What is Christian Literacy?

refers to the ability to use a language - to know what words means, to be able to use grammar, sentence structure, to be able to converse in that language is to be literate.

Religious literacy
means having the ability to understand and speak about our faith intelligently. It’s the ability to communicate the basic tenets of our religion.

I'm very grateful to B.U. Professor Stephen Prothero for his excellent book, "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't." This book, along with my desire to teach the faith, served as the inspiration for this effort.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lord, Liar or Lunatic?

Here's a line of thinking that I've always found persuasive.

Jesus claimed to be God. Either he was crazy, or he was lying, or he was who he said he was.

This argument was famously put forth by C.S. Lewis in his influential book, Mere Christianity. Lewis said this:
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God."
Do the teachings of Christ appear to come from the mind of a mad man?
Does everything we know about Jesus suggest that he would lie about something as important as his identity?

Lord, Liar or Lunatic?

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for your incarnation, so that we might see the invisible God. Amen.

Extra Credit:

Some of the claims Christ made of his divinity:

1.  He forgave the sins of people he had just met, folks who hadn't sinned against him, Jesus the man. They had sinned against God. "Arise. Your sins are forgiven." Ex. Mark 2:5-10

2.  He allowed his disciples to worship him (Matt. 28:9). 
     Jews must worship only God (Commandment #1)

3.  He stated that he would return to judge the world at the end of time.

4.  He asserted that  his teachings were on par and equal to God's.
      "You've heard it said, "Thou shall not commit adultery, but I say to you . . . ."
        Matthew 5:21, 27, 38

5.  Direct statements:

          "I and the Father are one."   - John 10:30

          "When you've seen me you've seen the Father."  - John 14:9

          "Before Abraham was, I am."  - John 8:58

6.  He was crucified under the charge of blasphemy, claiming to be God.
     John 5:18, John 10:31-33, Mark 14:60-64

7.  He agreed with Thomas' declaration, "My Lord and My God!" - John 20:26

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