Monday, November 19, 2012

Jesus, Moral Philosopher

In lieu of actually blogging, here's a crosspost from FB stripped of context:
Late to the party, as usual, but I just want to chime in that, with your dad, I could affirm some, though not all, of the above. You spoke to many different issues that would be worth pursuing, but one came to the fore as I read your note: 'the true message of compassion, empathy, forgiveness and love for all humanity were the true underpinnings of the Christian faith.'

While I have no prior experience of the man, Bill Maher, I saw a clip where he claimed to love "Jesus the moral philosopher." This, to me, is asinine. If we are to in any way revere "Jesus the moral philosopher," I for one, renounce my faith immediately. Socrates was a moral philosopher. Jesus was a *Messiah*, an anointed Jewish King, the only true one, resurrected by the Father, and ascended to heaven. But he is no ethical mincer of words. The centerpiece of his vocation was the proclamation *of* his vocation - the Gospel he brought was that He *is* the Gospel. Any ethical claims he makes are not the patient reflections on the thorniness of moral quandaries - such as one might find in John Stuart Mill, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, or Peter Singer - rather, the ethics he declares is the offspring of his more fundamental ministry of declaring who he was and what follows from the mere fact of *himself*.

That being the case, I think it would be misguided to assume that Christianity (even remotely distinctly) brings a message of "compassion, empathy, forgiveness and love for all humanity." Rather, the true message of Christianity is a sword. Reject it or embrace it, but call it what it is. Anybody who has tried to dress it up differently is either deluded themselves, or simply pandering to you.

As for God, showing his face in nature, I can't encourage you enough to read the book I gave you, Miracles, by Lewis. You will be impressed by the depth of both the similarity and dissimilarity of Lewis' understanding and your own. I'll give you the cliff notes. Everything hinges on the joining of Nature and Supernature in one person - the Incarnation. In Christ, the hospitality of God is revealed through his condescension to what is *not* God, that it may become *like* God.

On that note, good night.