Friday, February 17, 2012
"The Jeremy Linn Problem"
One of my former professors, Matt Hauge from Azusa Pacific University, recently shared this article on his twitter account: The Jeremy Linn Problem. If you're unaware (and there's no shame in that), Jeremy Linn is a Harvard grad who's raising eyebrows for the New York Knicks basketball team. Apparently, he's also quite devout in his faith... no relation to Tim Tebow. As the article points out, he's quite the anomaly. This article sheds some light on the tension that's created around religious athletes, perhaps especially around the Christian variety. It also raises some challenge to preachers who are addicted to using sports analogies in their sermons to illustrate spiritual commitment or discipline or whatnot. I think the article is a good conversation starter. What do you think?
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I think a great place to start is to discuss whether Jesus was actually a real living historical figure. Most experts in the field of academia known as "The Historicity of Christ" agree that there is no evidence. But then, with faith, who needs evidence, right?
I think there's plenty of evidence and I think that the majority of people who occupy such a category as "historicity of Christ" would probably be dispositioned against such evidence since such an academic category implies a presumption of negativity. The fact than ANY experts in such a field affirm it should serve as support for Jesus' historicity. But the Biblical manuscripts in their own rite, remarkable and complex as they are, should be taken as very strong evidence. Such dangerous and subversive claims as those in the New Testament are not to be taken lightly and must have been composed by a bunch of lunatics if it did not have any grounding in reality. In addition there is more than a little bit of extra-biblical evidence in support of Christ's historical existence.
As for which parts are literally historical and which parts are not, I care not to argue. Suffice to say that I am comfortable with the possibility that many things in the gospels are not to be read as literal historical documentation.
As you said, who needs evidence? Indeed, who cares if it happened if it does not change anything? The truth is, whatever you wish to argue about historicity, the truth of Christ is grounded in the lives of those who've placed their faith in him and have embodied his love in the world through the work of liberation and reconciliation. It changes things, indeed!
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