Have you ever wondered if Christianity is too good to be true? In this episode, Pastor J.D. answers the question, “Is Christianity Just Wishful Thinking?”
- Well, I don’t think my answer will take anyone by surprise, considering my occupation: no! But let me try to unpack why.
- Is Christianity all just a fairy tale to make people feel better about the afterlife?
- I think you can answer pretty definitely that this is not what Christianity is about.
- Think about some of the earliest Christians, like Paul. Paul did not want Christianity to be true! Instead, he was confronted with it and knew he had to believe. Some say that the other apostles, especially those who were Jesus’ disciples, convinced themselves that the resurrection happened because of how that would have benefitted their lives. However, N.T. Wright’s book, The Resurrection of the Son of God, explains that the idea of a resurrected Messiah was not part of the Jewish hope. They thought about a Messiah that would come and reign, but not a Messiah who would rise from the dead and would not reign politically. And the disciples were a little bit slow to believe this — all of the gospels read this way.
- Sometimes, it’s easy to think of people over 2,000 years ago being more gullible and less scientific than us — perhaps more likely to fall for the myth of a resurrection. But that’s an arrogant way of thinking — they knew, of course, that people didn’t raise from the dead.
- Beyond this, the earliest Christian leaders did not gain any great wealth, following, or social status because of their newly-formed religion… just the opposite! They had to give up everything because of the gospel, and yet they did so willingly. This contrasts to others who have started false religions, because others who have done so have prospered greatly in some way because of their religious lies.
- Blaise Pascal famously said: “Always believe witnesses who are willing to have their throats cut, and have nothing to gain for it.” I think that’s what you see in the earliest Christians.
- I’d encourage you to press into N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God for more on this.
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