Christ, the Real and the Anti-Real

ChristologyThe focus of this unit is looking at Jesus in different ways. Level 6 in Religious Studies requires you to be able to see how different members within the same religion (e.g. Christianity) can interpret key beliefs and ideas in different ways.

For example, some Christians, such as ROMAN CATHOLICS believe that Jesus was God made flesh, that his mother, Mary, was a virgin when she had him and that because of this the power of Christ is active in the priesthood today. Jesus passed on his magical powers to his disciples and they in turn passed them down the line to priests today. This is called APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION.

However, other Christians, such as PROTESTANTS, believe that Jesus was only the ‘son of God’ in a non-literal sense. He was an important teacher but many of the stories about him have only mythical or figurative meaning. They are not historically accurate. For this reason they do not believe in the power of the priest but rather in the grace of God to reach into the lives of individuals directly.

In PHILOSOPHICAL terms we might refer to this as the REAL Jesus (the Catholic view that what is reported in the Bible is actually true) and the ANTI-REAL Jesus (the Protestant view that beliefs about him and how these beliefs affect people’s actions today is far more important than what actually happened). We might also refer to the Catholic view as HIGH CHRISTOLOGY and the Protestant view as LOW CHRISTOLOGY.

Sheet on Images of Jesus



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