially Al Jazeera, has become too critical of some of the Arab States economic and social policies, which they consider too repressive, and as a result they want to punish Qatar until is gets back into line with their philosophical ideals.

Despite the headaches it caused, Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel (AJA) was a useful instrument of soft power for a tiny state that once tried to stand apart from both its neighbors and the region’s internecine feuds. Doha used to be a sort of Geneva-on-the-Gulf, the place where everyone went to hash out their differences. It wasn't uncommon to see camouflage-clad Sudanese rebels taking high tea in the lobby of the Four Seasons. Hamas and Fatah, the rival Palestinian factions, signed a reconciliation deal in Qatar. Lebanese leaders did the same in 2008, ending an 18-month standoff in Beirut.
 The list of 13 demands presented to Qatar this week is revealing. The first item, which asks Qatar to cut ties with Iran, is a red herring: While they maintain cordial relations—a necessity, because the two countries share a massive natural gas field—they are hardly close. Doha also trades far less with Tehran than Dubai does, a fact that has gone strangely unmentioned on Al Arabiya in recent weeks.

Anwar Gargash, the Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs, said the list was the result of “serious mediation” led by Kuwait. The Qataris see it as a set of unreasonable, maximalist demands, asking them to abandon their foreign policy and align themselves completely with their neighbors and rivals. They are unlikely to accede. It is all a sad denouement to the Arab Spring: six years after a wave of pro-democracy revolutions, the latest crisis roiling the region is a spat over, among other things, which Arab autocracy will control the airwaves.
(With notes from "The Atlantic!")

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/al-jazeera-qatar-saudi-arabia-muslim-brotherhood/531471/

Happy Birthday Canada!

Dear Friends:

As a celebration of our nation's 150th birthday someone put this little beaver out in the lobby of our condo!


Saturday Morning Confusion: What next?

Dear Friends" "Let's get things back into perspective!"

A well known Syrian doctor blocked from re-entering the United States to continue his Ivy League education after U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban has found a new home in Canada.


Khaled Almilaji arrived in Toronto last Friday and was reunited with his wife, Jehan Mouhsen. He plans to pursue studies at the University of Toronto.

Image result for khaled almilaji(Does he look a bit like Jason Priestly?)

The move marked the end of months of uncertainty. The couple became separated in January while Almilaji was overseas in Turkey working on a humanitarian project. (Almilaji is a renowned doctor who has been credited with helping save the lives of 1.4 million Syrian children in a mass polio vaccination campaign in 2013.)
 
News of the couple’s predicament spread quickly through news stories. After more than a month of waiting for a new visa, Almilaji got in touch with faculty at the University of Toronto.

"As soon I talked to him, I thought he would bring so much into our program,” said Julia Zarb, program director of the Master of Health Informatics program at the school.

Almilaji was accepted into the program and restarted his studies Wednesday at the University of Toronto, with full support from Brown. His long-term goal is to help improve the livelihood and health of Syrians.

“As a recognized humanitarian with extraordinary global public health experience, he will enrich the scholarship of our academic community,” said Howard Hu, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, in a statement.

 http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/syrian-doctor-barred-from-u-s-under-travel-ban-resettles-in-toronto-1.3474255

--------------------------- 

OUR QUESTION OF THE DAY: Why do some animals poop, and then turn around and eat their own droppings?

It may appear icky to humans, but the practice of eating poop, known as coprophagia (kop-ruh-fey-jee-uh), is common in the animal kingdom, and helps these animals access nutrients they couldn't digest the first time around, said Bryan Amaral, the senior curator of animal care science at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

"It's a relatively normal phenomenon that's seen in lots of different species of animals," Amaral told Live Science. [ Tomorrow ....., Why Is Poop Brown?]

-----------------------------

If you don't believe street drugs are getting stronger and more deadly (like fentanyl) then get a load of this folks: When I was a teenager they had a street drug that was considered a "downer" (any sort of depressant) and it turned out to be a horse tranquilizer.

Today they have a new type of 'downer' on the street (carfentanil) that goes by many different names, but is basically and "elephant tranquilizer."

So, unless you have a bunch of agitated elephants in your back yard kids, you would be well advised to stay away from this stuff!

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I wrote about special interest groups attempting to influence the public at large a few days ago and we now have another example of this stupid, and even dangerous trend.
A transgender activist from St. John's is continuing the fight for a gender-neutral birth certificate, after a provincial department deferred the request. "To have non-binary as a third legal gender. I think that that's really important. At least another option for people like me," says Gemma Hickey.
 Hickey doesn't identify as either male or female, which are currently the only two options on the change of sex designation form. Hickey filed the application for a new birth certificate in April with the vital statistics division of Service NL, but it hasn't been approved. Service NL says it is still reviewing the application.  

