The Resurrection I Firmly Believe In

This post is part of the April Synchroblog: The Resurrection Hoax.  I will list the links to all the contributions at the end of this post as soon as they are available.

Few really believe.  The most only believe that they believe or even make believe.  ~John Lancaster Spalding

I had to chuckle a little when I read the description of this month’s synchroblog because it said “we” (we being the synchroblog organizing team which I am a part of) firmly believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I chuckled because that isn’t true for me.  I don’t like to say it out loud because I don’t want to deal with the outrage of Christians who believe that makes me a heretic or who claim if I don’t believe in a literal resurrection then I should not call myself a Christian (I don’t use the label much but it still bothers me for someone to tell me I’m not a “real” Christian).

I don’t have a problem with those who do “firmly” believe in the physical resurrection of Christ.  I’m not even one of those people who would think it is an irrational belief because I do believe miraculous things sometimes take place.  I just can’t say I “firmly believe in the historical reality of the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus”.

I don’t want people trying to “prove” to me the resurrection of Jesus really happened.  I could make all of the same arguments they will make (maybe even better than they will make them) and I probably did at some point to someone.  But, the truth is no one can prove the physical resurrection of Jesus really happened.  If you believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ you must believe it even though it cannot be proven to be true.

For years I did believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ but during my journey of faith I was duped (in my opinion) by the church about some things and so these days I don’t place my belief in things so easily.  These days I am more careful about what I claim to believe.  I pray, I study, I examine, I think, I listen, I talk about something (a lot) before I claim it as a belief.  If it cannot be proven then I try and decide if it is necessary for me to believe one way or the other about whatever it is.  If not, I just let it be and settle in with “I don’t know”.  I’m okay with “I don’t know” when it comes to the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So if you ask me if I believe the physical resurrection of Christ really happened my answer is “I don’t know.”  However, I do “firmly” believe in the deeper truth the resurrection of Christ symbolizes.  I believe that the work of God and the way of Jesus brings life out of death.  I’ve seen it too many times not to.

So, how has my lack of belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus affected me and my Christian faith??

Well, after a lot of time pondering the resurrection I am much more likely to take the time to listen to others – to love the unlovable – to bring joy and hope to situations – to forgive instead of holding a grudge – to love justice more than individual rights – to put other’s interests above my own – to be generous in all ways – to stand up for those who are oppressed and marginalized – to work to change unjust systems – to try and follow in the way of Jesus Christ.

The interesting thing is these days of not believing “firmly” in the physical resurrection of Jesus are actually proving to be days when I am much more likely to live as if I do believe in the resurrection – as if I do believe the tomb was empty – as if I do believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

Go figure!

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Check out the other contributions:

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14 thoughts on “The Resurrection I Firmly Believe In

  1. Pingback: Link List for April 2012 Synchroblog – What if Jesus did not Rise? | synchroblog

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  5. critical conscience

    I believe too that the message behind the resurrection is good, but I really think it is just symbolism and allegory as most things written in the bible (Adam and eve, talking snakes, creation).
    I have problems too with the fellow Christians, they tell me I am not a good christian…
    but other religions contain many absurdities I can’t believe in, so it is better to stick to Christianity for me

    Reply
  6. Tammy Carter

    Liz, I love that you are big on LISTENING!!! I believe wholeheartedly in that. However, I feel I’ve ran across some verbally dominant people. Honestly, they are hard to listen to, but then I remember in my heart that they are probably just as wounded and hurt on the inside as I am and need to be listened to.
    Contemplation with Him and listening to Him and others is the only way I can get to a place of really knowing Him and someone in true relationship to get to a place where I see true hearts! :-)

    Reply
  7. mkettleson

    I love this post, Liz! I chuckled at that line too, even though I really do still “fit” that bit of “orthodoxy”. There are so many like Thomas who would need to see it to believe it, and yet live in the way Jesus called us to live out of real love for Him and their fellow disciples.

    I imagine my kids answering my questions about why they didn’t follow my clear instructions for a day with me at work with “We thought you were alive and would come back home at least!”. Huh? You didn’t think I was dead or permanently absent and you think I’m going to use that “faith” to excuse you in living as if you actually thought I wouldn’t show back up and care whether you’d done what I asked you to do?

    Oops ….
    I didn’t post this month because I’m done ranting & back to living, & I couldn’t make this topic encourage that in others. You did, though! Thanks, Liz!

    Reply
  8. Andi-Roo (@theworld4realz)

    I appreciate your bold & honest thoughts on this subject. I struggle, in my family, being the only “non-Christian”. Yet, I feel I live closer to the tenants of Jesus’ teachings then most “real” Christians I know. I feel it is more important to follow his ways, than to argue about whether or not he did “this” or accomplished “that”. To me, the question at the end of each day is this: Do you live a Christ-like life, follow in his example to the best of your abilities, feel badly when you miss the mark, & try to repair your failings on a daily basis? If the answer is yes, which for me it is, then I feel I get to wear the label of “real” Christian. After all, we dress ourselves, do we not? The label someone else slaps upon me doesn’t have to be the label I choose to define who I am as a person or where I am in my spiritual journey.

    Reply
  9. Sonja

    Thank you, Liz … I had a similar response to “we firmly believe …” It’s not something I would even get in a discussion about, but it is something I question and do not hold onto as a tenet of my faith. I love the way you put it, “I believe that the work of God and the way of Jesus brings life out of death.” For me, that’s the more important point.

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Sonja – To be honest there are still moments when I believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ but I can’t remember the last time that I could describe that belief as “firmly”. I just don’t embrace that kind of certainty about much anymore.

      Reply
  10. suntreeriver

    …because Jesus is the resurrection and the life and Christ is Risen Indeed! thanks–Joyous Easter!

    Reply

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