Grace and Christ

You don’t read something like this every day from a major celebrity. U2’s Bono with a non-believing reporter. I won’t blockquote it because to do so makes it less readable. But, here it is:

Assayas: I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Bono: Yes, I think that’s normal. It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

Assayas: I haven’t heard you talk about that.

Bono: I really believe we’ve moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Assayas: Well, that doesn’t make it clearer for me.

Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, so you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I’d be interested to hear that.

Bono: That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep s—. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.

Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled… . It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.

Assayas: That’s a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it’s close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?

Bono: No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we’ve been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had “King of the Jews” on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched

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Erick Erickson

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  • [quote]The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched …[/quote]

    Tell that to Lee Harvey Oswald.

  • Say what you will, but I don’t seem to remember the entire course of civilization over half the globe changing because of the life of Lee Harvey Oswald, or anyone else for that matter.

  • How do you know the course of human events would not have been radically different if he had lived. The leader of the free world was assassinated while two superpowers were on the brink of destroying civilization and a hot war raged in Vietnam.

    Who knows how things would be different considering:

    JFk and Goldwater had a much friendlier relationship than did Goldwater and Johnson, to the point that Goldwater almost decided not to run for president after the assassination. Who knows what influence Goldwater could have had on JFK. How would politics be different today if JFK had adopted even a few of Goldwater’s economic ideas.

    Johnson’s great society probably never would have been attempted if JFK had lived.

    Would Nixon ever have become President if JFK had not been killed?

    George H. W. Bush’s political life was saved by Nixon. When Bush lost a Texas Senate election Nixon appointed him Ambassador the the UN. It’s pretty safe to say that The current President would never have been elected without his Father’s connections.

    Then consider that if Nixon had never been President and then resigned Ford never would have need to hastily put together a cabinet filled by such young turks as Rumsfeld and his chief of staff Cheney. If as young men they had not had such positions on their resume would they have achieved what they have today?

    And that’s not to mention how our relations with the Soviets might have been different. Perhaps the cold war would have gone hot under JFK.

    I’m sure there are many other points political historians could make regarding a timeline where JFK had not been assassinated but I can safely say life would be different if JFK had lived, possibly radically different, and none of it happened because of one crazed nutball.

  • Oh, no doubt things would have been different politically had Kennedy lived, but I doubt any civilizations would have grown out of the movement, any major philosophical thoughts, etc.

    Had the South won the civil war, things would have been different.

    But no one was going to die in Oswald’s name or Jeff Davis’s name (with limited exceptions) 20 years after their end, let alone 2000.

    I also doubt had Christ died without resurrection, we’d have a world revolved around his existence.