Now what makes this really terrifying is that there are groups who advocate giving everybody a non-binary birth certificate when they are born ....., so that they can decide just what the hell they want to be when they grow up!!!!!

-------------------------------

And finally a few notes from the land of the midnight sun: A bar in the Yukon is famous for its "sour-toe whiskey," that is until someone stole the toe last week. However, once the thief sobered up he returned to missing appendage and everybody is happy again. 

Meanwhile: Ever wanted to learn Inuktitut? Atelihai, pronounced ahh-tee-lee-hi, is the Inuktitut word for "hello" or "welcome."

It's one of the more than 130 words and phrases the Let's Speak Inuktitut project, or UK├ólalautta Inuttitut, has recorded and published on the popular audio-sharing site SoundCloud.

"We know that the Inuktitut language here in Labrador is starting to almost disappear," Sara Townley told CBC's Labrador Morning. "So I think having things like this online is a really good resource for somebody to learn Inuktitut."

Townley isn't involved with the project but she teaches the language and likes that the program breaks things down into syllables.

Inuktitut is full of lengthy words. Some phrases that would be five or six words in English are usually one or two longer words when translated into in Inuktitut.


Townley said cultural genocide is what caused Inuktitut to be spoken less but she says she believes it'll come back gradually, and resources like Let's Speak Inuktitut will help with that.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A gay tail wags the straight dog!

Dear Friends: "Let's get things back into perspective!"

I am rather torn and conflicted about this post ...., but it addresses something that needs to be said: Political Correctness, curtailment of free speech, (It’s better to have a talk. If you put restrictions on free speech, then you can’t actually talk about the difficult things that need to be talked about.) university safe zones, radical feminism, gender identity ...., gay rights, transgender rights, human rights, (The human rights tribunals have been given the right to hold anybody and everybody equally in contempt.) sexual harassment, the right not to have your feelings hurt, etc. are all things and ideas that have swung too far and too fast away from what was considered the normal middle ground in previous years.


Every minority group and/or special interest group has claimed a "special status" in our society, and if their self proclaimed "RIGHTS" are not respected by the majority then there will be hell to pay!

Yup,the tail is wagging the dog more and more folks, and one of the greatest proponents of getting things back to "normal" is Dr. Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto, who has received a fair amount of vitriol and oppression for his views on what constitutes normal vs extremism.

Here are some quotes from the good doctor:
Honesty simplifies us to the point where we can engage in mutually beneficial interactions. But you certainly don’t get my respect by demanding it. You have no right whatsoever to ask me to mark you out as special in any way whatsoever. 
 Or this one:

The thing is that if you replace compassion with resentment, then you understand the authoritarian left. They don’t have compassion, there is no compassion there. There’s no compassion at all. There is resentment, fundamentally.
 And this:
The Supreme Court in the United States has held that compelled speech is unacceptable for two reasons. One is to protect the rights of the speaker, the other is to protect the rights of the listener. The listener has the right to be informed and instructed without being unduly influenced by hidden sources. If your speech is compelled, it isn’t YOU who is talking, it’s some other entity that’s compelling your speech.
Another:
There are bleak things going on. To start with, Bill C-16 writes social constructionism into the fabric of the law. Social constructionism is the doctrine that all human roles are socially constructed. They’re detached from the underlying biology and from the underlying objective world. So Bill C-16 contains an assault on biology and an implicit assault on the idea of objective reality. It’s also blatant in the Ontario Human Rights Commission policies and the Ontario Human Rights Act. It says identity is nothing but subjective. So a person can be male one day and female the next, or male one hour and female the next.
So there ya have it kids, whether it's gay rights, transgender identity, or free speech in general, we have to stop the tail from wagging the dog because that's also the end where all the shit comes out!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

If I ruled the World #7: How to fix the problem with Islam!



 From my book: "An Exploration of Religion and the Meaning of Life!"

When looking at Islam, we have a community that has at its heart and core, a most precious and distinct possession: “A Book.”

This is a scripture that sets forth the teachings and legislation for the community and the essential themes for the faith. This is the material that the followers of Muhammad could gather from various sources after his death and has come down to us as the Koran. It is the fundamental document for the religion of Islam and is regarded by the faithful as the holy, revealed, eternal Word of God.

Muhammad called his new religion “Islam,” a word that means submission to the will of Allah.  One who accepts Islam and makes such submission is a Muslim and termed a mu’min. (Believer) One who does not accept Islam is kafir. (Unbeliever) Islam means devotion to God, and is regarded as a newer version of the religion of Abraham.  

