Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Religion & Spirituality
  3. Western Religions

The importance of the controversy over Jesus

See also

In their song “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand”, the group Primitive Radio Gods have an insightful lyric that says:

More Photos

“We sit outside and argue all night long about a God we’ve never seen, but never fails to side with me.”

It is almost universally true that a person’s view of God aligns with their own personal philosophies, politics, and worldviews.

This only makes sense. If God is the ultimate being, then reality would be subject to his nature. Naturally a person’s view of reality is also their view of God. As their ideas about reality evolve and change, their ideas about God will do the same.

This can also work the other way around. A person who examines the nature of God, and comes to certain conclusions about his nature, will consequently be forced to alter their worldview to fit their God.

Even an atheist’s worldview is affected by their denial of God.

A person who is an atheist because they do not wish to believe in a Creator God will naturally view reality as having no transcendent purpose or meaning and to be the product of impersonal forces. They will also tend to be dismissive of any supposed evidences advanced for the existence of God; and may actively seek to dismantle the religious beliefs of others, as they believe these do not comport with reality.

A person who is religious, and is then convinced by the evidence that their God does not exist, will abandon their religious convictions and seek fulfillment in something besides religion.

Likewise, an atheist who is convinced by evidence that there is a God, will naturally adjust their pursuits and behaviors to fit their new beliefs.

No person will actively believe that God exists, and that his nature and ideas are such and such, but then stand there and disagree with him. Either a person’s standards and convictions will fit their God, or their God will fit their standards and convictions.

Eliminating God simply eliminates the need to justify any particular standard, preference, or lifestyle; since, without a judge, there can be no judgment.

All of this is common sense.

What is surprising, however, is that a vast majority of people take a similar approach to the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

Regardless of their social, political, or religious views, people tend to advance an idea of Jesus and his teachings that intersects their own personal agendas. Even scholars in different fields will tend to advance evidence for an historical Jesus that happens to align with their individual pursuits and convictions.

Feminists present evidence that Jesus was actually a woman; or at least a feminist. Homosexuals argue for a gay Jesus. Political Liberals insist that Jesus was a crusader for social justice and political conservatives are convinced that Jesus was a capitalist who wanted to free the people from big government and taxation.

Jews see Jesus as a human rabbi, Buddhists see Jesus as an enlightened master, Hindus have adopted him into their pantheon, Muslims claim evidence that he was a prophet of Allah who did not actually suffer crucifixion, and Mormons give testimony that he was the first and favored son of Elohim.

Even a significant portion of atheists present any number of arguments that Jesus did not exist at all, or that he was so highly mythologized as to be unrecognizable from the actual historic person.

Of course, Jesus could not be all of these things. There is only one, true Jesus – the question becomes, which one?

There is no other historical figure, real or mythological, that remains so controversial as Jesus. No religious figure is so coveted by all religions; and no political figure by all political parties. Christians do not attempt to adopt Muhammad into their religion, nor do Muslims strive to co-opt Buddha as a prophet of Allah.

People argue over the person of Jesus nearly as much as they argue about the existence and nature of God.

It would be rash, of course, to jump to any conclusions about Jesus based solely on the controversy he arouses; however, it is worth asking the question: Why is Jesus so special among historical and mythological figures? What is so unique to this carpenter’s son that makes him embraced by all but agreed upon by none?

That God should agree with one’s worldview or be done away with only makes sense, but why is it so important that this man also agree; or, if atheist, that this man should be done away with entirely?

Advertisement

Life

  • Dan Savage
    Dan Savage cares about LGBT youth, bullying and saving lives
    Today's Buzz
  • Raku
    Teachers and students can use this summer to learn a new skill
    Camera
    15 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    Camera
    10 Photos
  • Greek wine
    Unwind with these delicious wines: The thrilling wines of Greece
    Camera
    7 Photos
  • Mandy Moore
    Exclusive interview with Celebrity Mandy Moore concerning animal activism
    Camera
    5 Photos
  • Educational family vacations
    Find out how to take an educational family vacation that doesn't break the bank
    Camera
    9 Photos