Chapter 1.06 Intent, Mostly-Is, and All-About
People see what they want to see in Jesus, often to serve their own ends, noble or selfish. Some people see the dogma of the Church. Some people see ideal versions of themselves: clergy see a great pastor; soldiers see a spiritual warrior; liberals used to see a working class hero. Many people see an excuse for what they want to do. If they want to be a successful business person or successful crusader for the rights of workers, that is what they see in Jesus. Some people see a powerful man whose example allows them to control others: if they want to control the poor then they see in Jesus a person who urged us all to find jobs and to live only in middle class families; if they hate the rich, they see Che Guevara. We can never free ourselves completely from seeing in Jesus what serves our own ends.
People expect God, Jesus, prophets, religious leaders, politicians, and other great leaders to be completely consistent and to be infallible. But Jesus was not. Jesus was wrong about some things, such as the immediate coming of the Kingdom of God and about never getting divorced. Early Christians expected Jesus to return in a matter of weeks but he did not. People make leaders completely consistent to augment the power of the leader and so to better use the leader to serve themselves.
Seeing great people only as it serves us betrays the great people. If we look honestly at the inconsistencies of great people, we can avoid seeing them only as we want to see them. By seeing them honestly, warts and all, we can better appreciate why they were really great. Understanding why Jesus said people should not get divorced helps us to appreciate how he saw the Kingdom of God, how we might see it likewise, and how we might see it differently.
Intent, Mostly-is, and All-about.
“Intentions” are what a person aims for, his-her goals, and understandings. Intentions include self-understanding if a person has much self-understanding. “Mostly-is” is what other people say a person mostly-is in the situations that matter for him-her. Mostly-is is the character of the person in a certain situation. For instance, readers of this book might say that I am mostly a thwarted mathematician trying to impose logic on childhood beliefs. “All-about” is the important outcome of a situation in the long run and it is a person’s role in that outcome. Hopefully someone will say this book is all-about getting people to trust God and to do something good on that basis. A motorcycle ad might say that motorcycles are really all-about freedom.
What a person intends, what a person mostly is, and what a person is all-about are not necessarily the same. In real life, with real people, those aspects of a person often differ. People are not completely consistent. People often are not aware of what they mostly-are and have not much idea what they are all-about. Even great people often are not aware of who they are (mostly-is) or what they are all-about even if they have some strong intuitive feeling of “I am a great person”. A drunk might truly have good intentions at heart but he-she is still mostly a drunk. Many musicians intend to be artists and think they mostly-are artists but really they mostly-are listeners. They want their life to be all-about creativity when really sometimes it is all-about washing dishes and sometimes it is all-about making people happy at weddings. When Leonidas and the Spartans defeated the Persians at the battle of Thermopylae in 432 BCE, they saved Western civilization and probably saved democracy. They were all-about saving a great way of life. Yet the Spartans were not interested in Western civilization and were not at all democratic. They mostly were aristocratic warriors who intended to do their duty and to achieve immortal glory. Their identity was in line with what they intended but it was not what we see them as all-about. Charles Martel and the Franks defeated the Muslims at Tours (Poitiers) in southern France, in 732 CE (AD), saved Europe from severe distress, and maybe saved Christianity and Western life. The Franks also were-mostly warriors who intended to defend their territory from foreign conquerors. They had no idea what they were all-about. “Martel” means “hammer”, and Charles Martel was the grandfather of Charles the Great (Charlemagne). Achilles was the greatest warrior of Greece but, in the end, that was not what he was all-about; he was all-about being a good citizen and a good man even if that meant overcoming his identity as a warrior. Southern American Black blues artists did not intend to change Western arts and they were not the folk heroes (mostly-is) they have become in legend. Winston Churchill was a smart-mouthed drunk and also the great leader of a great nation. He did intend to save a nation (all-about) despite who he mostly-was. James Bond is a sociopath but he is also an agent of good and the exemplar of doing your duty. He does not intend to save Western civilization but that also is what he is all-about. From “The Lord of the Rings”, Merry, Pippin, Sam, and Frodo did not intend at first to save the world from Sauron, and they were not mostly warriors.
The gap between aspects can be both logical and factual, each aspect has its own kind of evidence, and the relations between the aspects can get complicated and uncertain. Not all warriors save Western civilization. Not all drunks are great leaders. Not all great leaders are drunks. Not all artists have personality problems. Not all losers with an imagination are great artists. Not all great generals are Patton and not every Patton is a great general. Not all peasant leaders save humanity. Not all saviors are peasant leaders.
