How Jesus Responds To Tragedy

Every time a major tragedy grips the conscience of America, some prominent Christians will offer unhelpful explanations. I’d like to look at some of the most embarrassing examples, consider a few reasons why this happens, and then contrast their perspective with the teaching of Jesus.

As we’ll see, there is a stark difference between how some Christian leaders and Jesus respond to tragedy.

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Were Jesus’ Disciples Gullible?

One of the common attacks on the reliability of the Bible, and the New Testament in particular, is the idea that “people back then were a lot more gullible about things like miracles and people rising from the dead.”

A commenter on a BBC internet thread put it like this, “Were the disciples just gullible? Aren’t the followers of all religious leaders?”

Or as Rudolph Bultmann offered, in regards to our own comparative enlightenment,

It is impossible to use electric light and the wireless and to avail ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time to believe in the New Testament world of spirits and miracles.

So that is our question: were the disciples of Jesus gullible?

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Christian Hypocrisy and Unbelief

The problem of Christian hypocrisy is a major reason for unbelief. As Ghandi perceptively noted, “If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today.” In the same line of thought, one …

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The Absurdity of the Cross

“And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified Jesus, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.”  – Luke 23:33

Historically speaking, there’s nothing special about crucifixion. Perhaps tens of thousands were crucified throughout the Roman empire. Before the time of Jesus, in 87 B.C., a Hasmonean ruler named Alexander Jannaeus crucified 800 Jewish rebels in Jerusalem.  During part of a siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D, the Roman military crucified as many as 500 Jewish people a day. Under these circumstances, to speak against the government, or worse, to actually revolt, could lead to unspeakably horrible consequences.

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Memorizing the Minimal Facts Argument for Jesus’ Resurrection

Let’s talk about memorizing the “Did Jesus rise?” argument.  (I recognize that if you’re still weighing whether or not the argument is true, this is probably not your first concern, and I appreciate the seriousness with which you are still considering the evidence).

Reasons (for a Christian) to memorize the argument:

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Did Jesus rise from the dead?

In their excellent book, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Gary Habermas and Michael Licona offer a very readable and thoroughly researched argument for the publicly accessible, historical, bodily resurrection of Jesus.  My goal in this post is to summarize their main argument as simply as possible.

Their argument has two key components:
1. The minimal facts that are widely agreed upon by nonChristian scholars.

2. There are only so many plausible theories to explain these facts, but the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the most reasonable explanation.

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“That’ll Teach ‘Em!” Thoughts on Revenge and Forgiveness

When we are hurt by someone, one of the most fundamental temptations is to react with anger and a determination to strike back.  Whether they have been insensitive, mean, violent, or disrespectful, we want to teach them a lesson.  One that make our message quite clear: what you did was wrong, and BAM!, that’s what it felt like, so stop. We justify lashing out, saying to ourselves, “that’ll teach ’em!”

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