Jesus not just a great guy
Melissa Monaghan’s recent column on the editorial page brought us another desultory lecture on Christianity, which was about as informative as Hislop’s notoriously defective “Two Babylons.” Other submissions purport to address the Harry Potter phenomena. Some were actually vapid sermons denouncing Christians, the pariah of the religious left and hate groups such as People for the American Way. One aspiring theologian/philosopher called Jesus a “great guy,” like Confucius or Terry McKenna. What he fails to grasp is that Jesus considered himself to be the savior of mankind, not just a “great guy.”
Those others pointed to a teaching or a battery of techniques to achieve self-realization or “enlightenment,” but Jesus was obsessed with the notion that He alone is the conduit to the knowledge of God and one’s self. Christ claimed that humanity is fatally flawed, and he had the audacity to insist that only He could save people from coming wrath. If Jesus were merely a human like Muhammad or Baha’ullah, we would think him a megalomaniac, an egotist or a nut; not a “great guy.” Jesus did not claim to be a “great guy,” but the Great God. You can reject that declaration, but please stop the patronizing drivel about Jesus being another noble sage.
Unlike another “great guy,” Buddha, who abandoned his wife and son in order to attain personal “enlightenment,” Jesus said, “let the children come unto me.” He appeals to the weak, the unsophisticated, the castoffs and others rarely found in university religion departments. Jesus offers no trendy pep talks, but insists that humans are spiritually blind and naked. He exposed the futility of our pathetic self-righteousness in his death on the cross. His joyful exclamation that God has hidden the truth from the “wise and learned” insults our intellectual arrogance.
Christ’s relentless denunciation of the world and its self-indulgent, pandering philosophies incited bigots, both religious and secular, and they crucified Him. So, it is no wonder that Christians suffer the selective wrath of so-called tolerant, progressive followers of those other “great guys.”
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