I admit to being a “doubting Thomas,” which I do not consider to be a “bad” thing. The expression “doubting Thomas” was coined from the famous scripture passage after Jesus’ resurrection in which his apostle Thomas is quoted in John 20:25.
“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Thomas is often given a bad rap for demanding evidence of something that is a physiological impossibility – a man three days dead rising back to life. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us would also demand evidence for such an incredible claim, just as Thomas did. Some pious Christians will claim he should have “just believed” without evidence, as Jesus said to Thomas from John 20:29.
“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
I find it curious why Jesus states it is “better” to believe without evidence than to ask for evidence. For me, it only proves his lack of integrity because nobody dedicated to sharing Truth with others would ever require their “faith,” but would instead provide evidence and encourage questioning so one could discover Truth for oneself, since Truth has nothing to do with faith. What is true is never changed by what we believe, just as the Earth never stopped being a sphere when virtually everyone in the world at one point in history believed the Earth was flat. That which is true is always able to be either proven or demonstrated to be true by means of such things as evidence, awareness, experience, and logical, rational thought that is without contradiction. “Spiritual Truth” – or simply seeing all for what it is – one, is not a “big secret” or a mystery. Nor is it to be “hidden” for whatever convoluted reason. All of these head games of “believing without seeing,” the secrecy and supposed “exclusivity” of “spiritual truth” are nothing more than tools for fraud, deception, and manipulation, as we have discovered before. While Jesus does provide evidence in this story, it is almost certainly pure fiction. Even if we believe the story to be factually correct, Jesus “provides evidence” by appearing only to some people, but not to others, catering to the games of “exclusivity” and “spiritual superiority” many pious religious people enjoy playing to generate a false sense of self-importance. All of this is obviously nothing more than an ego game to make one feel “special” and “better” than others, while implying others are “not as special” who do not experience these “visions” of the resurrected Christ.
This business of having some “see Christ,” while others do not is just a way of perpetuating the “spiritual superiority” game. It gives those who “have seen,” power over others who “have not seen” – those who are supposed to “just believe,” and simply take the words of others on “faith,” rather than be shown first hand, as others were, real proof of the resurrection. Why is it okay for some to receive evidence, and not others? Why must some be required to “believe,” while others can know from evidence? It is striking Jesus appeared to his disciples not as a “ghost,” but as a flesh-and-blood person who could “materialize” and “dematerialize” at will, as we learn from Luke 24:36-39.
“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Not even Paul received such a privilege, and had to settle for a blinding “light” and a “voice” of the Lord. Why does Jesus not simply provide evidence to everyone by appearing to each one of us, in the flesh, as he did to his disciples two-thousand years ago?
Not one person in the history of humankind since the disciples has ever to my knowledge claimed to have seen Jesus as a “flesh and blood” resurrected body with nail and spear scars. If they claim to “see Christ,” it is always described by believers as a “vision” of his “spirit” or “apparition” or the like, just like Paul’s purported experience. If we are honest with ourselves, no version of these “appearances” of Christ are in any way believable – not from regular people living today, Paul, nor the Gospel accounts. For all the claims by Christians of there being “hundreds of witnesses” to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is an amazing fact there is not a single third-party, contemporary non-Christian account of Christ’s resurrection to corroborate Paul’s story or the Gospel accounts. If such a miraculous event actually happened as a historical fact, it would not have been missed by non-Christian secular scribes of the day. They would have also taken note of the resurrected “many” who were raised after Christ’s resurrection, not to mention the great earthquake and several hours of total darkness over the land during Christ’s crucifixion. Still, not one third-party contemporary account of such unusual or miraculous events exists.
If Jesus can physically appear to people, as the Gospel accounts claim, then he can physically appear to anyone he likes throughout history since he is by the Bible’s definition, “timeless,” “eternal,” and “omnipotent.” If that is the case, why is not everyone today experiencing physical “appearances” of Christ, especially those who belong to the “wrong religion,” such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and atheism that Christians believe need to know Jesus? You would think if Christ was fair and reasonable, then he would appear to everyone – in the flesh, as he did for his disciples, to give each person equal opportunity to recognize him as “Savior” and “Lord,” especially since according to Christian theology, the fate of our very souls depends on it.
If you were to ask any Christian why Jesus does not appear to us in the flesh, why he simply does not spontaneously materialize to each one of us as he did to his disciples, especially since it is so important for everyone to know Christ, and according to scripture he could do this, they would say he cannot materialize and dematerialize any longer since he “ascended to Heaven,” or they would tell us it is “not his will,” that he “requires our faith,” that “we should not put God to the test,” and best of all, “we cannot understand the mysteries of the Lord.” These are all nothing more than convenient excuses to cover for the fact they have no honest, truthful, reasonable answers to this legitimate question. The truth is, everyone knows Jesus cannot appear to us in the flesh – that he cannot simply “materialize” and “dematerialize” as he supposedly did with his disciples because everyone, regardless of their faith, knows such a notion is completely imaginary. “Materialization” and “dematerialization processes” do not exist. Everyone also knows dead bodies never come back to life and appear to others in the flesh. These are obvious facts everyone understands, yet somehow these facts are forgotten in matters of “religious faith.” Some Christians may use the argument Jesus would not appear to those whom he knows would reject him, even if they did see him, which is why he does not appear to everyone, but is that consistent with the actions of a “loving God?” A truly loving God with integrity would give everyone an equal chance, regardless of whether or not they would “believe.”
