No evidence of Jesus

The culture wars continue, albeit sometimes beneath the radar. As an example, consider this from Jay Nordlinger’s Impromptus today:

Finally, a story about NPR. I haven’t listened to it for years — since the 1980s? — but I happened to hear it a couple of weeks ago. I was with someone who had it on. And I listened with wondering ears.

They were doing a segment on a man who had been a Christian missionary deep in the Amazon jungle. It seemed a warm, positive story. “Huh — this is interesting,” I thought. “Maybe I should rethink NPR.”

The narrator recounted that the man had learned the language of the tribesmen, a remarkable feat. But his “proselytizing” — NPR’s word — wasn’t going so well. The ex-missionary said (and I paraphrase), “I told them there had been this man, Jesus, who was killed, and then came back to life. They said to me, ‘Did you see this?’ I said no. They said, ‘Do you know anyone who saw this?’ I again had to say no.”

Long story short: The missionary discarded his religious beliefs; the natives, as NPR said, wound up “converting him.”

So, a happy ending! A perfect, happy, NPR ending! It was just beautiful.

But here’s the kicker: This segment was broadcast Easter morning. It was the perfect Easter gift to the American people from their public radio.

Great story, and so typical. It’s one reason that I, too, don’t listen to NPR talk radio. Too predictable. But Jay’s vignette got me thinking about an analogy, about how we commonly have faith in many things that we neither have seen nor done.

Example: you drive a car, and you know that the car has brakes that will stop you when you need to. Well, at least most of us do; some of us have had cars where one’s faith in the brakes would have been misplaced…

But getting back to most of us and the brakes on our cars, how many of us can design and build those brakes? Or really know how they work? Or, for that matter, know any person, friend, relative, or acquaintance, who does? And yet, we all assume that those brakes will work.

It’s called faith, albeit of a different sort, but still, it is an informed belief: we think we know, we hope we know, we have faith that we know. Know that brakes are designed by engineers and built by craftsmen who know what they’re doing. In the absence of actually seeing those designers and craftsmen, we still believe.

So, too, do we take the divinity of Jesus Christ, and his atoning death, and his resurrection as being true.


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