This week, we have a challenge from “40 Problems with Christianity”:
Most Christians believe that Jesus was a unique figure in his time, a one-of-kind preacher who mesmerized followers with his wisdom and magical acts. This is not true. There were many messiahs at this time including Hezekiah the bandit, Simon of Peraea, Athronges the shepherd boy, and Judas the Galilean. In addition, there were many other preachers and prophets who were gathering followers and preaching a messianic message about the coming of the Kingdom of God. Some advocated a violent overthrow of the Roman occupiers as a prelude to the coming. Others stressed a less violent approach including repentance, prayers, and beseeching of God for deliverance. Added to this list is the most popular preacher of all, John the Baptist. Jesus was possibly a follower of John until John’s arrest and execution (as exemplified by the subservient act of submitting himself for baptism), and then he may have assumed leadership of John’s movement.
Jesus was just one of many itinerant preachers of his day, and there was nothing particularly unique about him, because all were preaching the same ideas, and almost all of them ended up being crucified for the crime of sedition against the Roman Empire. It is a historical fluke that Christians pray to Jesus instead of John or Simon or Hezekiah.
Is Christianity just a historical fluke, or was there something unique about Jesus and His history? How would you respond to this challenge? Answer in the comments below, and then come back on Thursday to see Alan’s video response.