Chapter seven of The Handbook of Christian Apologetics lamely attempts to prove that Jesus was God. It starts off by trying to pave the way for this claim by affirming Jesus's reliability and sanity. The logic is that there is no barrier to believing in Jesus' sanity so when he claimed to be God then his claim could be true. What if Jesus had been clearly insane but the miracles and all were still happening. What if the sane teaching was down to the Holy Spirit? He even told the disciples not to prepare their defence if the persecutors put them on trial for their lives for the Holy Spirit will do the talking for them.

Handbook of Christian Apologetics Says

Jesus was either God, or lied that he was God, was a lunatic thinking he was God, or the claim that he was God was a myth created about him or he claimed to be God in the sense that Hindus believe they are God. If Jesus lied about being God he was the most evil liar ever. He wasn’t evil so he told the truth.

Reason replies:

Jesus could have wrongly thought he was God WITHOUT being a lunatic. If the Roman Catholic Church was a very small sect it would be dismissed as mad by the world for believing things like that baptism takes away the tendency to sin and that priests forgive sins and priests turn food and drink into the body and blood of Jesus. It’s only because it is so big that the Church gets away with its craziness. The point is that every religion teaches ideas that are on a par with a man claiming to be God.

Millions of people who are paragons of honesty lie when they can get away with it. Yet page 155 dishonestly takes it for granted that Jesus was trustworthy and says that anybody who reads the gospels knows that. But anybody who writes about an idol usually leaves out the critical bits and besides there are many who see the gospel Jesus as evil incarnate because of what they read. Most people have faults in their ethical outlook and are not qualified to make the judgement that Jesus was integrity itself.

It is also dishonest to say that Jesus was not a liar for no man in his circumstances could have gotten away with that. What you can get away with depends on what people want to think of you and the popularity of Jesus shows that people did want to think highly of him.

The argument dishonours Jesus for it reasons that Jesus isn’t as important as what people thought of him!

But whatever happened at the time of the alleged resurrection could have made sure that even if Jesus had failed and had been found out he would soon have been rehabilitated. It was easy for Jesus if he wanted to claim to be God for he had supporters who might have been willing to see him as God so he might have lied. Then it argues that Jesus was too nice to have been a liar and that when he gave up all he had and his life for what he said he must have been telling the truth for liars don’t do that but are after money and power and fame. Jesus certainly did court fame and the gospels say this courting was very successful. If he hadn’t then the Christians should be wondering if perhaps Jesus was a masochist? Conveniently, that possibility is left out of this manipulative book. Another problem is the thought that if Jesus claimed to be God he had to be telling the truth for the Jews would be far too unlikely to have believed in him then for they were strict monotheists. This argument is dishonest because the Bible-believers believe that Jesus claimed to be God and had loads of fans among the Jews and so many in fact that the high priest had to work out a discreet plan to apprehend him.

Then it is inferred that nobody would have made up the lie and certainly not the apostles who died for Jesus and then it is said that it couldn’t be a mistake for nobody would be naïve enough to believe it if it were not true and then it is said that it takes a long time for men to be divinised. Buddha and Muhammad would have taken two or three generations for the divinisation to be credible. But all cults are founded on error and get away with it. The Divine Light Mission that had millions of followers some years ago thrived on tricks done with the senses that made many think were experiences of God and when their God was ALIVE!

Page 159 argues that insane people who think they are God are usually egotistic, inflexible, dull, predictable, uncreative and very judgemental and says that since Jesus claimed to be God and was not like any of these people he was telling the truth. This is the straw-man approach now. The argument conveniently ignores the fact that the brain is very complex and a sane man might have another side to him that is completely insane. Jesus could have been saner than the rest of us but suffered from some neurosis that made him insane whenever it came to religion. A well-balanced person might have an obsession with washing his or her hands imagining all kinds of bugs on them that are not on them at all. It’s life. You can have a good computer but which prints garbage when commanded to print. So it is sane and insane, so to speak. No two insane people are alike just like no two sane people are alike either. The view however that Jesus had to be insane to wrongly claim to be God if he was sincere is flawed because Jesus might have been sane but had a compulsion like sex-addicts might have but which in his case made him need to act like God and claim to be God. Christians do not want to deal with this possibility at all for they know it cannot be proved that Jesus was not like that. A sane man will claim to be God if he has believers willing to think he is God.

