Why People Hate the Empty Tomb


https://i0.wp.com/slcbc.org/media/images/articles/Easter.jpgTomorrow is Easter Sunday when Christians in non-Eastern Orthodox traditions celebrate the single most important event in the history of the universe . . . a man, dead and buried since the previous Friday . . . walked out of a borrowed tomb alive. This event, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth stands alone in the annals of time. It is a unique event that now serves as the fulcrum of how we measure time worldwide — even in officially non-Christian countries. Jews, Muslims, and other religions may have calendars they follow to schedule religious ceremonies, but all business gets conducted on the Gregorian — the Christian — calendar. Christ’s return from the dead is so powerful, it changed our calendar from BC, “Before Christ” to AD, “Anno Domini” or “In the year of Our Lord.”

As powerful as the event, as essential as the sacrifice leading up to it, and as all-important as the Man involved, to many people the empty tomb of Easter is not an object of reverence, a touchstone of faith, and a symbol of life everlasting, it is an object of derision, a touchstone of folly, and a symbol of a corpse of a rotting religion whose time has passed. Many people hate the empty tomb and everything it stands for and while some disparage the Resurrection out of ignorance of or antagonism towards the Person and message of Christ, some have much more specific reasons for their antipathy towards that bare cave in the cliffs outside Jerusalem.

One reason many hate the empty tomb is they mistake what Christians have done in the world for what Christ did on the Cross. I will not sully the memory of those who suffered under the heel of the Christian boot during the Crusades, the Inquisition, the forced conversion of Native American children and many other atrocities committed in the name of the Lamb of God. However, it is unjust of anyone to judge the Gospel based on the actions of sinners . . . and we are all sinners. Crusaders were sinners, Inquisitors were sinners, abortion clinic bombers are sinners, and, what’s more, every single person sitting on a chair or in a pew in any church in the world today is a sinner. The only One who has ever lived who was NOT a sinner died so all the sinners who came before and all who would come after could have hope their sins would not be held against them, and the people of His time killed Him for His troubles. You cannot measure the value of the Gospel using the scales of a sinner.

Another reason people hate the empty tomb is the feeling of guilt and shame acknowledging the sacrifice of the Cross and victory of the Tomb creates. People will rail at the Heavens about how they did not ask for anyone to come die for them. They feel angry at the idea of not being “good enough” for anything they may want. No one wants to feel ashamed or guilty and in our modern culture “guilt” is today reserved almost exclusively for legal proceedings while “shame” is just the product of a backward mind unwelcome in this brave new world. After all, we’re all okay. If we just tolerate and celebrate each other and embrace the diversity of sins around us, everything will be fine. We just have to get passed the false guilt Christianity via the church has bound our freedom with for centuries. We aren’t shameful or guilty as long as it is politically incorrect to equate ANY behavior with shame or guilt. We would follow a truth to avoid The Truth.

That brings up the strongest reason people hate the empty tomb. As long as “open-minded moderns” can believe Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett are correct and God truly does not exist so no tomb ever really was empty, we can go about our merry way and do what we want, when we want, as long as we want, with whomever we want and no consequences will ever weigh us down. As the Wiccan Rede says, “Do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone.” We can die peacefully with Bertrand Russell’s thin, reedy voice intoning in our fading hearing, “”Death is nothing to us; for that which is dissolved, is without sensation, and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us.” As long as God is dead and the Tomb either full or fairy tale, we are the “Master of our fate; the captain of our soul.”

However, if the opposite is true and Jesus rose from the dead, they are not only guilty, but they are also in debt and facing judgement. The presence of a just and holy God who provided a way to escape eternal capital punishment through the deliberate sacrifice of Himself in the form of His Son absolutely plays havoc with their lives — inner and outer. If that God is real; if that Christ is real, then I don’t get to live any way I want. I don’t get to rob and thieve and steal whatever from whomever I please. I can’t have sex like some randy alley cat willy-nilly. Most of all, though; my life doesn’t belong to me. I owe my life, my existence to Someone else and one day, I will stand before Him to give an account of my actions.