(This original religion declined, and was then renewed by Moses.  After Moses things were renewed once more by Jesus, and then again by Muhammad.  Jews, Christians and Muslims are all “People of the Book,” but according to Islam, Muhammad is the “last of the prophets!”)

Islam is a very structured religion!  To live in submission to Allah and in obedience to the teachings of the Prophet, a Muslim must follow certain rules formulated for him.  

There is a certain hierarchy of rules that are to be followed.
 
         In the first instance, these rules are provided in the Sharia, which is the Koran.

         In the second instance comes the Hadith, or “The Traditions”  

If something was not addressed in the Koran, guidance was sought in the “Traditions.”  (What the Prophet had said and done.)

This vast accumulation of traditions was digested into the collections of the Hadith, six of which are considered the canonical collections.

(It is well known that much of the Hadith material was spurious, but for the study of Islam even those traditions, which the community invented and attributed to Muhammad, have their value!  Often as much value as those that may actually have come down from him.)

         The third instance is “Ijma,” which is the consensus of community standards.

         The fourth instance relies on Giyas, which is the application of analogical reasoning to the other three sources for the deduction of new rules.

This combination of rules, starting with the Sharia, combines to form a religion that is structured in such a way as to give adherents a strict set of guidelines on the method of proper conduct.

There is great comfort in the structured environment of Islam. It places importance in the observance of daily routine and ritual.

This, combined with the strong family and social ties (tribal) that are encouraged, makes for a religion that is both vital and dynamic in its zealousness, while at the same time fostering a strong inertia and resistance to change from outside sources.

Therefore, the main obstacle to growth and development in Islam is the overwhelming sense that there is absolutely no need for change. 
 
In fact, by its very nature, Islam preaches that it is complete and fully developed as the personal word of God.

(This has also been the case in the Christian church, which means we have religions that are stuck in the nineteenth century in the case of Christianity, and the twelfth century in the case of Islam.  Where we have a conflict with most Christian and Muslim fundamentalists is that the answer to these criticisms will always be met with the question; “Well, what’s the matter with that?”)

One of the greatest drawbacks to Islam is that it operates on the surface as being infallible, much as Christianity does. Among Muslims however, it is acknowledged that the Prophet Muhammad left no actual interpretation of the Koran, but rather said it should be read and taken literally as the word of God. 

(This way, anything that goes wrong is obviously “God’s Will.” It is also one of the main reasons that a Muslims will end every second sentence with the phrase “Insh-Allah” - or –“God willing!”  Being as pragmatic as they are, this puts the onus back on God for whatever happens, and absolves them of being in “Shirk.”)

This interpretation by various individuals depends on everyone’s personal understanding and experience, as well as their social, political, and economic environment. 
(In fact, this happened almost exactly the same way among the early Christians.)

This means we have a divine text that is adding to the confusion by being interpreted differently from scholar to scholar, and person to person.  Naturally, the clergy interprets and decides which part of the Koran they want the general population to use.
They are also the ones that give guidance to; “what it really means.” (This is also the reason that Radical Islam can justify almost anything to conform to their toxic message.)

The sad truth of the matter is that in Islam, as in every other religion in the world, there are no shortages of people who try to put themselves in positions of influence and power.

All this for the purpose of spreading their own version of reality amongst the masses.

Traditional authorities, beginning in the time shortly after Muhammad, viewed holy law as the revealed will of God and subordinated politics to holy decree.

Historically however, it was politics (tribal or otherwise) that invariable shaped Islamic law and led to a complex discourse on a subject that was contentious on the surface, but at its base rather simple.

The religious precepts are pretty straightforward, but the task of explaining them and choosing a method for their application is left in human hands.

This means they are automatically constrained by human limitations!

On top of this, Muslims became politically divided early in their history with the division into the Shiite and Sunni sects, (see below) and that influenced their respective understandings of the law and its applications.


After Muhammad’s death, Islam also got off to a rocky start when warfare was used to spread the faith, and three of the first four Caliphs died by violence.

The fourth Caliph, Ali, was a cousin of Muhammad and his followers then tore the community in two by claiming that Ali should have been the first caliph by virtue of his blood ties to Muhammad.

These people came to be known as the Shiite sect, (Iran, Pakistan) while the great majority of the followers of Muhammad, who claim that succession does not rely on blood ties, are known today as the Sunni. (Everybody else, led by Saudi Arabia.)

A great many differences exist to this day between these two main sects of Islam, and the distinctions go far deeper than just who should have succeeded Muhammad.

In fact, it was in the interpretation of the Koran itself that there were already differences.

