Jesus Christ is arguably the most world-changing figure in the entirety of human history. Author Paul Little writes: Jesus has been the subject of more literature, art and music than any other person.
I would like to acknowledge my friend and fellow science educator, Mark Ritter, for sharing his perspectives with me in this discussion.
So why does Jesus seem to have a permanent place in contemporary culture? Why does he seem as relevant today as he was two thousand years ago? Why is he still the topic of so many on-going conversations? Why hasn’t he faded into the past as many other great figures in history have? In spite of his unique status, Jesus is often lumped into the same group of great moral teachers as Buddha, Confucius, Gandhi, Mohammed and others.
How do you see him? You might have gotten some of your ideas about Jesus from childhood Sunday school stories, or from one of the plethora of “Jesus” films.
Perhaps the idea of him as a great teacher sounds good, and doesn’t offend anyone.
But is that all he was?
Most of what we know about Jesus comes from the Bible’s New Testament, a collection of eyewitness memoirs, historical accounts and letters written by his followers, but other secular historians confirm much of it. The New Testament writings record many of the things he did and said and also offer us a glimpse into the early years of Christianity. The same followers who wrote about his life also recorded that Jesus rose from the dead, and that he claimed to be God.
Author C.S. Lewis calls the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus, Many myths of the ancient world refer to the story of a god who came down from heaven. Just like the Garden of Eden story of Adam and Eve, and the story of Noah’s Great Flood appear...
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...jailed. They had no political power, no fame (until much later), and they were very poor. Many were even martyred by various brutal and barbaric methods. It is hard to conceive of any selfish motivations. Why would they endure all of this for something they knew was a lie? There is no evidence whatsoever that a single one of them ever changed his story under threat of torture or death. If this were all a big scam, one among them would have confessed to the lie.
His followers had none of the psychological traits of liars. Why would the apostles make themselves look so bad, if it weren’t all true? The gospel accounts sometimes record the disciples making some very simple-minded if not downright stupid remarks. They often act irrationally. Several times they receive strict and direct reprimands from Jesus. Why would liars make themselves look so ignorant and fearful?
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