If Hitler played tennis
Two weeks ago, I wrote a post called Don’t do this to Jesus, about how many of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, tend to distort the image of Christ by trying to make him more relevant or appealing. You can read that post here.
I’d like to go back to one of my thoughts and expand it a bit.
Many agnostics and atheists, as well as followers of other religions, accept Jesus as a great teacher with a helpful message.
This seems like a cozy blanket of we’re-all-in-this-togetherness, and I respect the inclusive approach, but there is a massive oversight just below the surface. Bear with me for a moment.
Let’s say when Hitler wasn’t spreading hate-laced propaganda and seeking the destruction of those outside the Arian race, he played tennis with his friends. But not just a pick up game here and there. Let’s say he was phenomenal, Pete Sampras with a tiny mustache. He made time for autographs and always tipped the ball boys.
Do you think you would ever see an ESPN Classic special on the incredible serving skills of the infamous Adolf? How about a training DVD called Mein Swing: The Hitler Technique?
Not a chance.
Why? All the atrocities he caused cast an inescapable shadow over any good qualities he may have possessed. There is too much blood on his hands.
Hitler is responsible for the deaths of millions of people, but, from one standpoint, the same could be said of Jesus Christ.
Did Jesus order people dead? No, but millions of Christians have lost their lives due to their passionate faith, and the number grows daily. If Jesus isn’t who he claimed to be (God), these people die in vain, victims of a disgusting lie.
That is why there can be no real middle ground with Jesus, no neutrality.
You can have middle ground with Buddha and Mohammed, adopting certain values from their respective faiths. This is because they never claimed to be Divine. You can disagree with Buddhism or Islam and still hold the positive elements of their religion.
Jesus is too polarizing a figure. He didn’t want to be known as a good man or a prophet with clever parables and anecdotes. He called for people to deny themselves, pick up a cross, and follow him, even to death.
Historians no longer seek to disprove the existence of Jesus Christ. The real debate isn’t found in Creation vs. Evolution or the possibility of miracles; if there is a Creator, He can certainly populate an ocean and walk on its surface.
It all comes down to the resurrection. Did Jesus come back to life? An empty tomb and eyewitness accounts suggest he did. People of all ages believed it so much they were willing to be ripped apart by wild animals, sliced into pieces at the hands of soldiers, burned, beaten and separated from their families. His best friends even believed and died willingly for their faith. Today people still embrace destruction for a man they call Savior.
If the resurrection is real, the millions of lives lost for his sake are the awful, yet beautiful sacrifices of martyrs, people who understand that temporary life gives way to an eternal existence somewhere, and that Jesus made Heaven an option.
We all have a decision to make. Jesus is either Lord or Liar, Liberator or Lunatic. There is no happy medium.
Photo Credit: Arslan (Creative Commons)