An answer to a blog post about Jesus’s Words not giving the luxury of Good Moral Teacher

Lying, Aliteration Limiting Lewis… again

She said that “The words of Jesus in the New Testament gave no excuses to allow Him to be anything other than ‘lunatic, Liar or Lord'”

My response on her post follows:

“The problem is that you can’t take what is written in the nt ‘as the words of jesus’ at face value. All four Gospels that we have, others were written and excluded by the early church, disagree in areas of content and context. They were written at different times, by different people, no… not the disciples or apostles… just can’t be proven and they don’t make such a claim for themselves, and written for different purposes and with different perspectives and agendas.

You ‘believe’ and have ‘faith’ that these are the actual words of jesus, but there is actually no way to ‘know’ that to be the case at all. And even more reason and evidence to believe the exact opposite.

Lunatic, Liar, Lord? Why just the three options? How about… Legend, Literary Creation, Liturgical Religious Myth? These would be more in line with the evidence for the Jesus of the NT. -kia”

You see, Faith is believing and trusting even without Evidence, and sometimes against all evidence to the contrary.

What would you have told her?



5 thoughts on “An answer to a blog post about Jesus’s Words not giving the luxury of Good Moral Teacher

  1. I think you’re right. Respected conservative Christian historians like NT Wright and liberal or non-Christian ones like Borg or Ehrman agree: Jesus never claimed to be God. The closest to a claim of divinity occurs in the Gospel of John, which is clearly written long after Matt/Mark/Luke, and reflects the prayer and experience of a generation or two after the death of Jesus. Even when Jesus is called “Son of God” in Matt/Mark/Luke, this points to his special relationship with God, not his divinity; throughout the Old Testament you have people and the nation of Israel called “son of God” yet this never implies that they are divine.

    I would add a biblical argument against this lady: In the Gospel of Mark (I think it’s the end of chapter 8), Peter calls Jesus the Messiah. Jesus tells him to not talk about this with other people. A few verses later, Jesus talks about his upcoming suffering, and Peter rebukes him – surely this is not how messiahs act! In response, Jesus calls Peter “Satan”.

    Like Peter, many Christians want to make faith all about calling Jesus the correct terms, therby treating service and suffering for others as something secondary. Like Peter, these people are being Satanic, creating hells on earth. Calling Jesus “lord” is clearly not the point at all. Christians who get so worked up about the right words to call Jesus need to read Mark.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for your post! I’m loving your Jesus stuff. I spent about a year of my life obsessing over these sorts of questions – it’s cool to see that they matter to other people, too! “Historical Jesus” research can be scary for Christians, but I’ve found it to be very rewarding. Best of luck to you as you keep thinking through this stuff for yourself!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I now think that if there was a historical jesus at the root of the story that became christianity, he was probably a Jewish rabbi who tried to rally his people to orthodoxy and rebellion against the roman rulers, and got killed for his crime of sedition. His followers just couldn’t believe it was over so they created an admixture of messianic judaism with a dying a rising god of Greek and roman mystery religious tradition.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Gotcha. Where did you find that? That sounds like old school HJ to me. But I think most scholars would agree that Jesus was Jewish, politically active, and eventually killed for challenging the fabric of Roman rule.
            I think it’s hard to say that Jesus never existed, since 1. We have more info on him than just about anyone else of the time period, from multiple sources, and 2. The overwhelming majority of secular historians who study this stuff believe that there was a HJ, and I tend to trust experts wherever possible.
            I think it’s extremely difficult to know with much confidence what “really happened”. HJ experts are divided over just about everything. Jesus was probably politically revolutionary to some degree, probably felt very close to God and shared the insights of his prayer often, and probably made Love a central component of his thoughts about God (many Pharisees were doing the same thing at that point). But I’m not too sure about much beyond that. It’s tough to tell. But I still love HJ research because it teaches us to read the Gospels with fresh eyes.

            Liked by 1 person

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