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Other than in religion, how was Jesus important or influential?

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posted on Jun, 16 2006 @ 02:11 AM
We all know that millions of Christians (and to a lesser extent muslims) believe Jesus to be the son of "God" or a prophet, but if god doesn't exist, how is Jesus important and/or influential to society/humankind? If you take the religious aspect of Jesus away, what is left? If he did actually exist, what did Jesus actually do that makes him so worthy of worship by billions?

[edit on 16-6-2006 by iiiiiiiiiiiii]

posted on Jun, 16 2006 @ 03:03 AM
First of all, let me say I'm very impressed by your handle. iiiiiiiiiiiii indeed.

I think you need to clarify your post a little. Christians believe Jesus was divine. Muslims believe he was the greatest of the prophets apart from Mohammed himself. Obviously these ideas (especially the former) have had massive influence on those who believe in them. So that's one way in which Jesus was 'important and influential', and it's purely religious.

Jesus is also the focal point of one of the great world religions, a religion that has had huge worldwide influence because it was part of Western technological civilization, which has spread across and come to dominate the planet. Does that qualify as a religious or secular kind of influence?

Christian morality strongly influences modern secular morality. Is this part of Jesus's 'religious' influence, or would it be a different kind of influence?

Then there's the prevalence of Christian imagery in secular art, literature and other high culture. Is this 'religious' or not?

What about popular culture? Does Tom Waits's Chocolate Jesus represent a religious or secular influence? What about when someone says, 'Christ, I've had it with flame wars on ATS?' Is that coming from Jesus' religious influence, or is it secular?

As far as I can see, Jesus is a religious figure (whether real or fictitious is an argument for another thread). He is influential because he is a religious figure. Therefore his influence, even on secular matters, is always religious.

However, that influence is pervasive throughout Western culture and well beyond. You'll find it almost everywhere. When a gaoler spies on the prisoner in the cell, he does it by looking through a Judas window. A secret compartment in an old English country house is sometimes called a priest's hole. Tori Amos sings a song called Crucify whose other lyrics have nothing to do with Jesus, but we see the influence of the Jesus narrative in the metaphor.

Maybe you could clarify what you mean?

posted on Jun, 16 2006 @ 05:43 AM
To clarify, I was meaning in a philosophical way. I know philosophy is a broad spectrum of things. What I meant is:

Do you think that, religion and such aside, Jesus' teachings were an important milestone philosophically (especially morally)?

Many consider Jesus' teachings to be important and almost revolutionary, as if even if he wasn't considered the son of god or a religious prophet or anything religious at all, he would still be an important person in history.

I am agnostic who leans heavily towards atheism. Let's suppose God doesn't exist and every deity-based religion is actually and absolutely wrong. If this was the case, would Jesus still have any philosophical merit?

Also, I am not talking about Jesus' influence on culture, pop culture, art, christians, muslims, et cetera. I am not talking about him bringing certain ideas and morals to the average person either. I'm not talking about secular or religious.

I'm talking about whether or not Jesus was innovative philosphically (religion aside).


posted on Jun, 16 2006 @ 04:41 PM

Originally posted by iiiiiiiiiiiii
Do you think that, religion and such aside, Jesus' teachings were an important milestone philosophically (especially morally)?


'Love your neighbor as you love yourself'
'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'

The Golden Rule!

I would say that principle, or tenet, guides every heart in the world that ever was motivatived by something other than selfishness. And most people are born selfish, self-oriented, but when you're a baby and a toddler it is Normal to be selfish. Then hopefully, it is grown out of and the adult that comes to age who is not primarily focused on self and what self can gain for self, is more likely governed, in their heart, by this principle: the golden rule.

Have you ever heard the saying 'all it takes is just one person to start a change in the world?'

Totally proven, from my perspective. My opinion, too, please be aware, but I believe it. I see it. How can I not acknowledge it?

Thanks for asking such an important question. More important than you realize.

posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 11:20 PM

Originally posted by iiiiiiiiiiiii
To clarify, I was meaning in a philosophical way.

Do you think that, religion and such aside, Jesus' teachings were an important milestone philosophically (especially morally)?

I don't suppose anything in Jesus' philosophy was truly revolutionary -- unless it was the stress placed on love, something that has had little effect on secular philosophy as far as I can see, though it is a salient and vital thread running through Christian ethics. Most of Jesus's other teachings seem to have been similar to those of contemporary mystical movements such as the Essenes. Jesus was simply the one who popularized these ideas and secured their place in history -- which, in itself, is achievement enough.

As for the more polished moral and ethical teachings of 'finished' Christianity, these came to Western philosophy from the Greeks and were developed by the early church fathers well after the death of Jesus. They didn't come out of Jesus's mouth.

I'm talking about whether or not Jesus was innovative philosphically (religion aside).

Not really. Of course, the faithful have their own story.

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