Monday, March 06, 2006

Who is Jesus?

This is the first post of many that will deal specifically with the person of Jesus Christ. He came into the world about 2000 years ago, a minority born into a poor family in one of the smallest cities in the world (Nazareth). He only lived 33 years, 3 of which he actually spent in active ministry, and yet made a huge impact on the world that still creates controversy. Every religion deals with the person of Jesus in it's own way, some say he was a very moral and wise teacher, others say he was a prophet or a reincarnation. Some believe Jesus never existed at all. With all these differing opinions, someone HAS to be correct, so who is it?

Let's start the discussion with a few basic questions:

Who do you believe Jesus to be?

How did you come to this conclusion?

Based on the impact Jesus had not only on his contemporaries, but still has today, would you agree that his life and ministry are worthy of reflection?

Why is every person and religion so divided about who this person is?

21 comments:

EmergingPhoenix said...

Who do you believe Jesus to be?

I believe Jesus was a moral and wise person who deeply wanted to affect change.

How did you come to this conclusion?

I thought about his time period in a rational way. I removed all the superstition and pondered the physical man, and how people would perceive him in such a tumultuous time.


Based on the impact Jesus had not only on his contemporaries, but still has today, would you agree that his life and ministry are worthy of reflection?

Yes...I would say maybe even idolism, but that may be where the problem lies today, or where it started then.



Why is every person and religion so divided about who this person is?

They were divided then...those who crucified him, need assurance they (their ancestors) were not wrong. Those who supported him, need perpetual vindication to feel righteous for the crimes against him. Those who didn't know him, have a story all their own.

Bullfrog said...

@Emerging: Thanks for your response. I'm glad to see that at least you feel this is a conversation worth having, even if in the end, we may not agree. It appears that your opinion is definitely in line with what I have heard most of the time, particularly from those who haven't spent alot of time really studying the life and times of Jesus (no offense). I gather that you use rationalism to form your ideas about this person, can you go into more detail about how you came to your conclusions? Please cite any books or research you may have done.

Mimi said...

I believe Jesus lived. Even if you don't believe he is the son of God there is still alot of evidence that he lived.I believe his life and ministry is worthy of reflection. Even if you are not a christian I think his teachings were wise and can apply to anyone wanting to lead a good life. Why so many people and religions are divided about him? The reasons are as many as there are people divided.

Mimi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mimi said...

I like alot of your points Cynthia. I am a christian but I agree on what you said about the bible. There are violent and vile stories in it. I tried to say this in a previous comment but I deleted it because I did not word it right and I did not want it to be taken the wrong way.

right wing Gene said...

"1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men"
John 1-4
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Revelation 1:6

Stacy said...

Who do you believe Jesus to be?

I believe Jesus is God.

How did you come to this conclusion?

Hebrews 1:5-8 NIV
"For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father"? Or again,"I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son"? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
"Let all God's angels worship him."In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds,
his servants flames of fire." But about the Son he says,
"Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom."

Stacy said...

I didn't get to finish..

Based on the impact Jesus had not only on his contemporaries, but still has today, would you agree that his life and ministry are worthy of reflection?

I'll answer this from the point of view of someone who does not know Jesus (as I once did not). I would say yes his life and ministry are worthy of reflection. you have to wonder why this "Jesus" person stirs up so much controversy and why Christianity is the one "religion" (and I put religion in quotes because I am not religious as a Christian, I have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus who is alive and lives in the hearts of his people)that is attacked the most. We can say "God this and God that" and may not offend anyone but whoah if you say "Jesus" now there's a problem.

Why is every person and religion so divided about who this person is?

John 1:10

"He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him."

For Cynthia:

I read your comment and I couldn't understand where you are gathering your information from? Especially in your first comment when you said "If Jesus lived, he was only a man. He was a man who was born out of wedlock that went against the political system of the time". How do you know this to be true? Or is this just your opinion (because you stated it like it was fact)? Just curious.