That possibility at once terrifies and enrages every atheist I’ve ever known. The very possibility they are not in control of their precious little existences rankles at them like a rock in their shoe. Man likes to think he is top of the food chain and the pinnacle of all in the Universe for that is what the Enlightenment has taught him, but no . . . There is One; the Three in One to whom everyone from the most devout Muslim to the most strident atheist will one day bend a knee and proclaim thrice holy . . . and each of them despises the fact and by extension the Empty Tomb which gives them a way of escape from that day of wrath.

An interviewer asked the aforementioned Bertrand Russell what he would do if, after his death, he found himself standing before God. Mr. Russell replied, again in that wispy whisper of his, “Well, I’d simply say, ‘You didn’t provide me enough evidence!'” So what you are saying, Mr. Russell, is if confronted with the King and Creator of the Universe in all His power and glory, you — a mere human — would lead your defense of your miserable unbelief with “Not enough evidence?”

No, sir, I don’t believe you would. He has given us enough evidence and chief among it all is that stark, empty tomb which so many in the world hate . . . to their own peril.

Love y’all, Happy Easter, and keep those feet clean! He is risen indeed!

4 responses »

  1. Men being the pinacle of the universe? Sounds like projection – atheists are not the ones that believe they were created in god’s likeness. And sorry, wishfull thinking that anyone “hates” the empty grave. It’s a story. We hate it as much as the story on how Zeus became a swan and laid some human girl. Not at all. Just Christians are obsessed with pointing to some random myth and claim that this is a huge thing. It isn’t. It’s just another piece of mythology.

    • While you may not bother much with the fact of Christ’s Resurrection, I’ve watched the vaunted Four Horsemen of the New Atheism devote entirely too much screen time, lecture time, and book words to believe they dismiss the “story” as easily as you do. No one talks about something as much as they do with the tone and words they use unless they either love a thing or hate a thing. Also, one great difference between the account of the Resurrection and the myth of Leda and the Swan is 2000 years afterwards, no one was still building temples to Zeus or hospitals or schools in his name either for that matter. As I’ve said before here and in other places, someone can bet on atheism as much as he or she wants, but he’d better be damn certain he’s right or the consequences will be tragic and eternal.

      • So, Budhism is true, too? And Shintoism, also true? Because both are also more than 2.000 years old and people still invest time in them. Age only makes stories old, not true. Ideas are powerful, but not all ideas are also true.
        And as you can see on your own posting, Christians like to shove their mythology into other people’s faces, which is why other people invest time to point out that it’s just mythology, not truth. I could tell you all the time of the flying spaghetti monster but even it survives 2.000 years, it will not suddenly become more true or plausible.

      • Ah, the good old flying spaghetti monster. It’s been awhile since I’ve had someone bring him up in an argument. I like to think of him as a postmodern version of Bertrand Russell’s silly celestial teapot. Anyway, I apologize if you feel any Christian, including me, has “shoved” his or her belief in your face. That’s why I mentioned in my original post how people confuse what Christians say with what Christ says and it muddies the water amazingly. Now, the other truth of the matter is what you or any other atheist does or does not believe has no bearing on the fact of Christ’s Resurrection whatsoever. A person can believe fire will not burn, but if he sticks his hand in a steel furnace, he’ll discover otherwise. A person can believe water will not drown him until he tries to breathe it.

        You are spot on when you say ideas are powerful and that’s why I am thankful Christianity, unlike Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, Islam, etc, rests not on an idea, but on a historically verifiable fact, vis a vis, the life, death, and resurrection of the historically verifiable figure Jesus of Nazareth. Within three generations, the humble man from Galilee’s followers preaching His Gospel brought the mighty Western Roman Empire to ruin. If Christ did not rise from the dead, it would have been so simple for the authorities of the day to save their political world . . . all they had to do was produce the dead body of Jesus. In fact, when the hue and cry began in Jerusalem that He was alive, why did Pilate and the high priests not order the body brought from the tomb to be paraded throughout the streets of the city and thereby strangle the new movement in its cradle? Because the body was not there because Jesus was no longer dead.

        Now, do not mistake my answers as an attempt, however feeble, to alter the way you personally believe. Your thoughts and beliefs are between you and God and I have neither the power, time, nor inclination to try changing them. I merely point out that just as you state saying a thing does not make it true, I assert that denying the facts won’t make them go away either. So, let us both agree to die at some future point and we’ll see who is right, yes? Until then, auf wiedersehen, mein Freund.

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