General Question

rebbel's avatar

Would Jesus get many followers this day?

Asked by rebbel (23449 points ) August 23rd, 2010

Let’s assume for a moment that Jesus has never walked the face of the Earth and also there have never been major world religions since.
So, in this scenario, most inhabitants of the world don’t have churches to attend or gods to believe in.
Lets just say that people believe in something, like in reality also people now do.
Then a person, Jesus-like, emerges.
This person is wise, peaceful, has an appealing and comforting message about how we, as a peoples from this world, could act and behave in order to live really happily together.
On top of that, this person is extremely charismatic.

Would people follow this person (like once Jesus was followed) now, in this day and age?
Would you, in this day and age?

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45 Answers

CMaz's avatar

I am sure the Jewish population would be game.

Since they are/were looking for the second coming.

BoBo1946's avatar

ummm…very difficult question to answer in the way you presented it. As you know, I’m a Christian. I don’t know. Would have to meet Him.

flutherother's avatar

Jesus today would be seen as a subversive and a potential terrorist so he might be sent to Guantanamo

Scooby's avatar

Maybe!! Depends what make of track suit he’s wearing I imagine! :-/

janbb's avatar

Well, he’d be in my Fluther for sure.

rebbel's avatar

@ChazMaz
Of course, in my assumption, Jesus has not been here the first time.

Arp's avatar

Does this guy heal people that are sick and do other miracles alike to the ones Jesus did (in the bible, anyways)?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I think people today would demand proof that he was indeed the son of a god. He would have to perform miracles first, like heal sick people, walk on water, or turn water into wine before as many people would follow him. If it was simply based on his word? No, I doubt it.

Edit: Even if he did that stuff, no, I probably wouldn’t follow him. I would then demand proof that god was actually good. I would also demand proof that there actually was a god, and that this Jesus person simply wasn’t some scientific experiment or something similar.

rebbel's avatar

@Arp
If that makes it easier for you to form an answer, yes, he does those things.

ucme's avatar

In this age of soundbites & cynicism? Not a prayer, if you get my meaning.

rebbel's avatar

@DrasticDreamer
An insightful answer, thanks.

cazzie's avatar

Jesus would not impress. Unless he had a good PR agent and good representation. Not a show in hell would book him otherwise.

JLeslie's avatar

I think he would have some followers, there are always people searching for religion and God it seems. But it would probably be called a cult. Maybe if incredible miracles were performed many more would join in, but he would have to be willing to repeat them over and over again, proof would mean being able to repeat an experiment and get the same result more than once, and I think most people would require proof in 2010.:

Arp's avatar

I personally believe that if it was truly a world without religion, several things would be true:

1. We would be far more technologically and culturally advanced (and we may have avoided many wars throughout history)
2. We would have made up a religion by then. People make up religions all the time, and people would feel like they want to belong to something, so they would pick up religion very easily.
3. Even if it somehow stayed a society devoid of religion, when this person came by, he may become a topic of interest, but only a small amount of the community would begin following him. I mean, if they had been raised their whole life knowing that they created their own destiny and not some unseen deity, they would find the notion of God humorous.

What I am saying is that society would not be the same.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Yes. But they’d be called a cult and the ATF would try to pull them up on some weapons charges and they’d fuck it up and then the FBI would get involved and before you know it everyone would be dead.

zophu's avatar

We’d probably call him an artist or philosopher, give him a few awards, and move on. Either that, or as others suggested, he’d be condemned as a subversive.

talljasperman's avatar

he’d get his own talk show

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amazingme's avatar

Some people would find him to be a great and amazing person and follow him. However others would completely reject and dismiss him. Just like people have done with him for 2000 years.

