So, I'm reading "The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins" on Scribd. Check it out: https://www.scribd.com/book/163624254
If you're not aware (I'm just learning about this), the Q is a term for an early "sayings gospel" of Yeshua, a document that recorded his sayings rather than his supposed life story. In later decades, this document sort of became old light, as it were, in favor of Paul's epistles and the "narrative gospels" that we refer to as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
This Q gospel was used by the authors of the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke, but it was the earlier gospel of Mark that established the basic plot of his mythologized life story, and that too was used in Matthew, Luke, and John.
The idea is that before Paul or the churches in Asia Minor and Syria developed the mythology about Christ as a divine being or son of God that we are more familiar with today, Jesus was basically a Jewish Socrates. I don't personally accept that Yeshua didn't exist, but I believe he was a theist philosopher who got made into a legend.
And, I think he was a cult leader. I think he was *obviously* a cult leader. If you strip away all the mythology and all the divinity, you're left with a guy saying things like this:
When another said, “Let me first go and bury my father,” Jesus said, “Leave the dead to bury their dead.”
That's nice. And this:
Can the blind lead the blind? Won't they both fall into a pit? A student is not better than his teacher. It is enough for a student to be like his teacher.
(Honest translation: Would I steer you wrong? You're not better than me.)
To be fair, he was not alone. There were lots of cults at the time, there had been for thousands of years, and there are today as well. From this perspective, Yeshua diminishes in my eyes to a man who preached an ascetic, theistic, apocalyptic philosophy with a persecution complex and an us-and-them world view.
Yes, the principle of treating others as you'd like to be treated is a great golden rule. But so much else that's integral to Q and to Christianity is not. I'm not turning the other cheek in every case where someone attacks me, I'm not giving up my shirt if someone takes my coat, I certainly don't think the world is ending, and I love my neighbors enough to not see them as enemies in need of conversion. kthx.