Part 1 is also available here.
The Unbrainwashed asked me a rather blunt question that I rather liked:
Do you actually believe that a dead Jew came back to life 2000 years ago to save us?
Yes. Next question.
Actually, let me be more specific. I don’t just believe a Jew named Jesus came back to life. I believe that God himself became one of us – wrote himself into the story as it were – so that he could show all of us what it means to be truly and wonderfully human. And he came as an impoverished member of a despised and oppressed people to show us how to pursue a way of love and justice in a world of violence and oppression. He died as a demonstration that non-retaliation and self-sacrifical love is the only way that hatred and injustice will ever ultimately be overcome. And he was raised to life as a vindication of this message – to prove that he was not just a naive idealist who got himself killed, but that the God of the universe is actually Lord and victor over the forces oppression and violence, and over death itself (the ultimate tool of the oppressor). The dead Jew, Yeshua Mashiach (Jesus the King), came back to life to show that that power can only be overcome through weakness, violence through peace, and oppression through a willingness to suffer for the sake of others, even for your oppressor.
But there was another similar question by S.G.E.W. that was more to the point that I think Unbrainwashed was really getting at:
Do you believe in the literal, physiological ressurection of Yeshua ben Joseph? Specifically, did he lose all bodily functions (no heartbeat, no neurological activity, etc.) for several days and then regain full functionality?
If so: how can this be rationally explained in any way?
If not: what’s the effective difference between you and an agnostic?
Yes, I do believe in the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus. How can this be rationally explained? Well, let’s suppose you believe in the existence of an all-powerful God who created this universe and all the natural laws by which it operates. If that is the case, then what is so irrational about believing that this God has the power to sometimes change the normal way that these laws function? Do I know exactly how he did this? No. I suppose if there had been a 21st century scientist with the proper equipment present in the tomb, she might be able to tell us what exactly happened from a physiological standpoint at the moment of resurrection – that is to say, I don’t think it was a completely un-natural event. It could have been observed and studied if we had had the capability back then. But it is a super-natural event in that it is an example of how God is at work to restore and renew his creation. Jesus’s resurrection is simply the first example of what will one day be true for all of us. In that sense you could say that this is a neo-natural event, in that it is the beginning of God creating a new nature out of the old.
At any rate, I see nothing contradictory or irrational about believing that an all-powerful God could do such a thing. Just because something almost never happens doesn’t mean it could never happen. And, just speaking personally, I don’t feel the need to know exactly, scientifically, how it happened in order to believe that it did.
[tags]atheist, atheism, Pastor, Mike Clawson, The Unbrainwashed, Jew, Jesus, God, agnostic[/tags]