PDA

View Full Version : Can you 'admire' Jesus the poached egg and not think he is God? (See inside)


alterego
01-06-2004, 07:54 AM
On November 19, 2003, Bill O'reilly said (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,103650,00.html) , "The Menorah is up. The crescent and star is up. And the nativity scene can be up because you can admire Jesus the philosopher without believing that he's God as millions of Americans do. It's insulting."

In 1978 C.S. Lewis said (http://www.christinyou.net/pages/Qjesuschrist.html) , "I am trying to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

Chapter 5 of John (http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible?passage=John+5&NIV_version=yes&language=english&x=14&y=5) definitely brings up some questionable acts and sayings of Jesus that coincide with what C.S. Lewis said, and I personally agree with him. (I believe there are others as well)

Is what Bill O'reilly said true? Is it possible to 'admire Jesus the philosopher' without thinking he is a total crackpot? It personally sounds a little blasphemous to me. (Please keep in mind that I am not a Christian, I believe my point of view to be unbiased. It just stuck with me when I heard O'reilly say that, and when I read this the two didn't fit with eachother.)

Fear Itself
01-06-2004, 07:57 AM
Why can't we do both? Even a lunatic is capable of occasional insight of startling clarity.

hypnoboth
01-06-2004, 08:36 AM
It rather depends on which "Jesus" you refer to. The Jesus of the Gospels, the man who went about forgiving the sins committed by other people, condemning the Pharasees, driving people out of the temple as if it were his own house, and answering Pilate by silence, that person is hard to think of as a philosophical teacher. The Jesus that has been reduced to sound bites, who appears in calendars with sayings, who is in the Koran as a prophet second only to Muhammad, that Jesus works just fine as a philosophical teacher.

So if you dismiss the Bible (and particularly the New Testament) as a book of ravings written by fanatics intent on starting a new religion (as many do), then Jesus works just fine as a philosophical teacher whose words were twisted by those crazy Christian rightists (you know those guys --- they are all Republicans, and therefore can be dismissed entirely, even back before there were Republicans). If you take the Bible as the Word of God (as C.S. Lewis did), then you cannot accept Jesus as a "great human teacher." Lewis is quite right. The guy was a fruitcake. "I forgive you for being a whore." Who could say such a thing and imagine it would stick?

Dinsdale
01-06-2004, 09:08 AM
Of course, you could consider the Jesus who may have never existed. Or the Jesus who merely served as a useful revolutionary figurehead.

It is not at all unique for fanatics to fabricate support for their authority.

Debaser
01-06-2004, 09:10 AM
I would pick a third choice.

I'm an athiest. I don't believe that Jesus is God or the son of God.

However, that doesn't mean I think that Jesus was a liar or a lunatic.

There is the possibility that Jesus simply never existed. He was made up by those writing the bible hundreds of years after the time when he supposably lived.

There is the other possibility that Jesus' story from the writings of the bible is a collection of tales of many people. This is what I tend to believe. A group of legends and folk tales were combined to be the story of one man.

However, I'm with O'Reilly on the idea that the nativity scene can be up. Or a Menorah, or a cresent and star. As long as it's not offensive to anyone (Burning cross, etc) I have no problem with it. I don't have to admire Jesus as a philosopher to tolerate images of him around town during the holidays. It is what most people believe, and there isn't any harm in it.

FriarTed
01-06-2004, 09:19 AM
I can admire Gandhi as a man willing to stand for his people against oppression, and to mostly successfully use the very risky tactic of passive resistance against Powers that Be- tho I believe his absolute commitment to non-violence (to the point of recommending the same to the Jews facing Hitler, even if their destruction be the result) and some of his personal practices were totally nutso.

robertliguori
01-06-2004, 10:27 AM
C.S. Lewis' trichotomy holds only if we accept the Biblical version of Jesus as accurate.
Inconsistencies in the Gospels, among other things, make holding the Bible as a literal historical record problematic.

Ergo, no trichotomy.

Anyway, as has been pointed out, someone who provides the grand unified theory while insisting they are the Son of God's Poached Egg is still a great physicist, despite nuttiness.

