Is it possible that Jesus was delusional?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture 

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Question: I believe the Bible… but I have to admit that sometimes Jesus sounds delusional — even to me! His miracles help me, though… but not everybody believes in them. Is it possible that Jesus could have been delusional and that his followers propagated a ruse?

Answer: Greetings friend. It will be my pleasure to answer your question today — and it’s a good one! According to the Bible, Jesus said some things that could indeed have sounded like the ramblings of a crazy man. Perhaps this is why some of his contemporaries thought that his ability to exorcize demons came from the father of demons.

“But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” (Matthew 12:24, NIV)

But a lot of scholarship has occurred in the 2000 years since Jesus’ death… and I do not think their consensus is the Jesus was mad. In fact, their consensus is that Jesus was a true historical person whose teachings changed the world. Of course, secularists and antisupernaturalists will repudiate the idea that Jesus performed the miracles recorded in the Bible, and that kind of closed-mindedness would naturally prejudice any analysis.

Some antisupernaturalists argue that the accounts of Jesus’ miracles were added to his true history to enhance his legend. But even the secular scholars agree that his believers at least thought that he worked miracles among the people… and that they changed the world in no small part because they believed in them.

Today, we have the same problem as people had back then: we who believe in him, see him for who he is (John 3:3). But people who do not believe in him are stuck explaining him and his purported mighty works.

Now, anyone who looks at the data must acknowledge the impact Jesus had on the world — and that can (and it should be) an uncomfortable position for someone who does not hold a Christian worldview. CS Lewis took advantage of this.

Lewis explained the cognitive dissonance caused by the Jesus phenomenon with the following trilemma: Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic or the Lord. But with those in view, the thing you cannot say is that he was merely a great person… and leave it like that.

Other Christian thinkers had come to the same conclusion over the years, but Lewis got the most mileage out the idea. Today, the Josh McDowell Ministry uses that trilemma very effectively. So, rather than just repeat their work less effectively, let me give you a link to one of their articles. I think the best answer to your question will be found there.

I pray that all this helped you.

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