The point is, anything that is true can be easily demonstrated or proven to third parties, while that which is not true cannot be demonstrated or proven to third parties. The only reason for the “necessity of faith,” is to keep power over others in the hands of those who hold the authority of the power structure demanding the “obedience” of others. Sharing Truth has nothing whatsoever to do with “faith” and “believing without seeing.” Unlike religious faith, sharing Truth has nothing to do with power. Truth is about seeing what is, not necessarily what we want things to be. Truth is never blind. Faith always is, since it is by definition, a product of ignorance since if you know, you don’t need to believe. Either we know or we do not know. Belief has nothing to do with knowledge of the Truth of what is. This is why faith is ultimately meaningless and pointless in matters of seeing Truth. Religious “faith” has to do with power and control, because in matters of faith, there is always a separation between those who “know,” from those who “do not know.” Not only is there a separation, but there is a deliberate attempt to keep this separation intact – under the guise of being told we must never “question God,” with threats of punishment if we dare to do so. So what “religious faith” actually does is perpetuate ignorance by discouraging questioning, and encouraging separation and division, instead of enlightening ourselves with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Faith is never about Truth. Faith is conjecture on what we hope is true or what we fear is not true. Faith, therefore, is all about hope and fear – not love.
While apologists can go into all kinds of clever distracting justifications for the “necessity of faith,” when it comes right down to it, there is absolutely no justification for the “necessity of faith,” except because one who wants to hold power over others demands it. If someone is telling the truth, they need only to simply produce the evidence to all who ask. Those who are telling the truth would never have a problem with providing the evidence for anyone making a reasonable request for it, as they would have nothing to hide and no reason to withhold the evidence. If I said I had ten million dollars in my back pocket, and you asked me to show you the money – to simply produce the evidence which would verify the truth of what I am saying, I would simply reach into my back pocket and show you the ten million dollars. I would even invite you to count it. If instead of simply producing the evidence I said you had to “have faith” the ten million dollars is in my back pocket, you would probably laugh at me and would not believe me. Almost nobody would, and nor should they. The only reason I would not produce the evidence is if I was lying or trying to be deceitful. It’s that simple. This is what we expect from ordinary people in our everyday lives when it comes to demonstrating truth. Why do we maintain a hypocritical double-standard and not expect the same from God?
Everyone knows if we pray in earnest to see the resurrected physical body of Christ, he will never appear to us. Everyone, regardless of their faith, no matter how sincerely we pray for or request Christ’s physical presence, or how badly people need Christ in their lives, knows as a matter of fact this will never happen. If God can so easily produce the evidence, as the Bible claims, by Jesus materializing before each and every one of us as he did for his disciples, and it is so vitally important for everyone to know Christ, as Christian theology also claims, why then does God always fail to produce the evidence? It makes no sense. If we are truly about honesty and integrity, than instead of making excuses for God, we need be honest and simply admit the truth of what the facts are telling us – either God is imaginary and this entire concept is absurd, or face the fact of God’s fraudulence since the only truthful reasons not to produce the evidence is to either hide or keep something from others, to be dishonest and/or fraudulent, or to control others. It’s that simple. Either way, these facts alone prove the story of the resurrection is a fraud.
There is no honest justification for why we cannot reasonably demand the same evidence Thomas did – to actually see and touch the physical, materialized, resurrected Christ with nail and spear scars to confirm the truth of the resurrection. If God truly has integrity and is not about a power game, he would never require our faith, but would instead provide evidence for everyone, not the second-hand Gospel accounts we have today of others we must “believe” are “telling the truth.” In other words – Christ would actually appear to each one of us – in the flesh, and would materialize before our eyes, as he did with his disciples. That way, this entire power game and war-mongering notions of “religious faith” would end, because instead of perpetuating these absurd ideas of “spiritual superiority,” with some being “in the know” from evidence, while requiring others to simply “believe” in “faith” without evidence, we would all instead be on a level playing field because then we would all have evidence, enabling us to simply share Truth and love honestly with everyone because of our genuine desire to do so instead of being dishonest by perpetuating imaginary notions like “materialization,” “dematerialization,” and “resurrection” – all ideas which serve no other purpose than to keep those “in the know” separated from those not “in the know.” In short, all of these ideas are nothing more than tools for fraud and manipulation, as we discovered earlier. The Apostle Paul was a big fan of being “spiritually superior,” while claiming to be “spiritually inferior.” This was only false modesty, as his true colors are plainly revealed in his epistles in which he claimed to be “right” and “justified” in his slavery-condoning, misogynistic viewpoints. None of this nonsense has anything whatsoever to do with actual “Godliness,” truthfulness, and love.
What is most hypocritical about many “believers” is their claim Christianity is based on evidence, while saying it requires our “faith” at the same time. If Christianity truly was based on evidence, then its truth would be self-evident to everyone – that is – it would be an undeniable fact, just the same as we accept scientific facts, instead of a matter of faith. Christian apologists and preachers would not have a job if Christianity had credibility in the scientific/academic community. Since Christianity has no factual credibility, apologists and preachers can have a job by preaching the self-contradictory and hypocritical position of Christianity somehow being a matter of both “evidence” and “faith” at the same time. They cannot be both. Christianity, due to the absence of any historical evidence whatsoever from the time Jesus supposedly lived, must be taken only on faith since there is no evidence to prove it as fact. This is the hard truth Christians try to ignore in the reassuring words of biased Christian apologists, who only see what they want to see which aligns with their preconceived notions, not actual Truth based on evidence regardless of whether or not it corresponds to their egotistical desires and cherished beliefs. And by their fruits… we shall know…
Listen to the “Doubting Thomas” audio version