Tom Gilson

Something Different About This Philosopher

A philosopher came through the university, explaining the purpose of life, the way to happiness, the answer to the question of immortality, and the truth about right and wrong, good and evil.

He spoke plainly. He avoided argument except over his right he speak; for he spoke on his own authority, and as if speaking for God himself: “It is true because because God says so, and I speak for God. My words are attested by the power of my works. Search the Scriptures and you will even find they were written about me.”

He was drummed out of academia. As a philosopher he cared little about that; he kept on writing and speaking. Few listened, however, and fewer cared.

In the end he proved mostly harmless and quite irrelevant.

A psychologist published his thoughts on happiness, success, and fulfillment. He cited no research. He made it clear, in fact, that those who had gone before him were mostly wrong.

He spoke plainly as if he simply knew. His colleagues challenged him for the source of his teaching. He said, “It is true because because God says so, and I speak for God. My words attested by the power of my works. Search the Scriptures and you will even find they were written about me.”

They brought him before ethics committees, and his license to practice was revoked. He continued as if nothing had changed, and so eventually he was convicted on criminal charges of practicing without a license. He was committed to a mental institution.

His books caused a temporary stir, but in the end he proved mostly harmless and quite irrelevant.

A rabbi walked the earth, speaking as if he were a prophet, speaking of God, life, immortality, right and wrong, good and evil.

He presented himself plainly. He avoided argument except over what right he had to speak. Unlike the prophets preceding him, he never used the divine formula, “Thus says the Lord;” for he spoke on his own authority, as if speaking for God himself, saying, “It is true because because God says so, and I speak for God. My words are attested by the power of my works. Search the Scriptures and you will find they were written about me.”

He was convicted of blasphemy, executed, and soon forgotten.

He caused a momentary spectacle, but in the end he proved mostly harmless and quite irrelevant.

Another  rabbi walked the earth, speaking as if he were a prophet, philosopher, and expert on the psyche. He taught the purpose of life, the way to happiness, the path to immortality, and the truth about right and wrong.

He spoke plainly. Unlike the prophets preceding him, he never used the divine formula, “Thus says the Lord,” saying instead, “But I say to you.” In every teaching he spoke by his own authority, as if he were God himself: “It is true because because the Father and I say so. My words are attested by the power of my works. Search the Scriptures and you will find they were written about me.”

The authorities brought him up on charges of blasphemy and arranged for his execution.

Many expected he would turn out to be mostly harmless and quite irrelevant. He did not. His teachings turned thousands of lives upside down then, and have done the same with billions more in the two thousand years since.

There was something different about this philosopher, prophet, expert on the psyche, and rabbi—something very different: something that has set him apart from every other, before or since.

(See  John 5:30-40, John 8:17-18.)

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2 thoughts on “Something Different About This Philosopher

  1. Oh, come on. Just because he turned the world upside down and was the most influential man who ever lived. You think that matters? Pffffffttttt.

  2. And here’s another thought about this person. He was also a man who claimed to be God. Now, there have been many men who claimed to be God. All of them, to a man, consigned to the dustbin of history. How is it that he didn’t not only suffer that same fate but became as influential as any man who ever lived. Hmmmm……?

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