Although it sounds like a contradiction in terms, sometimes a person can have more than one “mostly-is”, sometimes because people are just multiple, often because they change according to circumstances. For convenience, we like to think there is a close relation between mostly-is and all-about, there should be only one all-about, and so there should be only one mostly-is. Reality is more complicated. Winston Churchill was a drunk, good soldier, literary stylist, good storyteller, and excellent statesman – depending on the situation. John Lennon was a graphic artist, poet, rocker, songwriter, rebel, political activist, maudlin family guy, and writer of maudlin songs. We have to consider how each mostly-is relates to the others, and how each mostly-is relates to intentions and to all-about. Even if we can settle on a definitive single mostly-is, that information does not necessarily determine all-about.
Sometimes all three aspects do coincide. In “Lord of the Rings” again, Gandalf and Aragorn (Strider) did intend to save the world, they adopted the mostly-is identities necessary to carry out their roles in saving the world (wizard, king-in-exile), and saving the world is what they were all-about. Each had a slightly different public persona but there was little doubt as to what they mostly-were.
The unity of intent, mostly-is, and all-about usually happens only to characters from literature or mythology. Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin all became what they were all-about. In “The Matrix” movies, Mr. Anderson is not at first unified. He only becomes “Neo” after a process of unification in which he evolves a new mostly-is identity as the flying martial artist, he only slowly comes to realize his new all-about as “the one” savior, and his intent (“he is beginning to believe”) only slowly lines up with his new identity and new all-about. His real all-about is peace between the machines and humans, largely through the defeat of Agent Smith. When a character in real life or in fiction is merging his-her aspects we say that he-she is coming to accept his-her destiny. We tend to think that highly unified characters are somewhat divine or somewhat demonic.
A lot of modern literature and cinema is about how people originate intentions, mostly-is, and all-about, and about relations between the aspects. It is about both unity and diversity. It uses moral ambiguity to find diversity. Some examples are the famous plays “The Iceman Cometh” and “Death of a Salesman”, the song “Pablo Picasso Was an Asshole” by Jonathon Richman and the Modern Lovers, and the movies “Amadeus”, “Spiderman” series, and “Batman” series. The idea of a “secret identity” for superheroes is not only a device to let people fantasize as in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” but also a way to explore the diversity of intentions, mostly-is, and all-about.
Discrepancies can be confusing, so we try to ignore them or try to subsume all aspects under one aspect. We try to focus on one mostly-is. We see a person entirely in terms of all-about. People like to see Winston Churchill entirely as the great leader and not in any other way. Until the last days of his Presidency, many people wanted to see George Bush as the hard-headed crusader against terrorism and for American freedom. We want to see doctors as saints. It is really annoying to think that a silly adolescent might have created Mozart’s beautiful music. Can a talented but whining wide receiver ever really be a good team player? Instead we focus on the talented non-whiners such as Jerry Rice. Movie stars are supposed to be always glamorous. We do not want to know that movie stars eat raisin bran for breakfast and watch the same cartoons with their kids over and over.
Explaining Away Through Mostly-is.
When people wish to diminish a famous person, they explain away that person by focusing on some unflattering mostly-was and ignoring all-about. They reduce the person to a flawed being while overlooking that flawed humans can still achieve worthwhile things. People try to explain away John Kennedy or Martin Luther King as womanizers or plagiarists. People try to explain away famous scientists as only Jewish or only Black. People try to explain away great artists such as Beethoven as only neurotic. People might have any of these identities but that does not explain what they were all-about.
Part of the push to merge and glorify the intent, mostly-is, and all-about of great people is a defense against reducing them to some diminished mostly-is and thus overlooking all-about. By making a person one whole hero, we force ourselves to appreciate his all-about despite any differences with intent or mostly-is. Unfortunately, this tactic can backfire because, when people find that some real mostly-is does not live up to the idealized mostly-is, they incorrectly assume that gap also undermines all-about. We do not like idols with feet of clay. When we find out Churchill drank, it spoils him. The truth is the best guarantee of a correct all-around assessment.
