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A hate group called American Atheist recently put up a billboard in times square calling on people to dump Jesus, specifically the billboard said “Dump the Myth.” One can only imagine if the words were written below a Hindu goddess, a Buddha or God forbid Muhammad. Despite the hate filled billboard and its far from seasonal message it is not something Christians need to give much mind to. People have been seeking to discredit Christians and write off Jesus for centuries.
In fact often those who “honestly” take on the “myth” of Jesus head on find themselves in the uncomfortable position of accepting that which they have sought to disprove. A famous example is Lou Wallace, the author of Ben Hur. He decided to take on the task of disproving Jesus and wiping him out of the historical record. After years of research and traveling the world to gather the necessary facts to achieve his end he came to an uncomfortable conclusion, Jesus was real. Abandoning his partially written manuscript he instead used his research as the basis for the iconic work for which he is now known. Similarly the famous Christian writer C. S. Lewis also traveled the road from atheist to believer as did the scientist Francis Collins. Even those that do not come to some sort of faith learn quickly the man is much more than a myth.
The truth is today only fools and the grossly misinformed refer to Jesus as a myth. He has more sources and more evidence to substantiate his time on earth than Socrates, Plato and Archimedes combined. Similarly, one might as well try to void the laws of gravity as to deny his influence on the world.
When Jesus walked the earth it was world of power and subjugation. Where survival was often contingent on looking after your own interest and keeping a low profile. It was in this environment that he preached forgiveness, giving to strangers and spreading love. Ideas that no other religious leader of significance had seen worthy to espouse. Ideas his followers would eventually take to all ends of the earth. Ideas that would prove to be a nearly all conquering force.
It is no coincidence that most international charities and hospitals for the poor are of Christian origin. Even under the Taliban there were Christian organizations giving food to the hungry and medicine to the sick. Ministering through love what they could not through word.
The teachings of Jesus set the standard by which we judge societies, people and ourselves. His words proved to be a civilizing force, one that led the world out of the Dark Ages and laid the foundations upon which modern society rests. If this was all he had accomplished it would be enough for the world to celebrate his life and make it the turning point of time and history. To them that accept him as more, Christmas is a celebration of all that is central to life. In the end his life was a gift beyond gifts whether you accept his divinity or not.
For those that see Jesus as merely a man of great historical and cultural significance it would pay them not to dismiss those that see in him as more. His influence is not merely based on the words he taught inside synagogues, on hillsides and beside seashores some two thousand years ago. It is also based on the devotion of his followers. Followers that welcomed death and endured the worst Roman torturers could dish out rather than deny him. Even those that walked beside him and knew him chose being crucified, burned from the inside out with hot lead and even boiled than to deny he arose from the dead.
It is also good to note that without Christ there would of been no force to raise civilization back up after the inevitable fall of Rome. No one to assure literacy would eventually spread to even the lowliest. No basis for the increases in knowledge, prosperity and art. All would of likely languished and disappeared as they had so many times before. Nor would the world have learned what it truly meant to be civilized.
It should be a self-evident truth for believers and non alike that Jesus was savior of the world in more ways than one. More than enough reason to wish all
“Whatever you do to the least of these you have done it unto me” Jesus Christ
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