“Walking on water? Please, people, this is the 21st century. Are we really so immature as to believe a story that blatantly defies all science and logic?”
Snickering. Incredulous head-shakes.
Chansen was warming to his theme. Without a doubt, this was one of his most passionate lectures – and he was good at it. It was in this class that he had effectively shaken the naïve and childish beliefs held by so many sheltered subscribers to the Christian fairytale.
“As to the supposed ‘miracle’ of Jesus’ resurrection, that is the most despicable, horrendous, uneducated story of them all,” he continued, emphasizing each adjective with dramatic pauses. “Dead cells do not come to life again. A body cannot function after being dead for three days. With all our modern science, we still don’t have the technology to bring people back from the dead – and a body certainly couldn’t come to life itself. The science of such a claim is completely impossible. C’mon! Do people even think when they tell these stories? No. It’s all too obvious that they don’t.”
With a snort of disgust, he swiveled on his heel toward the whiteboard, swiping a red dry-erase marker off his desk while he turned. As he spun, he noted several of his “religious” students squirming uncomfortably in their seats, and nodded to himself with smug satisfaction.
“Excuse me, Professor Chansen?” a self-assured voice rang out from the back of the classroom. Half-turning to meet the gaze of the questioner, the professor’s eyes lighted on the bright face of Cathurs, a science-savvy student with not a fleck of religious tarnish in him. With a grin, he pointed to the young man, “Yes, Michael, do you have a question?”
“Well, of course you’re correct in your assertions – I think we all realize the futility of claiming observable science is false – but I’m just wondering: In light of the modern times, what difference does it make whether these first-century stories are true or not?"
Chuckling, Chansen turned again to his whiteboard. “If I didn’t know any better, Michael, I’d think you were trying to get out of hearing my finest lecture.” The class tittered as he smoothly popped the marker’s lid off and began to write. “But it’s a good question. Regardless of whether these tales could be true or not – and I hope you all realize how completely illogical such ideas are – does it even matter? What would change, if they were true?” He paused for a moment, contemplating the pithiest phraseology available for answering such a question. And in that moment, briefly, he wondered.
What would change? What difference would it make if an ignorant fisherman in the first century really did walk on water? What discrepancies would one have to admit to if the Red Sea really parted, allowing thousands of people to pass through without so much as a damp shoelace? What points would have to be conceded if a man – who claimed to be God – actually did come to life after three days of lying in a sealed cave, dead and unpreserved? If one accepted these alleged “miracles” of the Christian faith as true, then he would also have to accept that there truly was a God. A Being who could not be easily dismissed, this God would not be the “one of many” so many religions revered, or even the “clock-winding” god of the Deists. No, if the “religious fairy tales” of Christianity were true, then there was a God who not only created men, women, and the world for a specific purpose (for anyone, whether man, beast, or Being must needs have a reason for creating), but also created it to be run by observing the laws and lines laid out in His ‘inspired word’. If the miracles recorded in such a book were truly brought about by the power of God, then it would mean that, not only had He created and laid the laws for this world – the laws of science – but also that He could and did break them at His pleasure. If the power of this God could and did superimpose His supernatural will on the laws of the universe then it would undoubtedly be true that He, in the form of a man, did die and somehow, mysteriously, come to life an astounding three days later. And if He truly died and rose again, as the Bible said, then the message proclaimed in such a book was indisputably true: that he, Chansen, could never measure up to the unachievable perfection of an unerring God, and was thus required to throw Himself on the mercy of a Being he could not see, or else wallow in endless death for an eternity.
"What would change, if it were true?" His own words, now thick and oppressive, still hung in the air like smoke, choking him. Suddenly weak and shaken, Chansen’s hand fell to his side as he turned, once more, to face the class. “Everything,” he replied, his mouth sandpaper-dry, “It would change everything.”