[Like this cartoon? Or know a theologian or student of theology who would? Buy a print!]
The conversation’s increasing around the idea that the whole Christian narrative and the stories of Jesus is completely mythological. There’s interest and dismay about it as if it’s a new and exciting discovery.
Bultmann is probably the biblical scholar and theologian most remembered for his project, the demythologization of Jesus. Bultmann claimed it was no longer plausible for Christians to believe the mythological worldview of the New Testament.
Albert Schweitzer was another one passionate about the historical Jesus. He concluded in his book The Quest of the Historical Jesus:
“The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the kingdom of God, who founded the kingdom of heaven upon earth and died to give his work its final consecration never existed. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in a historical garb.”
So it’s not a new thing, and the more research and speculations that occur will only raise more suggestions that the image of Jesus we have in our head and the presence of Jesus we have in our hearts is a construct.
Personally, I think this is a good thing. It is good to question and challenge our most basic and primal instincts, fears, and defenses.
I wrote recently that belief is the drug and faith is the high. That is, we believe in something because it makes us feel good. That’s why it’s so difficult to give up a belief because it means giving up the feelings it arouses. In this cartoon, Bultmann is saying goodbye, necessarily, to the Jesus he once knew because of the rigor of his intellect.
This is one of the most frightfully challenging stages to go through. I know! Read yesterday’s post to understand more where I’m coming from.
Are you experiencing this? Come join us at The Lasting Supper and let’s talk about it!