Check out all the videos at www.raisedbook.com to catch up on the whole story and more.
To accompany the coming release of Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection (Feb 25), we filmed a gripping journey of doubt to faith. Each of the four shorts reflect the four major themes in the book, but the story also stands on its own. The film Raised? is mixes art and story to trace genuine doubt, the human cycle of failure, the response of faith, and the hope of resurrection.
I’ve been moved to tears in each one of these, not only because I know the Roberts story personally, but also because I know there are many others who are in the midst of a similar story. Like Jessica says, “When we let go of the supernatural, we seep into the darkness.” Take a few minutes to soak in this narrative, pray for those with similar struggles, share it with others, and learn how to better relate to genuine doubters.
“Since the world isn’t perfect, why would we need a perfect being to explain the world or any feature of it?” This question was asked of premier Christian philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, in the New York Times Opinionator. I interacted with Plantinga’s most recent work on science and faith in a post called, “How Christian’s Can Affirm Evolution.”
Here is Plantinga’s response to the original question, “If the world isn’t perfect, then why do we need a perfect creator?”:
I suppose your thinking is that it is suffering and sin that make this world less than perfect. But then your question makes sense only if the best possible worlds contain no sin or suffering. And is that true? Maybe the best worlds contain free creatures some of whom sometimes do what is wrong. Indeed, maybe the best worlds contain a scenario very like the Christian story.
Think about it: The first being of the universe, perfect in goodness, power and knowledge, creates free creatures. These free creatures turn their backs on him, rebel against him and get involved in sin and evil. Rather than treat them as some ancient potentate might – e.g., having them boiled in oil – God responds by sending his son into the world to suffer and die so that human beings might once more be in a right relationship to God. God himself undergoes the enormous suffering involved in seeing his son mocked, ridiculed, beaten and crucified. And all this for the sake of these sinful creatures. I’d say a world in which this story is true would be a truly magnificent possible world. It would be so good that no world could be appreciably better.
Everyone’s alike. We all get along. We “click.” Yes, but click on what? Get along where? What’s often passed off as community is really nothing more than a circle of friends. The “circle of friends” is an insular, self-affirming circle of homogeneity. You share the same income, values, and jokes. You like the same restaurants, have some history, laugh together, and may be the most dangerous influence on one another.
Media critic and documentarian Adam Curtis has suggested that since the explosion of information and celebrity culture, we now determine reality based on our own experiences with our circle of friends.* Our peers now possess more authority than government, history, reason, or God. For example, what you do on the weekends, with your time, where you buy your house, and how your spend your money, may be primarily the result of friendship influences not deep values.
Your views on sexuality, politics, church, and God are easily shaped by little finite people and their opinions of you more than a transcendent, good, holy Authority and what he thinks of you in Christ. You may consume questionable amounts or kinds of media, or refuse to sacrifice your time and money for others, insist on isolating yourself from ‘sinners’, or rarely talk about the deep truths of the Bible because, well, your circle of Christian friends has settled for less.
Those who encircle Jesus are just the opposite: living under God’s great and gracious authority, working hard to live like Jesus, to love those who are different and hard, seeking deep joy and genuine laughter with those who stir up belief in the gospel, who promote joy in God, enjoyment of his creation, and service to others. Are you part of the Jesus circle, the countercultural community? Or are you caught in the circle of friends?