Son of God, isn’t that far-fetched?

Here is a wonderful passage from a conversation between Bono, lead singer of U2 and his interviewer Michka Assayas.  Assayas is a french journalist, biographer, and novelist.  He holds a master's degree from the Sorbonne and in 2005 published Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas.

This will ignite a youth group discussion.

Bono: . . . And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “As you reap, so will you sow” stuff. Graces defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequence of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I’d be interested to hear that.

Bono: That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. . . . It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.

Assayas: The son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrifical Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s morality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled . . . It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.

Assayas: That’s a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it’s close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that far-fetched?

Bono: No, it’s not far-fetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says, No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve just had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no, I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. . . .  I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that’s far-fetched.
--Michka Assayas, Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas (New York: Riverhead Books, 2005), 204-205.

The last paragraph also featured in a book by Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Dutton, 2008), 229-230.

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