“When what [Jesus] says contradicts our illusions, we ignore him.”
- Rene Girard, 'I See Satan Fall Like Lightning’
One GIANT problem in the world today is that everyone assumes that they are reasonable, good, and probably right. Because this is our default setting, we often cannot even imagine that there are other reasonable, good, and maybe even right ways to view the world. This is especially true about faith and religious belief. Most people assume that those who believe something different are not only wrong but that they are deceived at best or quite possibly even evil. Needless to say, this makes reasonable conversation quite difficult. Unless and until we wake up, we will be unaware of our bias.
We simply do not know what we do not know.
This is not a new problem. It has been true as long as we have history to record it. The Gospels are full of stories about Jesus confronting teachings that everyone assumed were true, but that nearly everyone had wrong. “You have heard it said, but I tell you” is a constant refrain during Jesus most famous sermon (Matthew 5-7). This lead many people in Jesus day to first think that Jesus was deceived and eventually to see him as Evil. They even said he was probably demon possessed.
Jesus was fearlessly critical of his own tribe. He called them out for all of their hypocrisy while saying almost nothing about the Romans occupying them or other foreigners living amongst them.
A few questions to ponder:
- If Jesus was interviewed about circumstance in our country last week, what do you imagine him saying?
- Jesus death and crucifixion was perfectly legal and it was absolutely wrong. What things might be both legal and wrong today?
- As Christians, or really anyone else, should we be as critical of our own tribe as Jesus was of his? How would we do this?