[Although this is obviously a parody, it is probably not too far removed from the ideal of many liberal Christians who would feel much more comfortable with a Jesus who seemed enlightened by the attitudes of our age rather than his. (In point of fact, many of his contemporaries didn’t regard him as being particularly enlightened.) A little reflection, however, brings to light some of the limitations of such a modest, mild-mannered, self-effacing, non-threatening Jesus. Not only would He be forever associated with a particular historical phase of human culture, but He would be deprived of that shattering self-confidence that has made Him, of all historical figures, the most authoritative and most fascinating.]
Christ did not say, “I give you my views for what they are worth. Go away and think them over quietly. I shall be gratified if you agree with me on all points, but I shall not be in the least hurt if you do not take my views, say, about eternal punishment, too seriously. After all, though, in some sense which I don’t rightly understand, I am the Son of God, I am also a Jew with the limitations of my age. I am much more interested in life than in theory, in practical rather than in doctrinal Christianity. If you do good to them that despitefully use you, you are Christians in the only intelligible sense of that term.”
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