Who is Jesus Christ and Who is Irrational?

Julian Christmas Eve is perhaps a perfect moment to reread a wonderful column by American Professor of Criminology from North Carolina State University Michael S. ADAMS.

A sixty-seven year old proud atheist friend of mine recently interjected the sweeping statement “all religion is irrational” into one of our conversations. I replied, not with a direct rebuttal but, instead, with the unexpected question, “who is Jesus Christ?” He replied, “I don’t know.” If I were to ask some of you why I pulled that question out of left field you might also reply with a bewildered “I don’t know.” So keep reading. Please.

Michael S.Adams
Michael S.Adams

If you have never really pondered the question “who is Jesus Christ?” then you simply cannot consider yourself to be a committed intellectual – at least not yet. Let me say that in a different way: if you have never given serious thought to the true identity of the most important individual ever to walk the face of the earth then you are either a) suffering from severe intellectual hernia, or b) possessed of an intellect impaired by a fear of knowing the true answer to the question.

Let me begin by defending the assertion that Jesus Christ was the most important individual ever to walk the face of the earth. 1) We divide time using the date of Jesus’ birth. 2) More books have been written about Jesus than anyone else in recorded history. Case closed. Now we can move on to the issue of fear and intellectual curiosity.

The options we are given for understanding the identity of Jesus are so limited that no one who is truly intelligent can be behaving rationally if he just avoids the question altogether. Take, for example, my friend who has lived 2/3 of a century on this planet without so much as attempting to work through the options. I don’t want you to be one of those irrational people so let’s get to work.

When addressing the question of Jesus’ identity, there are only four available options. Anyone who has ever read C.S. Lewis or Josh McDowell knows that Jesus was either: 1) A legend, 2) a lunatic, 3) a liar, or 4) the Lord.

The idea that Jesus was merely a legend, as opposed to someone who actually lived, is simply not an option we can take seriously (at least not for long). Independent historical accounts, by that I mean accounts written by non-Christians, are enough to put this option to rest. Jesus is cited by 42 sources within 150 years of his life, and nine of those sources are non-Christian. By contrast, the Roman Emperor Tiberius is only mentioned by 10 sources. If you believe Tiberius existed, how can you not believe in a man who is cited by four times as many people and has had an immeasurably greater impact on history? You can believe that if you wish. But then you risk forfeiting any claim to be considered rational.

Nor is it rational to consider Jesus to have been a lunatic. Perhaps you could maintain that belief if you’ve never read the Bible. But how can a person claim to be educated if he’s never read the Bible?

World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky once entertained the notion that Jesus was a mere lunatic. But, then, in the early 1970s, as an atheist and a communist graduate student, he examined the words of Jesus for the first time. He was traveling to Russia on a ship and wanted to brush up on his Russian. But all he had with him to read (that just happened to be written in Russian) was a copy of the New Testament. And so he read. And he was transformed.

Marvin recognized immediately that the words of Jesus represent a profound level of moral understanding that rises above anything else that has ever been written. Read for yourself the words of Jesus. Then read the words of Charles Manson. Try to convince me that they are one in the same – merely two lunatics who mistakenly thought they were the Messiah. You have a right to that opinion. But you don’t have a right to be considered rational if you cannot detect a glaring difference between the teachings of Christ and Manson.

So, now only two options remain. And this is where the real trouble begins. If we call Jesus a liar (who falsely claimed to be God) then we cannot also call him a great moral teacher. One cannot be both. But many look at the final option of calling him Lord and panic. To go there means to accept belief in the supernatural. And surely that couldn’t be rational. Or could it?

Christmas iconScience has taught us a lot since the Bible was written. For one thing, we know that the universe had a beginning. It is expanding, it is finite, and it was not always here. Put simply, Carl Sagan was wrong. In fact, he was dead wrong. The cosmos is not all that is or was or that ever will be. It had a beginning. It is irrational to dismiss the obvious implications of this: that the universe was caused by a supernatural force existing outside of space and time.

