Posts Tagged ‘orthodoxy’

Jesus Lives. Really.

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

One of the most interesting theological developments of recent years has been the return to traditional beliefs about the Resurrection. Following in particular the British scholar, N. T. Wright, it is not at all uncommon for biblical critics, theologians, and philosophers to argue that Jesus really did rise from the dead.

To some laymen, this will come as a surprise because they assumed that is what all Christians believe. But since the 19th century, liberal scholars have interpreted scriptural references to the Resurrection as “myth.” Scientifically-minded philosophers have pointed out that people don’t naturally rise from the dead.

But against these and other arguments, Wright points to the uniqueness of the claim and the vast array of evidence that could be cited in favor of the belief that Jesus came back to life. For example, the disciples weren’t expecting Jesus to rise from the grave, so it is unlikely they imagined his appearances out of “wish-fulfillment.” (The Gospels themselves note the fear and amazement of the disciples when they see the Risen Christ.)

Add the way we can conceive of persons occupying bodies as analogous to computer software running hardware, and it’s easier than it was 150 years ago to believe that Jesus lives. —J. Douglas Ousley.


Heresy Then and Now

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Today is the Lesser Feast of Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer–bishops who were burned at the stake during the English Reformation.

As we were reflecting on their brave sacrifices at Morning Prayer, I was struck by how minor the differences between their heretical views and the orthodoxy of the time. Of course, historians are quick to point out that the persecutions of many churchmen had more to do with power and money than faith. Queen Mary wanted to solidify her reign and was happy to get rid of Henry VIII’s supporters however she could.

Perhaps this is something to remember when we are horrified by contemporary punishments of “heretics” by Islamist zealots. Often the judicial violence is as much about political power as religious purity. —J. Douglas Ousley