When it comes to the most important occurrences in religious traditions, the line between history and faith gets fuzzy. The farther back in time we go, the fuzzier it gets.
For the central event in Christian mythology, the line is somewhat clear: what happened before Sunday morning has some historical accountability; what happened after is firmly in the territory of faith.
We live in a culture which tends to uphold history as science and denigrate faith as superstition. But that leads us into a fallacy which more and more people are naming as such and rejecting: that the only things that count are things we can count.
Faith in resurrection – however literally or metaphorically one wants to think of it – falls into the same vast category as a lot of things that can’t be measured in western, enlightenment terms: love, hope, purpose, values, community, meaning. Faith that the sun will rise tomorrow. Faith that all the time and money we spent in Med school will be worth twenty years from now because society will still need doctors.
Suggesting that such things are inferior because of their subjectivity and lack of provability seems to miss the point of being human. Faith, as Seth Godin says, is the dividing line between humans and most other species.
Faith and freedom are intimately connected. Faith motivates us to think that, with our effort and attention, freedom might be possible tomorrow. Perhaps even more freedom, and freedom for those who do not have it today.
Faith in resurrection takes us back to the beginning of this story, with the Hebrews in Egypt. The Exodus did not start when the Israelites decided they’d had enough of slavery and that it was time to leave.
In Christianity, (Easter) Sunday affirms that, whatever horrors humans inflict on each other on Friday, and whatever hopelessness about our situation we feel on Saturday, something greater than us and what we understand is also at work – and sometimes making the first move
Oh, and it appears to like freedom.
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