Saturday, 3 April 2010

Avoiding the message of Easter

Make no mistake, I have no problem with the resurrection. It’s central to divine justice and Christianity. However, far too many concentrate on seasonal, rather than timeless messages. Modern-day Sadducees (no angels, no spirits, no resurrection) still want to apply forensic methods to disprove an essentially historic event. I guess you could make a name for yourself by hypothesizing that Henry VIII was illegitimate and therefore challenge the legitimacy of the entire Royal Family, but to what ends? Probably to foment anti-monarchist contempt. Equally, those who challenge the historicity of the resurrection, start with a bias against any authority beyond their own self-exonerating ‘pick-and-mix’ morality.

We know that every member of Jesus’s band of followers lost faith after his capture and fled. It just doesn’t make sense that they suddenly find unflinching courage in the face of Roman tyranny and death. Jesus was presented by the Jews of his day as a threat to the Roman occupation. The cross was a gibbet used to make an example of those who defied Roman authority. If we accept that a Roman guard (that faced death for failure) was posted at the tomb site, surely it would be in the interest of Roman tyranny to produce Jesus’s mangled, beaten body. How fanciful and self-serving to believe that they missed this opportunity to destroy the Messianic hopes for good. No-one can believe that they were that charitable to the Christian cause.

I can understand what John meant when he stated, ‘If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater’ (I John 5:9). As part of a jury, we’ll send a man to prison for life on the statements of two or three witnesses. Even in cases where forensic evidence is incomplete or inadmissible. We’ll happily accept that, according to scientific theory, light is both a wave and a particle and even that there are multiple universes. We’ll even accept that the laws of physics could be bent, sorry, ‘adjusted’ to validate the modern theories of the universe’s origins.

I might add that we’re not campaigning outside of the offices of SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), considering the failure and expense of the Voyager mission in its efforts to find alien life in the farthest reaches of the solar system. This extravagant waste of resources could be channelled into solving more immediate human problems, such as world hunger. But blind faith in science throws more taxpayers money in this direction. However, mention the resurrection and suddenly there’s a rush to put Christianity under the microscope.

If you want to want to believe that Stalin and Mother Theresa were both equally judged by death, never to face future reward or retribution for their actions, then I can’t stop you. But I don’t think you can use science to shore up the double standard that makes it easier to accept commitment (albeit financial) to the notions of science fantasy, rather than the witness of Christian history. Besides, our innate sense of moral equality (i.e. conscience) demands further final accountability that only the resurrection can satisfy.

No comments:

Post a Comment