FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10-12-2001, 03:13 PM   #1
njhartsh
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posts: 138
Question The Trilemma

In (a)theological forums such as this one, the "Lord, Liar or Lunatic" argument popularized by C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell is flogged frequently. I find Jim Perry's refutation of the argument to be sound nearly to the point of obvious- and superfluousness, but still the argument persists. (One thing I learned from Jim's article that I hadn't known before, however, is that prominent Christian apologist William Lane Craig has disavowed the Trilemma.)

I was wondering: is anyone around here actually willing to defend the Trilemma, over Perry's (and Craig's!) criticisms?

For reference's sake, here's how C.S. Lewis stated the argument:

Quote:
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 said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on a 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 patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

We are faced, then, with a frightening alternative. This man we are talking about either was (and is) just what He said, or else a lunatic, or something worse. 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. God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form.
Anyone?

- Nathan
njhartsh is offline  
Old 10-12-2001, 03:44 PM   #2
Scrutinizer
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 245
Post

I've just read Jim Perry's "refutation" of the Trilemma, and I have a few criticisms.

Quote:
In either case, this argument is flawed. First, it relies for impact on a premise which is is both ambiguous and controversial, which is the question of just what "Jesus' claims" were.
Of course -- the Trilemma, if properly used, is argued only once one's opponent agrees that the Gospels are likely to be an accurate reflection of Jesus' claims for himself.

Quote:
Second, it makes unwarranted extrapolations from the general idea of saying something known not to be literally true to the worst sort of malicious lying, and from believing something which is not true to raving lunacy.
Claiming to be the Son of God and to be able to give everyone eternal life when you know very well that you aren't and you can't, is malicious lying. If you purposely trick people into committing their lives to a fraud, I would say you are a "liar".

Similarly, if you simply believed that you were God when you quite clearly weren't, that's lunacy, is it not? There are, of course, other options, such as that Jesus was "honestly mistaken", but the "lunatic" horn of the "-lemma" still seems appropriate, since someone who believes themselves to be equatable with God when they aren't may very well be a lunatic.

Quote:
All that is logically required to refute the trilemma is to show that the decision "Who is Jesus of Nazareth" cannot be reduced to three and only three clear-cut possibilities.
Well, if you can show that (which I do believe can be done), all you've refuted is the "Tri" part of the "-lemma". As J.P. Holding writes:

Quote:
arguing that the trilemma is refuted by showing that there are more than three possibilities simply turns it from a bothersome trilemma into a bothersome tetralemma. Skeptics who continually say that the trilemma is "refuted" whenever another option is added miss the point. Only the "tri" part is refuted - the "lemma" is still there, whether is a tri-, a quadra-, a quinto-, or whatever number you please!
Regards,

- Scrutinizer
Scrutinizer is offline  
Old 10-12-2001, 04:35 PM   #3
Family Man
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Superior, CO USA
Posts: 1,553
Post

posted October 12, 2001 05:35 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, if you can show that (which I do believe can be done), all you've refuted is the "Tri" part of the "-lemma". As J.P. Holding writes:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
arguing that the trilemma is refuted by showing that there are more than three possibilities simply turns it from a bothersome trilemma into a bothersome tetralemma. Skeptics who continually say that the trilemma is "refuted" whenever another option is added miss the point. Only the "tri" part is refuted - the "lemma" is still there, whether is a tri-, a quadra-, a quinto-, or whatever number you please!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think Mr. Holding and Scrutinizer need a lesson in logic. The "power" of the trilemma is that you have three choices that are favorable to the Christian viewpoint. If a fourth point is put in that is just as likely -- or even more so -- such as that the claims for Jesus were wildly inflated by his followers after his death (as many reputable scholars believe) then there is no "lemma" at all. This points out that the argument was bogus from the beginning.

[ October 12, 2001: Message edited by: DennisM ]
Family Man is offline  
Old 10-12-2001, 04:40 PM   #4
Toto
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Los Angeles area
Posts: 40,549
Post

Quote:
arguing that the trilemma is refuted by showing that there are more than three possibilities simply turns it from a bothersome trilemma into a bothersome tetralemma. Skeptics who continually say that the trilemma is "refuted" whenever another option is added miss the point. Only the "tri" part is refuted - the "lemma" is still there, whether is a tri-, a quadra-, a quinto-, or whatever number you please!
Okay, make that quadrilemma: Lord, Lunatic, Liar, Honestly Mistaken. Or no -- make it a quintilemma - Lord, Lunatic, Liar, Honestly Mistaken, Honestly Misunderstood or Misquoted. Those additional "lemmas" are not all that bothersome, are they? They don't force you to choose the "Lord" option as the most viable.
Toto is offline  
Old 10-12-2001, 05:21 PM   #5
excreationist
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,886
Post