Diogenes the Cynic
01-06-2004, 10:30 AM
CS Lewis was full of crap about a lot of things. His theological arguments don't really hold water. He basically wrote overrated, smug, pseudo-intellectual glurge. He would have been eaten alive on SDMB.

His argument vis-a-vis Jesus being a lunatic is predicated on the false assumption that the Gospels infallibly represent the true words of Jesus.

There is no reason to assume this and many reasons to doubt it. It's perfectly reasonable, logical and scientifically supportable to take a position that Jesus only said a small portion of what is attributed to him in the gospels and that any seeming proclamations of his own godhood are simply not authentic.

Lewis' argument does not allow for historical/literary/linguistic textual analysis of the Bible. Such a critical approach would be quite inconvenient to Lewis who was interested in evangelizing, not in any serious philosophical exploration.

Polycarp
01-06-2004, 11:41 AM
Originally posted by Diogenes the Cynic
CS Lewis was full of crap about a lot of things. His theological arguments don't really hold water. He basically wrote overrated, smug, pseudo-intellectual glurge. He would have been eaten alive on SDMB.

His argument vis-a-vis Jesus being a lunatic is predicated on the false assumption that the Gospels infallibly represent the true words of Jesus.

There is no reason to assume this and many reasons to doubt it. It's perfectly reasonable, logical and scientifically supportable to take a position that Jesus only said a small portion of what is attributed to him in the gospels and that any seeming proclamations of his own godhood are simply not authentic.

Lewis' argument does not allow for historical/literary/linguistic textual analysis of the Bible. Such a critical approach would be quite inconvenient to Lewis who was interested in evangelizing, not in any serious philosophical exploration.

I would go further and say that the Lewisian trichotomy depends not merely on the accuracy of the Gospels (which we know to have been written from polemic points of view) but on the interpretation which the church has placed on Jesus's utterances. Assuming John to accurately report discourses of Jesus, for example and for the sake of argument, it's clear that He identified Himself in some way with the Father, and in a manner in which His followers could identify with Him and participate in His union with His Father. But this does not inexorably lead to the Nicene/Chalcedonian definitions of the Trinity and the Dual Nature of Christ. It could have been an extended metaphor conveying truth without literal identity. When Libertarian, for example, says "God is love," he is not making a statement that "the holy, infinite, and external spiritual reality presented in the Bible as the creater, sustainer, judge, righteous sovereign, and redeemer of the universe who acts with power in history in carrying out his purpose is in one-to-one correspondence with the attraction, desire, or affection felt for a person who arouses delight or admiration or arouses tenderness, sympathetic interest, or benevolence." (Definitions courtesy of Merriam-Webster, 3rd New International Dictionary.)

I feel strongly that there was in fact a historical Jesus who taught much of what one finds attributed to him in the Gospels, but that each person adds a superstructure of interpretation upon the historical reality of that person according as his beliefs or absence thereof lead him to do so.

Skammer
01-06-2004, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by alterego
In 1978 C.S. Lewis said (http://www.christinyou.net/pages/Qjesuschrist.html) , In 1978 C.S. Lewis certainly knew for sure, seeing as how he died in 1963 and all.

Lord Ashtar
01-06-2004, 12:01 PM
Is it possible to 'admire Jesus the philosopher' without thinking he is a total crackpot?

I don't see why not. A lot of his more famous teachings seem to me to be good ways to live one's life. The Golden Rule, don't remove the speck from your neighbor's eye until you remove the plank from your own, let he who is without sin cast the first stone, ect.

Of course, I think the Bible is full of all kinds of useful and practical advice, so I may be a bit biased. YMMV.

