In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Plead the Fifth.”
By: FRATER BOVIOUS
Is Jesus God?
I used to think this was a hard question, and I used to have a lot of different answers to that question, depending on who I thought my target audience was.
Sometimes I would plead the Fifth, but my motives for that had more to do with personal weakness and lack of conviction than whomever I was talking with.
Once I admitted to myself to actually having a conviction, I then determined to have the courage of that conviction. And then, once I began to engage the issue, I noticed a few categories of people who ask that question:
- Never have I been asked that question by a Catholic.
- Protestants ask a variant of “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior?”
- Agnostics pretty much just ask the question in terms of belief, “Do you really believe Jesus is God?”
- Atheists, the one or two that I have actually run into, don’t ask a question, they simply make a statement, “There is no God,” making the question of Jesus irrelevant.
I used to try to engage and reason, but most people, even the faithful, seem to lack the interest in reasons or explanations. If the answer was longer than about five words, the attention span was used up and the moment lost.
I now simply answer, “Yes,” to categories 2 and 3 above, and “Yes there is,” to category 4. I haven’t really thought about why Catholics don’t ask this question (until just now) but I think “Yes” is the right answer for that category as well.
But, I have found in the case of believers and atheists that a simple “Yes” sometimes ends the conversation. Believers are generally glad to hear it, but uninterested in Catholic thought on the matter, and non-believers are incredulous.
Agnostics want to know why I believe such a curious thing, and those are the interesting conversations.
But I have learned to always start with “Yes” to remove any ambiguity about where I stand. In matters like this, I have taken to heart Jesus’ admonition,
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.'” Apoc 3:15-16
Now, I just say, “Yes.” The ball is now in their court. If they ask a question, or make a statement, it is almost always, at its core, “What is Truth?” Even when they don’t know that is their root question, we then have lots to talk about.