Well I've heard some Christians say that there is a fourth possibility - Legend. But they say that the oral accounts come from eye-witnesses rather than from people decades later so it must be accurate history.
excreationist is offline  
Old 10-12-2001, 05:57 PM   #6
Toto
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Los Angeles area
Posts: 40,549
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by JohnClay:
<STRONG>. . . But they say that the oral accounts come from eye-witnesses rather than from people decades later so it must be accurate history.</STRONG>
Eye witnesses with tape recorders, no doubt.
Toto is offline  
Old 10-12-2001, 08:04 PM   #7
Grumpy
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Alaska, USA
Posts: 1,535
Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally posted by Scrutinizer:
<STRONG>Claiming to be the Son of God and to be able to give everyone eternal life when you know very well that you aren't and you can't, is malicious lying. If you purposely trick people into committing their lives to a fraud, I would say you are a "liar". </STRONG>
This assumes what the Trilemma hopes to prove: that someone with good morals, as Jesus allegedly had, would not be a malicious liar. This leaves open the possibility that Jesus was a benevolent liar, telling fantastic stories to motivate social change.

Quote:
Similarly, if you simply believed that you were God when you quite clearly weren't, that's lunacy, is it not? There are, of course, other options, such as that Jesus was "honestly mistaken", but the "lunatic" horn of the "-lemma" still seems appropriate, since someone who believes themselves to be equatable with God when they aren't may very well be a lunatic.
I see a wider separation between "honestly mistaken" and "lunatic." Hypothetically, Jesus could have claimed to be Lord because that's what he had been told growing up (shifting the Liar or Lunatic label to his parents). I'm not saying it's a likely possibility, but it is a logical alternative.

[ October 12, 2001: Message edited by: Grumpy ]
Grumpy is offline  
Old 10-12-2001, 10:39 PM   #8
jre
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 166
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by C.S. Lewis:
<STRONG>A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--</STRONG>
Poached egg worship... hmmm...

Anyone want to join my new religion? I'm giving the first 10 subscribers sainthood. This is a limited time offer!
jre is offline  
Old 10-13-2001, 12:07 AM   #9
HRG
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Vienna, Austria
Posts: 2,406
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by jre:
<STRONG>
Poached egg worship... hmmm...

Anyone want to join my new religion? I'm giving the first 10 subscribers sainthood. This is a limited time offer!</STRONG>
Thanks, but no thanks. As Servant to more than 3 cats, I get an automatic sainthood (with oak leaves and cluster) in the Church of Last Thursdayism.

HRG.
HRG is offline  
Old 10-15-2001, 12:57 PM   #10
bd-from-kg
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: King George, VA
Posts: 1,400
Post

njhartsh:

The “trilemma” argument is one that Christians would be well-advised to avoid lest it prompt some serious thinking.

Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that the so-called trilemma is valid – that we are forced to choose between saying that Jesus was Lord, lunatic, or liar. No problem: one can simply opt for "lunatic".

On Jesus’ sanity

The Bible itself gives ample justification for this conclusion. Let’s look at some of the relevant passages. (The examples here are taken mostly from Luke.)

(1) His sojourn into the desert:

Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

Even in first-century Palestine this kind of behavior naturally raised doubts about one’s sanity. But at least most of those who did it, like John the Baptist, had reasons that were more or less understandable. For example, they may have wanted to purify themselves. They may have wanted to be alone with God. The may have wanted to have time to think things out, free of distractions. Unfortunately none of these motivations can possibly have applied to God.

There’s also the interesting question of how God can be tempted by the Devil. What could the Devil have to offer to someone who literally has everything that He could possibly desire? How could a perfectly good Being be tempted under any conditions?

(2) His curious habit of asking those he helped to “tell no one”. For example, after curing a man of leprosy:

Luke 5:14 Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest...

His reasons for giving this order are clarified in Mark:

Mark 1:43-45 Jesus sent [the man he had just cured of leprosy] away at once with a strong warning: "See that you don't tell this to anyone... ." Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.

So Jesus believed that if it became widely known that he could cure the sick he would not longer be able to enter towns openly, and did not want this to happen. Yet it was already known that he could cure the sick; his fame had already spread far and wide (Luke 4:31-36, 4:40-41). This is not rational behavior.

