Saturday, January 15, 2005

When I first saw the Heirophant's questionnaire on John's blog, I decided to answer all of the questions, and went to far as to say I would. I went through about a third of them, decided it was a waste of my time, and quit. John and I talked about the questions a bit, and I thought that was enough.

Then, Liam answered them all. I had been going back and forth about whether or not I should have finished the questionnaire until then. Now I realize I've made myself a liar, and once again failed to complete something I've started. For now.

I'll be using my blog to answer some of the questions I thought were actually worth answering. The rest, I will answer and post elsewhere upon request. As I said on John's blog, a lot of the Heirophant's questions are really poorly conceived. The website itself says, in bold and italic, "this is not intended to confront Christians," probably because any Christian worth his salt would knock these questions down like so many termite-eaten bowling pins.

So, I come to you as a Christian, who has studied not as much as he should have. If some of my answers are imperfect, please correct me. I am prepared to defend my answers, and also prepared to learn.

Tonight, I address question 46, a common myth that must be dealt with.

46. At no point in the four Gospels did Jesus claim to be the son of your god. (He said "son of man" quite frequently, and at one point referred to himself as "a son of god," but that was a common Hebrew expression at the time. Someone who was "a son of god" was a Jew. This reflected the Israelites' belief that they were the chosen people of your god. See also Job 1:6). Why, then, do you believe that Jesus was divine? If you don't believe that Jesus was divine, then why do you call yourself a Christian?

John 8:54-59
Jesus answered, "If I am boasting about myself, it doesn't count. But it is my Father who says these glorious things about me. You say, 'He is our God,' but you do not even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But it is true - I know him and obey him. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad."
The people said, "You aren't even fifty years old. How can you say that Abraham has seen you?"
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, before Abraham was, I am!"
At that point they picked up stones to kill him. But Jesus hid himself from them and left the Temple.

In this passage, Jesus plainly claims to be God. Note:

Exodus 3:13-14
But Moses protested, "If I go the people of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' they won't believe me. They will ask, 'Which god are you talking about? What is his name?' Then what should I tell them?"
God replied, "I Am Who I Am. Just tell them, 'I Am has sent me to you.'"

Jesus refers to himself using a the word Hayah, a name of God which no Jew could mistake. This is why the crowd attempts to stone him - for blasphemy. Also, even more plainly:

John 10:30
"The Father and I are one."

More answers to come. Count on it.


Third said...

i'd go even a little further on this question. Since we're not dealing with the Heirophant's (what a stupid moniker for this forum, by the way) 100 word limit. In The Bible, rarely does Jesus point to his divinity at all as a cause for the miracles he presents. He goes around saying things like "Through God, all things are possible" and "Your Faith has made you well." and even the oft questioned passage of the Fig Tree, wherein He tells his disciples "If you truly believe, not only could any of you wither a fig tree, but if you say to a mountain 'be cast down into the sea' it will be done."
This is one of my favorite things about both Christianity and Buddhism; the faiths seperately talk about great external forces working in the lives of their people, but the founding figures of each both preach heavily about the divine and the potent in everyone. This is why i believe in holding people responsible for so much in their lives that is supposedly beyond them. This is why i believe in praying for thanks, praying for strength, praying for insight, but not in praying wantonly for intervention.
If Siddartha Gotama had simply turned to Krishna and prayed every day for an end to the suffering of all, Buddhism would never have begun. Instead, this "mere man" who had never experienced hardship in his life set himself determined that he would sit under his own Fig tree (apparently a symbol in more than one religion for self-empowerment), and not get up until he understood why the world was so.
Jesus could have said to God "Heal this woman, Father" and surely she would have been, but how does it change the woman's life? Better for the woman to strive, to reach for the robe of her Messiah, to brush shoulders with Divinity, only to be told this ardent belief, this untapped wellspring inside her, is what brought her relief.
People ask me about my beliefs sometimes.
They want to know about free will, often.
This is my answer.

In the same spirit, and i hope in all honesty that my beliefs will not step on anyone's toes; this is not meant as blasphemy, i believe that if God had wanted to, he could have forgiven every person who ever lived, or ever would, without any Messiah. But better still that God Himself should strive, that he should know the life of a man intimately, that he should do the unthinkable, AS A MORTAL MAN, and show us the way to our own forgiveness. When i hear "Any he who believes in Me, the same shall live forever" i cannot think of it in terms of simply believing that a man sacrificed for my life thousands of years later. What i can believe is that i believe in what he did, why he did it, as an example for men in any time to live their lives. To strive for excellence in what they do, and to acheive divinity and immortality for themselves the same way He did, as a man.

If i am welcome to, i will contribute further in subsequent logs this way. Sharing and listening are, i believe, the instruments of Peace between any people who don't fully understand the minds of others. But if you'd rather this page was for your own opinions alone, i can understand that too, and i'll refrain from putting mine here, just tell me, either way.

Liam "Cwruidth" Powers, Third.

the Razorclown said...

I agree that faith without deeds is dead. It's one thing to say you believe in something, and quite another to prove it through actions.

And I love that God is humble enough to come to Earth. Amen.

It's not that you can't think of Jesus as the Savior of mankind. It's that you don't. Your opinions are welcome. Largely, you know mine.