Most people do not know the standard orthodox dogmatic all-about of Jesus and most people do not fully accept it when they do know it. When we cannot accept the all-about of a person, we change the situation by instead creating a mostly-is that we can accept and that serves our needs. Most of us cannot understand what Einstein was all-about, so we focus on his charming character, finding in it what suits our needs. Most conservatives cannot accept any harm that Ronald Reagan did so instead they focus on his character as a “great communicator”, healer of America, and supposed winner of the Cold War. We do the same with Jesus. We find a character in Jesus that makes sense to us, allows us to carry on the lives we want, allows us to control others, and inspires us in some way. We use that as the basis for his all-about. I mentioned some identities at the beginning of this chapter, such as Jesus as capitalist or as revolutionary. People do not understand how Jesus saves so they simply focus on his glorious awe-inspiring identity as Son of God and leave it at that. When people need comfort, they do not think about Jesus as the fulcrum of history but think of him as the Good Shepherd. When I am boggled by the task of building a better world, I think of Jesus as prophet and moral teacher. This way of engaging Jesus through his mostly-is is common among clergy, theologians, philosophers, everyday people, and even atheists.
When people adopt a mostly-is to explain Jesus, they tend to overlook his all-about. The best defense is to accept as much of his character as we can and to accept that his all-about might not be entirely implied in his mostly-is. The best defense is to realistically accept that Jesus might not be supernaturally integrated.
Jesus’ Intent, Mostly-is, and All-about.
We do not know for sure what Jesus intended. Jesus might have intended to die or he might not. He might have intended to extend God’s rule to non-Jews or he might not. He might or might not have intended to be the messiah or the prophesied “Son of Man”. He might have understood (intended) the idea of messiah or Son of Man differently than most other Jews or the same as some other Jews.
Jesus might have been mostly a prophet, Son of God, God, instrument of God, yogi, healer, magician, wandering cynic, holy man, moral teacher, representative of Wisdom, peasant freedom fighter, god of the hearth, god of so-called family values, god of good soldiers, or god of decisions and social responsibility. He might have been any of those regardless of his intent.
If saving the world is what he was all-about, that achievement might not be in line with his intent or what he mostly-was, or it might be. Jesus might have known (intended) exactly what he was really all-about and might have adopted the identity (mostly-is) he needed to achieve what he was all-about, or might not have. He might have intended one thing, adopted another identity (mostly-was something else), and achieved results he never intended and that could not have been predicted from what he mostly-was.
Recent scholarship on the historical Jesus has shown us more about his likely intent and mostly-is. Some of this new material is in line with traditional ideas about what Jesus was all-about but some of it is not. One reason for the many recent books about Jesus is to feel a way through implications that the new material has for discord and harmony in the three aspects of Jesus’ life.
Orthodox (standard traditional) conservative Christians insist that Jesus’ intent, mostly-is, and all-about are all completely in line. Jesus knew what he had to do, and who he was. He adopted the identity necessary to achieve his intent. On earth, he really was that person, and only that person. He really did achieve his goal. He was like Neo from “The Matrix” movies after Neo came to understand that he was “The One” and began to act accordingly.
Jesus’ intent was to save the world by doing the will of God. The will of God was that he should suffer, die, and be resurrected. In the Christian account after about 350 CE (AD), whether Jesus intended to set up the Kingdom of God on Earth is not clear but does not seem central to his intent. No items of his message as I described it seem central to his intent. Christians follow the message because it seemed important to Jesus and because it seems to have something to do with the Kingdom of God; but particular points of the message, such as the condemnation of the rich, do not seem integral to his intent and so often are ignored. The traditional Christian account of intent, mostly-is, and all-about make it easier to be selective about adopting and interpreting the New Testament.
Standard Christians use the cover phrase “Son of God, both fully man and fully God” to say what Jesus mostly-is. Yet many regular people are not really sure what the phrase means. The idea of the Trinity is not much help. Average people are not sure how the fact that Jesus is the Son of God relates to the facts that he was also a carpenter, an itinerant preacher, got in trouble with the authorities, did not seem to like commerce very much, and liked to get tipsy at social events. Are those aspects of his identity integral to his intent and what he accomplished?