(3) His penchant for secrecy:

Luke 9:9-10 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, " `though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.' ”

So Jesus, according to His own words, did not used parables to clarify or illustrate important moral truths, but to conceal His meaning to everyone but His disciples. This is both completely irrational and immoral. It is also totally incompatible with being a great moral teacher: whatever a teacher does, he does not deliberately conceal his meaning.

This is even more curious in view of His statement in Mark:

Mark 4:21-22 "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.

So even though He believed that whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, Jesus Himself deliberately kept His meaning hidden; He kept His own light under a bowl. This is irrational.

(4) His absurd belief in the extreme efficacy of faith:

Luke 17:6 He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.

But in fact no mortal can do this, regardless of the robustness of his faith.

(5) The opinion of many people, including his own family:

Mark 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."

This is especially curious in view of the fact that according to Christian teachings His mother, of all people, must have known that He was not mad, but the sanest man who ever lived. Had she forgotten that she had borne Him while still a virgin?

At any rate, any mother will be the last to accept that her own son is mad. If she thought that He was, this shows at the very least that his behavior was such as to persuade a reasonable, sympathetic person that He was.

Soon afterward Mark has Him making the remarkable statement about how blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, and adds:

Mark 3:30 He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit."

And in John we find:

John 10:19-21 At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?"

So quite a few people who saw and hear Him were persuaded that He was insane.

Thus it is not at all unreasonable for us to conclude that Jesus was probably a lunatic.

The moral teachings

But, it is argued, how could a madman offer such profound, insightful moral teachings? The simple answer is: He didn’t. Let’s look at some of these teachings. (We will restrict attention to Luke.)

(1) The “Beatitudes”

We start with the famous, admirable words which have provided comfort to so many:

Luke 6:20-21 "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh...

So far, so good. But one is left with the troubling question: what about those who are not poor, hungry, or grieved? Are they not blessed? The answer comes soon enough:

Luke 6:24-26 "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

So there we have it. It is blessed to be poor, hungry, or grieved, but accursed to be rich, well fed, or happy. (Remarkably, it is also accursed to be well thought of. So much for trying to acquire a good reputation – say by being truthful, faithful, charitable, etc.)

Is this a deep, profound, inspired moral philosophy? Anyone who took it seriously would have to conclude that it is our duty to make as many people as possible poor, hungry, and grieved (so that they might be blessed), and to do everything possible to acquire a bad reputation.

(2) Loving one’s enemies

Luke 6:27-30 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

Luke 6:34-35 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.

Now it is an admirable thing to love one’s enemies, but isn’t this taking things a bit far? A universal policy of giving one’s tunic to the thief who takes one’s cloak can only encourage theft; indeed, this would quickly lead to total social breakdown, chaos, and widespread starvation and death. And “lending” money to your enemies (or anyone else) without expecting repayment is absurd. This is not “lending”, it is giving. If you want to give someone something, why not just do so forthrightly rather than pretend that it’s a loan? This avoids hypocrisy and dishonesty on both sides.

To put this whole policy in some perspective, let’s consider how it would work in the real world. Let’s say that we decided to apply it to Osama bin Laden. According to Jesus, we should do good to him. Maybe we should sent him some supplies and new recruits? (This would be in line with the idea of giving a thief some extra stuff). We should lend him money without expecting it to be returned. If he asks us for some tanks, planes, nuclear bombs, or weaponized anthrax, we should give it to him.

Far from being deep, profound, insightful moral teaching, this seems to me to be the advice of a madman.

(3) Insight into human nature

One might reasonably expect a great moral teacher to have some minimal understanding of the human psyche. Does Jesus display such an understanding? Let’s see:

Luke 7: 41-43 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

But in fact, as everyone soon learns to his sorrow, this is not the way things work in the real world. It’s far more likely that both of the men whose debts you forgive will not love you or be grateful to you for it, but will resent you. And the one who had the larger debt will be the one who resents you the most. How can anyone who is ignorant of this elementary fact about human nature be a great moral teacher?

(4) Family values

Luke 8:19-21 Now Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you." He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice."

The meaning is even clearer in Mark:

Mark 3:31-35 Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you." "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."

Now it’s all very well to say that whoever does God’s will is one’s brother or sister or mother. but Jesus’ purpose here was clearly to reject and insult his own actual, biological family. They came to see Him and He refused them.

Luke 9:59-62 He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

Family values indeed! Jesus is demanding that these men abandon their families without so much as saying goodbye in order to qualify as being fit to serve God.

