God Is Unique

If Jesus was not an active political leader (like the so-called Zealots); if he desired no social revolution; if he did not seek a martyr’s death as proof of his message; if he led the life of a believer, awaiting God’s action but making no attempt to force God’s hand; if he was far from any desire for self-aggrandizement, and his whole life was an act of obedience to God’s will, his conduct becomes hard to understand. For by violence (cleansing of the Temple, creation of a movement among the people) he provoked violence against himself. What he suffered was the consequence of his act. In all this there is a flavor of militancy which is also unmistakable in other manifestations of his personality.

It’s amazing to see Karl Jaspers—a philosopher with a ridiculous name who writes some of the plainest and most pleasant philosophical prose I’ve ever read—attempt to humanize Jesus, a person who more than any other has become a symbol and a justification for what all kinds of different people desire: usually money, power, self-aggrandizement, or the disenfranchisement of the weak. Many others who are not so loud appear to use Jesus in order to allay their fear of death. But as for me, I think in all my years I’ve never thought of this human being as a human being; lately I’ve taken the Borgesian view and attributed his existence to a simple conspiracy, or even thought of deifying Judas, without whom Christianity would never have existed.

Part of me wants to say that it’s not easy to search for the motives of a person who lived twenty centuries ago—while at the same time we know enough about certain Roman Emperors to guess at what they were up to. But if Jesus Christ was God—logically difficult to believe—“Jesus shows little concern for logical consistency”—“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”—how can God forsake Himself?—if Jesus Christ was God, a position the agnostic is willing to entertain, then searching for a motive for his behavior is impossible, because the mind of god is by its very nature infinite and beyond our understanding. He can forsake Himself, and do anything else He wants, besides. As Ali Farka Toure says, God Is Unique.

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