Standard Christianity says that Jesus was all-about saving the world, and that his intent and mostly-is fall in line with his mission to save the world. Unfortunately, it is not clear what “saving the world” means, and the confusion over that all-about bleeds over into his intentions and mostly-is. If we are not sure what he was all-about, we cannot be sure of what he was or what he intended. Average people have trouble understanding what the mission exactly is and how his various characters conform to it. How does it help to save the world to get tipsy at weddings? Most average standard Christians think that saving the world means going to heaven to be with Jesus when they die but that is not what the Church teaches. What does that have to do with scolding the rich or being crucified? Most standard Christians think saving the world means saving individual souls but some standard Christians think it means setting up a Kingdom of Christians to dominate this earth. Will citizens of the new Kingdom have to be celibate as Jesus was? No group of standard Christians can explain how their idea of all-about relates to getting in trouble with authorities.
Some of the harmony in orthodox dogma is the result of creative interpretation by the writers of the New Testament and the writers in the early Church. Some of it is really true of Jesus but we are not sure how much comes intrinsically from him because it is hard to see through the creative writing. Conservative Christians want to interpret recent scholarship about Jesus in terms of the traditional concord of his intent, mostly-is, and all-about.
Conservative Christians sometimes recognize the discrepancies between mostly-is versus all-about by saying Christianity is not about the real Jesus of history (intentions and mostly-is), about whom we can know little anyway. Christianity is about the Christ of faith (all-about), about whom we know all we need from the New Testament and the doctrines of the Church. Critics of the Church say the Church is interested more in the death of Jesus (all-about) than his life (his intentions and mostly-is).
Suppose Jesus mostly-is the god of decisions and responsibility. Was that his main intent in his mission? What was he all-about then? Was his main all-about to lead people to existential crisis or to a feeling of responsibility? Was his main all-about to lead people to repentance and restoration? It seems that his all-about is much greater than this. A focus on this mostly-is as the god of decisions and responsibility obscures more important questions.
The point is not to use discrepancies simply to discredit standard Christianity but use them to improve our own understanding and make up our own minds.
Liberal Christians also would like consistency in Jesus’ intentions, mostly-is, and all-about but they do not achieve it well. Briefly, liberals are not sure what Jesus was all-about so they fix on a particular mostly-is and use that identity as the key to his all-about and intentions. Like standard theologians, they think his intentions conformed to his mostly-is and that he succeeded in the all-about that is implied in his mostly-is. In fairness to liberals, they accept the inconsistencies more than do standard Christians. They try to use the inconsistencies to deepen appreciation for what Jesus mostly-is, but they are not often convincing. Because liberals do not offer a convincing mostly-is, to standard everyday Christians and to conservatives, liberals do not sound as if they are trying to be realistic but as if they are trying to explain away Jesus by reducing him to some unflattering mostly-is like a magician.
If liberals think of Jesus as the Prince of Inclusiveness, then they also think that is what Jesus intended, and think he will fully succeed in the future. Suppose Jesus was mostly a peasant rebel. Then what were his intentions and what was he all-about? Even if he was the Che Guevara of his time, what did he accomplish along those lines? He did not start a revolution. He did not inspire revolutionaries over most of the history of Christianity. Even the American Revolution was not inspired directly by him. If he intended the revolution, but did not succeed, then how do we understand his mostly-is and all-about? Suppose Jesus mostly-is the god, avatar, symbol, example, or instrument of unconditional love. What were his intentions and what is he all-about? Did he still intend to save the whole world? Then he did not succeed. Did he intend to make everybody love everybody else? Again, he did not succeed. Did Jesus intend to make people who were receptive to the message of love feel good about loving? That is possible but there is not much evidence for it. Even if that was his intent, what was his all-about? Was he all-about establishing a community of people that knew the value of love? That did not turn out. Was he all-about establishing a Church such as we see now? That outcome seems hardly consistent with the motives and identity of the god of love. The various Christian churches are not the realization of a community of love, and many non-church groups seem to do better.
Some liberal Christians acknowledge that aspects of Jesus’ life diverge. Jesus’ life could have been like the movie “Life of Brian”. Jesus could have intended just to be a useful person but was forced into the role of wandering teacher of wisdom, and then became magical savior of the world when he was crucified. Jesus could have intended to become a freedom fighter but accidentally became savior of the world. Jesus could have intended to be a Jewish teacher, mostly became a wandering Cynic philosopher, and accidentally was all-about saving the world because his actions led to that result.
