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.
Check out the other contributions: