I’ll admit it. Freely. When I was younger —I mean much younger — I thought that Betamax video cassette recorders were the bee’s knees.
They were constructed better than any other video recorders, the sound quality was better, and the picture quality was superior.
At one point, Sony, the producer of Beta video cassette recorders, had 100 percent of the video recorder market.
Well, it doesn’t take a historian to know what happened with Beta. Market forces and better, cheaper, more-efficient technology made Beta obsolete in what felt like three-and-a-half months.
I don’t mention Beta to wax nostalgic about my childhood. I mention it because a friend metaphorical likened Jesus to Betamax.
You know, “Jesus is the Beta of the 21st century.”
Okay. It’s not a terrible analogy. Jesus sounds pretty righteous in the gospels, and historically accurate images of Jesus are better quality than any Jesus Mel Gibson could envision. And I’m sure even Jesus would like to have a monopoly on human souls.
But, here’s where my friend’s metaphor breaks down. While, he may have meant for his metaphor to include how accessible and righteous Jesus is, my friend almost certainly meant that Jesus and Christianity are obsolete.
And it is tempting to reach that conclusion in the 21st century. Christianity rests on several propositions, all of which call on believers to accept and believe in things that are unknown, unseen, and have been inexplicable to date.
Our world has made tremendous scientific and technological advancements. We are able to search for and learn about every single concept within this universe, in a matter of seconds.
We have an intimate understanding of the human condition both physiologically and spiritually.
We know more about everything in this universe, than we have ever known, ever, historically speaking.
We can give to charity and be good people all on our own. We can be our own moral compasses. So why do we need Christ? Why isn’t Christ obsolete?
It’s really quite simple. It is possible to know stuff and to do good works in this universe. We can certainly treat the poor, disenfranchised and those on the margins with compassion without Christianity.
We can be kind and fair to other humans as well. But, as a general proposition, we do so out of grinding obligation rather than out of love.
And I’m not attempting to get cuddly with Hobbes and his thoughts on good and evil, but I don’t know that we have a natural inclination to do that which is inherently good to others.
In Jesus’ sermons and teachings to his followers, he inculcates that humans should strive to love everyone as we love ourselves; that we must give of our time, talents and resources with joy and without any expectation of anything in return; remain humble to a fault; speak truth to power, and that we should be kind for kindness’ sake.
Those are sound instructions. That’s the kind of person I want on my squad. That’s the kind of person we all want to be.
And that’s why Christ will never be obsolete.