Liar, lord, lunatic ….and, or….
And so there has recently been a great debate regarding the actual existence of not only Jesus Christ, but Julius Caesar as well, brought to the front-lines from the endearing Ark, here. and the following posts. (If you enjoy rousing debate/discussion, and have not visited his blog, you are missing out on some fun).
I find the subject of their actual existence, less important in my mind as men when both have left behind, (or those who wanted us to know/remember/believe/hope/ in them or at least the words they were promoting) words worth reading and knowing.
To explain better, I am not super concerned over the fact of whether or not Aesop actually existed , and actually wrote Aesop’s Fables. His actual existence would not change the value or enjoyment of the materials left to us in his name. (please note I am not attempting to even question his existence in this post… 😉 )
I feel rather the same about the man Jesus. It is possible, very possible, such a man actually walked the earth. And I get the distinct impression that had I met him, I would have been intrigued at the very least. The problem to me is not in whether or not he actually existed and walked the earth, I do believe that we cannot know that for sure and to argue that specific point, with which I do not think one will make ANY leeway with those who firmly believe it to be true…..Is indeed a waste of time. My apologies in advance to Ark as he obviously feels very differently on this issue. And I feel the need to offer Pie and coffee. Please note the capitalized P….. 😉
What I find infinitely more of importance, is two things. Was he more than a man? As christianity claims? And are his teachings /words misrepresented? Are any willing to look at the differences between the Jesus of history and the Christ of dogma? Of course this leads to questions such as were there actual…miracles? Could he have actually been “born of a virgin” and “raised from the dead”? or where those merely legends and myths added to ensure that this man, an inspiring man men were willing to give up all for…did not die for nothing?
The infamous Trilemma…made popular by Lewis, but used earlier by Rabbi John Duncan,
“Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine. There is no getting out of this trilemma. It is inexorable.”
This of course leaves out many possibilities. Jesus may have meant very well…he may have been charismatic, and kind and caring, and those around him so infected that they believed he….HE….must somehow live on….
And so i am going to forgo the argument of whether or not such a man existed and walked the earth, and go with questions about that very man being god?
I do believe we see a change in Jesus’ pleading with mankind. Even possibly the delusions of grandeur setting in as he desperately was willing to do anything to cause a stir, in his people…to care about one another. We see a man who’s heart is stirred, by the injustices around him…one willing to devote his entire life and death to such…
And then we see a man willing to fast, (40 days?) which would indeed lead to some imbalances to any normal human being….
I think the idea that he could sacrifice himself…..give himself up…the ultimate sacrifice…praying so fervently about this mission…believing wholeheartedly it was the only way….that he sweat and cried blood while praying?
a possible martyr complex brought on by the desire to change others, to make things better, to change the world…….a noble desire, to be sure, but left unbalanced….brings…well….unbalance…
His promises to his followers….recorded right alongside his proclaimed miracles…
“Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:21-22 NAS)
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8 NAB)
Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst. (Matthew 18:19-20 NAS)
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14 NAB)
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. (John 15:7 NAB)
He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:16-18)
I have seen various explanations and attempts at justifying why we do not see these promises being fulfilled today…
but none that are satisfactory.
In the end, I enjoy many of Jesus words, as a man, just as I do Aesop.
(whether he actually existed or not)
Much as Thomas Jefferson, I have no problem cutting out the good stuff….and keeping it.
Keep what is good…. 😉
But I do not grant him any sort of deity status…nor do I take all his words without thought, testing, weighing with tools of critical thinking….
And now ark…do you take your coffee black? or with one lump or two?