Who is Jesus? Was He a Lunatic?

We established in our last entry that Christ could not have been merely a liar. He obviously didn’t claim to be God to avoid trouble and He chose the wrong people to go to if He was looking for power and notoriety. In addition, He had to truly believe that His claims were true in order to suffer the many atrocities that were committed against Him. Remember that no where in recorded history does He ever once reveal that He was a fraud. This includes sources outside the four Gospels, most notably Flavius Josephus who wrote:

“At this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of the people who received the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following both among many Jews and among many of Greek origin. And when Pilate, because of an accusation made by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him previously did not cease to do so. And up until this very day the tribe of Christians, named after him, has not died out.”

We are now left with second possibility, was Jesus a lunatic?

Webster’s dictionary defines paranoid schizophrenia as “schizophrenia characterized especially by persecutory or grandiose delusions or hallucinations or by delusional jealousy.” I think it is safe to say that someone who claims to be God, and is not, is suffering from “grandiose delusions” and “hallucinations.”

Josh McDowell writes in his book More Than a Carpenter, ”Someone who believes he is God sounds like someone today believing himself to be Napoleon. He would be deluded and self-deceived, and probably he would be locked up so he wouldn’t hurt himself or anyone else.”

What differentiates Jesus from someone who has paranoid schizophrenia? First and foremost, many of Jesus’ teaching were profound, well thought out, and well articulated.

Psychiatrist J. T. Fisher states,

“If you were to take the sum total of all authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene—if you were to combine them and refine them and cleave out the excess verbiage—if you were to take the whole of the meat and none of the parsley, and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon on the Mount. And it would suffer immeasurable through comparison. For nearly two thousand years the Christian world has been holding in its hands the complete answer to its restless and fruitless yearnings. Here…rests the blueprint for successful life with optimism, mental health, and contentment.”

Secondly, Jesus never exhibited any behavior during His ministry on earth that would indicate He was hallucinating or delusional. Look at notable cult leaders Jim Jones and David Koresh, then contrast them to what is recorded about Christ. The difference is obvious!

Keep in mind that the argument that the Gospels only record the positives is easily refuted. The religious leaders of the time had a vested interest in discrediting Christ any way they could. If there was evidence available, other than His claims to be God, which would have proven Him a false teacher they would have trumpeted it far and wide. Instead, they were left staring at an empty tomb wondering how they were going to handle damage control.

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