It is written:
Acts 17:30-31-Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Thank you for taking the time to consider these thoughts. I hope by now you are realizing that there is far more to true Christianity than your song seems to acknowledge.
In this study, I am going to pay attention to your claim that perhaps Jesus is a “facade,” and that the “government” is god.
The word “facade” is a from a word that means “an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality.” (Google word search)
Now, you are right to carefully examine Jesus Christ. People have been doing that for centuries! Indeed, Jesus Himself invites people to do such. Simply take time and examine John 5 for proof of this claim! People have been examining Jesus Christ for two thousand years, having one false conspiracy theory after another vanish into thin air because of what the facts reveal about Him.
Some people try as hard as they can to get away with claiming that Jesus was only some kind of “great moral teacher.” However, as Lewis points out, that dog won’t hunt.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. 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. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics), 52 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY; HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.)
Josh and Sean McDowell provide an excellent overview of whether or not Jesus was a liar. I invite you to consider this lengthy quotation:
“If Jesus knew he was not God, then he was lying. But if he was a liar, then he was also a hypocrite; he told others to be honest, whatever the cost. More than that, he would have been a demon, because he deliberately told others to forsake their own religious beliefs and trust him for their eternal destiny. If Jesus knew his claims to be false, we would have to conclude that he was unspeakably evil. The religious leaders actually did charge Jesus with having a demon (John 8: 48). But the gospel of John makes it clear Jesus was innocent of such wrongdoing (John 8: 46; cf. 16: 10; 1 John 3: 5). Last, if Jesus had been lying, he would also have been a fool, because his claims to deity led to his crucifixion. But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.—Mark 14: 61–64 ESV The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”—John 19: 7 ESV But how could Jesus—as liar, con man, evil, foolish—leave us with the most profound moral instruction and the most powerful moral example in history? Could a deceiver—an imposter of monstrous proportions—teach such unselfish ethical truths and live such a morally exemplary life as Jesus did? The very notion is incredible. John Stuart Mill, the philosopher, skeptic, and antagonist of Christianity, admitted that Jesus was a first-rate ethicist supremely worthy of our attention and emulation: But about the life and sayings of Jesus there is a stamp of personal originality combined with profundity of insight . . . in the very first rank of men of sublime genius of whom our species can boast. When this pre-eminent genius is combined with the qualities of probably the greatest moral reformer, and martyr to that mission, who ever existed upon earth, religion cannot be said to have made a bad choice in pitching on this man as the ideal representative and guide of humanity; nor, even now, would it be easy, even for an unbeliever, to find a better translation of the rule of virtue from the abstract into the concrete, than to endeavor so to live that Christ would approve our life. (Mill, TER, 254–255) Even William Lecky, a noted Irish historian and a dedicated opponent of organized Christianity, noted in his History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne: It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world an ideal character, which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has inspired the hearts of men with an impassioned love; has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and conditions; has been not only the highest pattern of virtue but the strongest incentive to its practice; and has exercised so deep an influence that it may be truly said that the simple record of [Jesus’] three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers, and all the exhortations of moralists. (Lecky, HEMAC, 2: 8–9) When the church historian Philip Schaff considered the evidence for Jesus’ deity, especially in light of what Jesus taught and the kind of life he led, Schaff was struck by the absurdity of the explanations designed to escape the logical implications of this evidence: And yet this testimony, if not true, must be downright blasphemy or madness. The former hypothesis cannot stand a moment before the moral purity and dignity of Jesus, revealed in his every word and work, and acknowledged by universal consent. Self-deception in a matter so momentous, and with an intellect in all respects so clear and so sound, is