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← Atheists for Jesus

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I read this article a while back in Free Inquiry and enjoyed it. I also liked the book Jesus for the Non-Religious by Spong and some of Crossan's books on the Historical Jesus (he's an expert on early Christian history and a radical ex-monk with a very modern non-supernatural theology).

One can read the Gospels, edit out the obvious supernaturalism and demonology and come up with the idea of Jesus as an idealistic reformer and lover of the oppressed.

However, someone else could easily paint the portrait of an insignificant minor cult leader with no original ideas who influenced history only because his name was attached to a later, successful sect founded by Paul.

Jesus apparently died without writing a book or gathering a large following (twelve full-time followers, perhaps several dozen regular hangers on and the occasional admiring audience of a few hundred), so its easy to make him over in a variety of ways.

Maybe this is part of the appeal. He is a sort of floating, achetypal image of an "ideal man" who's handful of known aphorisms and parables can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways.

Fri, 17 Aug 2007 14:09:00 UTC | #60754