I wasn’t going to blog about the April topic for the Synchroblog when it was first announced. My initial reaction was: WHY? Why put forth such a hypothetical situation (at least for most of those who call themselves Christians)? Aren’t we just providing fodder for the religious right who might point fingers and say “See! They’ve gone off the deep end.” But then the question(s)—(paraphrasing) Would the lack of a resurrected Jesus change my faith? Would it change how I live now?—wouldn’t leave me alone.
I believe Jesus was the incarnate son of God, that His birth story is true, and that the accounts we have of His life, death, and resurrection are accurate. I believe He came to earth to “show the way” to the Father by living a sinless life, turning the religious and political systems of His day on their heads, and loving God by loving all those He created. I believe His death and resurrection built a bridge across the chasm that separated us from God not because it gave us a new thing to have to do (AKA: confess our faith in Christ) but rather because it took away the need for us to do anything. (If you think about it, we hadn’t been very good at living up to our end of the bargain anyway so sending Jesus was a pretty good idea). I also believe most modern day versions of “the Church” are a long way away from God’s original intent if indeed He intended an organization in the first place.
I believe we can glean a lot of good standards for living by studying the Bible especially the accounts of Christ’s life. The same is true if we study the lives of people like Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and Helen Keller. The difference is we are able to have a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit if what Jesus said about Himself is true. If it is not true then there are a whole lot of borderline crazy people walking around talking to themselves and evidently hearing voices. So to answer the first question simply—yes, my faith would be changed by the lack of a resurrected Christ.
The more difficult question for me to answer is the second one: would the lack of a resurrected Christ change how I live. I honestly do not know. I cannot measure how greatly having the Holy Spirit as an available guide actually influences my choices. I confess I almost never “consult” Him in the prescribed ways I once did. At the same time I now live with a much greater awareness of His continuous presence. Thus for me personally the connection to a “more intelligent Being” is a comfort, a confidence builder, and a reminder of a greater good.
At the same time, a variety of life experiences have gone into building my character, my passions, and my thought processes. The wisdom I have acquired from books, film, education, and work informs how I function. The communities in which I have lived and the people I have loved and struggled with have left their mark. All of which add to the well from which I draw direction and motivation, courage and strength, correction and comfort. Does a resurrected Christ have an impact in any of this? My faith, the place my heart and head agree, says yes. A resurrected Christ is evidence of a loving, relational Creator and being loved and wanted in relationship stirs in me a desire to love and be in relationship with others.
My intellect (my head without my heart) says but you know many people who don’t believe in God yet have a greater good outlook on life. And then it argues, but their lack of belief does not change the reality. It only changes their perceptions of reality and their perceptions of what influences them. The reality is they could be influenced by a loving Creator without acknowledging the Creator’s existence. Or, the reality could be, there is no resurrection. And so, I am stuck—unable to answer this question with any intellectual certainty and unable to answer the bigger one (about the very existence of GOD) which hangs just around the corner. My faith, because my head is tempered by my heart, is okay with that.
In the end, I will continue to gather up my faith and walk out my salvation by using more inclusive circles and fewer squared off compartments, by seeing greater potential and recognizing smaller efforts. I am sure to be angered by injustice but I will work at not sinning. I will wrestle with my hypocrisy, rant about discrimination, and repent when my own biases are exposed. I will pray in my daily conversations and count my words as blessings and curses. This is what faith in a loving Father as evidenced by a resurrected Son does for my daily life. And, if I walk out of balance let me lean toward love.
Here’s the list of others who addressed this topic:
- Marta – On Faith Seeking Understanding, Truth, and Theology
- Carol Kuniholm – Risen Indeed? The Hermeneutic Community
- Tim Nichols – How Would Life be Different if Jesus did not Rise?
- Glenn – Kingdom Come or Kingdom Now?
- Sonja Andrews – The Resurrection and the Life
- Josh Morgan – The Role of the Resurrection
- Abbie Watters – What if the Resurrection were a lie?
- Minnow – Resurrection Impact
- Leah – Resurrection – Or Not!
- Hey Sonnie – The Resurrection Hoax
- Liz Dyer – The Resurrection I Firmly Believe In
- Ellen Haroutunian – Is There a Christianity Without the Resurrection?
- Jeannette Altes – What if…
- Christine Sine – If the Resurrection did not happen, how would the world be different?
- KW Leslie – Supposing Jesus is Dead
- Travis Mamone – If the Resurrection was a Hoax
- Kathy Escobar – Jenga Faith
- Jeremy Myers – What if Jesus Did not Rise?