Sometimes the divergence seems like a contradiction. Jesus declared that he was bringing not peace but a sword and was bringing anger between family members, despite his current reputation as being all-about the “Prince of Peace”. Jesus advised people to disrespect their families by not burying dead family members, by leaving their families to follow him, and by using kin terms such as “mother” not for family members but for fellow followers of him, despite his current identity as being all-about so-called family values.
Sometimes the gaps are just puzzling. Jesus seems to be a particular mostly-is, and we do not know how to relate that particular mostly-is to being all-about the savior of the world. Jesus was healer and exorcist. Jesus liked to eat, drink, and be merry. Jesus had a bad temper sometimes. Jesus tolerated the rich but he clearly favored the poor over the rich. The idea of a messiah as developed in Judaism of his time might or might not be relevant to what Jesus intended and to what he was all-about. What does any of that have to do with savior of the world?
We have to accept any inconsistencies and make up our own mind. I hope that realism about all aspects of Jesus is the best defense of his all-about.
Confusion about Jesus arises because some people explain one aspect such as intent while other people explain another aspect such as all-about without realizing they are talking about different aspects. Sometimes a writer uses evidence that is appropriate to one aspect (such as mostly-is a wisdom teacher) and applies it to another aspect (such as intent to save Israel). People apply the same evidence to different aspects of his life. People look for the same kind of evidence for different aspects of his life when different aspects might call for different kinds of evidence.
Before the historical rise of strict monotheism, Jesus’ various identities, abilities, concerns, motives, and achievements would have been filled by a variety of lesser gods. There would have been a separate god for the rebel, the patriot, the yogi, the magician, the bon vivant, etc. One god would have brought unconditional love while another god saved the world. When people focus on one mostly-is that they like, really they re-introduce polytheism. When some people see Jesus as god of the family while others see him as god of love or god of acceptance, all really are mild polytheists who worship slightly different gods. This kind of mild polytheism is accepted in Hinduism and in some Buddhism. Christianity tends to introduce tacit polytheism partly through the many roles of Jesus and partly through worship of saints and religious heroes. I do not mind Christian polytheism much because it is a mild form, probably less dangerous than the deification of movie stars and politicians. Serious thinkers get beyond polytheism. We should know what we are doing when we adopt a mostly-is for Jesus or speculate about Jesus.
Anticipation: My View.
This section states a brief version of what I think so you know what to expect later in the book.
Jesus mostly-is a prophet.
His main intent was to establish a Kingdom of God as described in previous chapters, both a real Kingdom focused on Israel and a spiritual Kingdom achieved through a changing of hearts and minds all over the world. His message intended to make people better and to show them how to live better as well. He intended to allow people to build a closer relation to God, and he gave them new ways to do it. He did not intend to do that by dying and being resurrected.
Jesus did change hearts and minds. He did give people the basis for living better when they follow his teachings. He showed us the direction toward a better world. By merging with Western culture, his teachings laid the basis for institutions such as science, self-government, and free enterprise. His teachings provide the basis for most of the moral attitude of modern people all over the world even if they are not Christians. His teachings force us to consider ideals that developed in human biological evolution but that we cannot achieve through evolution. If the world ever does achieve lasting peace and prosperity, if we ever do learn how to be good stewards of nature, if we do learn how to self-govern, then we can say Jesus was all-about that success too.
I have no trouble accepting as a prophet a man who was wrong about some things, even important things. I have no trouble accepting as a prophet a man whom God might have used to get the message across indirectly by having him crucified and transformed into a god. I do have a little anger toward God for using Jesus that way and for using us.
Some Preliminary Results To Get Over.
It helps clarify Jesus’ identity to review ideas such as “Son of God” in light of modern science and the modern world view. I do not ridicule here. In the past, we could use formulas such as “Son of God” without worrying about biology or physics. In modern times, we cannot. We have to take the scientific implications into account. I do not recommend that theologians spend time trying to find solutions.
Jesus as Son of God.
The idea “Son of God” might not mean the same now as it did when the New Testament was written, and the discrepancy might matter in how we understand Jesus. In the Classical World, the title “son of a god” was a label-and-explanation applied to an unusual great hero, like Heracles or Achilles. Heroes had great powers attributed to them, and then the great powers were explained by saying the hero was a son of a god. When Classical people wished to raise a person to unusual status, they gave him half-divine parentage and called him a son of a god. The first examples were mythological such as Heracles but later real people were raised to the status of son of a god and given exceptional powers, such as August Caesar. After the person was labeled the son of a god, then he usually acquired even greater powers in the re-telling so as to validate the label. The early Christians borrowed from this model when they called Jesus the Son of God. Most Christians did mean that he was the son of a god in the Classical sense but probably did not mean The One-and-Only-Begotten-Son of the One-and-Only-God as in later theology. Jesus changed into the one-and-only son of the one-and-only-God only over time and out of theological battles.
