The tradition regarding Jesus is so glamorous that it is difficult to review his life and character with an unbiased mind. While Fundamentalists and Modernists differ regarding the divinity of Christ, all Christians and many non-Christians still cling to preconceived notions of the perfection of Jesus. He alone among men is revered as all-loving, omniscient, faultless—an unparalleled model for mankind.
This convention of the impeccability of Jesus is so firmly established that any insinuation of error on his part is deemed a blasphemy. Doubting Jesus is more impious than mocking God Almighty. Jehovah may be exposed to some extent with impunity; a God who destroyed 70,000 of his chosen people because their king took a census is too illogical for any but theologians to worship. But the Son of God, or Son of man, is sacrosanct. Jesus is reverenced as the one man who has lived unspotted by the world, free from human foibles, able to redeem mankind by his example.
Respect for the principles of Jesus is so inbred in American people of all faiths that an attempt to disparage his worth is denounced as bad taste. The detractor is suspected of being an immoral person, no matter how convincing may be the proof which he presents. A conspiracy of silence is directed against any system of ethics advanced as superior to the Sermon on the Mount. In popular opinion Jesus never made a mistake; all his teachings were infallible; no other view is tolerated.