Let one of my favorite fictional characters take over for a moment and I will get right back to you…
“I’m a Christian in the sense that I find Jesus Christ to be an admirable historical figure. I think the Sermon on the Mount is one of the greatest ethical statements and one of the best speeches in history. I think that ‘Love your enemy’ might even be the long-shot solution to the problem of nuclear war. I wish he was alive today. It would benefit everybody on the planet. But I think Jesus was only a man. A great man, a brave man, a man with insight into unpopular truths. But I don’t think he was God or the son of God or the grandnephew of God.”
–Ellie Aroway, in Carl Sagan’s Contact (1984)
Ah, yes. Ellie (Sagan) hits it right on the head, if you ask me. I have always felt this way (the last three sentences would be my amendments of the past few years). I was thrilled to read Sagan write that because it was what I have always wanted to say but just did not realize how.
I do not think it takes away from his greatness by saying that he was just a man. In fact, I think it does him great disservice to associate him with unrealistic claims as being the Son of God. If he were here now we would lock him up and call him crazy. Following his teachings is a great way to live your life, but I just cannot seem to understand the need to believe that he was a supernatural being. If that is the case, then there are many godlike people on the planet. Should they claim they are the progeny of a deity?