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Tag: Humanity of Jesus

Was Jesus Anxious?

who is the real jesus

Have you seen the He Gets Us TV ads and video clips? Funded and produced by The Signatry, the $100,000,000 He Gets Us campaign is meant to globally reach skeptics and unbelievers with the message of Jesus.

Ministry Watch had this to say about The Signatry and their He Gets Us campaign:

A $100 million media campaign is attempting to attract people who are skeptical about Christianity but may relate to Jesus by highlighting his upbringing as a homeless, bullied son of a teenage mother.

The “He Gets Us” campaign, which launched in mid-March, is an initiative of The Signatry, a Christian foundation based in Kansas that is channeling more than $100 million in funding from what it describes as “like-minded families who desire to see the Jesus of the Bible represented in today’s culture with the same relevance and impact He had 2000 years ago.” 

The Signatry has bought time for its advertisements on broadcasts of the NCAA’s popular March Madness basketball tournament as part of a blitz on TV, radio, billboard and social media.

Jason Vanderground, president of Haven, a creative hub based in Michigan that is working with The Signatry on the project, said the initiative is based on broad research.

“We talked to thousands of people who, while of course they have heard of Jesus, they don’t know the full extent of His ministry,” he said in a statement to Religion News Service. “We see a light go on for them when they begin to recognize that Jesus was fully human — and that carries them forward in being able to take in and understand that He was fully God, too.”

In a 15-second spot called “Anxiety,” black-and-white photos show people in despair, hands to their heads, before the words “Jesus suffered anxiety, too” appear on the screen. On YouTube, viewers are told in the video’s memo field: “Yet, despite this total failure to quell his anxiety, Jesus found the strength to face his accusers and submit to them willingly and without violence — knowing that his death would only further spread his message of radical love.”

The campaign’s website, offering alternatives to an “increasingly divisive and mean-spirited world,” gives visitors the option to chat online, to text to ask for a volunteer to “pray encouragement for you” or access a seven-day Bible reading plan. Gloo, the Colorado-based technology partner for the campaign, is training the volunteers who connect with those seeking to chat or receive prayer.

The Signatry, also known as Servant Foundation, defines itself as existing “to inspire and facilitate revolutionary, biblical generosity.” It reported gross receipts of more than $658 million on a 2020 tax form. In 2018, it reported having more than $1 billion in contributions.

Partners who have joined the initiative include the Luis Palau Association, the National Association of Evangelicals and Christianity Today magazine.

I have seen numerous He Gets Us advertisements. The objective appears to be to present the humanity of Jesus in a non-threatening way. In doing so, they seem to ignore the obvious theological contradictions in their approach. Take the ad that states “Jesus suffered anxiety, too.”

Video Link

Did Jesus really experience anxiety? One could make the case from Jesus’ travail in the Garden of Gethsemane over his impending crucifixion that he experienced anxiety. That’s assuming, of course, the Gethsemane events even happened.

Elsewhere in the Bible, particularly in the writings of Paul, Christians are commanded to not be anxious; that “worry” is a sin that reflects a lack of trust and dependence in God. Thus, if Jesus was anxious (worrying) over his impending death, doesn’t that mean he was sinning? Shouldn’t Jesus have put his complete, absolute trust and dependence in his Father and his perfect sovereign will? The Bible says that Jesus was a lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. This means Jesus, who is God, knew exactly what would happen at his crucifixion. He knew the exact date, time, and place these events would take place. Why would Jesus be anxious over things he had known for thousands of years would happen at an appointed date, time, and place?

Now, if Jesus were fully human, and not divine, then, yes, I can understand why he might be anxious. But, as the God-Man? If the writings of the Apostle Paul are true, then Jesus sinned against God (himself — weird, right?) if he had any anxiety whatsoever over his impending death. (Please see I Wish Christians Would be Honest About Jesus’ Three Day Weekend.)

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Did Jesus Go Through the Terrible Twos?

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Cartoon by Emily Flake

According to the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, Jesus was just like us. Well, almost anyway. Jesus was not one hundred percent human. He was a God-man hybrid. Evangelical theologians will argue that Jesus was all man and all God. Called the hypostatic union, the humanity of Jesus was perfectly joined with his divinity. This belief, if thought about for longer than two nanoseconds leads to all sorts of questions. When Jesus performed miracles, was it God-Jesus performing them or Human Jesus? When Jesus was nailed to a Roman cross, which Jesus was crucified? If Jesus at that moment was fully human, does this mean that he was not God? And if he was not God, where did his divinity go? So many questions, for which Evangelical theologians have no satisfactory answers.

