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« Have yourself a scary little Christmas | Main | Without Any Fear »

December 20, 2006

Still a Stumbling Block

There is one person history can't seem to get over--whether to embrace him, slander him, or pretend to disregard him altogether. Jesus has and always will be a stumbling stone for those who can't see him, and a glorious reality for those who can. Today, the Washington Post raised the age-old question--Who is Christ? Reading the comments to Miroslav Volf's assertion that Christ was exactly who he claimed to be is like entering a war zone.

Take, for example:

God is a delusion. Religion a symptom of humanity's infancy, and weakness. Santa is more a God than Jesus. And the bloodshed wrought by the conflicting religious visions?


If JC is a perfect self-revelation of God, then why not Budah, the Prophet Mohammed, or Joseph Smith?

Here's a good answer:

As God’s son, Jesus Christ is unique. Was he a great moral teacher? Yes, but so were some others (e.g. Socrates). Was he a compelling embodiment of goodness? Yes, but so were some others (e.g. Francis of Assisi). Was he an extraordinary history-shaping figure? Yes, but so were some others (e.g. Gandhi).

While these arguments can seem like fruitless rantings between staunch atheists and committed evangelicals, there may be one or two commentators who are riding the fence. For them, we continue to "provide a reason for the hope we have within us."

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One of my favorite responses to this question is the one Bono gave to Michka Assayas, when Michka said, "Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?"

Bono responds: "No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: 'He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius.' But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. ... Christ says, 'No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, ... I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying, "I'm the Messiah. ... God incarnate." '

Continuing, Bono says, "So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was--the Messiah--or a complete nutcase. ... The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched."

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