So who is this Jesus then?
Is he a softy, a nice guy, a buddy, a bully, a racist, White, Black, Asian, Hispanic… Is he on my side, or holding a knife to my back?Is he the guy from the bible or whatever I want him to be??
A couple of the young people and I decided to venture into this challenging question and to do it with some confidence we read through a book together that actually turned out to be really helpful for them…and even me. Now we have finished it and although, no scrap that, BECAUSE I don’t agree with everything in the book I thought I’d offer it out to you all to have a read yourselves and chew on!
Here are some good quotes
On the Gnostics (like Gospel of Thomas) – ‘The new portrait of Gnosticism is profoundly attractive for modern seekers, that large constituency interested in spirituality without the trappings of organized religion or dogma.’ p.30
On the Gospels – ”They’re early enough, they’re rooted into the right streams that go back to Jesus and the original people, there’s continuity, there’s proximity, there’s verification of certain distinct documents with archaeology and other documents, and then there’s the inner logic. That’s what pulls it all together.” p.39
”For us to come along and say, ‘Unless we can explain it scientifically, metaphysically, and philosophically, we should just reject it,’ is high-handed arrogance.” p.39
On true definition of Inerrancy and Infallibility of the Bible – ‘Inerrancy: The Bible is true in what it touches. Infallibility: The Bible is true in what it teaches.’ p.51
On the reliability of the Disciples – ‘They didn’t willfully lie about this. Liars make poor martyrs.’ p.87
On the resurrection – “even the atheist Gerd Ludemann conceded: ‘it may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ’…” p.87
On reliability of a genuine resurrection – ‘…the idea that the disciples stole the body is a lame explanation. Are we supposed to believe they conspired to steal the body, pulled it off, and then were willing to suffer continuously and even die for what they knew was a lie? That’s such an absurd idea that scholars universally reject it today.’ p.92
On historical views of Jesus – ‘…If for no other reason than the books late dating. Scholars quibble over a difference of just a few years in the dating of the New Testament, whereas the Qur’an didn’t come until six centuries after the life of Christ.’ p.98
On Jewish perspectives of Jesus – ‘So Jesus was like a walking Shekinah?’ p.145
On Evangelical Christianity – ‘Many Christians today, especially evangelicals, don’t have a sense of history. They’ll quote Martin Luther left and right, but they won’t talk about the horrific things he wrote that Adolph Hitler adopted, like when Luther recommended, among other things, that synagogues be burned, Jewish homes destroyed, and rabbis forbidden to teach under the threat of death.’ p.163
on Postmodern thinking – ‘Relativism falls apart logically when you examine it. As a worldview, it simply doesn’t work.’…”For instance, relativists believe that relativism is true not just for them but for every person. They believe that relativism applies to nonrelativists (‘true for you’), not just to themselves (‘true for me’). The relativists find themselves in a bind if we ask them, ‘Is relativism absolutely true for everyone?’ To be consistant, the relativist must say, ‘There is no reason to take seriously the claim that every belief is as good as every other belief, since this belief itself would be no better than any other.”‘ p.170
OK. Getting carried away now… Just check it out for yourself!