To err is human; to forgive, divine. - Alexander Pope
Jesus and Thomas
There is a tendency among believers and non-believers alike to judge one another for their inability to believe in what the other sees as obvious and absolute truth. How can someone deny the existence of the Divine God? How can anyone not recognize the validity of evolution? And so on...the storms of debate rage on. Always have. Always will.
But is seeing really believing? I wonder if that was Jesus's point. Upon touching the wounds of the risen Christ, Thomas immediately professes his belief, but Jesus responds with a question: "Have you believed because you have seen me?"
"Well, yes," I would think at first. Of course that's why. He wanted proof. You came and gave him proof. End of story. Except that it's not the end of the story. It never is.
Did you ever see that magic act where the two people go around the stage doing completely insane quick changes? I must have watched it a thousand times, and I still can't figure it out. Seriously, go watch this:Quick Change Magic
Now, I don't believe that either of those people is magical; they're just really good at tricking me. And that, I think, might be Jesus's point to Thomas. Why would you allow the subjective reality of your senses to dictate what you believe? Any mother can tell you that intuition is a better judge of what is right and wrong in her child than any medical book could ever be. Reality, for all its concrete, observable, quantifiable, reasoned elements, is still no more real to you or I than the dreams we have each night.
Nonetheless, humans are built to trust our senses and our reason, and as a result, we doubt - even when we have no reason to doubt at all.
Why do I tell you this? Well, in the past few months, I have come across at least two friends who have sought me out and questioned the validity of the Bible, the realistic probability of its accuracy, and what I believe on everything from the origins of the Universe to homosexuality as a sin. And I have gladly answered them to the best of my ability, but there is something that I still need to say:
For me at least, being a Christian isn't about certainty of facts or an iron fisted handle on the full reality of God. For me, being a Christian is only about accepting with faith that which is unseen.
To doubt is human. We are not meant to fully understand all which is or has been or is to come. We question. We ponder. We consider the possibility. This is the very essence of what it means to be human, not beast.
It must have been very lonely for Thomas in those eight days. All of the other disciples having seen Jesus resurrected from the grave, and poor Thomas is left to only imagine what it would be like. I feel for him. I am him.
I am thankful for are those moments when I can actually feel God moving my heart towards Him. I am thankful for the sunsets that could only be created by a Divine God. I am thankful for the sounds of my children's laughter, reminding me of His love. I am thankful for all of those moments that re-solidify my faith because, like Thomas, I need it. We all do.