(5) Wisdom and learning

Luke 10:21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

So our great moral teacher praises God, not for giving us the gift of intellect and the ability to learn and understand, but for hiding things from the wise and learned that He reveals to little children. The things that make us fully human – the glories of reason, knowledge, and understanding, He rejects totally. Those humans who, like animals, lack reason or moral understanding – i.e., the children – are the ones He values most highly.

Don’t get me wrong. I love children. But this is ridiculous.

(6) The sins of the fathers

Luke 11:49-51 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, `I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.' Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

This is a theme found throughout the Old Testament: the sins of the fathers will be visited on the descendants. Does Jesus, the “great moral teacher”, reject this primitive, barbaric notion at long last? No. He confirms it in spades and applies it in the cruelest, most uncompromising form imaginable.

(7) Responsibility and foresight

Luke 12: 22-24 Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

Heaven forefend that we should display more intelligence than birds! Perish the thought of trying to make one’s own life, or the lives of one’s family, a bit more pleasant and civilized by acting responsible, exercising discipline and foresight and working hard to improve our lot.

This is a great moral teaching?

(8) The peacemaker

12:51-53 " Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

What an inspiring moral leader!

(9) Loyalty to friend and family

14:12 Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.”

Profound, insightful advice indeed. By all means don’t invite your friends or family to dinner or lunch; invite strangers instead.

(10) How to deal with irresponsible behavior

Here we come to the tale of the prodigal son. We all know the story, so I’ll quote only the “moral”:

15:28-32 "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, `Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'
" `My son,' the father said, `you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

Thus one should reward irresponsible, dissolute behavior by rewarding it far above the boring, pedestrian virtues of discipline, industry, and loyalty to family. Of course, this is completely in line with the earlier advice to take no thought for the morrow.

(11) Use wealth to gain friends?!

16:9-10 “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

Say what? Was Jesus having a bad day? A little disoriented, perhaps? Aside from the fact that the first sentence is totally at odds with Jesus’ other teachings, the second is plainly false: a person who can be trusted with little cannot necessarily be trusted with much.

(12) Divorce and adultery

Luke 16:18 "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Is it possible for anyone with any knowledge of the real world to say something so foolish? No other “great moral leader” has ever suggested that divorce and remarriage are wrong no matter what the circumstances. This teaching alone has been responsible for more pointless misery than any good that Jesus might have done by all of His more sensible teachings combined.

(13) On slavery

Luke 17:7-10 "Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, `Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, `Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' "

It must be understood that when English translations of the Bible refers to “servants” the original actually refers to “slaves”. So what Jesus is saying is that, after your slave has spent a hard day working in the fields, you should make him prepare your supper for you, and allow him to eat only when you’ve finished. And the slave should not expect thanks for any of this; after all, he was just obeying orders, which is what slaves are supposed to do.

(14) The squeaky wheel gets the grease

Luke 18:2-7 "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, `Grant me justice against my adversary.'
"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, `Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' ... And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”

There you have it. The squeaky wheel phenomenon as a high moral principle, followed even by God. Get those prayers in, folks; ask for much, as often as possible; maybe God will get tired of hearing from you and give you what you want.

(15) How to treat political opponents

Luke 19:12-27 [excerpts] "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.... But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, `We don't want this man to be our king.' He was made king, however, and returned home... [and this man said:] ‘those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them - bring them here and kill them in front of me.' "

A most admirable teaching. [Note: this is part of the parable of the talents. It is clear from the context that Jesus is citing the new king’s behavior approvingly, as an example of how such things should be done; in fact the point of the story is to illuminate how God Himself can be expected to behave under such conditions.]

All in all, the interpretation of Jesus as a madman whose moral teachings were badly flawed seems to be perfectly defensible. It is true that many of the teachings above have been interpreted by the Church as meaning something radically different from what they seem to say. But then, if one starts with the assumption that anyone is a divinely inspired teacher of profound moral truths, it is possible to interpret almost anything he says as meaning something sensible, or at least defensible. The point is that the Christian interpretations of these teachings are rather forced, and they obviously derive from a moral understanding that is based neither on the Old Testament nor on Jesus’ other teachings. If we look at the teachings themselves, without reference to the gloss that has been put on them by Christianity, they appear to be anything but inspired or profound – or even sane.

It’s true that Jesus offered a number of sensible moral precepts. But not one of these was original; not one was an innovation. (IN fact, most of them came from the OT.) All of His innovative moral precepts were the sort of off-the-wall stuff quoted above. In other words, nothing in His teachings that is original is true, and nothing that is true is original.

So my vote is for the conclusion that Jesus was a lunatic with nothing of interest or value to offer by way of moral guidance.

[ October 15, 2001: Message edited by: bd-from-kg ]
bd-from-kg is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:45 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.