AHunter3
01-06-2004, 12:15 PM
I go with Reilly and against Lewis

Jesus of Nazareth said he was the son of God. Fine. So am I. So is Cecil Adams. For that matter, so are Bill Gates, Hannibal Lecter, and Michael Jackson. And Robin Morgan, Oprah Winfrey, and Madalyn Murray O'Hair are, or were, daughers of God, for that matter. Not everyone in the time of Jesus understood that "we are Gods, and all of us Children of the Most High" [Psalms 82 IIRC], even though we so seldom live up to our legacy as creatures created in the image of God -- nor do many understand it now -- but Jesus of Nazareth understood it. So he was no lying when he said he made this claim, but neither was he God in a metaphysical sense that you and I are not. God manifests God's self as that which we call "Creation", and therefore as us. Or, translated for the atheists: there has been but one event, ever, that which the astronomers call the Big Bang, which was not itself caused by anything prior to it, and of this one event comes everything including consciousness; the "clockwork" model of cause and effect, while a highly useful predictive tool and means for understanding precise mechanisms, is ultimately something we impose by categorically dividing up the One Event into states, and only within that imposed model does the earlier state cause the later state. So both consciousness and everything that there is to be conscious of, with all its wonder and beauty and intricacy, has historically been understood in this way and this understanding has been given names, among which are words such as "God" and "prayer", and semi-translucent bearded dudes in the sky are simplified representations, just as are representations of the atom as round blue marbles orbiting bigger red and green marbles -- the falseness of the simplified representations doesn't make false that which is represented. In that context, I think you should suspend dismissive smugness when evaluating the claim to being the "son of God".

Jesus of Nazareth, meanwhile, also made two other important claims -- he claimed to be the fulfillment of prophecy concerning a great leader who would make the people great and right with God (these being inseparable concepts), and he laid down some messages about how we should regard and treat each other (you know the drill; if not, check out Sermon on the Plains and Sermon on the Mount). And from these two claims in tandem, moreso than the claim of being the son of God*, the guy said, in essence, "Listen to me -- this is the way to do it. You aren't going to get there [the state of being great and right with God] except this-a-way".

* although at times "I am the son of God" seems to have stood for "I am the son of God who comprehends that he is the son of God and have taken it seriously enough to have grasped the truths of the message that I bring you"


So there is certainly plenty of room for admiring the heck out of Jesus of Nazareth the philosopher without "believing he is God as millions of Americans do" -- which is to say as a supernatural entity who was deliberately sent down here to get his sacrificial-lamb self killed off so that he (God) would then permit himself to forgive humans for our sins. Not to mention walking on water and raising dead people (including himself) back to life and doing cute things with fishes and water and whatnot. I have no difficulty whatsoever finding more consistency and continuity in my understanding of Jesus of Nazareth than in the conventional Christian interpretation thereof without calling him "liar, lunatic, or both".

AHunter3
01-06-2004, 12:20 PM
O'

alterego
01-06-2004, 12:51 PM
Originally posted by Skammer
In 1978 C.S. Lewis certainly knew for sure, seeing as how he died in 1963 and all.
Good catch! I knew when he wrote it too. See how easily I fell prey to weak information! Blast it all, you made a good point within your point! =)

Diogenes the Cynic said, It's perfectly reasonable, logical and scientifically supportable to take a position that Jesus only said a small portion of what is attributed to him in the gospels
I can appreciate this in a verbatin sense, but you are riding on the assumption that what we 'think' Jesus said is not what he actually said. Considering your lack of evidence of things that Jesus 'really' said I don't see how you can hope to make a good point that what we think he said is not indeed what he said, or at least portraying the same meaning.

Diogenes the Cynic said,Such a critical approach would be quite inconvenient to Lewis who was interested in evangelizing, not in any serious philosophical exploration.
I don't know much about him but I do know that he was at one point an athiest. His experience says a good deal in favor of his character, and you have drawn several broad conclusions within this post that require some solid referencing.

Polycarp said,
I feel strongly that there was in fact a historical Jesus who taught much of what one finds attributed to him in the Gospels, but that each person adds a superstructure of interpretation upon the historical reality of that person according as his beliefs or absence thereof lead him to do so.
So basically what you are saying is that you feel strongly that Jesus is not what our written record of him says but rather your interpretation that it doesn't say what he said, and that your reason against him being what our written record says is that it is an interpretation of the same works through which you both came to know of him in the first place that does not fall in line with your discource and reasoning.

Interesting.

I realize he is written of in other places, but please keep in mind that this seemingly scientific reasoning, which is in essence interpretation, is no better than the interpretations that you are disparaging on the very grounds that they are interpretations.

