This is what a human being is comprised of:-
- Fat enough for seven bars of soap
- Iron enough for one medium sized nail
- Sugar enough for seven cups of tea
- Lime enough to white wash one chicken shed
- Magnesium enough for one dose of salts
- Phosphorous enough to tip two thousand two hundred matches
- Potash enough to explode one toy crane
- Sulfur enough to rid one dog of fleas
Further, it is said that I think 80% of the body is water? When one analyses mankind scientifically and so clinically, it is a wonder we actually exist.
Now I do not usually write much about theology but I have written a treatise about the trials of Jesus Christ. Is there really probative evidence that Jesus Christ actually lived? Look at the chart below:-
|Ancient Writing||Thucydides history||Caesar’s Gallic War||Tacitus Histories||The Four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John|
|(A) Date of original document||(B) 460-400BC||58-50 BC||AD 100||65-90AD|
|(B) Oldest surviving copy||900 AD||850 AD||800 AD|| 350 AD
|(C) Approx time between (A) & (B)||1300 years||900 years||700 years|
|(D) Number of ancient copies in existence today||8||10||2||Over 5000 plus|
On 25 December 1933 the British Government purchased for £100,000 from the Russian Government an ancient copy of the New Testament which is housed in the British Museum. Another copy the Russians hold in ‘Leningrad.’ They also hold a copy of the Hebrew Scriptures – quite incredible.
There are really only a few men who have founded a religious movement. Each needed time in which to make his influence felt. Look at the list below:-
- Confucius (The great Chinese Teacher) died in 479 BC, aged 72.
- Gautama The Buddha (Founder of Buddhism) died in 483 BC, aged 80
- Muhammad (Founder of Islam) died in AD 632, aged 62
- Karl Marx (The mind behind communism) died in 1883, aged 64.
Now, if you think, Jesus died in AD 30, and was in his early thirties, spent only three years in the public eye, and those, spent in a remote place. When he died he left no writings and only a few dispirited, demoralized followers. Yet, the impact of Jesus was greater than any of those above. We don’t remember him for just one day, a year, but the whole world bases the whole calendar on his life. Men continue to influence the world after death in two ways:- (i) their writings and (ii) their followers. Jesus left no writings and his short life did make a powerful impact upon a few but this was cancelled by the shattering blow of his early death. How then did he do it? Only one answer: – he lived on in Spirit and continues to exert an influence after his death. Imagine if he had lived as long as The Buddha?
Can I now direct you as to how to approach this fact about Jesus and by the way, although he is often called Jesus of Nazareth it may be a surprise to know that nowhere in the Old Testament can the town of Nazareth be found. It is applied to Jesus in the New Testament. The Old Testament has the term ‘Nazirite’ but that is an office, not a place. Funny though in July 1955 the month, and year, I was born excavations found that Nazareth did exist in Galilee well before the time of Jesus.
This is how I approached the issue:-
As I know only too well there are times in life that we all weigh facts and beliefs and are expected to make a judgment call. Let me recount an imaginary story. During the Iraq war Captain Wilson of the US Military worked with Mr. Salah of the Iraqi Freedom Fighters against the Regime. On one occasion both Captain Wilson and Mr. Salah had a dangerous mission and almost certain that those who volunteered would be killed. Mr. Salah’s only son Abdul volunteered and with much grief Mr Salah allowed his only son to go on the mission.
The mission succeeded but Abdul was killed.
After that Mr Salah told Captain Wilson that they must alter their tactics and he warned Captain Wilson that he would see him do things he might not at all understand. At one time Captain Wilson saw Mr. Salah help the US Military and Freedom Fighters and at other times saw him hand men over to the Iraqi Regime. Sometimes, Mr. Salah even appeared in Iraqi military uniform.
However, Captain Wilson had faith and belief in Mr. Salah who after all had permitted his only son Abdul to die on a mission. Because of this Captain Wilson had no doubt Mr. Salah could be trusted. He could not understand but knew there was a reason why Mr. Salah behaved that way.
When the U.S Military took occupation of Iraq, Mr. Salah sat down with Captain Wilson and explained to him what at that time he could not understand.
Now an atheist would only consider part of the evidence and believe Mr. Salah was a traitor.
A Christian is as Captain Wilson: – he is bewildered by things he cannot understand and his faith is tested to the maximum but knowing that God sent his only son to die for us, as did Mr. Salah gives the faith required.
Did the prodigal son or the Good Samaritan exist outside the imagination of Jesus? Did Jesus really know of a widow who harassed a Judge, or a woman who lost a coin? I say, who cares. If Jesus invented those people to illustrate the truth he wanted to communicate it simply does not matter. It would be like refusing to take a novel seriously because the characters are fictitious. Parables and novels can teach profound truths.
What have been the benefits of Christianity today? Well I will give you a couple of examples:-
- Shelter resulted from prominent Christians who set it up but it is not particularly a Christian foundation. Shelter resulted from the united concerns of five organisations. The Notting Hill Housing Trust, the Catholic Housing Aid Society, The National Federation of Housing Associations, Christian Action and the British Churches Housing Trust. The first Chairman on 1 December 1966 when Shelter was formed was a Christian Minister Bruce Kenrick.
- Samaritans like Shelter is not particularly a Christian organisation and regardless of the beliefs men and women are invited to become helpers. The phones are answered night and day, every day. So many people commit suicide each year and in prison suicide is ever on the increase. Do you know how it was formed? In 1953 a London Rector Chad Varah became aware that a large number of people were suicidal in London and invited those that felt down to ring ‘Mansion House 9000.’ Almost like a glen Millar Song. With a few years his simple idea has grown into an international movement.
I can name many more like The Salvation Army, The Quakers and Brethren, The Ark and so many more.
A lot of work is done in the name of Christ with little publicity and little desire for such. Work with young people, centres for homeless men and women, communities for drug addicts, handicapped and those who have mental health issues.
Finally, I need to address belief. I sent a letter to my son recently about belief.
Let me give you an example. If, a doctor believes that boring a hole in your head will cure headaches, tough on the patient. False beliefs, even sincerely held false beliefs can be disastrous. In fact the more sincere the Doctor is about boring a hole in your head, the worse it will be. The most sincere terrorist is the most dangerous of all.
- Why did the Nazis cause so much havoc in Europe? They sincerely believed that the German race was the most superior and could rule the world.
- Why did America drop the Atom Bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945? They sincerely believed (i) it would shorten the war and (ii) ‘impress’ the Russian Government.
If you want a job working for Ml6 or Ml5 you need to be vetted first. The Government must know what you believe first otherwise no matter how good you are, it’s too risky.
To bypass such, most Governments just go in for brainwashing.
Is Britain one of those countries?
We shall see next time.
From Jesus to beliefs, I hope you see the connection!!!!
NB: Some images retrieved from Google, will remove at owner’s request.
Letters written by Giovanni Di Stefano and deciphered, typed and published by Caroline