The only question to ask

by Don Hartness

After much thought and oscillation, I’ve decided to take a few weeks off while I prepare to take my GREs. What a way to liven up the summer, eh? (If you have an interest in finding out how I did, sign up to the comments on this post, and I’ll let you know).

Before my hiatus, I wanted to share a quote from a blog I follow regularly. Frank Viola is a vanguard of the new grassroots Christian movement forming online in response to both the new atheist challenge, and the egregious theology and doctrine of fundamentalism. If you are looking for a fresh perspective on Christianity, one that does not abandon the central tenants of the faith while illustrating tolerance, patience, and love, then his blog is a good place to start.

Recently, Frank posted a quote from Bono’s new book that I think was worth sharing. All of Christianity boils down to just one question: how each person answers it will determine their position on everything else. Many have posed the question; Bono’s response is just one more way to put it.

For the rest of the quote, along with ordering info, click here.

No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher.

I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this.

So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was the Messiah or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we’ve been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had “King of the Jews” on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched (emphasis mine).

If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s— and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.”