On my previous post of the Catholic Church's insistence that birth control undermines marriage and love, a commenter suggested that Jesus' supposed ban on contraception, abortion, and homosexuality was a "lie" created by the Roman church. But this really gets us into deeper territory: It really doesn't matter what Jesus said. All that matters is why he said what he said.
Because morality can't be based upon the whims of our Creator. To suggest that God, Jesus, or the bible dictate our morality to us is an absurdity. "Because I said so" isn't a rational basis for an ethical system, no matter how important you are. If anything, the bible points us in the direction of the "true" morality, but all the same, there must be an independent basis for this morality, which must be discoverable outside of the bible.
But of course, that's what everyone does anyway. For as much as people insist that they're obeying the tenets of their religion, the reality is that the bible is quite short in the explanation department. After all, the bible wasn't meant to be an ethical code; not in the sense we think of it, anyway. It contains historical books. It contains books of origins. And as we all know, it contains books of laws. But it's not really a book of morality. Using it to determine an ethical system would be like aliens reading the Internal Revenue Code to determine our ethical system. It just wasn't meant to serve that purpose. Leviticus was a legal document, not a philosophy.
What Jesus Did
And ever since it was put in written form and considered "final," it has only become less and less relevant to its readers. But again, it wasn't meant to be the all-knowing philosophical text many adherents use it as, and it certainly isn't the legal document it once was. And for as much as people can gain great meaning from it, it's nothing more than the meaning they put in it. After all, how could one recognize the truths in the bible as being "truths" unless you had a basis outside of the text?
And it's that outside basis which is the real guide here. If anything, the bible can be confirmation of your moral beliefs, but it cannot be the basis. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that Christianity is nothing more than a baseless circular argument. It's right because it's right; and that's simply not a rational argument. If there is a god and he/she/it is good, then there must be some better basis than Creator=good. I mean, what if it turned out we were really created by an alien race? Would we be compelled to obey their every whim merely out of gratitude? Certainly not.
Yet, even if you read the "good" parts of the bible; ie, the stuff Jesus actually said, it really isn't much better than this. He told parables about how we get into Heaven and why we should have faith in God. But that's not morality. I mean, telling your son that you'll give him five bucks to clean up his room isn't a lesson in morality. It's a business proposition, and could indicate that he's not very moral. Similarly, I find the whole issue of the Heavenly reward to be a bit distasteful as far as moral reasoning goes. I mean, how can pure selfishness possibly be the basis for moral behavior? (Don't answer, Ayn Rand.)
And sure, Jesus told us to treat others well, but no one can seriously argue he was the first person to have figured that one out. For as much as many Christians act as if Jesus discovered kindness, even Western philosophy extends many centuries before Jesus' birth. Plato would scoff at anyone who imagined that Jesus was imparting some unheard of knowledge with his Do Unto Others material. That was the starting point of his discussions; not the end. By comparison, Jesus' moral lessons were kid's stuff.
And once you remove the parts of the New Testament which establish Jesus' credentials, tell Jesus' story, and explain the Heavenly reward and how to get it; you're really not left with much. And that's not to mention all the other parts of the bible, many of which sure seem to contradict other parts in the bible.
And sure, we can use our judgment to determine how this all might fit together, but that judgment is external to the bible. It came from us and there really isn't too much agreement about the details of any of it. And hey, if that's what we're doing anyway, why bother with the bible? If you're interested in the Heavenly reward stuff and want to learn more on how to obtain it, use the bible. But if you're trying to uncover the underlying basis for why you think your god wants you to do something, you've got to go elsewhere to find it.
And once you acknowledge that, then you're in the same boat as the rest of us. We're all struggling to figure out the best way to live our lives. The only difference is that some people imagine they've already been given the answers and don't need to go beyond what they were taught. And rather than struggling to live a moral life, they're rationalizing how to make their preferred actions seem moral. They insert their hatreds, bigotries, and biases into the bible in order to justify their immorality. And dammit, it's four in the morning and I'm too tired to figure out some wizened wrap-up to all this; so this is the best you get.