Diogenes the Cynic
01-06-2004, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by alterego
I can appreciate this in a verbatin sense, but you are riding on the assumption that what we 'think' Jesus said is not what he actually said. Considering your lack of evidence of things that Jesus 'really' said I don't see how you can hope to make a good point that what we think he said is not indeed what he said, or at least portraying the same meaning.
I'm not making any assumption at all I'm just pointing out that Lewis' conclusions are not the only possible ones which can be drawn from the available data. I have made no absolute assertions about what Jesus actually said. I only said that an argument can be made that he didn't say everything that's attributed to him. All we know is what other people said he said. We have no reason to believe they were right and cirmunstantially a pretty good case can be made that the Gospels contain a locus of authentic sayings overlayed with a lot of mythology. It's not an arbitrary process to isolate the authentic sayings either. There are perfectly valid methodologies available to us to help us discern wht is more likely to be authentic from what is less likely.

You don't have to agree with the conclusions produced by such an analysis, that's not the point. All that matters is that such conclusions are phiosophically reasonable.
I don't know much about him but I do know that he was at one point an athiest.
So what?
His experience says a good deal in favor of his character
What experience would that be, and what does it have to do with character?

What does his character have to do with this debate anyway. I'm only talking about his theological arguments. They are weak, fallacious, unsupportable and bigoted in favor of a very narrow spectrum of belief.

I'm sure he was a very nice guy but that doesn't make his arguments any stronger.
and you have drawn several broad conclusions within this post that require some solid referencing.
Such as....?
So basically what you are saying is that you feel strongly that Jesus is not what our written record of him says but rather your interpretation that it doesn't say what he said, and that your reason against him being what our written record says is that it is an interpretation of the same works through which you both came to know of him in the first place that does not fall in line with your discource and reasoning.

Interesting.

I realize he is written of in other places, but please keep in mind that this seemingly scientific reasoning, which is in essence interpretation, is no better than the interpretations that you are disparaging on the very grounds that they are interpretations.
No, scientific analysis is nothing like a subjective interpretation.

If you're really interested in the methodologies which are used in historical Biblical criticism I can outline some of them for you.

Polycarp
01-06-2004, 01:41 PM
Originally posted by alterego
So basically what you are saying is that you feel strongly that Jesus is not what our written record of him says but rather your interpretation that it doesn't say what he said, and that your reason against him being what our written record says is that it is an interpretation of the same works through which you both came to know of him in the first place that does not fall in line with your discource and reasoning.

Interesting.

I realize he is written of in other places, but please keep in mind that this seemingly scientific reasoning, which is in essence interpretation, is no better than the interpretations that you are disparaging on the very grounds that they are interpretations. [/B]

That, sir, is not what I was saying, and I will thank you to not read inferences into what I say.

There are "written words" above that say He was a completely mythical construct. There are "written words" not Scripture that say He was "of one being with the Father, yet truly god an truly man, subordinate to the Father as regards his humanity and yet coordinate and co-eternal with the Father as regars His divinity."

I am saying that you learn of Jesus from the Gospels, not bring your preconceived understanding of Jesus to them and interpret them in accordance with it. And that one learns of Him through the Gospels by intelligent use of the tools of textual analysis. Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John had particular axes to grind; one must read past their clearly (and in three cases explicitly) defined purposes to identify the Man of whom they write.

FriarTed
01-07-2004, 03:53 AM
btw, let me add that while I find much in the Sermon on the Mount to be insightful & admirable, if I did not believe in the Divinity of Jesus, I'd also find just as much in that Sermon to be idealistic nonsence. To worshippers like me, His Person gives His teachings authority, while to admirers, his teachings give his person authority.

Diogenes the Cynic
01-07-2004, 09:50 AM
Well said, Friar. I fall into the latter camp and I think Lewis' "choice" is a false dichotomy.

FriarTed
01-07-2004, 10:25 AM
DtC- I wouldn't declare it false, just limited. It's internally consistent but artificially limits the choices.

Meatros
01-07-2004, 10:34 AM
One thing that I've been mulling over recentally, which is slightly related to this, is 'did Jesus say anything new'; ie, as far as good morals are concerned. It's my understanding that a lot of what he was preaching had been around either in his day or prior to it.

