He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. ~Matthew 28:6
Resurrection Day has ended and people are getting back to business as usual. Much like Christmas, Resurrection Day is a high point in the Christian calendar, and inevitably the holiday raises tension. There is tension because many who oppose Christianity sort of roll their eyes as the Christians worship this esoteric figure named Jesus. What’s worse is that many of these so called Christians really have no idea who they are worshipping or why, so these holy holidays just look silly.
I have a few friends who consider themselves very skeptical of Christianity. They do not like the idea that Jesus is the only way to Heaven or that people stake their lives on some ancient book that may or may not be accurate. Nor, do they like the idea of people telling them what to do because “God says so.” There are lots of reasons why my friends are suspicious of the Christian faith, and many of these reasons are valid. But, one of the many things I love about Christianity is that it makes room for skepticism.
I have never seen in Scripture a time when the Lord told people to turn their brains off. In fact, part of the greatest commandment is to love God with all of your MIND (Matthew 22:37). Many of my friends are critical thinkers and some of them think that this is an obstacle to becoming a Christian, but I think it is merely an opportunity.
If you consider Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, you will see that he refused to believe in the resurrection of Jesus unless the Lord himself appeared to him (John 20:25). He did not want to just take people’s word for it; he wanted to get the facts for himself. And, the Lord obliged.
When Jesus was raised from the dead, multiple people saw that the tomb he was buried in was empty. In Matthew 28, we see the ordeal unfold. An angel descended from Heaven, the Soldiers who were guarding the tomb passed out from terror, and the stone that sealed the tomb was rolled away. Some women who were followers of Jesus were coming to visit the tomb, but the angel said, “Sorry folks! Jesus is gone!” (My translation of course). Now, the angel could have just left it there, but he invited them to investigate the tomb and see for themselves that Jesus was gone. That is beautiful!
People often polarize faith and critical thinking. To have one is to lose the other, but I do not think that the Lord feels the same way. Of course, we must have faith. It is impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6), but I want to encourage my critical thinking friends. If you hear something and it sounds weird, I would not take that as lacking faith. I think it could mean you want to go deeper. You want a faith with some substance. You want a faith that is grounded.
Now, I am not saying that if you are a critical thinker that all your questions will be answered about Christianity, but then again, are all questions answered for anything in life?? I’ll admit that Resurrection Day is a hard pill to swallow. A God-man was raised from the dead to save the World. . . .Yeah that’s a head-scratcher, but you should use that to draw you deeper. “Come and see” as the angel said. Some of the most scholarly Christian men I know are that way because they are not satisfied with “It is what it is” kind of answers. I would encourage us all to have faith, but have a faith that thinks.
Good authors to read if you are skeptical about Christianity but wondering:
The Reason for God – Dr. Tim Keller
Any of Lee Strobel’s books but Case for Christ is my favorite.
I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist – Norman Geisler
And the list goes on, but I think these are good starts.