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Jesus' claims

Reader comment on item: Ban Islam?
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Submitted by Concerned European (Lithuania), Sep 14, 2007 at 05:03

[For if I scrap Jesus' claims to exclusivity because they are inconvenient to others I then justify the scrapping of anything else He said on the same grounds, and that by anybody.]

I think that scraping one of Jesus' claims does not yet mean scrapping all of them - every claim shall be evaluated according to its own merits. Many religious leaders claimed that they are "exclusive path" some believed it sincerely, some because they wanted to increase the fervor of their followers. It is what is called upaya or "skillful means" by Buddhists - it is using some claim which is not truthful in itself, yet which could push people with certain mental capabilities towards the truth, and there must naturally be different upayas for different classes of people. I think that Jesus used such upaya, because he did not want his disciples to disperse, knowing that they may have not find any other teacher. So he told he is the only way.

And since I hold Jesus to be a benevolent person I think his statement about the lake of brimstone was also an upaya for his disciples who were not yet very enlighted and still had strong spirit of vengeance in their hearts - be strong in your faith and do not fear persecutions, your enemies will be punished, but not punish them yourself. That is very different from the injunction to raid caravans and take justice into own hands. I think that Jesus that saw in his disciples what they really are - like small, capricious, impatient children - and as good father would do, he just coaxed them into right behavior.

Seeing from my perspective there is huge difference between the words of the two leaders. But seeing from your own perspective - of course if you indeed mean that Jesus really intended to accomplish wrathful revenge only postponing it later, he would not be much better than Muhammed.

As for "systematic theology", I think you should agree that Jesus certainly did not teach any sort of it, where you find it in the Gospels? He was not interested in any theory but rather in providing concrete guidance to people in concrete circumstances. All "systematic theologies" are only man made theories. I do not think they are necessarily bad because of that, but I do find it strange that you equate them with the teaching of Christ.

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