My next statement is one-hundred percent correct. Not one person who saw my headline thought to himself or herself, "Jesus Christ… who is that?" Perhaps some of you thought I was swearing. Others, no doubt, are offended that I should use the name of Jesus in such a manner. In any case, the name rings a bell for everyone.
The name Jesus is familiar in nearly every corner of the globe. For the Jews, Jesus was a Rabbi who stirred things up at a particular time in history. The Muslim's Quran speaks of Jesus as one of the great Prophets, created miraculously. Muslims believe that Jesus did not die on the cross, but ascended to Heaven while still alive.
Christians believe Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. Then he arose from the dead and ascended to heaven. This is central to the Christian faith, because the entire reason for Jesus' coming was to defeat the consequences of sin, and eternal death. Christians believe that Jesus took the death penalty of sin upon Himself, and paid the price on our behalf.
Of course, there are people who declare themselves to be Christians, but for no significant reason other than an adherence to a social philosophy. Sort of like wearing a tee shirt, that declares an allegiance to the writings of Voltaire or Rousseau.
Other religions (including Islam) have arisen since the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. All of them are forced to deal with the name and person of Jesus Christ, in order to make room for their own existence. Jehovah Witnesses declare that Jesus Christ was really Michael the Archangel prior to his birth. Upon his death, they believe that He did not return to Heaven as God the Son, but once again as Michael the Angel.
Mormons believe that Jesus was a created being: the elder brother of Lucifer (otherwise known as Satan, or the Devil). They believe that Jesus was "a god", rather than an inseparable member of the one Godhead, otherwise known as the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). They also believe Jesus was not conceived by the Holy Spirit, but that "God" had sex with Mary as a man, and conceived Jesus just as any other man would have been conceived.
Our secular or atheist brethren deal with Jesus on a sliding scale, from recognizing Him as a historical but insignificant figure, all the way to an absolute denial that there ever was such a person. I presume that agnostics could not care less, one way or the other.
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