Rebuking Atheist David Smalley’s label of Jesus Christ: a ‘Cult Leader’ ‘dividing families’

Dave Rubin’s “Rubin Report” is a great show, bringing opposing points of view together and highlighting ideas during a time of outrage and divisiveness. During a show earlier this month, atheist David Smalley appeared on the “Rubin Report” to discuss different topics and took aim at Jesus Christ, mischaracterizing Him a “Cult leader” who is “dividing families.”

Around the 10:40 mark in the video, Smalley is discussing his conversation with his mom, announcing to her that he’s no longer a Christian: “I knew the Bible very well,” Smalley begins, quoting from Matthew 10:34: “Jesus says ‘Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth, I did not come to bring peace. I came bring division to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother a man’s enemies will be those in his own household.

Haaz Sleiman as Jesus of Nazareth in National Geographic Channel’s Killing Jesus.

(photo credit: National Geographic Channels/Kent Eanes)

“So regardless of one’s denomination picks, Jesus is successful at dividing families…(he quotes Luke 14:26)

“He was a cult leader leading people away from their families….trying to divide.”…(at the 12:14 minute mark) Smalley labels Christ a “Violent cult leader.”

Sadly Rubin says this is “interesting,” not correcting Smalley’s incomplete analysis of Jesus’ message, simply saying that the New Testament is the most peaceful of the Holy Books. Check out the video at the bottom.

These remarks are quite dangerous because they are MISLEADING and out of CONTEXT, an issue that Smalley correctly has against Pastors plucking out a scripture to fit their agenda or narrative.

One the surface, Smalley is accurate in QUOTING THE WORDS from Matthew 10:

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’

In fact, the header in many study Bibles will say “Christ Brings Division.”

The first problem is that Jesus is quoting an Old Testament prophet: Micah 7:6 “For son dishonors father, Daughter rises against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household.”

Jesus is CLAIMING the scripture and connecting it to His PURPOSE, the next few verses:

37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Jesus is speaking to His disciples, explaining the impact of His ministry, and ultimately, His sacrifice and what that would mean for believers versus non-believers.

Smalley quotes from Luke 14:

photo/Jesus Christ Messiah Origins cover

26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. …33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

Note here how Smalley excluded the “hating self” portion of Jesus’ warning, as well as the rest of the passage.

Billy Graham wrote on this passage: “Jesus is teaching His disciples and telling us that when you come to Him, you must love Him supremely. He must be first in every relationship. He’s asking to take control of every area of your life.”

Smalley’s exclusion of the context distorts ALL of the meaning and sets up his slander: Jesus is a cult leader dividing families.

It’s not a crime that Smalley’s Mom hasn’t read the scriptures (I wish she had), but she should have been able to recognize that the assertions from her son were in sharp contrast with the CHARACTER and NATURE of Jesus.

The biggest litmus test of the scripture is how it fits to the WHOLE MESSAGE, a message of love, a message of honoring your family AFTER loving God with ALL OF YOUR HEART.

Jesus’ message was broken down to “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

NOTHING taught or spoke of the LORD should contradict that.

Shame on the church training the Smalley family that they were not equipped to detect this.

Even setting aside the role of JESUS as Deity in the flesh, in my opinion, Jesus the human figure should receive a fair analysis, one void of this kind of mischaracterization.

While Bill O’Reilly was promoting his book “Killing Jesus,” the commentator pointed out how badly the media, commentators and society treat the legacy of Jesus. “We don’t treat Martin Luther King Jr. that way,” he stated at the time (I’m paraphrasing).

I agree.

Listen to Smalley on his show Dogma Debate HERE

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Ian Cooper says:

    Shame on David Smalley! How could he be more wrong? Clearly Jesus was no cult leader and did not divide families. He couldn’t have done anything like that – after all, Jesus was almost certainly made up by either St. Peter or St. Paul and probably never existed at all.

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