The first question:
I recoil from the whole idea of the crucifixion. The murder of Jesus at thirty-three, even more than the murder of John the Baptist or the murder of Socrates, seems supremely unnecessary. Could not he, the prince of compassion, have managed to sympathize with the high priests, seeing the impossibility of their situation? After all, they were bishops, not the Gestapo – benighted no doubt, but not murderous. Or worse still, did he deliberately push then to the ultimate impossibility, where they were bound to kill him, and set them up as the villains?
One very foundational thing will have to be understood, and that is that the people you call bad are never as bad as the people you call good.
The bad people are bad, but they have no excuses for being bad. They know they are bad and they have nowhere to hide themselves. But the people who are thought to be good, respectable, honored, respected, religious are the really dangerous people – because their badness can hide in their goodness. They can murder and will not feel that they are murderous. They can kill and can go on feeling that they are doing that killing for the good of those who are being killed.
The ordinarily bad person, the criminal, is exposed. He knows that he is not good, and that is his possibility of transformation. He can understand it and come out of it. But the so-called good person is hidden under a personality. He may not be able to understand what he is doing and for what reasons he is doing it. He can always manage to rationalize.
That’s how it happened, and not only in the case of Jesus. It has always been happening. The priests who were murderous never thought that they were doing anything bad. They thought they were saving their religion, they thought they were saving the morality. They thought, “This man is dangerous. He is corrupting the youth.”
The charge against Jesus was that he is corrupting people; that he is destroying the old morality, creating chaos. That was the charge against Socrates and that is the charge against me. It has always been so.
Whether they are Hindus or Greeks or Jews makes no difference, the priests are the protectors of the old. The temple is of the past: they are the protectors, the guardians of tradition. Of course Jesus looked dangerous to them. He can destroy the whole structure.