equally out of the question. How could he be an enthusiast or a madman who never lost the even balance of his mind, who sailed serenely over all the troubles and persecutions, as the sun above the clouds, who always returned the wisest answer to tempting questions, who calmly and deliberately predicted his death on the cross, his resurrection on the third day, the outpouring of the holy Spirit, the founding of his Church, the destruction of Jerusalem—predictions which have been literally fulfilled? A character so original, so complete, so uniformly consistent, so perfect, so human and yet so high above all human greatness, can be neither a fraud nor a fiction. The poet, as has been well said, would in this case be greater than the hero. It would take more than a Jesus to invent a Jesus. (Schaff, HCC, 1: 109) In his work The Person of Christ, Schaff revisits the theory that Jesus was a deceiver, and mounts a convincing attack against it: The hypothesis of imposture is so revolting to moral as well as common sense, that its mere statement is its condemnation. . . . [N] o scholar of any decency and self-respect would now dare to profess it openly. How, in the name of logic, common sense, and experience, could an impostor—that is a deceitful, selfish, depraved man—have invented, and consistently maintained from beginning to end, the purest and noblest character known in history with the most perfect air of truth and reality? How could he have conceived and successfully carried out a plan of unparalleled beneficence, moral magnitude, and sublimity, and sacrificed his own life for it, in the face of the strongest prejudices of his people and age? (Schaff, PC, 103) The answer of course is that Jesus couldn’t have. J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, Fox News, and Court TV. In his book Cold Case Christianity, Wallace lists the three types of motives that lie at the heart of any misbehavior: (1) financial greed, (2) sexual or relational desire, and (3) pursuit of power. (Wallace, CCC, 240) Is there good reason to suspect Jesus was led to lie by any of these three motives? • Financial greed. Jesus is never described as a man who possessed financial wealth. He taught his disciples to give their possessions to the needy and not to store up treasure in this life, but to store up spiritual treasure in the life to come (Luke 12: 32–34). He told the rich young ruler, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matt. 19: 21). Jesus gained nothing financially from his preaching, teaching, or healing ministry. • Sexual or relational desire. No evidence suggests that Jesus was motivated by lust or relationships. Many women followed Jesus (Luke 8: 2, 3). By all accounts, however, he showed them the highest respect, even in ways that were countercultural at the time (See John 4: 1–45: Luke 8: 42–48). Jonalyn Fincher concludes: Jesus had multiple opportunities to take advantage of women. Women longed to touch him, to serve him, to spread their perfume on his feet and support him with their money. Many men would have taken advantage of this type of female adoration. In ancient times a weakness for females was winked at as one of the particular rights of spiritual, powerful, wealthy men. But throughout his friendships with women, Jesus refused to either isolate himself from women or overindulge in romantic rendezvous. Women were not wicked distractions to him, but neither were women his lovers on his way to the cross. Instead of lewdness or asceticism we hear Jesus guiding women along the road with him. (Fincher, WJIGN, 243–244) • The pursuit of power. It is utterly unreasonable to assert that Jesus lied about his identity to gain power. Rather than gaining power for himself, he modeled serving others (John 13: 1–16; 15: 13) and giving without expectation of return, even to the wicked and ungrateful (Luke 6: 35, 36); and he taught his disciples to do the same. In a dispute over who would be greatest in the kingdom, Jesus taught his disciples that the greatest is the one who serves (Luke 22: 24–27). Commentator Joel Green explains the significance of Jesus’ teachings on this matter: He does not deny, then, that some will lead, and so on; after all, he has been portrayed within the Lukan narrative as lord and king. He insists, rather, that his status as lord and king, as greatest, is expressed in the shape of his service, which is so integral to his character that it will determine the manner of his comportment with the faithful even in the eschaton (12: 35–38). So also must it be the defining quality of the apostles—who, then, are to turn from their obsession with their own status to a comparable attentiveness to the needs of others. (Green, GL, 769)” (Josh McDowell & Sean McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World, 198-201 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson)
Well, could Jesus have been insane?
