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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Sunday, September 18, 2005

God Or Mad

Growing up in a household where Protestantism and Roman Catholicism were distinctly practiced by each parent, I learned to become lukewarm to both faiths. While baptized a Roman Catholic, attendance in Sunday service at an Evangelical Baptist church was one of my father’s reminders that Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so.

As a growing teenager, faith was not exactly one of my greatest pursuits. Until I hit second year in college when I attended a talk entitled "Who is Jesus Christ?", the main proposition being the statement by C. S. Lewis that one either considers Jesus as God or dismisses him as a raving madman and goes further to set him apart from the founders of other world religions.

That particular challenge was raised in his book “Mere Christianity” and I quote the pertinent portions:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God?”

- o -

'There is no halfway house and there is no parallel in other religions. If you had gone to Buddha and said 'Are you the son of Brahma?' he would have said 'My son, you are still in the veil of illusion'. If you had gone to Socrates and asked, 'Are you Zeus' he would have laughed at you. If you had gone to Mohammed and asked 'Are you Allah?' he would first have rent his clothes and then cut your head off. If you had asked Confucius 'Are you heaven?' I think he would probably have replied, 'Remarks which are not in accordance with nature are in bad taste.' The idea of a great moral teacher saying what Christ said is out of the question. In my opinion, the only person who can say that sort of thing is either God or a complete lunatic suffering from that form of delusion which undermines the whole mind of man. If you think you are a poached egg, when you are not looking for a piece of toast to suit you, you may be sane, but if your are God, there is no chance for you. We may note in passing that He was never regarded as a mere moral teacher. He did not produce that effect on any of the people who actually met Him. He produced mainly three effects — Hatred — Terror — Adoration. There was no trace of people expressing mild approval.'

I realized that I could no longer take Jesus for granted. At the very least, if I did not believe his claims of Godhood, I would be liberated from living a lie, from the fear of death and the somehow “karmic” idea of reaping what you sow in the after life.

But if I believe that He was indeed the God-man who came down to bridge the great divide between the secular and the divine, between the Creator and his felled creatures, then I must live a life worthy to be called his disciple, I must be willing to take up his cross and follow him.

Or maybe, unlike C. S. Lewis, I can remain an affable agnostic, and like Gandhi, ascribe to Jesus the greatness of his teachings without necessarily surrendering my all to Him.

But the one reality that hit me was that the claims of Jesus demanded a response, one way or the other.

Subsequent writers have tried to picture the challenge of C. S. Lewis as a false dilemma. But however the arguments, the response to Jesus’ claims could not forever reside on an emotional plane because the selfless life that He led and the claims that He set out are so mind boggling that the intellect must either reject Him as a charlatan or acknowledge Him as God.

I have learned to accept His claims as the Son of God. This was arrived at neither by force of Catholic tradition nor by continuity of ecclesiastical habit but singularly, by an exhaustive intellectual assent to Jesus’ claims.

I have followed Jesus in earnest since my second year in the university. And while I may have frequently fallen and tried to look back at times, the Hound of Heaven has patiently kept pace with me and given me strength and courage, both in spirit and my intellect.

The journey is far from over and is often traversed with great difficulty and temptation but the passage is worth the taking because I am not alone in my walk, his rod and staff, they comfort me – until my course is run..

Praised be God.

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