This week we are starting with Christianity, the world’s most popular and most internally diverse religious tradition. As Prothero says on page 70:
“Jesus means different things to different people in different times and places. Shifting with the cultural, political, and economic winds, images of Jesus are about as stable as the weather in Kansas’s Tornado Alley. In the ancient world, He was the messiah in Jerusalem, a truth teller in Athens, and an emperor in Rome. In the United States, He has been black and white, gay and straight, liberal and conservative, a capitalist and a socialist, a pacifist and a warrior, an athlete and an aesthete, a civil rights agitator and a member of the Klu Klux Klan. Muslims embrace Him as a prophet, Hindus as an avatar, and Buddhists as a bodhisattva. So when Jesus asks “Who do people say I am?” (Mark 8:27), there is no easy answer, either in His lifetime or in ours”
In The World’s Wisdom reading for this week you read some stories about Jesus’ life, healings, and his death and resurrection (and go ahead and read some of his sayings from #20-22, if you are not familiar with them). From what you have read about Jesus, why do you think the understandings of Jesus have been so diverse? How is it that people can take so many different meanings from his life, actions and teachings? Do you think that there will (or should) ever be consensus on who/what he was or how he wanted people to live their lives?
Your initial response must be at least 300 words and include two direct quotations from the reading (along with the page numbers for the