Worshipping the Irrational Jesus
Mark Osler provides this short but meaningful article in the Huffington Post entitled Worshiping the Irrational Jesus. Using prosperity gospel as his main example, he illustrates that sometimes what Jesus taught isn’t what we tend to qualify as “rational”. It makes sense to say that of course God will bless you with money if you’re a good Christian, but Jesus said the opposite – he blessed the poor and told his followers to take up their cross. So which wins: Jesus or cultural rationale? Osler sets out the three options, two of which are honest and one which is not:
First, I can decide that my rational thoughts and those of others should guide me rather than the teachings of Christ, and I can stop calling myself Christian. Many people I like and respect have made this choice, and it is an honest one. They call themselves atheist or agnostic or Ethical Humanist or Unitarian Universalists.
Second, I could decide that I will set aside my own conclusions (and those of mainstream society) and follow the seemingly irrational Christ. This is an honest answer, but a very difficult one. It is profoundly humbling, hard to explain to others and may even seem anti-intellectual.
The third (dishonest) route is to somehow convince myself that Christ agrees with me, even when he taught the opposite in plain language. Under this model, I call myself Christian while putting my own reasoning above the clear teaching of Jesus. Sure, Christ said that we are not to make a public display of prayer, but surely he did not mean that, right? There are good reasons to sit at the head table at the prayer breakfast, after all, and everyone I know (besides Christ) agrees with me. On that one, he just doesn’t make sense. Too much of our own faith (including my own) takes this third path. Too often, it is our leaders who have led us down that path.
My thoughts exactly. I have no problem respecting those who honestly disagree with my Christian position. If you’re an atheist or agnostic or something else, sure I’ll still have some friendly discussion and even debate at times, but I definitely respect that honesty. Where I have the much bigger problem is where Jesus had the much bigger problem – those claiming to follow Jesus but not even trying to act like it. That’s just lying to yourself and everybody else.