Why is Jesus the most controversial and the most embarrassing name in the world?
No one is embarrassed if you talk about Buddha, or Muhammad, or Moses. Neither Buddhists nor non-Buddhists are embarrassed to talk about Buddha. Why are almost all educated, non-fundamentalist Christians embarrassed to talk about Jesus to non-Christians, and why are almost all non-Christians embarrassed to hear such talk?
If you’re not sure my assumption is true, test it, in any secular company, or mixed company, especially educated company. The name will fall with a thud, and produce sudden silence and embarrassment. You not only hear the embarrassment, you can feel it. The temperature drops. Or rises. It never stays the same.
You might answer that Christians are embarrassed not for themselves but for others: they are embarrassed only because they are sensitive to the embarrassment they know the name of Jesus will cause to non-Christians. But that only pushes the mystery back one step: why are non-Christians so embarrassed at this name? Why is “Jesus” the most non-neutral name in the world?
Jesus talk is like sex talk. There is no neutral language for sex. All our words about sex are either “sexy” or an attempt to avoid being “sexy”. They are either (1) the ecstatic language of love, or (2) the gutter language of raunch, or (3) the tension-releasing language of the laugh (sex and religion are the two most popular subjects of jokes), or (4) the deliberately impersonal, scientific, and technological language of clinical medicine. And our words about Jesus are either (1) love-words, or (2) blasphemy words, or (3) jokes, or (4) impersonal, technical, theological words.
Jesus is a sword. He divides. You cannot be neutral about Him until you make a deliberate effort to thrust something away, something in your heart: either passionate attraction or passionate rejection of something, or at least deep embarrassment at something. Is it just at Christians? Is it at Christianity? Or is it at Christ?
Why is He history’s greatest divider? Why is He the razor edge of the round world? What does He do to you, to put you on that edge, no matter who you are and no matter what you believe or don’t believe?” —from “Jesus Shock” by Dr. Peter Kreeft (via greluc)