Philip Schaff has responded to this charge:
“Christ never lost the balance of mind under excitement, nor the clearness of vision under embarrassment; he never violated the most perfect good taste in any of his sayings. Is such an intellect—clear as the sky, bracing as the mountain air, sharp and penetrating as a sword, thoroughly healthy and vigorous, always ready and always self-possessed—liable to a radical and most serious delusion concerning his own character and mission? Preposterous imagination! Let us hear the most eminent Unitarian divine on this theory: The charge of an extravagant, self-deluding enthusiasm is the last to be fastened on Jesus. Where can we find the traces of it in his history? Do we detect them in the calm authority of his precepts; in the mild, practical, and beneficent spirit of his religion; in the unlabored simplicity of the language with which he unfolds his high powers and the sublime truths of religion; or in the good sense, the knowledge of human nature, which he always discovers in his estimate and treatment of the different classes of men with whom he acted? Do we discover this enthusiasm in the singular fact, that whilst he claimed power in the future world, and always turned men’s minds to heaven, he never indulged his own imagination, or stimulated that of his disciples, by giving vivid pictures or any minute description of that unseen state? The truth is, that, remarkable as was the character of Jesus, it was distinguished by nothing more than by calmness and self-possession. This trait pervades his other excellencies. How calm was his piety! Point me, if you can, to one vehement, passionate expression of his religious feelings. Does the Lord’s Prayer breathe a feverish enthusiasm? … His benevolence, too, though singularly earnest and deep, was composed and serene. He never lost the possession of himself in his sympathy with others; was never hurried into the impatient and rash enterprises of an enthusiastic philanthropy; but did good with the tranquillity and constancy which mark the providence of God.” (Philip Schaff, Person of Christ: The Perfection of His Humanity Viewed as a Proof of His Divinity, 1610-1623 (Kindle Edition); Hannibal, Missouri; Granted Ministries)
Over the years, many psychiatrists have testified of the amazing teaching of Jesus.
“For a specific illustration, I believe the following to be true: If you were to take the sum total of all the authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene—if you were to combine them, and refine them, and cleave out the excess verbage—if you were to take the whole of the meat and none of the parsley, and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon on the Mount. And it would suffer immeasurably through comparison. For nearly two thousand years the Christian world has been holding in its hands the complete answer to its restless and fruitless yearnings. And it might almost as well have been holding a slab of Egyptian hieroglyphics before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. Here, and in other great religious teachings of the world, rests the blueprint for successful human life, with optimum mental health and contentment. But there are, unfortunately, many self-avowed atheists and many agnostics who refuse to listen.” (Dr. James T. Fisher and Lowell S. Hawley, A Few Buttons Missing: The Case Book of a Psychiatrist, 3267-3275 (Kindle Edition); Muriwai Books)
“Jesus understood people. We know this because he is the most influential person in all of history. Entire cultures have been shaped, and countless individual lives transformed, as a result of his three-year itinerant ministry two thousand years ago. As a psychologist, I am fascinated with the question of why his teachings were so powerful. After years of study, I have found that a psychological understanding of the teachings of Jesus helps us see why his words had such an impact upon his followers. Using our best psychological theories today, I believe we can see how Jesus’s psychologically brilliant grasp of people made them want to listen to him….My study of contemporary psychoanalytic theories has allowed me to understand the teachings of Jesus in a different light that has enriched my life and the lives of my patients. Rather than finding the teachings of Jesus contradicted by these new psychological developments, I have found them illuminated as profound psychological insights that I had not understood before….I believe a number of spiritual principles in the teachings of Jesus can benefit us in our attempts to live psychologically healthy lives. I will be giving examples of how these spiritual principles apply to the lives of people today. The examples I use have been taken from the lives of people I have worked with, known, or read about.” (Mark W.Baker, Jesus, the Greatest Therapist Who Ever Lived, 242-284 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY; HarperCollins Publishers Inc.)
My friend, Jesus is not a liar or a lunatic. So what is left?
Jesus is Lord.
Yet you claim that perhaps the government is behind Jesus. I am not sure I understand your reasoning behind this; however, I am assuming it is similar to a theory that I have encountered with friends that I have studied with in Kentucky. It goes like this:
“The government wanted to make sure that people would remain in submission to them. So they created the Bible to try and brainwash people into believing the Bible and submitting to the government.”
Of course, this theory is very easy to refute.
