Only popping in occasionally, so just want to pick up a pedantic point from yesterday: no-one claims that Jesus was immaculately conceived. Traditional Christian belief is that he was VIRGINALLY conceived. Catholic tradition is that his mother, Mary, was IMMACULATELY conceived: in other words the normal biological way, but theologically without the transmission of original sin. It is the theological answer to why Jesus didn’t get tainted by sin through Mary.
Over on the liberal/secular end, the idea that Jesus was entirely fictional is now very out of date. Work on the historical Jesus concentrates on what the gospels inadvertently tell us about the Jesus of history, despite them being written as apologetic propaganda for the Christ of faith. Secular and liberal scholar will take it as read that there was nothing supernatural about Jesus; will discount the nativity stories (as history) completely; will argue about the extent to which the resurrection narratives reflect visions and dreams or are just later theological constructs; but won’t dispute the history of the crucifixion, because it is such a shameful way for a religious leader to end that you wouldn’t have recorded it unless it had actually happened.
May 3, 2017