Another thing I keep hearing is how the bible seems "vile" and how could a loving God behave this way? This is a very common question. I see it this way.. if you knew that Hitler, as a baby, was going to kill millions of jews later on in life would you not also want this guy to be wiped out or should I say, go to hell? (I say this in view of the event of the flood in the book of Genesis which is a common basis for the argument of God being mean)Another common argument is why does God let bad things happen to "good people". If we didn't have any trials or suffering in our lives..how would we have any character?
However even being that as humans we are evil by nature ( Ephesians 1:1 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins...")and this goes back to Adam and the apple he wasn't supposed to eat (this helps me understand why my little girl constantly plays with the dvd player no matter how many times I tell her not to) God sent his son, holy and righteous to die for us because we would never be righteous on our own, only through the blood of Christ (Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
"). We deserve death but praise God that He has given us eternal life through his son. In any case I believe that God is God and whatever he does is justified, who am I to argue with God?

God bless!

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

03 07 06

Bullfrog:
This is a good post. I have been raised in the church and read the Bible a lot a different points in my life. Other than what the Bible says, I only have faith that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. I am not sure if there are any other historical documents that would prove his existence (I am including the Apocrypha in this assessment). So I don't know if what you asked EmergingPhoenix is a fair question.

HOWEVER, I believe that Jesus was the son of man and the son of God. I believe that he died for our sins and that he was a wise man. I do think that he bucked a lot of trends during that time too. He was constantly pushing the envelope and holding the pharisees to their contradictory interpretations of scripture.

But, just because I believe that Jesus was the son of God doesn't mean that I am precluded from believing that there were other holy men.

I have asked myself time and time again what happened to those who were in parts of the world where Christianity didn't travel? Are all those people bound to go to hell? And I think that the answer is NO. Only God really knows though. My feeling is that Confucious and The Buddha were also holy men. There is also talk of a Zulu diety whose symbol was a fish and who was resurrected. All of this stuff comes from the source of truth, love and complexity in our universe; GOD.

Sorry for rambling Bullfrog. And this is a sensitive topic, so pardon if I have offended anyone.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

03 08 06

And really Bullfrog, this post ties into your previous post about relative truth. I believe that there is one God and one truth.

HOWEVER, I believe that our experiences mold our perception, along with our cultures etc. This is why I think there are many different religions. But if you look at it, they aren't saying wildly different things (I don't mean doctrinal stuff either-I just mean the general ideas) in terms of being nice to your neighbor and being a stand up fellow...

In fact, I say Confucious was holy because in "Da Xue:The Great Learning", which was part of "The Analects", he specifically tells us that reciprocity is of critical importance and that peace and harmony with self, family and neighbors is as well. And as I recall it, The Golden Rule placed similar importance on these concepts.

Sorry for rambling. I just get into these discussions because out of all the humans I have met in life, fifty percent were jerks and the other fifty percent were sweet. I have noticed that this occurs independent of ones professed belief in Jesus. Did you ever see or read Tartuffe? hahahaha

You are an excellent writer and critical thinker. I don't mean to take up so much bandwidth with my rantings, but you make me think. Thank you VERY much:)

Bullfrog said...

WOW, I was out of town yesterday and have only read all of your comments this morning. I am encouraged that so many have commented as I was unsure how much interest this topic would generate. The discussion sort of took on a life of it's own as they tend to do and I think a little beyond my original post. My main interest is in getting an idea how people in general view Christ and more importantly, how they got to that place. I believe what we believe is less important than why and I see a variety of answers in that regard.

Bullfrog said...

@Cyn and Mimi: War as depicted in the Bible was God's judgement on wicked nations and paints a picture of God's attitude those who are disobedient. This was desgined to lead men to repentance and to enter into a relationship with their Creator, and was not a cruel act.

Aside from that, if you take into account the rest of the Old and New Testament, the overall context suggests a caring and loving God who is sincerely interested in His children living peacfully. If someone is bent on making sure we do not live peacefully, God has the right to judge them.

@Cyn: I am boggled by your assessment that the life and teachings of Christ are "antiquated" and have no value. Even those who are vehemently against the basic teachings of Christianity agree that He was at the very least a great moral teacher. Almost every religion reflects this sentiment. I will say again that His impact on the world is evidence of this as well.

@Mahndisa: your interpretation of "Son of God" is clearly different from mine and only reflects that same oneness of purpose that we have with God (if we follow Him). I believe Jesus meant that He was one in essence with God, which is significantly different and puts Christianity in contention with every other world religion. I have posts in the works which deal with this issue specifically and in more detail.