Evangelicals believe that Jesus was fully human, yet without sin. Can someone be human and not sin? If it was impossible for Jesus to sin — the impeccability of Christ — can it really be said he was fully human? Did Jesus ever lust after a woman (or a man)? Did Jesus ever masturbate? Did Jesus ever curse or lose his temper after a long day of working with his dull-headed disciples? Did Jesus want to assault or kill Judas when he found out Judas had betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver? Think of all the emotions and behaviors that are common among mere mortals. Did Jesus experience any of these things? Or was he a cyborg of sorts; a Westworld AI figure created to perform a certain function? (A separate question is whether Jesus was a created being, much like Lucifer or other angels?)

If Jesus was fully human, how was it possible for his mother to be a virgin when he was born? Science tells us that human life requires an egg from a woman and sperm from a man. If Joseph didn’t have sex with Mary before the birth of Jesus, how, exactly did Mary’s egg become fertilized? I am sure that a theologically astute Evangelical is reading this and getting ready to educate me on the finer points of virgin births, but any explanation he gives is sure to lead to more and more questions. Evangelicals believe that the third part of the Holy Trinity — the Holy Ghost/Spirit — impregnated Mary. So, the Holy Spirit was human too? If not, does this mean that God has testes? How did the Holy Spirit deliver the sperm to Mary’s womb? Did they have an out-of-body sexual encounter? Did the Holy Spirit ask Mary’s permission before inserting his perfectly sized penis in her vagina? Or did the Holy Spirit rape Mary? And since the Evangelical God is the great three-in-one, each part equal to the other, doesn’t this mean that Jesus was his own father? So many questions, for which there are no satisfactory answers.

Jesus died at the age of thirty-three. If Jesus was fully human, this meant that he went through the same growth periods as the rest of us. Did Jesus have to be potty trained? How was his aim? Did Jesus whine and cry when he didn’t get his way? Did seven-year-old Jesus ever use his God-powers to win a game or to exact revenge on the neighborhood bully? Since there never was a time while on earth that Jesus was not a God-man, it’s fair to ask if Jesus ever went through the terrible twos. Or was Jesus the perfect toddler, a child who never whined, cried, threw his toys, or hit his siblings? So many questions, for which there are no answers.

Evangelicals are expected to swallow the Jesus myth without question. They are expected to accept without question the picture painted by two thousand years of Christian church history. Don’t think, just believe. Some things are great mysteries, preachers tell their congregants. Some things are too high and too deep for us to understand. In such times, God wants us to just believe. When in doubt, brethren, run to the house of faith and all will be well. Someday, God will make all things known to us!

And so it goes. Faith continues its assault on reason, promising that if people will just believe what’s found in the Christian Bible, life in Heaven awaits them after they die. Those of us who walked away from Christianity had questions for which we found no satisfactory answers. Daring to intellectually, critically, and skeptically think about the central claims of Christianity left us with more and more questions; so much so that a hill of questions turned into an insurmountable mountain. It’s not that we didn’t want to believe — we did. However, we were unwilling to surrender our minds to a religious system that seemed increasingly at odds with what we knew about the world. It may seem to be a silly, trite question to ask, “Did Jesus go through the terrible twos?” but underneath this question lies a whole host of questions about the central claims and teachings of Christianity. 

To Evangelical apologists who are determined to evangelize atheists, agnostics, and skeptics, I suggest that you come up with better answers to our questions. The onus is on you. Provide rational answers to our questions. Pretend that you actually know and understand that we live in the twenty-first century. Stop using anti-scientific arguments and explanations. Stop expecting people to just “believe.” Promising forgiveness of sin and eternal life in Heaven will never assuage our doubts and questions. In fact, the very notions of “sin” and “Heaven” only lead to more questions. 

Evangelicals have a choice to make. Either put forth persuasive answers for the questions of moderns or throw in the towel and admit that Christianity can no longer intellectually satisfy and meet the needs of mere mortals. Maybe, just maybe, Christianity has outgrown its utilitarian usefulness. The world is engulfed in a pandemic that is causing untold personal and economic devastation. What does Evangelicalism offer the world in this time of crisis? Words. Just words. If Jesus can be born of a virgin, surely he can stop the Coronavirus. Praying and hoping for the best no longer works. For those of us who have rejected the claims of Christianity, we have turned to science. An imperfect god, to be sure, but one that physically and demonstrably delivers on what it promises. The God of Evangelicalism, on the other hand, delivers words, words, and more words, without ever delivering on his promises. Most of the Americans getting sick and dying from COVID-19 are Christians — people of faith. If the Jesus who never whined, cried, or threw a temper tantrum can’t or won’t save those who slavishly devoted their lives to him, pray tell why should atheists, agnostics, and other unbelievers give a moment’s thought to the claims of Christianity?

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Bruce Gerencser