Monday, March 25, 2013

The Multi-Million Dollar Question

Matthew 16:15 "[Jesus] saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?"

I've recently read a couple blogs that mention making choices, but this is the only choice that really matters.  To buy this car, or that.  To take this job or that.  To live in this place or that.  Eggs over easy, sunny side up, over medium, scrambled, poached, etc.  Or like the quote from You've Got Mail:

"The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino."

So, you have so many decisions to make but this is the only one that really matters, what is Jesus to you?  So many people talk about Jesus as just a great moral teacher and about how the Bible is just a story made up about this teacher's life and how he went around teaching people to love each other and to all get along etc. etc.  My favorite answer to that idea comes from CS Lewis:

"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 a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take 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 patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

There are many answers to this trilemma and it doesn't really appeal to committed atheists/agnostics.  It's not really a powerful logical dilemma because there's so much riding on Jesus' claims.  So, the difficulty in this argument is that so many people take issue with whether or not Jesus actually claimed to be God.  I can understand that it's a complicated issue and not everyone agrees.  Even among people who are wholly committed to faithfully interpreting the Bible according to God's will, there's some disagreement as to Jesus actually claiming to be GOD.  I feel the issue is clear and that Jesus really does claim to be God.  However, I don't feel that a 100% strict interpretation of Jesus being God as opposed to Lord or having some other form of Godhood that gives Him the power and authority of God in certain aspects is somehow required to truly receive salvation through God's forgiveness.

Even after all that, the most important question in life still stands, "Who is Jesus to you?"  Whatever your choice, make sure you know what the repercussions are for that choice.  Think carefully about your choice and don't ever give up on pursuing why you believe what you believe.

One last word on dogmatism.  If you have truly done this, made all the inquiries you can into your beliefs and searched out all avenues of your beliefs and the contrary beliefs, then you have every right to be dogmatic (to a point).  If you truly, I mean truly, believe what you believe after making every effort to seek out the truth from multiple points of view then you have every right to feel you're right.  I believe what I believe after years of inquiry into the Bible and various interpretations and alternate views.  I have every right to believe that what I believe is true.  Am I going to shove it in everyone's face all the time?  No.  I'm not rude.  I share my thoughts here because that's what this blog is about, my thoughts on various subjects relating to faith and philosophy and the like.  The problem I have is when people call me dogmatic as a slight.  I believe what I believe and you're welcome to believe what you believe, but don't hate me because I'm faithful to what I believe.  I certainly don't resent you your beliefs don't resent me mine.

Cape Hedo, the northernmost tip of Okinawa