Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Case For Christ And Why It Matters



As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Easter, it seems worthwhile to reflect on the meaning of Jesus Christ, of his life, and why these things matter.

One may actually disagree about whether or not Christ literally rose from the grave, as Christians are about to celebrate. It seems much more likely to a great many people that the notion of Christ rising from the dead is actually metaphorical for the rapid spread of his message.

(His 'three days in hell' could be a metaphor for a period of uncertainty after his death regarding whether or not his teachings would follow him to the grave.)

For obvious reasons, atheists have no patience for the very idea of Christ returning from the grave. In many ways, this is only natural. But in some extreme cases this extends to the very notion of Christ's existence in and of itself. Thus the production of "documentary" films like The God Who Wasn't There and Zeitgeist that make the argument that Jesus Christ never existed.

Yet scores of archaeological evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ exists, as well as numerous eyewitness accounts of Jesus' teachings from the period exist.

So, this push by some of the most extreme atheists begs an extremely important question:

What is so threatening about the very notion of Jesus Christ's existence?

Even if one doesn't buy into the notion that Jesus was the literal son of God, and doesn't believe that Jesus literally returned from the dead, there is still one important source of value of the Christian religion: the message of Christ.

Unfortunately, Christ's message has often been perverted by the interpretations of those who claim to follow it. Christ's message is often used to justify some of the most vile hatreds imaginable by those who willfully find ways to misread it.

This process has been aided and abetted by the continual re-writing of the Bible numerous times throughout history, often infusing the political interests of a particular ruler (such as King James I).

But when one strips away the embellishments and distortions of Christ's word, one finds what is actually a very benign way of living in the world: one in which one loves their neighbours, forgives people, and lives by a moral code that promotes harmony.

In other words, even if one doesn't believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, Christianity still has value. Ergo, any religion that offers a valuable moral code has a value outside of its alleged divinity.

The only recourse to this by the most extreme atheists -- who cannot abide the very existence of religion -- is to attempt to invalidate this value of religion by arguing that its creator never existed.

That is why Jesus Christ's existence matters, and that is why these atheist extremists must not be allowed to obscure the value of his message by pretending that he never existed.

8 comments:

  1. Agreed as well. All discussions about religion and God always lead me to GK Chesterton. "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing. They'll believe in anything".

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  2. That I must disagree with.

    When people stop believing in God, they believe something else. What they believe is not necessarily any better.

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  3. "Yet scores of archaeological evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ exists."

    I wasn't aware of that. Can you expand a bit on these "scores" of archaeological evidence?

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  4. Thank you for the link to a six year old article in a non-peer reviewed magazine, describing the discovery of a ossuary from an uncontrolled excavation. The Israeli Antiquities Commission have proclaimed it a modern forgery.

    That's the "scores" of evidence?

    Thanks.

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  5. Hey Balbulian, I have an even better idea for you:

    If all you're here to do today is be relentlessly contrarian, go stick your head in a car buffer.

    I have better things to do.

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  6. "Endlessly contrarian"?

    My dear fellow, your post made an astonishing assertion: that "scores of archaeological evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ exists."

    As a long standing skeptic, and one whose skepticism is based on a fair amount of research, I wondered how these "scores" of evidence had escaped me, and that's why I asked.

    I was slightly disappointed that your chosen example was the James Ossuary, a "Discovery Channel" favorite. I've been following the story since the Israeli Antiquities Commission declared it a fraud. Several vendors and forgers of fake biblical antiquities (most notably Oded Golan) have so far been charged in the investigation, which now includes the famous James Cameron "Jesus Tomb" and the "Jehoash Inscription". Samah Shoukri Ghatas, had confessed to manufacturing several items and selling them to Oded Golan.

    If there are stronger examples available in "scores of evidence" you allege exist, I'd be happy to review them. However, if the James Ossuary is your best sample, and the standard by which you judge evidence, I thank you for your response, and make a mental footnote about your credibility when critically assessing scientific findings.

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