Sunday, March 04, 2007

Is James Cameron's 15 Minutes of Fame the Coffin of your Dreams?

OK -- I know that this is so last week: But James Cameron hauled out a coffin claiming it to be the coffin of Jesus. If you don’t know about it, I’m glad. The whole thing reeks of a publicity stunt that guaranteed Cameron’s desired 15 minutes. You can read about it HERE.

And the coffin of Jesus is the coffin of my faith, right? – we’ve said this forever.

So I have a question. It’s a question that you can respond to only if you believe that Jesus came out of that tomb alive; that he was raised as Messiah. You can only answer this question if you believe that by rising from the dead, Jesus has conquered death; has vindicated his people; was raised as the Second Adam; will return to judge the world; gives you reason to risk your life for the cause of Christ; rendering your life not meaningless; and only if you believe that at his appearing, he will restore and redeem all things to their good, stunning, gorgeous, God-honoring rightful place.

Put simply: You can only respond to this post if you’ve made the link between the ‘Resurrection of Jesus’ and the ‘Answer to every Question, Hope and Dream that the Universe has ever had’.

What if James Cameron is right? What if Jesus stayed in that tomb (or any other tomb)? What if Cameron’s stunt could actually be proved to be true? Like really and conclusively true!

My question for your comments:

What will you do about it tomorrow morning? (Monday in Australia/Sunday in the US)

And if you think that it’s inappropriate to ask this question, bear in mind that our Apostle unapologetically raised this very question in his Blog to the Corinthians.

S0 – answer, my friends.

(Because this is so important, I will probably delete anonymous comments. Sorry.)


Justin said...

And how would you feel about it? Would you stay Christian? Would you reorginize Churches to be something else? What could they become? Would you change faiths? Not change at all? Pretend? Spiral down? Feel released? Feel trapped? Duped? Angry?

Justin said...

And if you wish to remain anon, you can still have your voice. I dpo want to hear you -- just email me jmoff / hotmail.

Kat B. said...

Life would certainly be easier. But also emptier.

If it actually was the coffin of Jesus, I suppose I would have to ask myself if being a Christian meant anything anymore. Without the proof that Jesus was completely punished for our sins, and we were completely redeemed, I'm not sure if I would be able to trust God (something I already have problems with). I would feel angry, because I hate being lied to.

Of course then you'd have to consider if any of the other religions out there held the answer. Or if there is an answer in the first place.

Also all of this would probably happen after a really long period o complete denial. If I stopped denying it at all. There is no such thing as historical certainty anyway. And aren't we supposed to not fall to the wisdom of the world? We've always looked illogical and foolish to the world, this would simply be another thing we'd have to argue against.

If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then the Bible is lying, and could no longer be taken as the authority. Also, that would make God fallible. He would have knowingly lied. Over and over again.

It would definitly be an enormous blow. The foundations for why I do just about everything would be completely gone. It would be very disorienting.

Thankfully, though, it's not a situation we're actually faced with. Praise God!

Luke Collings said...

When I was 13 years old I used to lie awake in bed a lot thinking about death. I tried to reason through every possible scenario for my life, but I always ended up in the same place. One day I was going to die, and when I died I would meet God (whoever He was), and I was definitely not prepared for that. When I came to faith in Christ four years later it was as though all my fears had been relieved.

If someone truly did find Jesus body in a tomb somewhere I think that I'd probably start lying awake again. It would mean that I should have taken that spiritual "left turn at Alburqurque", because I've been on the wrong track. I'd be in the same position I was in 14 years ago, waiting for the inevitable without any recourse. A very depressing way to live your life. So, when I'd gotten over the disappointment of losing a Saviour, I'd probably set off in search of the next Most Likely option for spiritual salvation.

If you stand for an objective spiritual truth, it stands to reason that you must accept the possiblity that you may be wrong. Now, I don't think that my faith has been misplaced. In fact, I believe that my faith is the most likely explanation for the evidence that I see around me. But occasionally a Little Voice seems to whisper doubts in my ear when I'm tired or things are less than brilliant at church. Is the Little Voice lying? I truly hope so...

Mandy said...

I'd resign - no point in being paid to serve at The Bible Talks if Jesus didn't really rise from the dead.

I'd apologise to my parents - because then my Dad would be right that I have thrown away everything they'd ever worked for.

