Was Jesus a Liar?

If, when Jesus mad his claims, he knew that he was not God, then he was lying and deliberately deceiving his followers. But if he was a liar, then he was also a hypocrite because he taught others to be honest whatever the cost. Worse than that, if he was lying, he was a demon because he told others to trust him with their eternal destiny. If he couldn't back up his claims and knew it, then he was unspeakably evil for deceiving his followers with such a false hope. Last, he would also be a fool because his claims to being God led to his crucifixion--claims he could have backed away from to save himself even at the last minute.

It amazes me to hear so many people say that Jesus was simply a good moral teacher. Let's be realistic. How could he be a great moral teacher and knowingly mislead people at the most important point of his teaching--his own identity?

To conclude that Jesus was a deliberate liar doesn't coincide with what we know either of him or of the results of his life and teachings. Wherever Jesus has been proclaimed, we see lives change for the good, nations change for the better, thieves become honest, alcoholics become sober, hateful individuals become channels of love, unjust persons embrace justice.

William Lecky, one of Great Britain's most noted historians and a fierce opponent of organized Christianity, saw the effect of true Christianity on the world. He writes: "It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world and ideal which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has inspired the hearts of men with an impassioned love; has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and conditions; has been not only the highest pattern of virtue, but the strongest incentive to its practice...The simple record of these three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists."

Historian Philip Schaff says: "This testimony [that Jesus was God], if not true, must be downright blasphemy or madness...Self-deception in a matter so momentous, and with an intellect in all respects so clear and sound, is equally out of the question. How could he be and enthusiast or a madman who never lost the even balance of his mind, who sailed serenely over all the troubles and persecutions, as the sun above the clouds, who always returned to the wisest answer to tempting questions, who calmly and deliberately predicted his own death on the cross, his resurrection on the third day, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the founding of his Church, the destruction of Jerusalem--predictions which have been literally fulfilled? A character so original, so complete, so uniformly consistent, so perfect, so human and yet so high above all human greatness, can be neither a fraud nor fiction. The poet, as has been well said, would in this case be greater than the hero. It would take more than a Jesus to invent a Jesus."

Elsewhere Schaff gives convincing argument against Christ being a liar: "How in the name of logic, common sense, and experience, could an impostor--that is a deceitful, selfish, depraved man--have invented, and consistently maintained from the beginning to end, the purest and noblest character known in history with the most perfect air of truth and reality? How could he have conceived and carried out a plan of unparalleled beneficence, moral magnitude, and sublimity, and sacrifice his own life for it, in the face of the strongest prejudice of his people and age?"

If Jesus wanted to get people to follow him and believe in him as God, why did he go to the Jewish nation? Why go as a common carpenter in an undistinguished village in a country so small in size and population? Why go to a country that so thoroughly adhered to the concept of one God? Why didn't he go to Egypt, or even to Greece, where they already believed in various gods and various manifestations of them?

Someone who lived as Jesus lived, taught as Jesus taught, and died as Jesus died could not have been a liar.

from: More Than a Carpenter
by: Josh and Sean McDowell


Katie said…
Wow, thats an awesome article! My dad has that book, "More Then A Carpenter"...I'm going to have to borrow it from him and read it. Sounds awesome.
bug said…
Yet again I'm wishing for a "like" button! :) This is really good!!