So You Think Jesus is a Lunatic Part II

People are often sincerely mistaken about their beliefs. Perhaps Jesus truly thought He was God, but He was just mistaken about it? We often make simple mistakes in our beliefs: I think I replied to a text that I didn’t, I think it’s Friday when in fact it’s Thursday (which is never fun to find out). And maybe Jesus was just confused about who he was.

Perhaps. But if so, this is not a small, everyday kind of confusion. It is confusion on a grand scale. As Peter Kreeft notes:

The size of the gap between what you are and what you think you are is a pretty good index of your insanity. If I believe I am the best writer in America, I am an egotistical fool, but I am not insane. If I believe I am Napoleon, I am probably near the edge. If I believe I am the archangel Gabriel, I am probably well over it. And if I believe I am God? … Would you send your children to Sunday school to be taught by a man who thought he was God?[1]

Indeed, this is why C. S. Lewis remarks that someone who genuinely believed he was the God that the Jews envisioned – the transcendent, personal, mighty God of heaven and earth – he would be on the same level as a “the man who says he is a poached egg.”

Is Jesus a Lunatic?

It is very, very difficult to take an honest look at Jesus and conclude that He is insane. Kreeft is helpful here as well:

There are lunatics in asylums who sincerely believe they are God. The “divinity complex” is a recognized form of psychopathology. Its character traits are well known: egotism, narcissism, inflexibility, dullness, predictability, inability to understand and love others as they really are and creatively relate to others.

In other words, this is the polar opposite of the personality of Jesus! More than any other man in history, Jesus had the three essential virtues every human being needs and wants: wisdom, love and creativity.

[1] He wisely and cannily saw into people’s hearts, behind their words. He solved insolvable problems.

[2] He also gave totally to others, including his very life.

[3] Finally, he was the most creative, interesting, unpredictable man who ever lived.

No one – believer, unbeliever or agnostic – was ever bored by him. The common verb predicated of those who met Jesus was thaumazo, “to wonder.” Lunatics are not wonderful, but Jesus was the most wonderful person in history. If that were lunacy, lunacy would be more desirable than sanity…

When we meet a lunatic, we are uncomfortable because we feel superior to him; when his enemies met Jesus, they were uncomfortable for the opposite reason. A lunatic does not make you feel personally challenged, only embarrassed and, eventually, bored. But Jesus made everyone feel challenged and uncomfortable, never bored. A lunatic is like darkness, Jesus was like light. A lunatic is like a man asleep, Jesus was the most wide awake of all men.[2]

The Absurdity of Jesus Being a Lunatic

Jesus is without a doubt the most influential human in history. So ask yourself: do you really think it’s rational to think that the most influential person in history ought to have been thrown in an insane asylum?

Furthermore, it is unrealistic to think that an insane Jesus was able to disciple the saints of the early church who turned the world upside down with their radical love for one another, care for the poor, and commitment to their cause. Why would they have followed an insane man? And how can an insane man inspire such hope and love?

Jesus simply could not have been a lunatic.

[1] Kreeft, 1827-1831
[2] Kreeft, 1883-1888, 1904-1910

Ok that makes sense.

You're going to have to do better than that.