Skepticism’s been a thing at least since we started counting time this second time around

Mark 16: 9-11 9 Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

If you’ve read this blog for any time at all you’ve probably surmised that I’m a believer.  But it wasn’t always like that.  For a lot of years I struggled with how this whole resurrection thing could have actually happened.  I bought the historical and biblical accounts that Jesus was an actual guy.  I accepted he was crucified and he actually died (remember that whole spear into the side thing).  I even accepted that somehow on that third day a group of women went looking for him and he was gone.  I just didn’t know how he could have risen from the dead.

Over the years I’ve heard and read different historical and logical reasons why he was truly on earth 40 days after he was confirmed dead on that cross.  I knew the story above and the story of him appearing in front of his disciples (minus Thomas) and Thomas’s insistence for visual and tactile proof making Thomas sort of my default representative in this whole thing.  Furthermore there’s Paul’s account that Jesus appeared in front of crowds and spoke and ate and drank with his old buddies.  Despite all that I still had my doubts even though I logic’d my way through the alternatives like the scholars have.

What if the disciples were hallucinating?  It doesn’t work any more than the idea that you and I and 10 more of our friends have the same exact dream complete with matching details.  I pitched that one almost immediately.

What if the disciples had hatched an elaborate lie?  That could be, except who dies for a lie?  Who spends the rest of their life pushing that lie, is persecuted for it and ultimately gives their life for that lie?  I’m as big a fan as anyone of a really good goof but going to those lengths doesn’t just go over the line I would cross, it obliterates it.

Maybe the disciples were nuts?  Okay, then they were all nutjobs with the same kind of insanity as all the people who saw and heard Jesus in those 40 days.  And they all went crackers at the same time.  And this all got chronicled back in a time when the prevailing idea about God was not that Jesus was the Son of God.  Sorry folks, I just can’t buy it.

So I get to this point but there’s still the whole, ‘But how’d he do it?’ that bugged me for years.  Well, I count myself as lucky.  I’ve got a friend in the God business and he gave me permission to not know.

In so many words my friend told me I don’t have to understand how.  It doesn’t have to all be laid out for me to make it okay to believe.  And that, well that set me free.

See, I could understand that just like I don’t know and can’t see exactly how electricity turns the light on, just like I don’t understand how the internet or this computer works and just like I don’t know how gravity and this old rock we live on exists; I can live with and in and on it.   In fact when I let go of my need to understand all the details and looked at the raw facts, did my research and read up on it this logic-loving Christian hit the mark and the game was over.

Now, I’m not saying take my word for it.  If you’re like me (though for your sake, I hope not too much) you’re going to need to do this for yourself.  But (duh alert) we all need to.  Your skepticism doesn’t make you a bad person.  It makes you normal.  It makes you like Jesus’s best friends, guys who spent three years following him around hearing him teach, watching him do miracles and after he’d been gone just three days called b.s. on the story one of Jesus’s gal-friends told them after she’d seen him with her own eyes.  Your skepticism doesn’t make you un-Christian.  It makes you a disciple.  So get at that learnin’ and if you only believe one thing from all this here, believe this:  It’s worth it.  And knowing, not understanding, is everything.

Admittedly, this post isn’t very biblie but I think it gets at the heart of one of the big questions we wrestle with if we get very religiousy.  (It’s my blog and I get to make up words sometimes)  And, I think it’s pretty important to share our  questions with each other.  It’s been my experience that if you tell other people about your struggles, more often than not they’re going to say, “Yeah, me too” and that’s at least comforting if not empowering.

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