I recently finished up re-reading the book The Resurrection: Myth or Reality? by Episcopalian bishop John Shelby Spong that totally consumed my “free” time over the last couple of weeks. Being that it’s Lent, I wanted to, as I got my ashes on Ash Wednesday, “turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.” Reading religious books (beyond The Good Book of course) is one way I chose to stop and reflect on my faith and what better book than about The Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Spong has always spoke directly to me and help me put words to a faith I find difficult to describe.
I realized that I never really confronted exactly what I positively believe about the resurrection and afterlife. I tend to dismiss literal interpretations of sacred history recounted in The Bible, but that’s a negative affirmation: what I don’t believe. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus is in fact risen and alive though not as I am. He’s alive in a way I’ve struggled to put in words beyond a vague spiritual description, but Spong does better.
It was as if scales fell from his eyes and Simon saw a realm that is around us at every moment, a realm of life and love, a realm of God from within which Jesus appeared to Simon.
As I expected, Spong confirmed that resurrection is not the sort of thing you film and playback on a DVD much less narrate.
Was it real? Yes, I am convinced it was real. Was it objective? No, I do not think it was objective. Can it be real if it is not objective? Yes, I think it can, for “objective” is a category that measures events inside time and space. Jesus appeared to Simon from the realm of God, and that realm is not within history, it is not bounded by time or space.
Continue reading “The Resurrection and the Life”
I just read a great article that details disagreement that actually elevates a discussion’s participants far better than I have ever done. This is why I’m not a fan of rhetorical battle which on the DH scale is approximately DH3.5. It’s pretty and can convince those dazzled by eloquence or volume, but it’s not really substantive. Sophistry is what it is. And we are all guilty of it from time to time. That’s human.
For example, we cannot argue about matters of faith for reasons best given by example.
P1: The Bible is the Word of God.
P2: No it isn't.
P1: I know God.
P2: So do I.
The second statements should be completely true for P2 who contradicts P1, but without evidence to back P2 up she/he hasn’t made a convincing argument for either one’s veracity. That’s why I try to be very picky about how and why I argue things about faith, the Bible, politics, etc. Evidence requires substance and empirical observation. I can make a convincing argument based on evidence that the Bible doesn’t refer to itself at least the Bible. That’s cut and dry like saying that John begins with “In the beginning, was the Word.”
What’s more interesting, is that I can make a convincing argument that the Bible and the Word of God are not the same things provided I define them well. Based on those definitions which are real empirical things, I can construct an argument that differentiates them. That is a subtle but very important difference from proving the statement: “The Bible is not the Word of God.” A faith assertion that is not subject to rational argument. Faith is not argued; it is confessed.