Friday, July 27, 2012

Read Along: Chapter 18— Why Jesus Instead of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Today we conclude our Read Along project with Chapter Eighteen of Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow. (Hear an interview about the book here.) Below you will find an audio intro for Chapter Eighteen, a brief summary of the chapter, a PDF workbook with questions for the chapter, and some notable quotes. You're also encouraged to share your comments and feedback for each chapter in the comment section below. Feel free to interact!  Index page here.

[Audio Intro] - Jonathan Morrow introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 18 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) - PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] - Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Eighteen: Why Jesus Instead of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
(pages 237-252]

Chapter 18 focuses on the person of Jesus. The authors show that Jesus' life can be investigated historically through the New Testament documents, and the early Christian beliefs can be known through their oral and written traditions. Contrary to popular claims, Christianity did not borrow from pagan mystery religions. Jesus actions, words, and deeds show his claims to divinity. In addition, the authors answer some common objections about the exclusivity of Jesus.

New Testament professor Darrell Bock ends the chapter with his journey from agnosticism to belief in Christ through investigation of the life of Jesus presented in the New Testament.

Notable quotes:
Christianity is not a fairy tale; it is rooted in the events of history. The same cannot be said of the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, or even the beloved Santa Claus. (p. 237)
All of the sources cited by those who argue that Christianity was heavily dependent on mystery religions postdate the oral and written sources for Christianity. So if borrowing was going on, it was the mystery religions that borrowed from Christianity in order to gain new converts. (p. 243)

Truth is exclusive by definition. And every belief system—even atheism—makes truth claims. (p. 248)

Contrary to the buffet of Dawkins's unsupported assertions in this chapter's epigraph, the New Testament documents provide solid historical data about Jesus that can be reasonably assessed. Laypeople and scholars have investigated and found the person of Jesus compelling for two thousand years now. Objections much more sophisticated than the ones Dawkins marshals have been raised and responded to through the years. But the question still remains-Who do you say that I am? (p. 249)
  1. What makes Jesus different from other religious figures?
  2. How do you respond to the claim that it is arrogant to believe Jesus is the only way to God?
  3. What reasons can you give to show that Jesus claimed to be God?
Recommended Reading
Thanks for Reading Along!


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