I'd then be a bit like Paul after his apparent 'conversion' going around telling people who are sitting in church that they are deluded, life really is meaningless and there is no eternity to look forward to so they should stop wasting their time and start really living.

I'd be really angry - what have the last 18 years been all about? Why have I spent all this money getting a theological education? Why have I been praying to a God who doesn't care and believing a book of lies?

I'd wonder if my old employer would take me back ...

Ruth said...

If Jesus' body was still in a tomb, i.e he didn't rise from the dead, I would be incredibly depressed, but no longer Christian. Paul is pretty clear about the necessity of Jesus' resurrection.

Would I then revert to OT ways?? Would it be that Jesus wasn't the messiah after all?? No idea! I'd ask AB!!! Would Jesus' 'non resurrection' mean that his death wasn't sufficient price for sins?

(praise be to God, I know he did rise)

Michael Krahn said...

I would love to get Rob Bell's take on this one since it rather closely resembles his virgin conception scenario in Velvet Elvis.

Is the bodily resurrection another of those springs that, if it could be proved false, wouldn't really change our faith?

I know there is some cause for debate (rather weak in my opinion) regarding the virgin conception, but I feel about the resurrection the same as I feel about the virgin conception - without it we lose Jesus. Everything changes. Everything would have to be re-evaluated, much to the pleasure I fear of a few in the extreme emergent movement.

Julia said...

If it could be proven to me beyond doubt (not sure how they'd manage that) that Jesus stayed dead...well...I would have to swallow my pride (which I hate) and admit that I was wrong...mind you...I am incredibly stubborn and tend to believe stuff in spite of the evidence, so I may stay Christian to avoid having to deal with my pride and being wrong...
On the other hand...I may go completely the other way and become self destructive...hard to Luke my small voice speaks at times, but like everyone else who has posted so far, I am very very grateful that Jesus did not stay dead!

Jim said...

My initial thought was to throw in the towel on it all (if it were true).

However, if it were true, that wouldn't negate the whole OT, and the fact that there is a God.

I guess, as we discussed over email, find my local synagogue and start building a temple....?

Christopher said...

I could become a gnostic, you know, he spiritually rose and is present in the community bla bla.

I think I would become an atheist with a communitarian based ethics.

Also I would want to know how would the church divide up the property and assets?

I mean I haven't given that much over the years, but if it all turned out to be a sham I would want a photocopier or something. And I am sure there are some Christians who would feel entitled to some property, maybe St. Clements Mosman.

Oh and I would call you a liar Justin and sacrastically thankyou for encouraging me to waste my life :)

Megan said...

I honestly don't know what I would do. The very foundation of my life and my way of living and relating in the world would crumble....

I don't think I'd swing compeletely atheist...but I would be bitter and hurt and angry. And I would have to reevaluate the past four or five years (since I became a Christian) to see what is salvagable. I'd reevaluate relationships, success, how I spend my time.

Everything would be different, and I'm not sure I would cope well with that.

Thank God that's not actually a situation we're faced with.

Anonymous said...

Question for Justin: Have you seen said program? You seem very quick to judge a persons motives.

To some of the others who have commented, I would not like to think that you would cease being who you are, just because your faith in a higher being has been quashed.

You should also not just be living your life for Him, all those people you help who are having a hard time will still be there and will still need a hand...

Christopher said...

Justin if you choose to delete anon's comment feel free to delete this one as I quote him/her and it is off the topic.

To some of the others who have commented, I would not like to think that you would cease being who you are, just because your faith in a higher being has been quashed.

I think this shows that you haven't really understood the historical nature of Christianity and the importance of Jesus' physical resurrection for the believer.

You should also not just be living your life for Him, all those people you help who are having a hard time will still be there and will still need a hand...

Yes but they would no longer need a hand because they are sacred and made in His image, we would need to find some other reason to help them.

Without a God saying that humans are not animals there is nothing to distinguish humans from animals except complexity of culture/society. But if a humans ability to engage and interact with complex society/culture is diminished and this is what distinguishes them from animals, why should we feel compelled to help them? Is it worth while spending the time and resources in helping them, when those resources could be used to benefit the whole of society/culture to further advance?

Bascially why should the advancement of the whole be hampered by the neediness of a few? Christianity would say, because the few are made in the image of God and are valuable to him, and therefore should be valuable to us. Without a God who are the needy valuable to?

timbo said...

