Why do Christians seem to need a body? 3

Given that we are in the last days of Lent and almost to Good Friday, this is perhaps providential.

My automatic Google notification for “Aramaic” brought up a curious article from Psychology Today, It’s in the Bible…Isn’t It?” This is not a publication I read so I am unfamiliar with Stephen Mason, Ph.D. who is apparently nationally known for his writing and radio show. Nor do I know about his earlier article from last month where he addressed the question of an historical Jesus. In this column, however, he decides to poke again at this question and offers a poorly frame “quiz” of biblical knowledge. Apparently in an attempt to show us that he knows the Bible, having read it once as an undergraduate. Sadly, he begins by showing his own ignorance.

Last month, I wrote a column based on a documentary DVD titled: “The God Who Wasn’t There.” In a nutshell, it questions the existence of a historic Jesus Christ. I don’t know if there ever was such a person but, then again, does it really matter?

Look at Buddhism. Like Christianity, it has now split into numerous sects though no one can be sure about its titular head – Buddha. Was he a real person? Supposedly his friends called him Siddhartha and he died from either a mesenteric infarction or a bad truffle. But maybe he never lived. This was, after all, a couple of thousand years ago. Anyway, while Buddhists are happy enough with the message, Christians seem to need a body. Why this should be so, I don’t know.

The Body of Christ

"The Body of Christ" Used under Creative Commons license.

Assuming he is truthful in saying that he doesn’t know why a “body” is so necessary to Christianity (and I have no reason to think he is lying), he clearly does not remember much of the Bible he read so long ago nor bothered to learn even the most rudimentary facts about Christianity.

Why should Christians need a body? Because unlike Buddhism where the emphasis is upon the teachings and practices of the founding teacher, Christianity is that and more. As an aside and to make this point, when Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ1 came out a rabbi friend of mine complaining about the violence said he did not understand why the movie had to be about the crucifixion, why not the Sermon on the Mount. “After all,” he said, “it is not like the crucifixion is central to Christianity.” Except it is.

It is true that the teachings and life example of Jesus are vitally important to Christianity, but the reason a real, bodily Jesus is necessary for Christianity is because his death was an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.2 This fundamental teaching is clear in all of the New Testament, particularly Paul’s letters and the letter to the Hebrews. If there was no Jesus/no body then there was no sacrifice and thus no atonement of sins. So while the doc may not know why Christians insist on a real, historical Jesus. This is what makes “Good Friday,” otherwise a brutal and bloody affair, good.

So perhaps Dr. Mason will read this post and learn why it is that Christians need a body.

  1. We showed this movie Tuesday night as the final film in our Reel Jesus film festival. I may blog on it later, but Man! what an exhausting film. I have such mixed feelings about it, but one thing is clear it is a powerful film. []
  2. Notice that I am not even addressing the question of whether or not he really existed, but why Christians “seem to need a body.” []

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3 thoughts on “Why do Christians seem to need a body?

  • Chris Brady Post author

    So I wandered over to see any new comments posted. Wow! Assuming the person posting as “Stephen Mason, Ph.D.” really is the good doctor then he is…well, not worth reading. His responses to others criticisms are puerile and arrogant, not unlike the conversations we used to have as 13 year old boys. But then we were THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. Case in point:

    It is called faith
    Submitted by Kerri on March 25, 2010 – 11:06am.
    I guess that would depend on your definition of intelligent. There are many who think they are smarter than God, once again bringing us back to the verse – Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (read the whole chapter and you see just how it describes our world today)

    Believing the Word of God is called FAITH -Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    I do believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. Whether or not YOU consider me intelligent I really don’t care. I care much more about what God thinks.

    I will say this though Mr.Benedict-Mason, I think you are fighting awful hard against something that you don’t believe is real. Your arrogancy is appalling. You can fight the truth all you want, but all the fighting and pretending isn’t going to fill that emptiness inside you and it isn’t going to make the doubt that you might be wrong that you have buried way inside and would deny to your dying breath go away, but Jesus can do that for you, for as much as you may fight it – He loves you.

    Submitted by Stephen Mason, Ph.D. on March 26, 2010 – 8:49am.
    “He loves you.”

    And what’s more, he loves me twice as much as he loves you. When the Lord spake unto Moses (Leviticus) he said that a male is worth about double that of a female…so why don’t you just go and make some pies, Girlie!

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