I'm sure you've all heard the argument. Jesus was either a insane, lying or he really is god and the son of god at the same time (put forth, I understand, by C.S. Lewis). Since there is addtional corroborating evidence (which I have never seen), this particular delusion MUST be right.
I don't remember where I saw it, but another blogger added two possibilities (if anyone knows who, please let me know so I can give them credit): Jesus never claimed to be what people say he was, and the story came after (entirely plausible, considering that the Bible was written hundreds of years after he was supposedly crucified), or he never existed, and the whole thing is made up (again, entirely plausible).
It would never occur to Christians to consider these possibilities. I mean, many are prepared to accept that parts of the Bible are allegorical, or even untrue. But if the whole Jesus thing never happened, then there's really no such thing as a Christian. And so, if the idea is presented, they have to reject it completely.
I don't know what it is about this Howse guy, but Christian Worldview's on a hitting streak. I was emailed an article from a week ago, Jesus: Messiah, Prophet or Liar?, by Walter Martin. Obviously, it brings up the Loony, Liar or Lord argument, while omitting the crazy bit, and obviously ignoring the other two options:
Jesus prophesied His resurrection. He even prophesied the nature of His resurrection. He put it to rest forever when He said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The prophecy of His bodily resurrection is the foundation of all Christian theology. Without its fulfillment, He was a liar. He was a false prophet. He was deservedly executed, and Deuteronomy 13 could be applied to Him without question.
But if Jesus is the Messiah, then He is in the true, classic sense of prophetic fulfillment, a Person with enormous power; not just charisma, but a Person with enormous power. The Old Testament record reveals in Daniel 8 and 9 that Messiah will die—but not for Himself. He will die for the sins of the people. He would be the conqueror, and David said it would not be possible that death should hold Him hostage. This is more than just an earthly ruler. This is someone with enormous power. We’re talking about the Redeemer, we’re talking about the Conqueror of death, we’re talking about someone who died not for Himself, but for the sins of all mankind.
Christianity is the exclusive way to Heaven. Why? Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. If He didn’t rise from the dead, He was a phony. He was a false Messiah, a false prophet, a liar, a deceiver and demon possessed—at the very worst.
It's awfully neat, really, but it underlines the essential problem with religion. It is internally consistent (for the most part), but it need not rely on evidence, corroboration, or reality. Quite simply, if you accept the Bible is true, then Jesus is the way to heaven. Martin puts it right out there, pointing at his only evidence. And it's the only evidence he needs, really. Asking for more is quite simply asking too much. He explains his point a little more clearly, but it's ultimately a reiteration of what he's already said.
If He rose from the dead, as the Scripture says, then He is the Son of God with power, because of His resurrection. He is the way, the truth and the life because no one else could rise from the dead and no one else could conquer death as He did. His unique claim to everything is by virtue of His resurrection. Therefore, He is the Son of God. He is the Savior of the World, and that’s why Christianity is the truth.
"[A]s the Scripture says" is all he's got. The fact that nobody else comes back from the dead? Doesn't matter. The fact that the only evidence you need a messiah at all comes from earlier parts of the same book? Who cares. It's a closed system, folks, and we'd do well to remember it.
There are several things I don't understand. Here are two: Apologists' constant attempts to "prove" their faith is the right one, and other people's attention to those attempts. Religion can't be proven, so it's pointless to try. When we pay attention, it only encourages them.
And I'm aware of the irony.
But the certainty of that last sentence is worth noting, too: "He is the Savior of the World, and that’s why Christianity is the truth. "It's circular reasoning at it's finest, and Martin is absolutely sure of his position. It's more than a little frightening, honestly. And many believers are like that.
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