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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor
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Jesus: Moral teacher or God?

People talk about God all the time. He is mentioned in most of the presidential inaugurations, discussed on Oprah and his name is often used as a curse word. Yet when people bring up Jesus, or even mention his name in public, people become offended. Maybe it is because they don’t really understand the person of Jesus.

In an essay titled, “”What are we to make of Jesus Christ?”” C.S. Lewis writes that to understand Jesus, one must consider two things: his moral teaching and his “”appalling”” theological remarks.

Christ’s moral teaching is rarely questioned as false, on the contrary it is deemed wise and clever.

Lewis writes in his essay, “”I find when I am arguing with very anti-God people that they rather make a point of saying, ‘I am entirely in favor of the moral teaching of Christianity.'””

His remarks however are not cut and dry. Jesus’ claim to be God has caused much controversy. The gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, witnesses to Jesus’ life and the events that followed his death, recount his ministry in the Bible.

In our culture it is generally accepted that Christ was a great moral teacher, not God. However that is not true; they forget, or choose to ignore, his many “blasphemous” claims that eventually led him to be crucified. Imagine someone going to Socrates and asking, “”Are you Zeus?””

“”The idea of a great moral teacher saying what Christ said is out of the question,” Lewis wrote. “In my opinion, the only person who can say that sort of thing is either God or a complete lunatic.””

There is one more alternative to the two contradictory ideas. Maybe the disciples exaggerated the stories about Jesus until they became legends containing false statements.

Yet evidence indicates that the gospels are the most accurately preserved documents in history.

In Josh McDowell’s book, A Ready Defense, he compares how well ancient writings were preserved. It is a widely accepted belief that The Iliad we have today is an accurate copy of the original story written by Homer in 900 B.C. However, comparing the proof for validity of The Iliad to that of the New Testament is like comparing a horsefly to an elephant.

There are 643 early copies of The Iliad still in existence and the oldest one was written 500 years after the original. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament, however, was written 25 years after the original and there are over 24,000 early copies of it still surviving today.

In addition, there are some obvious faults with the legend theory.

First, most of Christ’s followers were Jews; they believed in only one God–no other. Some person claiming to be God would not be joked about in that culture. No one would readily embrace that idea for fear of stoning.

Second, the gospels are not written like legends.

According to Lewis, a literary historian, the gospels are clumsy and do not work up to ideas in a perfectly logical fashion. In addition, people inventing legends tell something about the person’s early life, whereas in Jesus’ case, little is known about him before he turned 30 years old. Clearly, the gospel writers did not pen just a famous story, they wrote of what they had personally experienced.

Either Christ was God, as he claimed to be, or he was crazy.

Lee Strobel dealt with this issue in his book, The Case for Christ. He interviewed Gary R. Collins, with a PH.D. in psychology, on the subject. Collins said that disturbed people usually show inappropriate emotions such as: vehement anger or paranoia. However, Jesus’ emotions were never out of place; they always were right in line with a healthy persons’.

Another sign of insanity is irrationality and the lack of the ability to relate to people. Clearly neither of these qualities characterized Jesus. He often spoke right to a person’s utmost need, such as Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:4. He most definitely was not irrational; he spoke clearly, effectively and eloquently to his audiences.

Therefore there is little or no evidence that Jesus was a lunatic. Rather, Collins saw Christ as the sanest person he had ever heard about.

“He always knew what he was doing and where he was going,” wrote Collins. “He cared deeply about people, including women and children, who weren’t seen as being important back then; he responded to individuals based on where they were at and what the uniquely needed.”

Collins also noticed that Jesus had an incredible balance in everything about him.

“He was loving but didn’t let his compassion immobilize him; he didn’t have a bloated ego, even though he was often surrounded by adoring crowds; he was able to accept people while not merely winking at their sin.”

If Jesus was not insane, then the only option remaining is Jesus as Lord. All the evidence points to it but the implications are staggering. Legend, lunatic, or lord?one of the three must be the answer; there is no alternative.

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