Bullfrog said...

@Cyn: I believe God is withholding His wrath at the moment, but wickedness will not go unpunished.

"Simply put, Christianity has never made anyone act in a righteous manner." To call this general would be an understatement and I will only say that proving there is evil in the world or finding someone who is willing to do evil and give God undue credit does not prove that God is immoral.

Many make the statement, "Why does a good God allow evil?". I believe He is withholding His wrath to allow people to repent, which demonstrates his mercy.

2 Peter 3:9 -
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
(from New International Version)

If someone cursed you out on my blog they must have beat me to erasing that comment as I would not allow it here.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

03 09 06

Bullfrog:
Thx for the response. I just saw a Twighlight Zone episode where a librarian was to be put to death for being OBSELETE. He was deemed OBSELETE by the STATE. IT was a crime punishable by death to have a Bible. He read the Bible before he died. And he died because he was set to be terminated, so he read the Bible and bombed his room while a Chancellor from THE STATE was there.

The Chancellor cried and escaped but the end of the episode shows him up for termination, as he was OBSELETE.

If we employ Cynthia's arguments about the teachings of Christ having no meaning, that is where we will end up. We will be a nation of souless jerks who care far more about the workings of the STATE than we do our fellow humans and THAT bothers me.

Ultimately, I think Jesus really focused on substance over appearances and we need to employ his state of mind.

As to your statement about other religions being at odds with Christianity-I disagree.

HOWEVER, the disagreement is over the gist of what they are saying and NOT doctrinal stuff.

The doctrinal stuff is always subjective imho.

EmergingPhoenix said...

@Bullfrog – I can see that you are very strong in your faith. This is also your blog and I respect your right to your opinion. As I have learned in life, there is always a strong argument against anything you are opposed to. There are also passages in the bible that support any argument anyone would like to make. These are my beliefs, accept them. If you think they are trite, then please direct me to the people who believe as I do, because I would love to meet them, and I am hard pressed to find them concentrated in one location…barring my recent encounters with people like Cynthia or Mimi.

=)

Bullfrog said...

@emerging: I am unsure where you inferred that I thought your beliefs were "trite", but I apologize for giving you that impression. The whole idea of me inviting this discussion was to get different points of view. To me, whether you came to your conclusions via rationalism or intense study is significant to the discourse. I could certainly find places where everyone agrees with me and we can wear oursleves out patting each other on the back, but I would rather challenge my beliefs through exchanges like this one.

EmergingPhoenix said...

My life was in the Church. My beliefs come from my study of the bible, my life experience with the Church and in life, my science background, and my desire to question the "truth" as we know it. To me, it's not as simple as intense study vs. rationalism.

Anonymous said...

03 09 06

Bullfrog:
Check out this post by KIPESquire about the problems with the translations in the Bible. I do know some historical events have been verified but others have not. Check it out for a strong and differing opinion.
Mahndisa

Bullfrog said...

Mahndisa: I agree that there are certainly variances which can be noted from translation to translation, and even from gospel account to gospel account but none significant enough to change the context of the story being told. Here is a good article that deals directly with alleged Bible errors.

Bullfrog said...

@Mahndisa: I understand your assertion that all religions are common in their teachings of basic morality, but where I believe they are at odds is what morality is and how we achieve morality as people. I believe the facts about who Christ is the most significant difference of all.

@Cyn: My statement above stands, proving that people, or even America as a whole, is evil does not prove God to be immoral. It only shows how patient He is, he could have wrapped this universe up like a garment long ago.

Outside the Box said...

Who do you believe Jesus to be?

IF he truly existed, I have to go with simply a man.

How did you come to this conclusion?

Since I don't believe in a god, then the whole "Son of God" doesn't work for me.

Based on the impact Jesus had not only on his contemporaries, but still has today, would you agree that his life and ministry are worthy of reflection?

Of course it is, but isn't every significant person's life worth reflecting on? Even the worst of them?

Why is every person and religion so divided about who this person is?

I know this is coming out of left field, but it's my belief that the vast majority, if not all, of our problems are due to over population, and the problem of this division is no different.