In any discussion involving challenges to faith in Jesus there will be a myriad of subjects to consider.
“How can you trust a book of dead men’s fairy-tales?”
“You know evolution like, totally proves God is fake, right?”
“So you believe in talking snakes and an angry sky-god who kills his own kid—I believe in magic crystals and quantum vibrating with the universe. Bully for both of us!”
These kinds of questions may be valid concerns, or they may be smokescreens put up to avoid honest intellectual inquiry. There is one topic, however, when discussing the Christian faith that towers above all others as the most compelling to me, a topic that “bestrides the rest like a Colossus.” It is always my starting point, for it is the true foundation of all faith in Jesus. And for me personally, it is the one thing that keeps me coming back to Jesus. It’s what I hang my faith on, it’s what I cling to throughout the many storms of doubt and discouragement that naturally come my way. It’s the reason I call myself the skeptical Believer and not just ‘The Skeptic’.
It is the Resurrection of Jesus.
The actual, literal, physical resurrection of a man, a flesh-and-blood man from Nazareth, from the dead.
Part 1: Resurrection is Go!
Part 2: Nobody here But Us Linens
Part 3 Bring Out Yer Dead!
Part 4: The Dog Ate My Jesus
Part 5: Hey It’s Dark In Here!
Part 6: You (Don’t) Look Like You’ve Seen A Ghost
Part 7: Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
Part 8: Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
Part 9: Apostle bin Laden
Part 10: Don’t Myth-understand It
Part 11: Friday
Part 12: Saturday
Part 13: Sunrise
Part 14: Post-script
Yes, I realize this is the 21st Century. This is the age of robots on Mars, nanotechnology, 3d printing, and Twinkies that’ll outlast Twitter—but I for one still believe in this strange, crazy thing that happened 2000 years ago. I actually base my entire life, my core identity, on this fact. When all else fails, when my doubts drown out belief and faith scatters like the wind, this is the one thing I have always held on to. There have been many times in my life when I was this close to throwing in the towel and becoming a staunch materialist (i.e., matter is all there is; what you can see, feel, touch and measure is the only reality) or giving up on God as an aloof and unworthy deity who didn’t really give a rat’s tail about us. But this odd, unshakable certainty of mine in this strange, incredible thing called the Resurrection just will not die (see what I did there? I’m very punny). It lives on for one simple reason:
I can not explain it away.
I’ve looked at it from every conceivable angle, and no matter which way I view it, the only possible conclusion I am able to draw is that it really happened. The Resurrection has become the crux and the cornerstone of my faith. And I think it’s vitally important that this be the case for you as well if you follow Him, because when you get down to it, if Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead, then your faith is a joke. If Jesus’ bones still lie buried in a tomb somewhere or eaten by wild dogs, or if He was a completely fictional character like the boys on South Park like to say, then you are following just another man-made religious system. Your faith isn’t in anything real. You are living a lie.
Face it—if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God…sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.
If Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot.(1 Cor 15:14-19, The Message translation)
Leave it to Paul to get down to brass tacks. Over the next few weeks I’m going to detail why our faith in this event is not smoke and mirrors, why the passage above doesn’t end there, and why Christ really was raised.
From the dead.
In short, Resurrection is GO! Enjoy the ride.
Truth poorly defended loses not its truthfulness;
Falsehood aptly defended loses not it’s falsity.