Aster's avatar

He’d have to prove himself because no one would believe he was Jesus. Would we be amazed by, “love one another.” I don’t think so. He’d have to submit to a lie detector test, have his miracles, if any, filmed and scrutinized and have a message for us we’ve not heard before. All this before he was put in a mental hospital. He would be like Jimmy Swaggart w/long hair. Meaning, peaceful and charismatic. He would have to descend from the heavens in a blaze of light and glory. Not just show up at Burger King. GQ !

aprilsimnel's avatar

Sure. It wouldn’t be too many, but people follow the Dalai Lama and are full of praise and admiration of folks like Desmond Tutu. But the homeless thing and the wandering might get him labelled a kook, because his mode of living would shame the consumerists of our modern culture. Someone would probably take him out because he’d go against the status quo; think of an industrialist/religious consumerist cabal. Gossip sites would have stories planted refuting his “miracles”. C’mon, we all know how this works.

Joel Osteen, Deepak Chopra and the like wouldn’t have much use for him, because he’d remind people that they didn’t need to buy books or prayer cloths or go on expensive retreats in New Mexico or make donations to anything, except perhaps to give to the poor.

lillycoyote's avatar

He didn’t get that many followers the first time around. People would reject his message just as they did before. Most Christians are really followers of the teachings of St. Paul, in my opinion, rather than of the teachings of Jesus, so I doubt he would be any more successful a second time around. Though it’s possible. I suspect whoever Jesus was, whoever the historical Jesus was, he must have been extremely charismatic. Maybe he would be a youtube sensation.

Ron_C's avatar

The way I understand it, Jesus was just one of the traveling preachers and mystics that showed up because of the political unrest and poverty caused by the Roman empire. Notice that when the Empire as relatively egalitarian, the conquered lands prospered and there was little unrest. When the Senate and government became corrupt, the citizens had little recourse except magical thinking. The wanted and needed a leader to protect them from the Romans. That happens in all repressed and poor societies. The poor the people the more religious they become, it is a coping mechanism.

I suspect that if the Roman Empire maintained its political and economic integrity, they would exist today. We could have avoided all the trouble and suffering caused by zealots.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Ron_C I would agree up to a certain point. I still think that whoever the historical Jesus was, he must have been extraordinarily charismatic or he wouldn’t have attracted the attention he attracted or left the legacy he left, no matter how layered with mythology, if he hadn’t been. I don’t think he was “just one of” the “traveling preachers and mystics that showed up.” As I said above, I think that, whoever the historical Jesus was, he must have been a person with an incredible degree of charisma and presence, if not, he would have faded away into the mists of history; rather than having 2000 years of myth and theology built up around him.

BoBo1946's avatar

Jesus Christ was no sissified, namsy, pamsy guy. When he went to the temple and kicked the “money changer’s” ass that was a real man. I’m always amused how some people look at Jesus. He was not a weakling, quite the contrary, a man’s man.

So, if this man was like Jesus, yes i would follow.

Ron_C's avatar

@lillycoyote the point that I was trying to make is that I suspect the Jesus story to be an amalgam of the itinerant preachers of the time. There is probably little chance that the stories were about an actual single person. Nothing was really written about “the Christ” until a hundred or so years after is imagined birth.

Just like George Washington never cut down the cherry tree, Jesus’ birth was not accompanied by angels and moving stars, myth, myth, myth.

Siren's avatar

No, not many

Siren's avatar

Kind of like last time, where only the poor and the weak followed.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Ron_C I agree about the myth, myth, myth part but I think that the myth was most likely based on a single, charismatic person, the “historical Jesus”, and not an “amalgam” of itinerant preachers.

lillycoyote's avatar

@BoBo1946 That’s the Jesus I would like to see come back too; and it would be such a great pleasure to see him really kick some fundamentalist christian ass, the hypocrites, while he was here.

BoBo1946's avatar

ditto my friend @lillycoyote !

BoBo1946's avatar

@lillycoyote can think of a few TV evangelist that need a good ass kicking also. They give real Christians a bad name.