People have to let go of the idea that the natural world is all there is because that is not where the science leads us. It instead leads us away from the philosophical commitment to only considering naturalistic explanations for the things we observe in the physical universe. This also leads us to one very important question: if a supernatural force was great enough to create the universe could the force or being not also reenter creation? And another related question: is the force or being responsible for creating life not also able to conquer death?

Arguably, the resurrection is a pretty small accomplishment in comparison with the creation of the universe. But that doesn’t mean it happened. The evidence must be judged on its own merits. I recommend that serious intellectuals start here.

Of course, you could just keep avoiding the question while judging others to be irrational. But there’s no avoiding the plank in your own eye.

Prof. Adams’ reply to a student who dared to call him “the biggest embarrassment to higher education in America” is also strongly recommended to read: “An Embarrassment to Higher Education”.

Books by Michael S. Adams:

Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel: Confessions of a Conservative College Professor (2004)


Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts “Womyn” On Campus (2008)


“Letters to a Young Progressive: How to Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don’t Understand” (2013)


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One Comment
  1. samir sardana


    It is IRRATIONAL not to question the STORY OF JESUS CHRIST and the facts in retrospect,as recorded for Jesus

    The rationale for his thesis,can be summarised,as under:

    There is no one called Jesus Christ – there is only Jesus (The Christ Addendum,is the work of Paul – a slave trader (as per history )and a liar (as per Jesus)
    Basically the face of Jesus,is NOT Jesus (it is the face of someone,who died many centuries after Jesus)
    There is no description of Jesus,by Josephus as a white skinned,blue eyed person
    Jesus disappeared at age 12,into India/Egypt/Jordan etc. – and there is no record in the Bible,of his life from age 12 to 30 – Hence,Who was the man who returned to Jerusalem -as :”JESUS” ?
    Jesus was against “ANY” form of Idolatory (there is no record,even by Josephus,of a self or 3 rd party portrait)
    Jesus WISHED the destruction of the Temple of Solomon (He made the Prophecy – but it was more like a self-fulfilling prophecy)
    Jesus opposed the TEMPLE,as it was a place of obeisance and idolatory and rituals and sacrifices (just like Statues of Jesus)
    Jesus said that he came FOR THE ORAL LAW – and NOT for a NEW religion (Hence,what is Christianity)
    Christians eat pork,drink wine and are NOT circumised – and these are the sacred covenants,of the Oral Law
    A Church,is NOT the Home of Jesus
    Paul made the institution of the Church,and he was a slave trader and a liar – BUT THAT DOES NOT DILUTE THE GENIUS OF PAUL – AS IT WAS PAUL WHO MADE JESUS INTO JESUS CHRIST
    The Christianity of today,is a construct of Paul – a man with a Jew Grudge- with an obsession for rules and regulations.Why follow rules and regulations ?
    It is the White man’s Christianity and its subservience to laws and rules and the State – which has led to the BLM movement – a raging wave against injustice,corruption and debauchery

    Jesus Christ in the USA,is a tool to ensure that Blacks and minorities do NOT rebel against the state.
    Statues of CHRIST are redundant and regressive.In the 300 years of Black slavery – the slave owners and American Presidents (as slave owners) were Christians – WHO WERE FOLLOWING THE PATH OF PAUL,THE SUPREME SLAVE TRADER.Jesus Christ and the Church,is the CONSTRUCT OF Paul.

    Even inside Churches,the need for a statue,and the face of Jesus – needs a re-think

    Jesus ALLOWED wine,eating of pork and NO circumcision.Hence,he BROKE the ORAL law AND CONDONED its violation.In other words,he was looking at the BIG PICTURE,and the need for EVOLUTION IN THOUGHT,AND PHILOSOPHY.His teachings are proof that even ORAL LAWS need to ADAPT AND EVOLVE OVER TIME AND CONTEXT.

    Jesus proves the Heraclitus constant of change being the only constant

    Blacks and Minorities in the USA,need a different Icon.dindooohindoo

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