The book spells out several objections to the view that Jesus claimed to be God in the sense that Eastern Mysticism has people claiming to be God (page 165-171). Jesus still might not have claimed to be God the ruler of the universe but to be part of a pantheistic God like gurus in India do and here is the answer to the book’s twisted logic and half-truths. This would mean he was misunderstood by his followers and died before he had a chance to put them straight and maybe they couldn’t take it what he was trying to tell them because they accepted the Jewish idea of an external God. Perhaps Jesus did not understand his own mysticism fully and that was why he was not your typical guru. The lie is told that Jesus was not a guru for he was a Jew. But the Jews all agreed that he was a heretic and not a Jew and had his own new ideas of what being a Jew meant. For example, he hated man-made Jewish tradition. He might have thought he was a Jew but lots of Catholics think they are Catholics though they are anything but. Another lie the book tells us that that Jesus said he had no esoteric (hidden) teaching (John 18:20,21) so he was not a guru for a guru has a mystical experience to offer that cannot be expressed in words. What happened was Pilate asked him about his teaching and he told Pilate to go and ask the people he preached to for he said nothing in secret. This does not mean that Jesus did not offer a mystical experience for he could have made the mistake of trying to communicate how to get the experience and what it was like and meant in words. The gurus believe that their scriptures help you to get the experience though they do not communicate it for you have to have the experience by yourself to know what they mean. Another lie is that as a Jew Jesus thought God was separate from the creation and that there was an eternal Hell which are doctrines that are incompatible with pantheism. But perhaps he believed that to say that the creation was separate from God and not God meant only that it was experientially separated from God for it had to experience God to be united with him. And it is possible that some parts of the creation will be damned forever because they will never realise they are God. Total pantheists can contradict themselves unawares.

The final lie is that Jesus had no way of hearing the teachings of the Eastern Mystics. That is totally dishonest speculation. Nobody knows. There were pagans in the Holy Land who could have provided access to such teachings. There were mystics who had the same mystical ideas and spiritiuality as those in the East and who developed them independently.

Jesus could have claimed to be God in the same way that Catholics are able to say their communion wafers are God. It is a mystery of the same kind. Just as a communion wafer falls to the ground and becomes dirty and decays unlike God would so Jesus sinned or made mistakes and still could have thought he was God. Jesus might have had no experience of being God and being a man nothing in his psyche would have indicated that he was God. To say Jesus claimed to be God and it was a mystery how and why even to him is to say he is no more insane than the Catholics are. A psychiatrist might have thought there was nothing wrong with him.

We must remember that if Jesus was fully man and fully God like the vast majority of Christians assert then even if he did claim to be God and was wrong he was not on a par with the lunatic who thinks he runs the universe for Jesus would have claimed that it was revealed to him that he was God though he perhaps could not understand how and why and had no experience of being God. A sane man can claim to be that kind of God that Jesus might have been. The insane man will claim to know everything and be able to do everything while Jesus might have said he had these abilities but could not access them so that he had the awareness and problems of an ordinary man.

Then it is said that the profile of the apostles rules out them being liars. But we know precious little about them! We don’t even know if they were really killed for Jesus. It would make a lot of difference of they were caught by accident and then executed with no escape. They would only be martyrs if they refused to give up Jesus though the reward for denying him would be their lives.

Page 161 says that the Gospel writers were not lunatics for no lunatic could have written even one chapter of the gospels. You’d be surprised. And sane people do warm to the teachings of lunatics – how else do you explain all the different and bizarre religions in the world all of which think every sect but their own is daft?

There is no need to even think the gospel writers were insane. There is no honesty in people who feel the need to refute the gospellers being insane and who do not refute the possibility that demons with unimaginably high IQ’s used them to pull off a fraudulent story. The demons would seem so nice and charming. Perhaps they possessed or influenced the writers and got them to write the gospels in order to distort the prophet Jesus’ life and teaching. They would have done this for some unknown purpose.

Christians say the gospels had good results so demons were not their ultimate authors. Christians disagree all the time on why demons may have done this or that miracle so it is futile to look for the results of faith in the gospels to work out whether the origin was evil or good especially when what the demons were trying to do could have backfired.

Another dubious book, Reasons for Hope, says that if Jesus had been a lunatic the Jews would not have worked so hard to discredit him (page 91). But all they did was make sure that he would be crucified – there is good reason to think that even this was a gospel slander. The Jews even if they were trying to trip him up did not seem to be obsessed with doing so. The gospels which are seen as infallible in this book say the Jews never really argued against him which would point to him being a possible lunatic, and after his death they said he was stolen. It was only natural that the Jewish leaders would have chatted to him and directed jibes at him and there is no reason to think they went out of their way to do it all the time as this book implies. And they did not try hard to get rid of him if the gospels are to believed. They did not throw Jesus’ fans out of the Synagogues and they let Jesus and them into the Temple. They did not send preachers with the refutation of Jesus to take over as soon as he stopped preaching. Lunatic or not, if Jesus had a massive following who adored him as the gospels claim it could have been that the Jews had to debate with him and try hard to get rid of him. He could have been one crank they could not afford to ignore because of his influence. They could have got Herod to jail him early in his ministry but they did not. They could have forced Jesus to write a letter to the people explaining why he suddenly had to go abroad and then have him secretly exiled. This proves that the Jews scandalising themselves to have Jesus crucified in public is simply preposterous. My belief is that the Jews never bothered much with Jesus for the gospels lied about his popularity and lied that he claimed to be the Christ. Reasons for Hope gives us reason to despair at human intellectual perverseness again. One could not expect anything else but nonsense from a book that argues that since Jesus said his body was the unique temple of God that he was claiming to be God (page 92).

The fact of the matter is that Jesus' alleged sanity makes a pile of complications that make the logic of the book too neat and too simple. He should have been assessed but nobody did that in those days. That is a big problem!