Jabe73's avatar

I think there would be a different version of “Christianty” or call it what name you will than what is currently preached by fundies, evangelicals and other mainstream denominations. Unlike in the past (like 2000 years ago) we have the abilty to record things today and we are much more knowledgable in areas of science so it would be much harder to form an orthodox religion, it would probally be a more spiritual message than “believe Jesus died for our sins or go to hell forever mentality”. The message of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” would be the real message here. Similar to secular humanism to some degree. No “believe my religion or else” drabble.

jerv's avatar

With the exception of the unquestioning belief in Jesus and the literal words of the Bible, people today are skeptical about everything. As this question stipulates that religion does not exist until a real “Tada!” moment, I would have to say that Jesus would not get many more followers than Charles Manson or Marshall Applewhite.

Many humans have had messages like those given by Jesus and are ignored. Meanwhile, those people that actually get a following these days are people like Sarah Palin, the cast of Jersey Shore,

Now is a very bad time for any sort of messiah/prophet.

Jabe73's avatar

@jerv Yes, perhaps you are right. I was just speculating. My whole point here however is that the “religion” of Christianity would have a much tougher sell today (with all our scientific knowledge) than it being written in an ancient book with everything being difficult to validate or trace.

ducky_dnl's avatar

I wouldn’t. I mean he, technically according to the bible, would be a “fake god”. I only worship one God. That is God and his son Chirst. I don’t and would not claim any other person than Christ. Plus, I doubt many people would follow him. This is mainly becoming an athiest and muslim world.

jerv's avatar

@Jabe73 Actually, I thought of one way they could pull it off; start a war or campaign of genocide. Something about hatred and violence seems to naturally unite people. It worked during The Crusades, WWII, and 9/11. If you want to start a religion, forget about miracles. All you need to do is come up with a good reason to kill people and you’re a modern-day messiah! Of course, it’s a bit easier in the US where people are even more inclined to overdo things and get all bent out of shape.

You really have to give the people what they want. If God Hinself came down and demanded that we stop using oil, do you think we would switch to electric vehicles? Nope! If Jesus asked us to give up our selfish “feed the rich, fuck the poor” ways, we’d still keep on doing things the way we’re doing.
But if a little voice in a bigot’s ear tells him to get a few buddies and lynch some Mexicans or homosexuals (or even random people on the street for arbitrary reasons; after all, you don’t need a reason if you’re insane!), you have the beginnings of a cult!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If you count as “followers” a Congressional Investigation, FBI, CIA, DEA / BATF (they’d be very interested in the water-into-wine thing) and Interpol… then he sure would.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

There’s an old Jewish saying that I’ll probably mangle here, but:

If God lived on Earth, the neighbors would break out all his windows.

Something like that. I think they have it about right.

zen_'s avatar

He’d probably do the same thing as last time, but with more intent: go into his father’s business. This is one of three reasons why we know Jesus is Jewish: the other two are that he stayed home til he was 34, and his mother thought he was God.

wolfram's avatar

Jesus would probably be a Moderate Gay, Right-Wing Republican despite what many would have thought. He worked two jobs (as a carpenter and a preacher) lived at home with his parents, hung out with the guys drinking wine and performing magic tricks on people, had a girl friend (who was just a “friend” wink wink) and spent his last years developing one helluva exit strategy.

He would have been great to invite to parties—he brought an unlimited supply of food and wine and provided sensational entertainment. David Copperfield eat your heart out.

Why did Jesus decide to be a carpenter anyway? Why not an inventor? He not only could have been a moral philosopher he could also have given us penicillin, electricity, printmaking or at least super glue for god’s sake. What do you think he was thinking to himself when he forgot to send a birthday gift to his girlfriend— or his mother for that matter—who lived in another town? I should take a donkey or I wish we had FedEx?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

He’d be murdered on the sidewalk by a nutcase stalker whose religious adviser told him that Jesus was an anti-Messiah.

But that would spawn a new religion, so let’s hope it doesn’t happen.

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