Saturday, July 14, 2007

Was Jesus Too Idealistic?

Was Jesus too idealistic?

The other day, I asked that question on a religious forum. Predictably, one of the responses was, "Are we Judging Christ now?"

That's a lame response.

For one thing, very few people -- aside from such folks as my astute friends Mystic Wing and Brendan -- really object to judging Christ. Instead, those who pretend to object prefer only that no one judge Christ negatively. They have little problem with someone's judging Christ positively.

In the second place, judging Christ is not quite the same as judging Jesus. Among many other things, Christ is a symbol for the ineffable mystery within us. It is this about Christ that it is absurd of us to judge, for the ineffable is logically beyond any judgment. But Jesus is a symbol for a man who probably lived 2000 years ago and whose words and actions might to some extent be known to us. You can judge a man's words and actions even while refusing to reach anything but a tentative conclusion about him. Why do so few believers see that?


Let's return now to the question of whether Jesus was too idealistic. I myself think there is no certain answer to that question, mainly because we know so little about him. Most, perhaps even all, of the historic Jesus is lost to us. Yet, I don't suppose my answer to the question is the only light in which the question can be looked at. So, what do you think the answer is? Was Jesus too idealistic? How do you look at that?

4 comments:

Patty said...

I kinda liked the question about whether Adam farted in the Garden of Eden better.

Brendan said...

Regardless of whether there might me one or more historical persons who inspired it, Jesus of the Bible is a spiritual archetype. He represents metaphorically the crossing point between self-identity and the universe ("I and the Father are one"). To me his teachings really aren't about morality in any conventional sense. They are about psychology (spirit), and epistemology. "Morality," such as it is, is only incidental.

Mystic Wing said...

It's very hard to decide this one way or the other, since there is very little we actually know about Jesus himself. The facts of his genuine life are now so muddied by church doctrine so as to render his actual beliefs almost unknowable.

But Brenden is right: the heart of the revolutionary philosophy was Jesus assertion that the experience of God isn't "out there" but that rather we are one with God.

Is this too idealistic? Absolutely not. The truth can never be viewed as too idealistic. Is it difficult to realize? Absolutely.

Guitar's Cry said...

Like any idealistic symbol, I think Jesus is something to journey towards.

Reaching him is not entirely possible, but the journey has much to teach.