Easter Is Laughable
To the modern mind, Easter is laughable. At Christmas time, Christians claim that Jesus came through a virgin’s womb. Equally as laughable is the Easter claim – Jesus was medically dead and then returned to life. It’s laughable because it’s unscientific – we simply cannot repeat or observe this phenomenon. Further than that, it’s naive – we are putting ourselves in the same boat as those uneducated primitive people 2000 years ago. It’s laughable because it flies in the face of the regular rules of biology. Life-savers at Australian beaches regularly successfully perform CPR, but the Easter claim presents Jesus as rising after not 3 minutes but 3 days. If we are to believe Roman historical records, then the crucifixion process Jesus endured is enough to send the body into a state of trauma. If we are to believe the Biblical record of John 19:34, the guards checked Jesus was really dead by piercing his side with a spear and producing a flow of separate blood and water. Then they laid him in a cold tomb, embalmed for 2 nights. Ultimately, it is 100% laughable that he rose. Haven’t we progressed beyond such outdated myths?
ONE WAY AROUND
One way around the medical ignorant claim about a man rising again from the dead is simply to label it a metaphor. Maybe Jesus didn’t actually begin breathing again, but his memory lives on. Perhaps his ‘resurrection’ just means that his inspirational teachings still impact people 2000 years later. It’s possible that the Jesus-narrative of ‘overcoming’ is true locus of power.
Yes, that’s one option.
If we proposed that option to an early Christian called Paul (who wrote about half of the New Testament in the Bible), however, he would respond something like this: ‘if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins’. We can even go one step further: It seems clear that the people who composed the New Testament didn’t simply believe in an inspiring idea of resurrection, they believed in a historical occurrence. We know that because of how they called eye-witnesses of Jesus walking, talking and even eating (see Luke 24:42). It would be convenient if Easter was simply a metaphor, but that option requires a bit too much mental creativity for most of us.
C.S. Lewis, who wrote the Narnia books, warned against chronological snobbery. He explains that chronological snobbery is the
‘uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also “a period,” and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions.’
As rational thinkers, we have only a few reasonable options:
1. His early followers faked the whole event,
2. His early followers deluded themselves and genuinely believed he was alive again,
3. Perhaps at one brief moment in time the regular rules of physics were upended and Jesus really did come alive again.