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Christ as Rebel?

This is a tough post to write, sure to be controversial. Try to bear with me for the next five or ten minutes as I unroll some thoughts.

Many of us, in our intellectual sojourning, have come to consider ourselves as hard agnostics, or atheists, harboring severe doubts about the existence of any God, and about whether Jesus of Nazareth was anything more than a mere man.

Some philosophers have taken the implications of these doubts all the way to their logical conclusions, and announced the hopelessness and despair of all objective purpose in life. So be it! Let's consider for a moment how things stand if that is the case.

Suppose that the puerile conclusions of the Dawkinses and the Hawkings are on point, that their verdict on Man be true, that he is mere animal, servant of instinct, slave of genetic demands, fool of his own crooked cognitive faculties, led by the nose to the advancement of reproductive interests, a cosmic accident and a blip in a random history, unfolded and destined to be blanked out in another cosmic moment, of no account, whatever the outcome.

If such a description be true, what then?

Are we not just little toys, tools, playthings of this accidental algorithm -- nature -- and its arbitrary rules?

Well then! What of Christ?

Is not Christ, in such a world, the ultimate rebel against the demands of this blind Nature, with all its hard and irrational claims on conscious and unconscious creatures? What is 'Nature' then but the most irrational of all dictators?

Is not the life of Jesus, then, a giant Fuck You to the blind, robotic taskmaster nature, which demands and justifies a pointless competition, cruelty and service of genetic "progress"? Is not lowly Christ then the epitome of human independence from this cold machine, and the strictures of it's 'instinct'?

Was not Christ, then, the most essentially human Man to ever live, a rebel against this mindless nature, wholeheartedly embracing and leading a revolt against its pointless demands, shouting a resounding No! - "We refuse to comply"?

Was not Christ then the iconoclast, the revolutionary, fearlessly jamming steel defiance into the gears of this biological-genetic taskmaster and soul-destroyer, which leads us perpetually into conflict, conformity, fear, keeps us in check, going through the motions until the little cosmic clock runs down. To what end?

Since nothing stands to be achieved in the end anyway, and we are just grist for her mills, ground to no purpose, ultimately dead matter, why not run headlong into her, butt heads with her, turn on her, jam something into her jaws, come to a final reckoning, achieve Man's true meaning, as the opponent of nature, her thwarter, her contradiction and answer, as Man Against Nature.

Isn't that what Christ on the cross really represents?

For a sincere naturalist, philosophically it doesn't matter anyway in the end. What is there still to hang onto? What could be more heroic and more great, more human, than to stand against nature, against instinct, against fear, against pain, and just refuse to play the game? To welcome and accept all the nails and thorns and penury, to defy the mechanistic wheels of Fate and its petty demands?

Smiling on the cross and having the last laugh... what could be more courageous and more human?

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Or He could actually be who He said He was: Our Savior

And the Son of God (God Himself).

I don't know how to explain it to you any better than the Gospels can, my advice: just read them. Allow God to speak to your heart (for only He can convince you, not I), however if you want a simple explanation of the Gospel just rent a copy of "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" the movie by Disney or PBS would do (though I tend to like the old PBS version better, based on the novel by C.S. Lewis.

(In this allegory, we (you and I) represent the character of Edmund Pevensly).



JS, thanks.. although your

JS, thanks.. although your recommendation for me to read the gospels is pretty silly, since I have many, many times. And the reco to watch the disney movie as an alternative is just classic, man, classic stuff. Thanks!

Sisyphus was the real rebel

So was Prometheus.
Christ, not so much.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

Did you just say "not so

Did you just say "not so much" on my thread?

No.7's picture

Lecrae agrees with you, and so do I


The individual who refuses to defend his rights when called by his Government, deserves to be a slave, and must be punished as an enemy of his country and friend to her foe. - Andrew Jackson

I always find myself in good

I always find myself in good company somehow.

Jesus's crazy brother

I'm a crazy person, who believes that I'm Jesus's crazy brother, who got locked away in the basement and nobody has been allowed to talk about, and I'm here with a message from the Mother and Father of Manifestation, and that is that Mother is coming out of her coma, and She is Pissed! Spirit is supposed to have been serving her, not the other way around!

Jesus can't lead you to Freedom or Salvation because those things are inside of you, and nobody can lead you inside yourself.

YOU are the one whose task is to find the Divine Will inside of yourself. Conveniently, the Divine Will is one and the same with Free Will.

The next big stopping point is, where exactly in my body do I find the Divine Will? Personally, I found her in the mathematical center of the torus which is my root chakra. In the interim, you know by how you feel; Spirit expresses through thoughts, Will expresses through feelings. So move all those old emotions! There are some exercises at www.godchannel.com.

Meanwhile, write me in in 2016: http://rich_grise.tripod.com/cgi-bin/index.pl .
I'll fire the whole damn government so everyone can finally BE FREE!