While it seems Jesus brought a lot of these moral ideals together, is it fair to credit him with all of them?

Then again, I could be totally misinformed...

AHunter3
01-07-2004, 05:05 PM
Very very little of anything is entirely original.

If you create or say something completely original, it will have no meaning to anyone you show, play, or say it to. They won't have a point of entry, a way of relating it to anything they are familiar with.

Having said that....Jesus of Nazareth did not merely say "Y'all oughta be nice to each other and forgive and trust and share". He dared to make an issue of rigid rule-following forms of worship

Instead of letting himself be intimidated by the letter-of-the-law types, he advocated theologically for the spirit behind the letter. Tricky stunt within a tradition so thoroughly wedded to the Torah as Law! But although he said none of the law was going to be erased and that he was about the business of fulfilling it, not invalidating it, he enshrined "love your God and your neighbor as your self, and act in accordance with that" as the key, and through action as well as statement he said that when that key leads you into conflict with the letter of the law, go with that which would be an act of love. And his teachings were about forgiveness and mercy at a time when righteousness was claimed by judges and bringers of justice and punishment on behalf of God.

Some would say that he deliberately put himself on the line in such a way that the authorities would have to choose between meting out a horribly disproportionate response to someone whom everyone could see wasn't doing anything truly wrong, or else through inaction concede the point about the letter versus the spirit of the law. (Others are more inclined to believe that getting the Romans involved was a miscalculation on his part which ultimately got him killed). Even if the former is not true (I think it is), he was orchestrating a much more provocative thing than someone simply saying "Be kind and merciful and share and be good to people".

capacitor
01-07-2004, 10:42 PM
There is no concept of the Trinity in Judiaism. So Jesus is not God, and in fact he explicitly direct that all prayers are to be addressed to the Father.

AHunter3
01-09-2004, 01:42 AM
He certainly seemed to view himself as a good citizen of then-modern Judah. The Torah contains many stories and affirmations supporting the concept of God as not only personal but merciful. I think he was deliberately provoking some people but believed that all that he did was in line with the faith. So I agree -- no way was he claiming to be literally and singularly God, or intending that people should pray unto him personally.

IWLN
01-09-2004, 11:31 PM
Originally posted by capacitor
There is no concept of the Trinity in Judiaism. So Jesus is not God, and in fact he explicitly direct that all prayers are to be addressed to the Father. Odd that Jesus prayed so fervently to himself. Even odder that he didn't seem to know about the Trinity. Hmm......

Find Friends
01-10-2004, 04:49 PM
Originally posted by hypnoboth
Lewis is quite right. The guy was a fruitcake. "I forgive you for being a whore." Who could say such a thing and imagine it would stick? [/B]Well, for Hillary Clinton it would make perfect sense.

But seriously,

There is a problem with sticking with the NT. At one point the ire of the Pharisees is ignited when Jesus makes a God statement. As he makes a hasty exit he "backpedals" and cites Scripture saying that anyone who does the work of God is "a god".

No unique Divinity there.

Also he once says that he goes to "my God and to your God".

Implying that he is on essentially the same plane as all other folks.

* * * * * * * * * * *

True Blue Jack

MEBuckner
01-11-2004, 01:30 PM
A problem with O'Reilly's claim is that the nativity stories in Luke and Matthew are among those parts of the Gospels which have the least to do with any supposed universal great philosophical teachings of Jesus which can be separated out from Christianity. The nativity stories are all about the birth of the supernatural Messiah: born of a virgin, angelic visititations, miraculous celestial portents, etc. The nativity stories are also among the most clearly mythologized bits of the Gospels: the stories Matthew and Luke tell disagree on many important points--in fact, they really don't converge with each other at all--and Mark and John don't mention any of this stuff at all.

