Jesus Taught Virtue Not Religion

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Mosaic Law

Jesus taught people the spirit of the Law of Moses rather than a rigid prescriptive interpretation. This teaching combined with his message of repentance and virtuous behaviour irritated the Pharisees and Temple Priests so much that they wanted him silenced.

There is a similarity between the Jesus who irritated the Pharasees in ancient Israel and Socrates who irritated the Athenians. Both taught the promotion of inner purity and personal virture as the purpose of life rather than the accumulation of temporal earthly wealth.

Socrates 1. Socrates 2.

Still Relevant

The message of these philosophers is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago but the response of people today will probably be similar to the response of people who listened to these men back in the Roman era. Some accepted the message and changed their behaviour, others were disinterested and unmoved, and some became resentful and angry.


Both Jesus and Socrates were executed. Jesus was brutally scourged and then crucified by Roman soldiers in Jerusalem at the behest of the Sanhedrin, and the people of Athens executed Socrates with hemplock poison.

Socrate's Death

Jesus Parables

At times when Jesus was indignant about the commercialization of religious beliefs he presented his message forcefully and directly to the Jews he wanted to rebuke, but when he was teaching his followers he showed patience and compassion.

As a way of communicating his beliefs to unlearned listeners Jesus frequently used short-story parables. This way of teaching was similar to the story method used by Aesop the Greek slave. Aesop's Fables are short allegorical stories that use animals as the main characters and although some fables are amusing and can easily be remembered because of the humor they all contain a deeper meaning.

Aesop's Fables

Fables and parables hold a listener's interest but the deeper philosophical meaning sometimes requires clarification from the teacher to be fully understood. The Sower Parable attributed to Jesus is an example.

Sower Parable

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