I grew up in a Christian home and for the first 35 years of my life, give or take a year, I didn’t question my beliefs, what I’d been taught, or the basis of Christianity in general. I probably didn’t spend the total of a single day reflecting on whether or not this was true and that false or what the true purpose of life was. The weightiest discussions I had were on the relative merits of different “flavors” of Christianity like Mama’s Fundamentalist Pentecostalism versus Granny’s Southern Baptist Sunday School lessons. Even when I was a rank heathen and behaved as such, I still had a good handle on how the world worked, Who was in charge, and what the end of all things was going to be. In due time, I made a profession of faith in Christ, and figured I’d punched my ticket to Heaven when I died. Budge and I went to the church where we’d been married and worked diligently and tirelessly to further the kingdom of God on Earth.
That all changed when my Papa John died in 2007.
When Papa died, I went into a night of the soul which left me an agnostic a breath away from hard atheism. I turned on my faith. Like a company in a hostile takeover, I fired everything and everyone I ever believed in. All my ideas had to “reapply.” It was hideous having the most basic of life’s foundations essentially blown up. EVERYTHING I had been taught, everything I held as truth, and everything I had taken for granted evaporated immediately. It’s not over, either. Ideas I held as dogma I’ve discarded and have no intention of ever picking up again. I walked away from Fundamentalism and Pentecostalism and frost will form on the hinges of Hell before I turn back.
But, I believe in Easter.
Was the Earth created in six literal days? Don’t know; don’t care. Moses part the Red Sea? Noah’s Flood was world wide? Not the faintest idea. Were Adam and Eve real people or is the Garden story an allegory? Not a clue and it makes no difference to me either way. Is there going to be a Rapture? How about a Millennial Kingdom? Pre-Trib? Mid-Trib? Post-Trib? No Trib? I. Don’t. Care. Richard Dawkins, I don’t think you’re right, but knock yourself out.
I believe in Easter.
What I KNOW and what no one in 2000+ years has been able to disprove is the Easter story. I believe in Easter because I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe no matter how messed up I am, no matter what encyclopaedic compendium of stupid things I’ve done, no matter the “good” life I miserably failed to live . . . Jesus Christ died for me . . . THE HARD WAY. I refuse to turn my back on anyone who loves me enough to endure hematodrosis, scourging, being crowned with thorns, and finally get NAILED TO A BOARD ON A POST. My Mama loved me. My Budge still loves me. I was the apple of all my grandparents’ eyes, but I know none of them loved me that much. I don’t have a friend that close. Sure, you might have someone who SAYS he or she would take a bullet for you . . . but see where they are when the shooting starts.
For three years, Jesus Christ went around tending the sick and poor and they KILLED HIM FOR IT. He actually WAS a good man and they stuck a spear in His side. NO. I won’t turn my back on that. I don’t know about all the details and doctrines anymore, if I ever did. All I know is my life is ROYALLY screwed up thanks to choices I made and choices others made for me, but Jesus didn’t care. He let them kill Him anyway just to cover all my screw ups. There was just one catch . . . He didn’t STAY dead.
If you want to make me an atheist, just show me Jesus’ body. That’s all Pilate and the Sanhedrin needed to do. When people started screaming about “He is risen!!” They could have just trundled the body out into the streets of Jerusalem and said, “Nope. Here he is and he’s still DEAD.” But they didn’t, because they couldn’t because after he died, HE GOT BACK UP.
Mohammed didn’t do that. He said if you do enough good and avoid enough evil, you get to go to Paradise. Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha didn’t do that. He said if you get your mind right, you’ll become one with the Universe and go to Nirvana. No atheist did that. They just say we’re here by chance — dumb luck — in which case I’ve got a list of people who need their luck to run out.
But Jesus said, “I’ll fix YOUR mess. I’ll take care of what YOU screwed up. I’ll let you KILL ME so YOU can live.”
I’m not turning my back on that. I may suck at being a Christian, but it’s what I am and not because Papa and Mama said so anymore. Not because I live in the South and supposedly “all y’all” are Christians. Not because “the preacher said so” or even because “the Bible said so.” I’m a Christian because He didn’t turn His back on me and I’m not going to turn my back on Him. I still believe in Easter and some days, it’s ALL I believe in, but it’s enough to get me out of bed and keep me from putting a bullet in my brain.
Love y’all, keep those feet clean, and Happy Easter.