make your choice – who was Jesus?

“You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God…” Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

A lot of Christians seem to think this is a key piece of thinking. I’m confused why anyone would think the options are so oddly limited. There are quite a lot of other conclusions that seem more plausible about the character Jesus. Here are just a few:

  • He was a reasonably successful moral teacher of his time, with some useful but not original philosophies to share. (But not all of us are impressed with cursing trees and acts of violence against tradespeople.)
  • Whatever message he might have wished to share was confused and/or embellished by the ‘eye-witnesses’ who wrote about his life, and taken to unrelated conclusions by others beyond his death. For example, I’m still not clear where the character Jesus personally claims to be a god.
  • He’s a largely fictional character whose story was fabricated in the decades and centuries after he allegedly existed, perhaps roughly based on popular itinerant preachers of the time.
  • He was a man with mental health problems who thought he heard the voice of a god speaking to him, much like many other people.
  • He was a charlatan and a chancer on a power and attention trip, doing cheap tricks for crowds and flattering people into following him by ‘choosing’ them and promising them great things in an afterlife.

Whatever the case, I wouldn’t spit at him, kill him and call him a demon. Or believe he’s a god. Why do Christians praise this piece of writing and blandly accept there are only two options?