Freedom is my Worship Word!

I take the view that life and

I take the view that life and the ability to think and act are preferable to non life. No wonder then, that we fight so hard for our long term and short term survival.

Living and living long and well are ends in themselves for me. I don't need the promise of an eternal disembodied existence to be able to enjoy this life for what it is.

I think your Christ story is more interesting than the original. Perhaps the greatest power nature holds over us is our fear of pain and death. Perhaps once someone overcomes that fear without losing his love of life he becomes what they call 'enlightened'. He would indeed be a master of nature rather than its slave. People would indeed look at him and say "That must be the son of god himself".

Are we not all son's of God

Are we not all son's of God then? There is nothing to overcome as Christ as already paved that road. I look at the other end of the curve as an example of what could have been for each of us....i.e....Steven Hawking, those in a group home, the child that dies within days of birth, the blatant evils that are imposed upon us. These examples build more of case in my mind for the divine providence, and purpose that we can claim in the name of our Creator. We already serve "His will" based on the fact we have a purpose in "His" sight. There is no such thing as coincidence.


"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. It is not as the world gives that I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid." John 14:27

Bump for Faith. It is all a man really has at the end of the day.

BILL3, your "what if" leads to mine...

What if humanity has become clever enough to have escaped from an otherwise consistent system of the checks and balances of Natural Selection?

Could we be living in our Anthropocene Epoch now much like escaped prisoners would live in their arguably unsustainable and unstable conditions while they run and hide from the more justified consequences of their bad behaviors?

If we have largely escaped from Nature's oversight and have grown our own "human nature" as an alternative, does our species have better survival prospects for the effort?

As you speculate Christ as a rebel or whether people like most of the rest of us are considered as your example, are we more like courageous rebels or are we more like rebellious, reckless adolescents?


Life is foreplay...

the Afterlife intensifies it and the Millenium....

is _ _ _ (DYOC!)

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15


"Isn't that what Christ on the cross really represents?"

No not at all.

"Smiling on the cross and having the last laugh... what could be more courageous"

What could be more courageous,easy, facing death for all of creation and overcoming it in order to right all the wrongs descended from the fall of man.

Sure you could believe that naturalistic re-interpretation, but it would not match history, and naturalism / materialism cannot even be a real philosophy given the existence of immaterial concepts and abstracts.

I think if god had sent Jesus

I think if god had sent Jesus to burn in hell for eternity for mankind's sins, it would have been a great sacrifice. Just pain and torture and death don't really cut it.

Millions have suffered far worse than that...

Your view...

...assumes 'hell' is retributive in nature; whereas there are many who see it as the continuation of the process of redemption for all. I would rather hell bring me to desire to destroy everything within me that has come between me and Love, becoming who I was meant to be, than to slink into heaven without the non-Love in me being addressed. That would not be Love and Truth that would allow me to do the latter, and therefore it would not be God.

Neither would I favor the pale decay of non-Love of the hell we are already in. When we look back from the other side, we will realize that hell or heaven was already present where we were on our earthly paths.

But if you're suggesting that Christ should have felt the cold outer darkness of the Father's face turned away, He did --- 'My God, My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?' Yet His faith was that the Father's hand was yet holding Him: 'My God'.

I believe anyone can still emerge from the outer darkness through the Love that won't let go, as the very ground of their being.

Jesus gets major props

for forgiving the people that were crucifying him. I don't know if I could have done that.

Thank you.

I'm not trying to argue that this is what Christ really believed. I'm also not arguing that this is the truth about Christ. I'm just arguing that, even if you assume a naturalistic interpretation of the world, if you're an atheist, you would still have to contend with Christ as the defining human type, rejecting nature's demands. I accept this isn't the theological view of Christians, but I'm speaking to atheists and naturalists, not to convinced Christians.

Also, your contention that Christ's act of facing death for all of creation to atone for man's wrongs is more courageous than the alternate interpretation, of Jesus as a human being rejecting the demands of nature by facing death... its a distinction without a difference. In both cases, Christ believed and behaved in precisely the same way, There is only one person called Christ, and he only lived one life, faced one death, believed one set of beliefs. Whether he was right or wrong changes nothing about his courage or sacrifice.

In fact, if you really think he "knew" he wasn't really dying, knew he was God and the pain would be short and quickly pass... in that kind of narrow interpretation, the sacrificial act loses all grandeur. Only as a genuinely incarnate human with human fears and human doubts does the sacrifice have significance. Suffering a few hours of scourging and hanging on a cross is really nothing if you know how the whole story ends. That would be a negation of the incarnation.

Good post...

...Bill. Yeah, if the naturalist view is correct, as defiant a gesture it might be, acting as if there was ultimate, higher meaning to everything, it would, of course ultimately be in vain. Maybe one could argue over whether championing the illusion of transcendent Love has some short-term benefit in easing the despair of our earthly struggle before we finally succumb to total death and darkness; but in the end, no one will be around to care.

