I’ve been listening to a podcast called “Christianity Without the Crap” for the past couple weeks. (I’m working in construction and sometimes have hours and hours on end working by myself doing rather mindless activities and need some ways to pass the time.) I generally like what they have to say; they’ve made some really good points about various topics. But then I got to the episode about Easter (I’m waaaay behind, obviously), and it gave me serious pause.
Apparently a lot of Christians don’t even believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus? One of the hosts is a pastor, and throughout the episode kept casually referring to all the Christians who don’t believe that Jesus was literally raised from the dead. I kind of thought that was one of those important tenants of Christianity…silly me. But the show seemed to write it off as almost a “dogma” that’s not super important, because focusing too much on doctrine or dogma makes you pharisaical. I agree that focusing too much on dogma, and even doctrine if you overdo it, is wrong, but we need to take a step back and realize that some of this Bible stuff is actually important.
Here’s the thing. While a lot of Christians still strongly believe in the teachings of the Bible (certainly all the ones I’ve been around), apparently a lot don’t think any of it is literally true. I mean, I know we can’t take all of it literally, but none? A BBC pole this Easter found that 23 percent of people who consider themselves Christian don’t believe Christ rose from the dead…? To those Christians I pose this question: What exactly do you believe in if the Bible isn’t true? Our only concept of God, of Jesus, comes from the Bible. There aren’t any other sources out there for learning about them. So…why are you a Christian? How are you a Christian?
It seems that Christianity is losing ground these days. For every one convert to Christianity, there are about four who leave. It was a bit baffling (and, to be frank, unsettling) to me, until I started listening to this podcast and realized how many Christians don’t actually believe in the God of the Bible. Because if we don’t believe in the God of the Bible – a God of wonders who heals the sick, sets captives free, and RAISES THE DEAD – then our faith is dead. Of course people are leaving. Christians don’t even believe what we teach, it seems. We’re getting so concerned with having a faith that’s credible, that’s not quite so “weird,” that we’re losing out on a MASSIVE part of what it is to be a Christian. That part about partnering with the Power and Intelligence that created the universe to actually bring about some real, genuine change in this world. Without that, what’s this all even about? A moral foundation? A warm fuzzy feeling that someone somewhere gives a crap what happens to you? The comfort of feeling like it isn’t over when you die? I can get all of that elsewhere. If that’s all Christianity can offer, it’s not worth the price of admission.
I mean, I get it. I do. I’m an engineer. I question ALL OF IT. If you’ve been reading long, you know that. I want something logical to hang onto. I want something I can easily explain to others. All the talk about miracles and resurrections, it can be a tough pill to swallow, especially in the West where we question anything we can’t prove. And I do NOT advocate for a faith based entirely upon “believing the right doctrines.” It SHOULD be more about loving people and being God’s hands and feet in this world than convincing everyone of the exact right doctrine to believe. But I’ll tell you one thing, if I’m gonna believe in this Christian God, I’m going to believe what He says about Himself and His Son and me, at the very least. I’m not doing it halfway. I’m all in. And if I can’t even believe that He raised His Son from the dead, there’s no way I’m going to have the courage to walk up to someone and pray for their healing. It’s really no surprise we don’t often see miracles in America. You won’t ask for healing if you don’t believe He’s capable of it. You won’t ask for freedom if you think you have to figure it out on your own. Christians, let’s actually have the courage to have a faith that’s ALIVE. That actually means something. Even if it seems impossible. Even if it makes us the targets of mockery. Because if we can’t do that much for Him…we have a problem.