Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reconceptualizing Jesus

Russell Moore quotes and then comments on Christopher Hitchens reaction to a new book:
“The second essay is a review by Mark Tooley of a terrible-sounding book called Jesus for President by a terrible-sounding person named Shane Claiborne. You know the sort of thing very well: Jesus would have been a ‘human shield’ in Baghdad in 2003; the United States is the modern equivalent of the Roman Empire. It’s the usual ‘liberation theology’ drivel, whereby everybody except the inhabitants of the democratic West is supposed to abjure violence. (To the question of whether the plan to kill Hitler was moral or not, Claiborne cites no less an authority than the Führer’s own secretary to claim that “all hopes for peace were lost” after the 1944 attempt. That, as should be obvious even to the most flickering intelligence, was chiefly because the attempt was a failure. What an idiot!)”
Now, Hitchens’ response doesn’t tell us whether or not Claiborne is right about Jesus. If the Bible did give us the Jesus as Che picture some of our friends present (or the Jesus as Rush picture some of our other friends would prefer), Hitchens would still hate him. ....

But that’s just the point.

I suspect Hitchens’ response to warmed-over liberation theology is quite similar to the majority report. It appeals to disaffected religious people who want to keep Jesus, but have the vibe of whatever Utopian movement is the order of the day. Those who think politically reconceptualizing Jesus is going to make him more attractive to unbelievers are as naive about human nature in apologetics as they are about…well, how to stop Hitler. ....
Christopher Hitchens on Jesus for President

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