Thankfully, I am confident the flip is true: Love is the reality behind all else; everything has meaning and is eternally becoming what it all is meant to be. Death is the illusion. :)

Here's a relevant excerpt from 19th century Scot, George Macdonald, Unspoken Sermons, 'The Eloi' (all in the public domain, otherwise I wouldn't paste so much here :) ):

“It is with the holiest fear that we should approach the terrible fact of the sufferings of our Lord. Let no one think that those were less because he was more. The more delicate the nature, the more alive to all that is lovely and true, lawful and right, the more does it feel the antagonism of pain, the inroad of death upon life; the more dreadful is that breach of the harmony of things whose sound is torture. He felt more than man could feel, because he had a larger feeling. He was even therefore worn out sooner than another man would have been. These sufferings were awful indeed when they began to invade the region about the will; when the struggle to keep consciously trusting in God began to sink in darkness; when the Will of The Man put forth its last determined effort in that cry after the vanishing vision of the Father: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Never had it been so with him before. Never before had he been unable to see God beside him. Yet never was God nearer him than now. For never was Jesus more divine. He could not see, could not feel him near; and yet it is "My God" that he cries.

Thus the Will of Jesus, in the very moment when his faith seems about to yield, is finally triumphant. It has no feeling now to support it, no beatific vision to absorb it. It stands naked in his soul and tortured, as he stood naked and scourged before Pilate. Pure and simple and surrounded by fire, it declares for God. The sacrifice ascends in the cry, My God. The cry comes not out of happiness, out of peace, out of hope. Not even out of suffering comes that cry. It was a cry in desolation, but it came out of Faith. It is the last voice of Truth, speaking when it can but cry. The divine horror of that moment is unfathomable by human soul. It was blackness of darkness. And yet he would believe. Yet he would hold fast. God was his God yet. My God— and in the cry came forth the Victory, and all was over soon. Of the peace that followed that cry, the peace of a perfect soul, large as the universe, pure as light, ardent as life, victorious for God and his brethren, he himself alone can ever know the breadth and length, and depth and height.

Without this last trial of all, the temptations of our Master had not been so full as the human cup could hold; there would have been one region through which we had to pass wherein we might call aloud upon our Captain-Brother, and there would be no voice or hearing: he had avoided the fatal spot! The temptations of the desert came to the young, strong man with his road before him and the presence of his God around him; nay, gathered their very force from the exuberance of his conscious faith. "Dare and do, for God is with thee," said the devil. "I know it, and therefore I will wait," returned the king of his brothers. And now, after three years of divine action, when his course is run, when the old age of finished work is come, when the whole frame is tortured until the regnant brain falls whirling down the blue gulf of fainting, and the giving up of the ghost is at hand, when the friends have forsaken him and fled, comes the voice of the enemy again at his ear: "Despair and die, for God is not with thee. All is in vain. Death, not Life, is thy refuge. Make haste to Hades, where thy torture will be over. Thou hast deceived thyself. He never was with thee. He was the God of Abraham. Abraham is dead. Whom makest thou thyself?" "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" the Master cries. For God was his God still, although he had forsaken him—forsaken his vision that his faith might glow out triumphant; forsaken himself? no; come nearer to him than ever; come nearer, even as—but with a yet deeper, more awful pregnancy of import—even as the Lord himself withdrew from the bodily eyes of his friends, that he might dwell in their profoundest being.

I do not think it was our Lord's deepest trial when in the garden he prayed that the cup might pass from him, and prayed yet again that the will of the Father might be done. For that will was then present with him. He was living and acting in that will. But now the foreseen horror has come. He is drinking the dread cup, and the Will has vanished from his eyes. Were that Will visible in his suffering, his will could bow with tearful gladness under the shelter of its grandeur. But now his will is left alone to drink the cup of The Will in torture. In the sickness of this agony, the Will of Jesus arises perfect at last; and of itself, unsupported now, declares—a naked consciousness of misery hung in the waste darkness of the universe—declares for God, in defiance of pain, of death, of apathy, of self, of negation, of the blackness within and around it; calls aloud upon the vanished God.

This is the Faith of the Son of God. God withdrew, as it were, that the perfect Will of the Son might arise and go forth to find the Will of the Father.

Is it possible that even then he thought of the lost sheep who could not believe that God was their Father; and for them, too, in all their loss and blindness and unlove, cried, saying the word they might say, knowing for them that God means Father and more, and knowing now, as he had never known till now, what a fearful thing it is to be without God and without hope? I dare not answer the question I put..."

Figured since this was the bottom of your thread I'd dare to paste so much :) ... Highly recommend that entire 'Unspoken Sermons' series -- changed my life's focus!

Thanks, Micah, I've been

Thanks, Micah, I've been looking to read some MacDonald.