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Machiavelli: ‘Jesus Was a Nice Guy Who Finished Last’

Niccolò Machiavelli was a Renaissance era philosopher, politician, and writer. His writings greatly influenced modern political science. The following is an edited excerpt from The School of Life’s YouTube video on his views.

Machiavelli believed that to be effective, political leaders needed to be ruthless and tyrannical, not empathetic and just. His book, The Prince, is a short manual of advice for princes on how not to finish last. And the answer was never to be overly devoted to acting nicely. and to know how to borrow every single trick employed by the most dastardly, unscrupulous and nastiest people who have ever lived.

Machiavelli knew where our counter-productive obsession with acting nicely originated from: the West was brought up on the Christian story of Jesus of Nazareth. (He was) the very nice man from Galilee who always treated people well.

But Machiavelli pointed out an inconvenient detail to this sentimental tale of the triumph of goodness through meekness. From a practical perspective, Jesus’ life was an outright disaster. This gentle soul was trampled upon and humiliated, disregarded and mocked. Judged in his lifetime and outside of any divine assistance, he was one of history’s greatest losers.

Possible Preaching Angle:

What Machiavelli (and so many others) fail to take into account is that the gentle Lamb becomes a Lion. After the seeming “defeat” of the Cross, our resurrected Lord will return in great power and glory to reign over the earth. He was exalted by the Father because of his willingness to humble himself and take on the form of a servant.

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