The Sermon on the Mount or the Golden Rule might have some resonance to non-Christians, but the nativity story is overwhelmingly about the miraculous birth of the Christ, the Son of God, and not about the teachings of the Jewish philosopher Jesus of Nazareth. (I just checked the Jefferson Bible (http://www.angelfire.com/co/JeffersonBible/jeffb01.html), and he did leave in a bit of Luke's nativity narrative; I guess the "born in a manger" story has some resonance with non-Christian admirers of Jesus, in a classic "greatness born of humble origins" way. But I still say it's a stretch, especially if your government-approved nativity scene includes a great big miraculous celestial portent hanging over it, or of course if there are any refernces about to Jesus' mommy being a virgin.)

Diogenes the Cynic
01-11-2004, 02:16 PM
I guess the "born in a manger" story has some resonance with non-Christian admirers of Jesus
I read somewhere once that "born in a manger" was an Aramaic figure of speech for being born to humble beginnings, sort of akin to how "born with a silver spoon in his mouth" is a figurative way to describe being born into wealth.

I can't seem to find a linkable cite for this, but if it's true it could be an example of of a figurative expression being literalized in mythology. That would make sense to me.

NaSultainne
01-11-2004, 05:51 PM
Originally posted by True Blue Jack
There is a problem with sticking with the NT. At one point the ire of the Pharisees is ignited when Jesus makes a God statement. As he makes a hasty exit he "backpedals" and cites Scripture saying that anyone who does the work of God is "a god".

No unique Divinity there.

John 8:58
"I tell you the truth,"Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I AM."

Compare with Exodus 3:14
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites; 'I AM has sent me to you.' "

Jesus indeed declared Himself to be God.

As for the OP;
it's simplistic to state, as above, that even a lunatic occasionally
has moments of striking insight. I'd ask for some evidence for such, but it's truly not worth the effort. Rather, demonstrate a single instance of Jesus as lunatic or concede the flippant nature of your comment.

Lewis brought complex theological arguments down to the layman level, and did so wonderfully well. His argument was sound. Our knowledge of Jesus' life and ministry is almost solely limited to the NT. While there are glimpses of Him in outside sources, the gist, the main thrust is here. (And the Jesus Seminar is not in the mainstream of NT scholarship, specifically in their hasty cut-and-paste revisionism.) Thus, we are left to evaluate the words as recorded by those closest to Jesus for the short period of His ministry. Remember, these are words written within the lifespan of critics and enemies of this early Christian church. Based on the writings of the Apostles, Lewis' challenge remains: is this man a lunatic? No sane man today would argue this. Is he a liar? Again, there is no evidence that Jesus at any time lied. Furthermore, a liar who fooled so many into following Him to their own deaths? For literally thousands of years? Is He Lord? The only sane answer left. Yes, He is.

[Fixed coding. -- MEB]

MEBuckner
01-11-2004, 06:49 PM
Jesus indeed declared Himself to be God....

...demonstrate a single instance of Jesus as lunatic or concede the flippant nature of your comment.
Well, I think a major argument of Lewis' trilemma is that people who go around declaring themselves to be God should be regarded as lunatics, unless they are in fact God. So your own quote could do as an instance of Jesus' lunacy for everyone who doesn't accept Jesus as God.

(In fact, as has already been argued above, I would add a fourth "L" to Lewis: liar, lord, lunatic, or legendary. That is, there may well have been a historic Jesus of Nazareth, but trying to form judgements of his character based on the New Testament is a bit like trying to form judgements on the character of the Emperor Charlemagne based on The Song of Roland. Of course, we have other, historical, records of Charlemagne, which is largely not the case with Jesus of Nazareth.)

IWLN
01-12-2004, 12:25 AM
Originally posted by NaSultainne
John 8:58
"I tell you the truth,"Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I AM."

Compare with Exodus 3:14
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites; 'I AM has sent me to you.' "

Jesus indeed declared Himself to be God.This isn't all you have that makes you think he's G-d, is it? What about all the times he referred to and prayed to his Father. There are many more verses that point to Jesus' connection, submission and respect to G-d. That doesn't make sense. I honestly can't remember what I was taught about that.
Rather, demonstrate a single instance of Jesus as lunatic or concede the flippant nature of your comment.Well he was either talking to himself and referring to himself in the third person or he just thought he was G-d?
Furthermore, a liar who fooled so many into following Him to their own deaths? For literally thousands of years? Is He Lord? The only sane answer left. Yes, He is.Maybe not for as long, but Hitler, Jim Jones and I'm sure there are more. Isn't this an appeal to numbers type fallacy, anyway?