These days, if we want to know if somebody is the true “blood” son of a particular man, we get a DNA test. If Jesus had only one human parent, then likely he had only one-half the usual DNA, the maternal half. If so, it is unlikely that he could have lived. If he could have lived with only the maternal half of human DNA, Jesus should have been a girl. If Jesus did live with one-half the normal DNA, then maybe we could manufacture other people like Jesus by cloning humans using only maternal DNA. I hope that is not possible. If Jesus had the entire usual amount of DNA, then Jesus likely had a human father and likely God was not his father in the orthodox conservative Christian sense. If Jesus had all the usual DNA, and half of his DNA did not match any human father at all, then we might say that God was his father and that God made some DNA to meld with Mary’s DNA to make Jesus. Then we could, in theory, duplicate that unusual paternal DNA from Jesus and use it to make other babies like Jesus who also would be true Sons of God in the strict Christian sense. I hope that is not possible either. We could use that unusual DNA to argue about how to make attributes of God. I do not think that orthodox Christians would like to make their case about Jesus being the unique begotten Son of God on the basis of unusual DNA, present or absent. Yet, if they ignore modern ideas of biology, they run the risk of totally invalidating the statement from the Nicene Creed that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God and was both fully human and fully divine. So, genetically, who was Jesus mostly, and what does that imply for what he was all-about? It is best to accept that he was a normal human being with a normal human mother and father. He got paternal DNA from some normal man. I am not sure of the implications for a theological one-and-only begotten Son of the one-and-only-God, for what Jesus mostly-is, and for what he is all-about.
Jesus as All-Knowing.
Jesus might not have been all-knowing. Some Christians with whom I have talked insisted that Jesus knew everything and could never make a mistake in fact or theory. He could easily have answered our questions about quantum mechanics such as about the duality of wave and particle. He would know exactly how far any star was from the earth right now. I think most Christians are more sophisticated. They do not expect Jesus to know everything about everything but they do expect him to know what was necessary for his life and mission, and they expect him to have the basic outlook of a Jewish person of his time. They expect him to think in terms of earth and water rather than in terms carbon, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. They expect him to think in terms of spirits rather than in terms of viral infection.
The second view is better but it still has problems for modern people. Jesus believed in demons, Satan, and exorcism. He believed that faith could work real cures, beyond what modern people ascribe to the power of the mind over the body. Fighting evil by fighting Satan and demons was important to his intention and mostly-is. He was just wrong. Jesus expected that the world would transform into the Kingdom of God within his lifetime or shortly after but it did not. Jesus was just wrong. If Jesus was wrong about such important things, how do we understand his intentions, mostly-is, and all-about? How can we believe that his intentions, mostly-is, and all-about could still remain together? Do we insist that his intentions and mostly-is as a fighter of demons and evil determine his all-about as the messenger of God’s better world? How can we think he might be right about other important things such as the Golden Rule or the Kingdom of God if he was wrong about demons? If he was right about other important things such as the Golden Rule and the Kingdom of God, do we then have to start taking demons seriously? If Jesus could be wrong about demons, then how could he still be God or the Son of God? Can we take seriously the intentions and mostly-is of a person who was wrong about fundamental aspects of his intent and mostly-is? Can we select only those things from his intent, mostly-is, and all-about that we like?
I believe Jesus was wrong about some important things such as demons and Satan but that we can still take seriously his intent, mostly-is, and all-about. We have to stop looking for supernatural literary-type integration. That Jesus held some wrong beliefs and odd (to us) intentions does not undermine what he mostly-is and is all-about. Jesus could still deliver an important message from God and could still change the world even if he did mistakenly believe in Satan and in demons. We can still take seriously the idea of the Kingdom of God even if Jesus was wrong about its exact nature and it timing. We can select from Jesus’ intentions and mostly-is if we are honest about what we do, and if we give reasonable evidence within the limits of our understanding. We can live with some discrepancies in intent, mostly-is, and all-about.