Because of this, we find different “creedal statements” circulating amongst the communities of both the Shiite and Sunni’s, as well as amongst the Sufi, who are a mystical branch of Islam.

These became the subject of discussion and commentary that in time grew into different Islamic theologies.  

This also led to a condition within the faith where almost anyone could at one time or another could consider a person of another sect to be a non-believer and heretic.

One result of this was that Islam developed divisions, and so part of the task was to distinguish orthodox belief and practice as opposed to various schools of heretical teaching.

(The similarity between this and the situation between the Catholics and Protestants is not mere coincidence, but the result of the schisms that can develop between different groups of similar beliefs!)

Perhaps what Islam needs is a “Reformation” along the same lines as the upheaval of the Catholic Church by Martin Luther.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

If I ruled the world #6: Let's set Christianity straight!

This is an excerpt from the book "An Exploration of Religion and the Meaning of Life!" by Allan W Janssen. You can purchase the book in PDF format at: https://www.amazon.ca/Exploration-Religion-Meaning-Life-ebook/dp/B01M0C07IE  
  
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It would be a fair bet to assume that Jesus was an actual historical figure who had great influence on his peers and times.  As for his teachings, they have to be looked at not only by what he said, but also by what his actions portrayed.  There is much truth to the saying "Actions speak louder than words!"

The truth probably lies somewhere between the scholarly belief in the unreliability of the gospels and the Christian belief in them as an infallible, literal portrait of Jesus.

At the end of the first century CE  The "Alexandrian School of Thought," of which Origin and Clement of Alexandria were part, taught that there were three possible approaches to be taken to the scriptures.  (That there were already discussions of this magnitude and significance tells us a lot of the early Christian movement.)

bulletThe first approach was the literal translation,
bulletThe second was symbolic, or allegorical, and
bulletThe third was spiritual.   

The first (the literal) was described as simplistic and solely for the uneducated.  The second (symbolic) was the use of parables to convey a deeper meaning, and third (spiritual) was to transcend the mortal plane and bring us closer to God.

Unfortunately at that time, as now, the unwashed masses cried out for a ready-made, simplistic, popular faith.  A faith that can best be described as closer to a romance novel than any serious attempt at theology, history and philosophy.

This is also the reason that the "Resurrection" was proclaimed as the basis for Christianity.

This version of the "Faith," when combined with the Roman gift of organization and brute force, led to the "Christianity" that has been handed down to us.  It seems to be the consensus among New Testament scholars that "Jesus" preached a message that teaches a way of behaving and living that applied to a first century reality.

However, the words of "Christ" are another matter. If the sayings and parables of "Christ" are examined closely with the purpose of separating those words that were actually uttered by "Jesus" from those that were later attributed to him, we see a vast difference in the context, meaning, and purpose between the two.

The sayings of "Christ" display a metaphorical and allegorical context that suggest someone slightly removed from the everyday world.

The biblical words of "Jesus," however, were indeed a direct reflection of their place and time. (Just as today, we are all products of our own time and age) The actual sayings of the historical "Jesus," which upon close examination shows only a handful of thoughts and parables, are so simple and basic, with such underlying truth, that they can be applied to the human condition of any age.

In his book "The Silence of Jesus," James Breech takes an in-depth and impartial view of the words that have been attributed to "Christ," and compared these with the words that composed the core material said by the historical "Jesus."

According to Breech, all the thoughts attributed to Jesus, a collection of eight sayings and twelve parables, can definitely be followed back to (The Gospel of Q) and do not have the taint of something said by "Christ."

Modern day scholars would agree that these sayings, at least, are authentic. They are remarkably free of the language and concepts of the early Christian movement, and show a purity of thought and concept, that upon close examination, reveals a simplicity and universal message not constrained by time or culture.

To truly understand the sayings that were uttered by the historical Jesus, we must keep an open mind and not make assumptions, or at least keep them to a minimum.  To do otherwise would be to fall into the same trap that ensnared the early "Christians." They created a body of work that first collected, then glossed over and distorted the sayings of Jesus to provide a basis for their own teachings.

One of the most basic assumptions that Breech examines is the concept of Christian "love" that forms the basis of most of the teachings of Jesus. Let me explain: The foundation of Christian ideology revolves around "Love" for one and another.  To understand this we need to define exactly how the term or meaning of "Love" is used when compared to (the small) love!!

In the first instance, there is the true "Love," which means it is rooted in the power of the kingdom of God. This is the "Love" that the historical Jesus preached to his followers.

The second type of Christian "love" (small L) is defined solely as an ethical idea that was propagated by the spreading Christian faith in trying to define the words of Christ. Nietzsche probably best defined this form of Christian 'love' as a masked feeling of pity or charity. 

