Mark Osler and the wrongful conviction of Jesus

Please check out Mark Osler’s recent contribution to the Huffington Post, Jesus Christ, Capital Defendant.

You will also want to check out the tone deaf comments that follow Mark’s excellent piece.  They help explain my longing for a new kind of Christianity.

We are proud to have Professor Osler on the Friends of Justice board.

6 thoughts on “Mark Osler and the wrongful conviction of Jesus

  1. Alan.

    What you want is people who take heed of what Jesus of Nazareth actually said and are not blinded by the glory of the son of God.

    It seems to me that there is something in human nature that means that the words of wise men which run counter to the principles that maintain the proper privilege hierarchy tend to become obscured with time. The words of a wise man may become the source of a religion, but the religion over time will change to obscure as much as possible the ideas which started it.

  2. One of the ideas that obscures what Jesus actually said is the belief that he is the son of God. His words are meaningful not because they are wise in themselves but because the son of God spoke them. However somehow believing in the “Son of God” makes taking notice of what Jesus actually say unnecessary.

    This is not the only reason so many people who call themselves “Christian” seem to ignore the most important implications of Jesus’ words. Social hierarchies protect themselves by twisting the meanings of ideas when those ideas tend to undermine the legitimacy of the position of those higher in the hierarchy.

    The tendency of meanings to twist will never go away, were the reincarnation of Jesus to return tomorrow and bring a new message he would have to fight against the dying remnants of his old message that has been strangled by 2000 years of Christianity. Once he departed again the same process of perversion would start with his new message.

    The battle to keep the essential truth of Jesus’ message against the obscuring attempts of the good people high in the social hierarchy can never cease. Alan you are doing your part, the fact that you are a follower of Jesus of Nazareth is far more important than that you call yourself a Christian.

  3. Yes, it is an excellent piece. There is no inherent reason why we can’t see Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God without losing sight of his humanity. As a practical matter, unfortunately, your critique is on target. In Luke’s Gospel (chapter 9, verse 35) three of Jesus’ disciples witness a mountain meeting between Jesus and two men (whom they take to be Moses and Elijah). Suddenly, a cloud descends on the scene and the voice of God says, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him.” Luke realized that the glorficiation of the Son can have an unfortunate effect on the faculty of hearing. In order to hear Jesus clearly and take him at his word, many disciples are forced to deny that Jesus is the Son of God in any special sense. Those who see Jesus as the Son have a hard time grasping his humanness. It takes a conscious struggle to hold the two together. I believe Jesus is the Son of God precisely because his teaching is the furthest thing from human wish fulfillment. The church’s problem has been complicated by the Gospel of John which, for all its theological depth, loses sight of the humanity of Jesus. This suggests that the God-carpenter problem set in early and tells us more about the wiring of the human mind than it tells us about Jesus. The Jesus of popular Christianity plays the role of Savior; his teaching on other subjects is ignored because it has no obvious connection to eternal salvation. Jesus had little to say about eternal salvation (apart from John’s Gospel) and much to say about the kind of spiritual transformation that allows us to enter the kingdom of God. But I digress.

  4. Having grown up as an atheist, simply by default, that was baptized by the fire of evangelicals early in life, I find this kind of discussion intriguing and inviting. I could wish someone explained this kind of Jesus to me before I was called a heathen, made-fun of, thrown out of social circles, talked down to by parents, literally stoned on the playground, etc. I will chase down Mr. Osler’s book.

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