First, if the Bible was designed to try and convince people to submit to the government, then it did a pretty bad job because so many heroes in the Bible were those who defied the government! A partial list of God-sanctioned lawbreakers would include Shiphrah and Puah (Exodus 1:21), Moses (Exodus 4-14), Elijah (1 Kings 17), David (1 Samuel 18-24), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego (Daniel 3), Daniel (Daniel 6), John the Baptist (Mark 6), Jesus (John 5, 18), Peter and John (Acts 3-4), all the Apostles (John 14-17), and many of the early Christians (Revelation 13). Indeed, the early Christians are reminded that they MUST obey God over the government if such conflict (Acts 5:29)!
Second, Jesus was clearly NOT the puppet of the government. All one needs to do is research how often He clearly opposed the governments of both the Jews and the Romans. When people wanted to make Him a political leader, Jesus refused (John 6:15)!
Third, the passage which conspiracy theorists most adhere to is Romans 13. In this text, Paul encourages Christians to submit to government. However, as noted above, this submission is not unconditional. Indeed, Paul’s entire line of reasoning in Romans 13 is that government is good when it is godly.
“(6) Paul demands submission to government only as long as the government functions as Paul says it should function in vv. 3–4. The government that rewards good and punishes evil deserves Christian obedience; but the government that begins doing the reverse forfeits its divine prerogative, and Christians are free to disobey it. 95 To be sure, Paul does not explicitly make our submission conditional on the way a government acts: vv. 3–4 are simply descriptive. But we must ask why Paul can describe government in such an unrelieved positive light when he knew very well that many governments do not, in fact, behave in this manner. And the answer may be that Paul is describing government as it should be. Perhaps, then, we are justified in thinking that Paul would require Christians to submit to government when it behaves in the way God intended it to behave. Thus, when a government arrogates to itself divine powers (as in the Revelation), Christians are no longer bound to it.” (Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (The New International Commentary on the New Testament), 808-809 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
Finally, NO government is able to account for the qualities of the Bible which document that it is the Word of God, nor for the many evidences which document that Jesus Christ is the Son of God!
My friend, Jesus Christ is not a facade, nor is the Bible a government conspiracy to force people to submit to unjust government.
Instead, the evidence clearly shows that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Matthew 16:13-19).
I believe that your lyrics clearly show why it is that people often reject the Bible. It has nothing to do with the evidence of God, the Bible, or Jesus Christ; instead, it has to do with a desire to lead a life that doesn’t want to acknowledge a righteous Judge. In your own words:
“This is my f_______ life and I’m living it, I’m having fun
If you really care for me, prove that I need to live carefully
But I’ll be d__________ if I put my own pleasure aside for an afterlife that isn’t even guaranteed
We are you, and you’re us, stop playing games
My life’s all I got, and heaven is all in my brain
And when I feel I am in hell, my ideas are what get me through pain
Do as you please, and I’ll just do me, I’m a human, I’ll stay in my lane.”
You hit the nail on the head.
It isn’t about evidence and truth with a lot of people; it is about wanting to live however you want to live without consequence. You rage against the idea that God has the right to instruct humanity how to live. Jesus pointed out that mankind’s condemnation is found in that even though the Light has come into the world, men loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19). Indeed, your lyrics remind me of the statement made by the famous atheist Aldous Huxley:
“I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently [I] assumed it had none and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption…. The philosopher… is also concerned to prove there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do…. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.” (Aldous Huxley, “Confessions Of A Professed Atheist,” Report: Perspective On The News (Vol. 3, June 1966):19)
The idea of “do as you please,’ and I’ll just do me….I’ll stay in my lane,” is the attitude that Satan himself displayed when he rebelled against God (Ezekiel 28:11-19). The consequences that Satan experienced (and which he will experience when Jesus returns) will be the same for everyone who follows his example:
Matthew 25:41-Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
I encourage you to please carefully consider these matters. The Son of God died for you, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). He invites all believers to repent (turn away from sin and to Jesus Christ as King) and be baptized (immersed in water at which point your sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ-Acts 2:37-47).
If I can help you in any way, please call upon me. My number is 606-216-1757, and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.