In other words, we feel sorry for others and from this superior moral ground, we lend a helping hand.

Nietzsche claims that Christian 'pity' (love) is a device used by those who are not themselves truly vital and alive to obtain a perverse elevation of their own position by undermining others.

SO, "I can make myself feel better by thinking you or someone else is worse-off and deserving of love."  We often confuse the feeling of Christian "love" for someone with:
  1. Pity for them.
  2. Humanitarianism-or a love of Mankind.
  3. Altruism, or self denial, and
  4. Sentimentalism, or wanting to be with others.
These concepts of "love" have been re-enforced over and over again through one story or another.  What Jesus actually said was something more basic and infinitely harder to achieve. The historical Jesus did not urge us to love humankind or to feel pity for someone else. 

He did not tell us to deny ourselves for someone else's sake, or flagellate ourselves, or even to enjoy another's company! What He did say was pure and simple and straight to the point, "Love one another!" This sort of Love is not the altruistic love of humanity, nor the possessive love for our mate, but rather something that requires hard work, tenacity, and sacrifice.

It is easy to love your wife or husband, child or parent, but to Love your neighbor (or stranger) is a task that is never ending and always requires effort.  It is a Love that seems to have no immediate benefit and is therefore not practiced by many people. However, in the end, this is what will make Humanity rise up to it is potential and approach what Jesus referred to as the "Kingdom of God (The Father)."

This is not something that is to be expected in the near, or far, future. Rather, it was a state of being that is present at this time, and only has to be observed and followed in order to achieve a state of Grace.
One of the core sayings of Jesus was:
 "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say 'Lo, here it is!' or 'There!'  For behold, that kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
Jesus tells us quite clearly that the "Kingdom of God" is not a coming kingdom, or a future kingdom, but rather something already in and amongst his disciples.  It is not a place, but rather a state of mind!
To quote James Breech once more:
"Your concept of the kingdom of God, whether it belongs to the future mythological conceived, in either eschatological or apocalyptic terms, misses the reality of the kingdom. The symbolism really refers to a power that is a basic factor in human experience!"
In the teachings attributed to Jesus, it is abundantly clear that he was an apocalyptic teacher who believed that the world would end within the lifetime of the people to which he was speaking.

The foundation of these teachings was that human beings could be saved by both believing his word and by modeling their lives on the higher moral law of God. That higher moral law was the foundation of Jewish law.

To this end, he believed that Pharisaical teaching were an appropriate guide to following this higher moral law: His criticism of the Pharisees was that they did not live by what they taught.

In line with this higher moral law, Jesus of Nazareth preached an ethics of selfless concern for the welfare of others, rejection of material wealth, and non-retribution, all of which were standard in Jewish ethics.  In his statements, Jesus of Nazareth explicitly rejects government and politics as a legitimate sphere of human action.

The religion that he taught was an intensely individual religion.

Righteousness, which means the performance of right actions, was not a quality of actions but rather a quality of the interior state of the individual.  This was not really a break with the Jewish tradition, but it was the core of the way in which Jesus defined the human relationship with the Divine.

There is also abundant evidence in the Gospels that Jesus considered his teachings to be for Jews only.  This is a curious tradition to maintain in the face of the massive spread of Christianity into the Gentile world. However, nowhere does Jesus of Nazareth construe his teachings or the religion he is espousing as anything other than for Jews and in one place explicitly says that his mission is only to the Jews.

Ultimately, the Jesus who emerges from the gospels is concerned with preparing the Jews for the last event in history.

It is someone who actively preaches that human beings can enter individually into a correct relationship with God.  They can do this through faith and trust in God and through an active, ethical concern with both the material well-being and the suffering of others.

The Christian religion was at first, obviously, a Jewish religion.  It was a movement amongst the population in the immediate area of the land Jesus lived in.  Its message aimed directly at a Jewish audience by Jews.

However, with the advent of the Prophet Paul the message changed and was geared towards a Gentile population that was eager for the "word" as well.

Onto this template, Paul of Tarsus would add a new emphasis - Jesus as a dead and risen God co-extensive with God.  This developed into two branches, which we could call a Jewish Christian and a Pauline (Gentile) Christian.

They not only lived side by side, but also competed for the same converts. It was not until the Romans suppressed an uprising by the Jews in 66 to 74 CE and again 132 to 135 CE that led to the destruction of Masada, that the Pauline Christians gradually won out.

They became the defenders of the faith while the Jewish Christians were left  by the wayside. (Actually in the ashes of Masada!)

Is Trump really that stupid? Maybe not!