Diogenes the Cynic
01-12-2004, 01:46 AM
Originally posted by NaSultainne
John 8:58
"I tell you the truth,"Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I AM."

Compare with Exodus 3:14
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites; 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

Jesus indeed declared Himself to be God."
Doubtful. Even if this were an authentic saying of Jesus (which is debatable, John is the least historical of all the Gospels) I would argue that "I am" is simply the translated name of YHWH. In other words, "Before Abraham was Yahweh," could be a perfectly accurate rendering of what Jesus actually said. It is certainly more likely than Jesus doing something as anti-Judaic, as blasphemous and internally inconsistent as claiming to be God.

Also, he couldn't have claimed to have been both God and the Messiah but the Jewish Messiah isn't God. So, either Jesus was lying or he was crazy or someone made mythological claims about him after his death. What seems miost likely to you?

Oh, and don't forget, all of the attributed sayings of Jesus come from secondary sources. The author of John never actually [i]heard Jesus say the above. He either wrote what someone else told him Jesus said or he fabricated it to further a religious agenda. 'm open to either option.
As for the OP;
it's simplistic to state, as above, that even a lunatic occasionally
has moments of striking insight. I'd ask for some evidence for such, but it's truly not worth the effort. Rather, demonstrate a single instance of Jesus as lunatic or concede the flippant nature of your comment.
I don't think it's necessary. I don't accept that Jesus claimed to be God.
Lewis brought complex theological arguments down to the layman level, and did so wonderfully well. His argument was sound.
How do you account for the giant, gaping hole in Lewis' argument that it is predicated on the (franly untenable) presumption that the Gospels are an accrate representation of what Jesus actually said?
Our knowledge of Jesus' life and ministry is almost solely limited to the NT. While there are glimpses of Him in outside sources, the gist, the main thrust is here. (And the Jesus Seminar is not in the mainstream of NT scholarship, specifically in their hasty cut-and-paste revisionism.)
The Jesus Seminar is the very cutting edge of NT scholarship. They have the advantage of being unhindered by a priori conclusions about the veracity of the Bible. This allows them to apply some truly objective and scientific methods to their research.

There is no "cut and paste revisionism" involved,w ahtsoever. The JS has no agenda. I'm sorry that factual research is so damaging to any defense of Biblical literalism but attacking the Seminarians is a childish and ineffective response. Show how their research is wrong. Sneering proves nothing.

The Gospels represent virtually the only thing close to documentation of Jesus but they are mythological works written long after the death of Jesus. they are not factual historical documents and they are clearly overelaid with a Thick mythological patina.
Thus, we are left to evaluate the words as recorded by those closest to Jesus for the short period of His ministry.
Unfortunately, no such documented words exist. Not one book of the NT was written by anyone who ever met Jesus.
Remember, these are words written within the lifespan of critics and enemies of this early Christian church. Based on the writings of the Apostles
Ther are no writings of any apostles and so what if the early church had enemies?
Lewis' challenge remains: is this man a lunatic? No sane man today would argue this.
It's still an illegitimate question. Jesus never said he was God. The NT is wrong.
Is he a liar?
No, those who wrote the gospels were...at least in the sense that they wrote fiction not fact.
Again, there is no evidence that Jesus at any time lied.
How about when he said he would return before "this generation" had passed from the earth?

Seriouslly, though. Your "evidence" is still based on an unreliable compilation of mythological documents. I have no obligation to accept them as accurate and it's perfectly reasonable to think Jesus said some things and not other things. Whether you agree with that conclusion is beside the point. The point is that CS Lewis' argument fails on its face because it is not necessary to accept his predicates.
Furthermore, a liar who fooled so many into following Him to their own deaths? For literally thousands of years? Is He Lord? The only sane answer left. Yes, He is.

[Fixed coding. -- MEB]
People have followed lots of religions to deaths. The fact that someone dies for a religious belief proves nothing about the veracity of that belief.