Sunday, 23 March 2008

Jesus is Risen

It is Easter Sunday, and the day on which Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether you believe the story ultimately depends on whether it makes sense to you in the context of your own life. I certainly believe it, and I believe that it is proof that the sacrifice of Jesus in going to his Crucifixion was not in vain. All who believe in him will receive God's grace [Charis=a freely given gift], which is essential for salvation.

As we have seen with the Turin shroud, every time the scientific community provides evidence against the Christian faith, more evidence pops up to substantiate the Bible stories. Did Jesus' disciples risk their lives for a lie? Would anyone? Of course not. If the Resurrection had never happened, their movement would have been finished. They would have gone back to being anonymous fishermen and the Christian faith would be the merest footnote in history (if recorded at all) as a short-lived Jewish sect, no better known than Apollonius of Tyana. With Jesus dead, there was no need for them to face persecution.

You may argue that religious belief is irrational, but actually that is precisely the point. When I say that my wife loves me; I love my wife and my cat; I am happy today; I am in pain; none of these can be empirically demonstrated. You may find empirical evidence which is consistent with what you believe the empirical evidence should say, but that is as far as you go.

Our ability to value the irrational is what separates us from the animals. A goldfish swimming around its tank only needs its rational, physical surroundings. To be psychologically healthy human beings, we need more than that. We need faith. You might call it religious faith, or you might dress it in different clothes and pretend that it is 'rational' and 'scientific', but ultimately it is the irrational things in life, the qualitative rather than the quantitative, which makes life worthwhile.