All good things come from scripture "And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:14

If Christ did not rise, death is not defeated, and therefore no salvation, which means NO ETERNITY WITH GOD. So Christianity would be irrelevant

I have the capacity of making a little stone box in my garrage, and im sure someone would translate some hebrew to be enscribed.

Paul also warned against False teachers;&version=47;

I don't know what i would do, Christ is the only source of hope and salvation in the world. But i would definetly want one of the Data Projectors at Christ Church St Ives

Christ did rise from the dead!


Benjamin Ady said...

I know, I'm not supposed to be answering the question, as I don't exactly meet the clearly spelled out qualification (well, I very occasionally meet it, but I don't think that counts)

but I think the whole "why should we help people, the needy, if Christ didn't rise" is a fascinating thread." If it was my blog, I'd repost Christopher's comments at the top of a new thread.

I don't really much buy into the whole christianity thing most of the time, and I am increasingly interested in helping the needy. In fact, my decreasing belief in Christ and my increasing interest in engaging/loving/helping other people have been occurring simultaneously.

So now I'm forced to ask myself "Why do I want to help other people? Why is that important to me?" This is a fascinating question which I shall have to ponder further

Can I invite anyone who is *also* interested in helping the needy, Christian or not, to join our conversation over at quite a recently launched blog:

Justin said...

Everyone – Wow. What profound and honest answers.

Christopher: If Cameron turns out to be right, I shall leave you my collection of (phony) books.

Justin said...

Benjamin -- You are right! You are on a different thread. Right here, I'm keen to hear from people who do make the link from the Resurrection to Hope and Meaning. It’s interesting, because I know that you love Hope. My feeling (and I know I could be completely wrong) is that you appear to be running away from a form of (US?)evangelical Christianity that you don't like, rather than the resurrected Jesus himself. A new thread, alas.

Justin said...

Anon -- I have kept your comment, even though I wanted people to not be anonymous. Email me though, please: jmoff/hotmail. I'd like to tell you a little more of why Jesus’ Resurrection is not just a ‘parallel track’ that could or could not exist for me to have hope or meaning. But it is the track. That could be fun for us to email.

Take away the Resurrection, and I may help people (I hope I would even if I was fuzzy on a reason of substance) or I may not help people (plenty of people who do not believe in Resurrection don't feel compelled to help people, right?). But if I have the Resurrection, I have no choice: There is Hope. There is a Redemption of the World yet to come, there is human dignity now here, there is life beyond the ugly reality of death, and there is a Lord to whom I must give an account.

But I say too much.

jmoff / hotmail. Very keen to hear from you.

Mike Clawson said...

Great question!

Two things it wouldn't do:
1) It wouldn't shake my belief in the existence of God. I might not believe in a Trinitarian God anymore, but I still think there is plenty of reason to believe in the divine apart from the resurrection of Jesus.

2) It wouldn't change my conviction that the Way of Jesus (that is, the way of love, compassion, generosity, peace, justice, self-sacrifice and joy that Jesus taught) is the best possible way to live. I would want to continue patterning my life after that way of living even if it turned out that Jesus was just a good teacher and not actually God in the flesh.

However, without the resurrection of Jesus I don't know if I could maintain the hope necessary to continue pursuing this way of life. Unless there was some proof that this way of life is God given and God directed - i.e. that there was some guarantee that the way of love and self-sacrifice actually reflects something deeply true about the universe and where the whole human story is heading - I think I might conclude that the Way of Jesus is actually hopelessly naive and foolish. I think my cynical side would take over and overwhelm my hope that love actually can change the world.

To me that is the hope of the resurrection - hope that death and evil and injustice do not have the last word, that the power and plans of God actually are directing the world towards love and justice, that the message Jesus taught and lived are not just the idealistic ramblings of another hopeless dreamer.

Or put it this way - Jesus went to the cross to show that nonviolence and peace can triumph over the violence and oppression of the systems of this world. His resurrection was the proof that this was true. If he did not rise, if he stayed dead, than the violent and the powerful really did win after all. They got the last laugh and proved that all our pursuits of peacemaking and social justice are nothing more than naive wishfulness - that money and power really are the only things that make any real difference in the world.

In other words, if Jesus did not rise, I think I would lose hope in the effectiveness of my ideals.

Muriel said...

Good words.