The God you can’t make up By Robin Schumacher for The Christian Post
When his atheist friends asked W. H. Auden why he jettisoned his atheism for Christianity, he said: “I believe in Jesus because he fulfills none of my dreams.”
Let that sink in for a moment.
Enter most any church today and you’ll be told the exact opposite. At the very least, the message given is that Christ will remove the hardships you have in life, and in some cases, the line delivered is that Jesus wants you rich and in perfect health from top to bottom.
Sounds pretty dreamy to me.
After all, didn’t Christ say: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest … For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28,30). And didn’t John write, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health” (3 John 1:2)?
Yes, they did. But maybe what Jesus meant was relief from the Law plus all the extra weight the religious leaders added to it, plus freedom from sin and its consequences. And maybe John’s words reflect a common greeting of the day for things generally going well, which is what the Greek term used for “prosper” literally means.
That being the case, let’s return to Auden’s statement about believing in Jesus because He isn’t a dreamboat. What’s that about?
Luckily, he gives us a little more clarity with his follow up statement: “He is in every respect the opposite of what He would be if I could have made Him in my own image.” What Auden means is simply this: Jesus is the God you can’t make up.
Not a copycat
There was a time when historically illiterate people asserted that Jesus was an invention of the ancient world. For example, in their book The Jesus Mysteries, authors Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy wrote, “Why should we consider the stories of Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Attis, Mithras, and the other pagan mystery saviors as fables, yet come across essentially the same story told in a Jewish context and believe it to be the biography of a carpenter from Bethlehem?”