Was Jesus a Religious Fanatic?

The very extravagance of His claims, others tell us, is proof enough that Christ was a religious fanatic.

It is true that Jesus believes that before He became Man He dwelt in the glory of the Father; He believes that He is consubstantial with the Father; He believes that He will come again to judge mankind – but we fail to discover even the faintest trace of hallucination or lunacy in His character.

The religious maniacs in and out of our insane asylums betray all the symptoms of degeneracy. Their powers of reasoning are woefully warped. Their actions are anything but in harmony with their claims. They are proud and weak-minded, selfish and vindictive, without self-knowledge, full of fantastic dreams for the betterment of the world. Jesus is the direct opposite of all of these.

Humility and self-sacrificing love, hatred of shams and hypocrisy, keenness of intellect, astounding knowledge of men and of the workings of the human heart, are among the outstanding traits of His Personality.

“The suggestion of madness is inconsistent with the breadth of vision and the originality of thought (to put it at its lowest) which are displayed by our Lord’s teaching. In madness there may be glimpses of inspiration…but, on the average, that liberation of the unconscious which is secured by madness, by drug taking and by certain other influences is lamentably disappointing in its results. The letters of lunatics…how inexpressibly boring they are, to say nothing of their other qualities! The results obtained by automatic writing, or by spiritualistic mediumship, how signally they have failed to enrich the world’s literature by a single new thought!… But surely, if every vestige of the Christian religion should disappear from the planet, the words spoken by Jesus of Nazareth would still be read for their own beauty. Agree with them or disagree with them, do they not provide food for thought beyond anything which the pale mystics of the East have ever achieved? Are they not, whatever they are, a permanent addition to the triumphs of the human genius?” (Knox, The Belief of Catholics, p. 116)

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