Formiko wrote:Jesus is not just a "good teacher". He didn't give us room for that. Either he lied, which means he's the worst demon who has ever lived (which can't make him a good teacher), or he was insane, sort of like someone who thinks they're a poached egg, or he is our Lord and Savior..he can be nothing else.
I don't intend to discredit or disrespect your or anyone's belief, because you seem to fare well by it and for that I'm happy for you, but in the spirit of an open discussion I must say that to me that is a rather black and white distinction and I'd like to present my view to it.
You'd first of all be assuming that the image you and other people have of Jesus is historically accurate, even after 2000+ years. You'd assume that the things you find in writing are indeed the things he said, and that your interpretation thereof is the same as the way in which he intended it.
I do believe Jesus existed, there seems to be sufficient account for that, and various key events described in ancient texts (including the few texts that made it into the bible) actually indeed happened (such as his crucifixion). However, I believe that Jesus is also a mythical figure. He was a person in the right place at the right time, a leader, inspiring to many people, threatening to others (which is why he was crucified). Humans need and create myths, especially surrounding people that were important in their time, and especially surrounding religious and spiritual figures. I don't use 'myths' in a derogatory way, the word myth seems to have a bad connotation nowadays, but I simply mean spiritual and religious tales. They often come with a moral message, explain the inexplicable through wonders and a metaphysics of their own. Mythology is utterly human and seen in all cultures, and is a part of almost every religion. I'm currently reading a scientific book arguing even for the neurological usefulness of religious experience, and the function of mythology, so not just as a cultural phenomenon, but which actual evolutionary usefulness.
I personally imagine that if we could magically transport the historical Jesus to our current day, he would be utterly surprised to see the religion that formed around his person, recognizing little to none of it. Our current account relates so much to the mythical figure, what people want him to be, rather than the actual historical figure.
For me Jesus was just an influential man in history. Perhaps a very inspirational man with good ideals, like Gandhi, I can't judge that well, nor am I so interested in it. The message of for example compassion and non-violence, found in christianity as well, greatly appeals to me, though in practise christianity hasn't been a rolemodel in implementing it. And I personally don't really care much whether such a message is attributed to Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, God herself, or whoever, and whether such a person actually existed. Religion can bring great ideals, but I don't think we should cling to the mythucal messengers as historical facts rather than hear the message contained in the myths. Listen to the music, not the song....